Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Carbon cycle

Checking the thermostat

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels greatly influence the Earth's climate. Evidence from ice cores and marine sediments suggests that over timescales beyond the glacial cycles, carbon fluxes are finely balanced and act to stabilize temperatures.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: The carbon cycle.


  1. Zeebe, R. & Caldeira K. Nature Geosci. 1, 312–315 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Walker, J. C. G. et al. J. Geophys. Res. 86, 9776–9782 (1982).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Sagan, C. & Mullen, G. Science 177, 52–56 (1972).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Lovelock, J. E. Tellus 26, 2–9 (1974).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Berner R. A. et al. Am. J. Sci. 283, 641–683 (1983).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Dickens, G. R., Castillo, M. M. & Walker, J. C. Geology 25, 259–262 (1997).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Edmond, J. M. & Hu, Y. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 213, 125–139 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Archer, D. Checking the thermostat. Nature Geosci 1, 289–290 (2008).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing