Long-term climate forcing by atmospheric oxygen concentrations

  title={Long-term climate forcing by atmospheric oxygen concentrations},
  author={Christopher J. Poulsen and Clay R. Tabor and Joseph D. White},
  pages={1238 - 1241}
Change was in the air The atmospheric fraction of molecular oxygen gas, O2, currently at 21%, is thought to have varied between around 35 and 15% over the past 500 million years. Because O2 is not a greenhouse gas, often this variability has not been considered in studies of climate change. Poulson and Wright show that indirect effects of oxygen abundance, caused by contributions to atmospheric pressure and mean molecular weight, can affect precipitation and atmospheric humidity (see the… 
Can climate feel the pressure?
On page 1238 of this issue, Poulsen et al. (4) report model results that identify O2 as an important climate driver through its contribution to total atmospheric pressure.
Simulating the Climate Response to Atmospheric Oxygen Variability in the Phanerozoic
Abstract. The amount of dioxygen (O2) in the atmosphere may have varied from as little as 10 % to as high as 35 % during the Phanerozoic eon (541 Ma–Present). These changes in the amount of O2 are
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Simulating the climate response to atmospheric oxygen variability in the Phanerozoic: a focus on the Holocene, Cretaceous and Permian
Abstract. The amount of dioxygen (O2) in the atmosphere may have varied from as little as 5 % to as much as 35 % during the Phanerozoic eon (54 Ma–present). These changes in the amount of O2 are
The response of Phanerozoic surface temperature to variations in atmospheric oxygen concentration
Recently, Poulsen et al. (2015) suggested that O2 has played a major role in climate forcing during the Phanerozoic. Specifically, they argued that decreased O2 levels during the Cenomanian stage of
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The response of temperature to CO2 change (climate sensitivity) in the geologic past may help inform future climate predictions. Proxies for CO2 and temperature generally imply high climate
Formation of most of our coal brought Earth close to global glaciation
  • G. Feulner
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2017
This work demonstrates that the cooling due to the diminished greenhouse effect brought the authors' planet close to the limit of global glaciation ∼300 million years ago and highlights the importance of orbital cycles for the climate and carbon cycle during the late Paleozoic ice age.
Replies to Reviewer Comments
The amount of dioxygen (O2) in the atmosphere may have varied from as little as 10: 5 % to as high as 35 % during the Phanerozoic eon (541 Ma – Present). These changes in the amount of O2 are large
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A new model for atmospheric oxygen over Phanerozoic time.
Good agreement for rates of C burial calculated via the model and via independent models indicates that the dominant factor that has brought about changes in atmospheric O2 level (and the isotopic composition of dissolved inorganic carbon in seawater) over Phanerozoic time is sedimentation and not weathering or higher temperature phenomena such as basalt-seawater reaction.
CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic
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The diversification of Paleozoic fire systems and fluctuations in atmospheric oxygen concentration.
  • A. Scott, I. Glasspool
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2006
Trends in charcoal abundance and fire system diversification conform well to changes in atmospheric oxygen concentration, as predicted by modeling, and indicate oxygen levels are a significant control on long-term fire occurrence.