Earth can regulate its own temperature over millennia, new study finds

Posted: November 17, 2022 by oldbrew in Carbon cycle, climate, data, Geology, Maths, Natural Variation, paleo

This schematic shows the relationship between the different physical and chemical processes that make up the carbonate-silicate cycle. In the upper panel, the specific processes are identified, and in the lower panel, the feedbacks associated are shown; green arrows indicate positive coupling, while yellow arrows indicate negative coupling [image credit: Gretashum @ Wikipedia]

There’s always been a carbonate–silicate cycle, which Wikipedia declares ‘is the primary control on carbon dioxide levels over long timescales’. Warmists have shoe-horned this into their atmospheric theories, as we can see from the appearance of ‘greenhouse effect’ in the graphic above. Carry on, Earth.
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The Earth’s climate has undergone some big changes, from global volcanism to planet-cooling ice ages and dramatic shifts in solar radiation, says Eurekalert.

And yet life, for the last 3.7 billion years, has kept on beating.

Now, a study by MIT researchers in Science Advances confirms that the planet harbors a “stabilizing feedback” mechanism that acts over hundreds of thousands of years to pull the climate back from the brink, keeping global temperatures within a steady, habitable range.

Just how does it accomplish this?

A likely mechanism is “silicate weathering” — a geological process by which the slow and steady weathering of silicate rocks involves chemical reactions that ultimately draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and into ocean sediments, trapping the gas in rocks.

Scientists have long suspected that silicate weathering plays a major role in regulating the Earth’s carbon cycle. The mechanism of silicate weathering could provide a geologically constant force in keeping carbon dioxide — and global temperatures — in check. But there’s never been direct evidence for the continual operation of such a feedback, until now.

The new findings are based on a study of paleoclimate data that record changes in average global temperatures over the last 66 million years. The MIT team applied a mathematical analysis to see whether the data revealed any patterns characteristic of stabilizing phenomena that reined in global temperatures on a geologic timescale.

They found that indeed there appears to be a consistent pattern in which the Earth’s temperature swings are dampened over timescales of hundreds of thousands of years. The duration of this effect is similar to the timescales over which silicate weathering is predicted to act.

The results are the first to use actual data to confirm the existence of a stabilizing feedback, the mechanism of which is likely silicate weathering. This stabilizing feedback would explain how the Earth has remained habitable through dramatic climate events in the geologic past.

“On the one hand, it’s good because we know that today’s global warming will eventually be canceled out through this stabilizing feedback,” says Constantin Arnscheidt, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS).

“But on the other hand, it will take hundreds of thousands of years to happen, so not fast enough to solve our present-day issues.”

Full article here.
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See also:
A negative feedback mechanism for the long-term stabilization of Earth’s surface temperature
James C. G. Walker,P. B. Hays,J. F. Kasting
First published: 20 October 1981
[N.B this also promotes greenhouse theory – see abstract]

  1. oldbrew says:

    Tail-wagging-dog theory again?

  2. They included Greenhouse , but they did not include water, water changes state more rapidly than carbon. Water evaporates and triggers tropical storms, water evaporates and builds sequestered ice. Over millions of years, more ice has cooled the climate, thawing and reflecting.

  3. Water cools the climate, immediately, with thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes.
    Water cools the climate, hundreds and/or thousands of years later by evaporation and snowfall that builds ice that spreads and causes cooling by thawing and reflecting, hundreds and/or thousands of years later.

    Little Ice Age ice was spread in and around the Arctic and on mountains and high places during the Medieval Warm Period. That ice piled up and spread and caused the Little Ice Age.

    Major Ice Age ice was spread in and around the Arctic and on the northern parts of Continents during the time the oceans were deeper and the Arctic was thawed between 110ky and 150ky, ice core records show more ice accumulation then. That ice piled up and spread and caused the last major ice age, it took a hundred thousand years from 110ky ago to 20ky ago the thaw and thin the great ice sheets such that the ice could retreat in 10ky ago, causing the rapid warming.

    Sea Level did not rise until 20ky ago because the melt-water and ice was trapped inside the arctic ocean basin, it was downhill from the great ice sheets because the great weight of ice depressed the land. The warming was interrupted multiple times because the release of the water and ice from the Arctic was in surges, not even flow.

    They have made up all kinds of stuff to explain the intermittent temperatures during the long cold of the last ice age that showed up in Greenland Ice Core Records and not in Antarctic Ice Core Records. The intermittent Greenland temperatures were because the ice and melt-water from the great ice sheets entered the Arctic in surges. That was not a factor in Antarctic Ice Core Records, there was just a hundred thousand years with much less ice accumulation because the oceans were depleted. The great ice sheets did thaw and thin during the long cold, but oceans did not rise because the melt-water and ice flowed into the Arctic Ocean and was trapped there until after 20ky ago.

  4. […] Earth can regulate its own temperature over millennia, new study finds — Tallbloke’s Talksho… […]

  5. JB says:

    ” there was some stabilization, but pure luck likely also played a role ”

    Intolerable, that such nonsense gets funded from the public trough.

  6. cognog2 says:

    MIT’s EAPS department has been sleeping on the job. Has it not noticed that 72% of the Earth’s surface never gets much above circa 30degC?

    I’m not here to tell MIT how to suck eggs so I’ll just give a few hints, where water is concerned for that 72% is water; so maybe has the answer to the regulation question.

    The Thermodynamics is relatively simple; but difficult to pin down. So what happens to relentless solar radiation hitting the water over millions of years? Why doesn’t it heat up as it should but somehow absorbs it and converts it to ? Yes you have guessed it- Latent Heat.
    So where does that go? – well a lot of Vapor gets produced does it not? – So perhaps the energy goes there; but why doesn’t the temperature go up ? – well I don’t know do I?. Perhaps MIT can explain? My guess here is that it has something to do with the gas laws where volume is inversely proportional to temperature; so best start thinking in terms of Enthalpy rather than energy.

    And then the interesting bit: the Vapor goes whizzing up through the atmosphere to make clouds which seem to suck out all that Latent Heat, with some getting up to the Tropopause where it dissipates the rest of the energy and turns to ice, where gravity takes the ice/water back to Earth cooling it in the process.

    I submit that this water or Hydrological Cycle is the prime regulator of the Earth’s temperature and has done this for millions of years with the remarkable stability of not much more than +/- 3 degK variation.

    This in no way precludes other mechanisms doing the same thing such as that raised by this Article.

  7. oldbrew says:

    ‘Now, a study by MIT researchers in Science Advances confirms that the planet harbors a “stabilizing feedback” mechanism that acts over hundreds of thousands of years to pull the climate back from the brink, keeping global temperatures within a steady, habitable range.’

    A “stabilizing feedback” mechanism, or response to system inputs?

  8. They looked at a stabilizing feed back that works over hundreds of thousands of years and they looked past a more immediate stabilizing effect that has a thermostat controlled feed-back that works quicker. Because land blocks ocean flow around the equator, Tropical ocean currents flow into Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. In the polar oceans Sea Ice is the Control that allows or does not allow evaporation, the thermostat setting is the temperature that Sea Ice Freezes and Thaws. When Oceans are warmer, Sea Ice is removed and there is more evaporation and snowfall and sequestering of ice and increased weight and volume of ice until enough ice is pushed into the turbulent salt water currents to form sea ice and stop the evaporation and snowfall. The spreading ice causes a colder time period while the ice thaws and thins and finally thaws faster at the edges of ice sheets and tails of glaciers than the flowing ice can sustain. This causes warming and then a repeat of the warm replenishing cycle. History and Ice Core Records support that this is true. Snowfall in warmest times causes colder later because more ice spreads and cools.

  9. Cognog2, what you wrote is right, but you should study the ice core records, in warmest times IR out in Polar Regions and other cold places form ice which is sequestered on land in areas not large enough to cause a lot of immediate cooling, this occurs as long as Sea Ice does not cover polar oceans. After the ice gains weight and Volume, the ice flattens and spreads, some thaws from the great pressure and melt-water helps the ice spread to large areas and push into ocean currents. This is what caused the little ice age to follow the Medieval warm period. The claim ice advances after climate gets cold, there is less snowfall after climate gets cold, the ice is accumulated on top of old ice in warmest times when more snowfall is possible due to lack of sea ice. It is not still snowing more on the heads of Glaciers and ice sheets during the cooling into the coldest times the heads of glaciers and tops of ice sheets are already thinning, ice stops advancing because the ice that was pushing is depleted, then warming occurs because the ice then retreats. Cognog2, please read this and think about it and reply to me.

  10. Phoenix44 says:

    How can they claim the silicate weathering hypothesis is “likely”? It’s possible but they have no actual evidence for it and there are plenty of other hypotheses with at least as good fit.

  11. oldmanK says:

    Are crocodiles and trees in polar regions part of the range of temperature regulation?

    Or maybe a condition of earth’s orbital position in the solar system.

  12. Gamecock says:

    Bad metaphor alert:

    ‘And yet life, for the last 3.7 billion years, has kept on beating.’

    ‘Beating’ didn’t start until 0.5 billion years ago.

  13. gbaikie says:

    Late Cenozoic Ice Age
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    –This article is about the history of Earth’s polar ice caps over the last 33.9 million years. For the glacial period lasting from 115,000 to 11,700 years ago, see Last Glacial Period.–
    It’s common for people to call the last glaciation period an Ice Age, but Earth is currently in 33.9 million year ice age, which called “Late Cenozoic Ice Age”.
    In Last Glacial Period, CO2 levels became dangerously low, and Ice Ages of which we have had 5 known ones, CO2 levels are low and average ocean temperature is cold.
    Our present ocean has average temperature of 3.5 C.

    And ocean with an average temperature of 5 C is a cold ocean. In last couple 2 million years our ocean has been the coldest it’s been.
    A cold ocean causes low CO2 levels. 400 ppm or 260 ppm is a low CO2 level, 180 ppm is a dangerously low CO2 levels. There is no factor [other humans and what can do] to stop CO2 from getting close to dangerously low levels, when we again return to the Next Glacial period.
    Some think our next glacial period can be delayed- there no reason to imagine it.
    Our Holocene interglacial period has been the coldest interglacial period.
    One could argue we aren’t even in a proper interglacial because it was interrupted and it’s been so cold.
    The last interglacial period had sea levels 4 to 9 meters higher than present sea levels and average ocean was 4 C or more.
    And no one is currently imagining sea level will rise 4 meter or the ocean will warm to 4 C. No one is claiming we have 1000 years of fossil fuel to burn.

    From peak Holocene when Sahara Desert was grassland and forest, which disappeared about 5000 years ago, and have gradually cooling since then.
    Returning periods like Last Glacial Period when CO2 levels were 180 ppm takes more
    than another 5000 years of cooling, and likely tens of thousands of year to potentially reach it dangerous low CO2 and ice sheets covering the continents

    We have not had enormous climate climate since the Sahara desert, became it’s current desert. And in terms of Earth history our elevated CO2 level are very low CO2
    level, but they will get lower, and they might eventually once again become dangerously low.
    In terms of very long plan, making Sahara desert green again, probably better way to increase global temperature as compared to than higher C02 level- or people once imagined 420 ppm would raise global temperature much higher than it did.
    But raising CO2 level have increase crop yield and some people once imagined we would starving by now.
    Or we got fed, but we didn’t get warm enough to slow down returning to the next glacial period.

    But we might become space faring civilization which could better solution than greening the Sahara desert.

  14. Gamecock says:

    ‘Earth can regulate its own temperature’

    That’s crazy talk!

  15. Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. says:

    The authors of this paper ( speculated that the stability of Earth’s temperature fluctuations within a life-supporting range must be due to the carbon-silicate cycle. This speculation is based on the implicit assumption that atmospheric CO2 has been the control knob of Earth’s paleoclimate, a premise rooted in the 19th-Century “Greenhouse” theory. HOWEVER, geological records provide no evidence that CO2 has been a driver of Earth’s climate over the Cenozoic Era. Here is plot of the best reconstructions of global surface temperature and atmospheric CO2 available for the past 70 My. Note the total lack of correlation between temperature and CO2 time series:

    At the same time, there is strong evidence coming from NASA observations that the “Greenhouse” theory is physically false. Please watch this video for details:

    Demystifying the Greenhouse Effect

    There is now a new explanation for Earth’s paleoclimate based on a fundamentally different understanding of the Atmospheric Thermal Effect. According to this new paradigm, changes in Earth’s past climate were driven by changes in the atmospheric adiabatic heating of the surface caused by variations in total atmospheric mass and surface air pressure:

  16. cognog2 says:

    Yes. It SHOULD be well known from the gas laws that Volume is inversely proportional to Temperature. This makes temperature a poor metric when considering climate matters; Enthalpy being a far better ‘State’.
    the Authors here mention the Mass of the atmosphere as a prime factor, which is correct; for that relates to gravity, volume and pressure with temperature being the result, as it were.
    I submit that this makes it quite clear that humans have little or no control over the global temperature.

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