Rocks, rain and carbon dioxide help control Earth’s climate over thousands of years — like a thermostat — through a process called weathering.
Rocks, rain and carbon dioxide help control Earth’s climate over thousands of years — like a thermostat — through a process called weathering. A new study led by Penn State scientists may improve our understanding of how this thermostat responds as temperatures change.
“Life has been on this planet for billions of years, so we know Earth’s temperature has remained consistent enough for there to be liquid water and to support life,” said Susan Brantley, Evan Pugh University Professor and Barnes Professor of Geosciences at Penn State. “The idea is that silicate rock weathering is this thermostat, but no one has ever really agreed on its temperature sensitivity.”
Because many factors go into weathering, it has been challenging to use results of laboratory experiments alone to create global estimates of how weathering responds to temperature changes, the scientists said.
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Researchers in the woods investigating rates of weathering in Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Penn State / Penn State. Creative Commons)