Susceptibility of the early Earth to irreversible glaciation caused by carbon dioxide clouds

  title={Susceptibility of the early Earth to irreversible glaciation caused by carbon dioxide clouds},
  author={Ken Caldeira and James F Kasting},
SIMPLE energy-balance climate models of the Budyko/Sellers type1,2 predict that a small (2–5%) decrease in solar output could result in runaway glaciation on the Earth. But solar fluxes 25–30% lower early in the Earth's history3,4 apparently did not lead to this result. One currently favoured explanation is that high partial pressures of carbon dioxide, caused by higher volcanic outgassing rates and/or slower rates of silicate weathering, created a large enough greenhouse effect to keep the… Expand
High levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide necessary for the termination of global glaciation
In simulations with a general circulation model, the system remains far short of deglaciation even at atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations of 550 times the present levels (0.2 bar of CO2), and it is found that at much higher carbon dioxide levels, degLaciation is unlikely unless unknown feedback cycles that are not captured in the model come into effect. Expand
Faint young Sun and the carbon cycle: implication for the Proterozoic global glaciations
The Earth may have been globally ice-covered several times during the Proterozoic. While the Neoproterozoic and the Paleoproterozoic glaciations may have been ‘snowball’ Earth events, there is noExpand
Scenario for the evolution of atmospheric pCO2 during a snowball Earth
The snowball Earth theory, initially proposed by J.L. Kirschvink to explain the Neoproterozoic glacial episodes, suggests that the Earth was globally ice covered at 720 Ma (Sturtian episode) and 640Expand
On the initiation of a snowball Earth
[1] The Snowball Earth hypothesis explains the development of glaciation at low latitudes in the Neoproterozoic, as well as the associated iron formations and cap carbonates, in terms of a runawayExpand
Long-term stability of climate and global glaciations throughout the evolution of the Earth
Earth’s climate is considered to be stable on the order of > 106 years, owing to a negative feedback mechanism in a carbon cycle system. However, any decrease in net input flux of CO2 to theExpand
GCM greenhouse and high‐obliquity Solutions for early Proterozoic glaciation and middle Proterozoic warmth
[1] The first definitive evidence of low-latitude glaciation occurs in the early Proterozoic approximately 2.3 billion years ago. This period of glaciation occurs near the time for a significant riseExpand
Transition to an oxygen-rich atmosphere with an extensive overshoot triggered by the Paleoproterozoic snowball Earth
Abstract The Earth is thought to have multiple stable, steady-states regarding climate modes and atmospheric oxygen levels. The Paleoproterozoic is a remarkable period in Earth's history because ofExpand
Paleoproterozoic snowball earth: extreme climatic and geochemical global change and its biological consequences.
Geological, geophysical, and geochemical data support a theory that Earth experienced several intervals of intense, global glaciation ("snowball Earth" conditions) during Precambrian time. ThisExpand
Vulnerability of climate on Earth to sudden changes in insolation
[1] The cooling of the Earth after a large sudden change in the solar insolation is buffered by the large heat reservoir in the ocean. For the present day temperature distribution it takes at leastExpand
Climate Simulations of Early Mars With Estimated Precipitation, Runoff, and Erosion Rates
The debate over the early Martian climate is among the most intriguing in planetary science. Although the geologic evidence generally supports a warmer and wetter climate, climate models have hadExpand


Climatic consequences of very high carbon dioxide levels in the earth's early atmosphere.
The possible consequences of very high carbon dioxide concentrations in the earth's early atmosphere have been investigated with a radiative-convective climate model, and Earth's present atmosphere appears to be stable against a carbon dioxide-induced runaway greenhouse. Expand
Long-term climate change and the geochemical cycle of carbon.
This model is stable against ice albedo catastrophe even when the ice line occurs at low latitudes, and differs from energy balance models that lack the coupling to the geochemical cycle of carbon. Expand
CO2 condensation and the climate of early Mars.
  • J. Kasting
  • Environmental Science, Medicine
  • Icarus
  • 1991
A one-dimensional, radiative-convective climate model was used to reexamine the question of whether early Mars could have been kept warm by the greenhouse effect of a dense, CO2 atmosphere, and alternative mechanisms for warming early Mars and explaining channel formation are discussed. Expand
A study of the radiative effects of enhanced atmospheric CO2 and CH4 on early Earth surface temperatures
Large concentrations of atmospheric CO2 in the atmosphere of the early earth have been proposed as a possible explanation of the apparent absence of frozen earth in spite of a faint early sun.Expand
Enhanced CO2 greenhouse to compensate for reduced solar luminosity on early Earth
CURRENT models for the evolution of the Sun require an increase in solar luminosity by 25% since the formation of the Solar System1. Such an increase in the solar constant should have profoundExpand
A negative feedback mechanism for the long‐term stabilization of Earth's surface temperature
We suggest that the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is buffered, over geological time scales, by a negative feedback mechanism in which the rate of weathering of silicateExpand
A Global Climatic Model Based on the Energy Balance of the Earth-Atmosphere System.
Abstract A relatively simple numerical model of the energy balance of the earth-atmosphere is set up and applied. The dependent variable is the average annual sea level temperature in 10° latitudeExpand
Steady- and non-steady-state carbonate-silicate controls on atmospheric CO2
Two contrasting hypotheses have recently been proposed for the past long-term relation between atmospheric CO2 and the carbonate-silicate geochemical cycle. One approach (Berner, 1990) suggests thatExpand
First-order coupling of paleogeography and CO2, with global surface temperature and its latitudinal contrast
The authors propose that for any geography, halving the amount of emergent land area will elevate CO{sub 2} levels enough to raise land surface temperature 10C and vice versa. They have evaluatedExpand
Earth and Mars: Evolution of Atmospheres and Surface Temperatures
Solar evolution implies, for contemporary albedos and atmospheric composition, global mean temperatures below the freezing point of seawater less than 2.3 aeons ago, contrary to geologic andExpand