Brief Communications Arising | Published:

Carbon cycling and snowball Earth

Nature volume 456, page E8 (18 December 2008) | Download Citation



Arising from: W. R. Peltier, Y. Liu & J. W. Crowley Nature 450, 813–818 (2007)10.1038/nature06354; Peltier & Liu reply

The possibility that Earth witnessed episodes of global glaciation during the latest Precambrian challenges our understanding of the physical processes controlling the Earth’s climate. Peltier et al.1 suggest that a ‘hard snowball Earth’ state may have been prevented owing to the release of CO2 from the oxidation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the ocean as the temperature decreased. Here we show that the model of Peltier et al. is not self-consistent as it implies large fluctuations of the ocean alkalinity content without providing any processes to account for it. Our findings suggest that the hard snowball Earth hypothesis is still valid.

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Author information


  1. *LMTG, CNRS-Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, 31400 Toulouse, France.

    • Yves Goddéris
  2. †LSCE, CNRS-CEA, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France

    • Yannick Donnadieu


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