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A mechanism for brief glacial episodes in the Mesozoic greenhouse

Abstract : The Mesozoic, perhaps the longest period of warmth during the Phanerozoic Earth history, has been repeatedly affected by short-lived cold interludes lasting about one million years. While the origin of these cold snaps has been classically attributed to a temporary atmospheric CO(2) drawdown, quantified mechanisms explaining these instabilities of the carbon cycle are still lacking. Based on a climate carbon cycle model, we show that the general demise of carbonate platforms accompanying these short-lived cold interludes is a powerful mechanism capable of generating a fast atmospheric CO2 decrease and a moderate sea level drop associated with ice sheet buildup. The temporary nature of the carbonate production decline explains the relative short time of these cold events but makes it possible to account for ice sheet waxing and waning.
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Yannick Donnadieu, Gilles Dromart, Yves Godderis, Emmanuelle Pucéat, Benjamin Brigaud, et al.. A mechanism for brief glacial episodes in the Mesozoic greenhouse. Paleoceanography, American Geophysical Union, 2011, 26, pp.PA3212. ⟨10.1029/2010PA002100⟩. ⟨hal-00674790⟩



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