1932

Abstract

The ancient idea of the balance of nature continues to influence modern perspectives on global environmental change. Assumptions of stable biogeochemical steady states and linear responses to perturbation are widely employed in the interpretation of geochemical records. Here, we review the dynamics of the marine carbon cycle and its interactions with climate and life over geologic time, focusing on what the record of past changes can teach us about stability and instability in the Earth system. Emerging themes include the role of amplifying feedbacks in producing past carbon cycle disruptions, the importance of critical rates of change in the context of mass extinctions and potential Earth system tipping points, and the application of these ideas to the modern unbalanced carbon cycle. A comprehensive dynamical understanding of the marine record of global environmental disruption will be of great value in understanding the long-term consequences of anthropogenic change.

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2022-01-03
2024-04-14
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