Carbonate deposition, climate stability, and Neoproterozoic ice ages

Andy J. Ridgwell*, Martin J. Kennedy, Ken Caldeira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Citations (Scopus)


The evolutionary success of planktic calcifiers during the Phanerozoic stabilized the climate system by introducing a new mechanism that acts to buffer ocean carbonate-ion concentration: the saturation-dependent preservation of carbonate in sea-floor sediments. Before this, buffering was primarily accomplished by adjustment of shallow-water carbonate deposition to balance oceanic inputs from weathering on land. Neoproterozoic ice ages of near-global extent and multimillion-year duration and the formation of distinctive sedimentary (cap) carbonates can thus be understood in terms of the greater sensitivity of the Precambrian carbon cycle to the loss of shallow-water environments and CO2-climate feedback on ice-sheet growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-862
Number of pages4
Issue number5646
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes


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