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Snowball prevention questioned

Nature volume 456, page E7 (18 December 2008) | Download Citation

Abstract

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

The ‘snowball Earth’ hypothesis1 interprets geological evidence as indicating multi-million-year episodes of global glaciation near the beginning and end of the Proterozoic eon. On the basis of a coupled carbon cycle–climate model, Peltier et al.2 propose that temperature-dependent remineralization of organic carbon in a Neoproterozoic ocean with 100–1,000× more dissolved organic carbon than today3 could create a negative climate feedback, thereby preventing a snowball Earth. Their results are sensitive to initial conditions and model parameters4; moreover, important geological observations and components of the carbon cycle are not considered—notably the absence of sources or sinks of carbon. Their model results2 fall short of explaining the geological evidence in the absence of global glaciation.

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Affiliations

  1. *Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 20 Oxford Street, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.  hoffman@eps.harvard.edu

    • Paul F. Hoffman
    • , John W. Crowley
    • , David S. Jones
    •  & Daniel P. Schrag
  2. †Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, 20 Oxford Street, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • David T. Johnston

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07655

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