Biotic enhancement of weathering and surface temperatures on Earth since the origin of life

D. W. Schwartzman, T. Volk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Assuming steady-state of carbon dioxide levels in a "pressure-cooker' atmosphere/ocean system (10-20 bars, near 100°C) produced by a land weathering sink and volcanic source (BLAG model), an abiotic Earth model for 3.8 Ga requires present biotic enhancements of weathering to be on the order of 100 or greater, consistent with the limit inferred from experimental and field studies. Using a plausible ratio of the present biotic enhancement (from higher plants) to enhancements produced by microbial activity alone, along with models for continental growth and outgassing rates consistent with geologic evidence, we find that computed surface temperatures hover near 20°C over geologic time, slowly decreasing to present, after a rapid initial decline as a result of microbial colonization of land. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (Global & Planetary Change Section)
Pages357-371
Number of pages15
Volume90
Edition4
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

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    Schwartzman, D. W., & Volk, T. (1991). Biotic enhancement of weathering and surface temperatures on Earth since the origin of life. In Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (Global & Planetary Change Section) (4 ed., Vol. 90, pp. 357-371)