EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Delineating driving mechanisms of Phanerozoic climate: building a habitable Earth

Andrew Merdith1, Benjamin Mills1, Pierre Maffre2, Yves Goddéris3, Yannick Donnadieu4, and Thomas Gernon5
Andrew Merdith et al.
  • 1University of Leeds, Leeds, UK (
  • 2University of California, Berkeley, department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, United States of America
  • 3Géosciences Environnement Toulouse, CNRS—Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France
  • 4CEREGE, CNRS, Aix-en-Provence, France
  • 5School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

The fundamental drivers of Phanerozoic climate change over geological timescales (10–100s of Ma) are well recognised: degassing from the deep-earth puts carbon into the atmosphere, silicate weathering takes carbon from the atmosphere and traps it in carbonate minerals. A number of variables are purported to control or exert influence on these two mechanisms, such as the motion of tectonic plates varying the amount of degassing, the palaeogeogrpahic distribution of continents and oceans, the colonisation of land by plants and preservation of more weatherable material, such as ophiolites. We present a framework, pySCION, that integrates these drivers into a single analysis, connecting solid earth with climate and biogeochemistry. Further, our framework allows us to isolate individual drivers to determine their importance, and how it changes through time. Our model, with all drivers active, successfully reproduces the key aspects and trends of Phanerozoic temperature, to a much greater extent than previous models. We find that no single driver can explain Phanerozoic temperature with any degree of confidence, and that the most important driver varies for each geological period.

How to cite: Merdith, A., Mills, B., Maffre, P., Goddéris, Y., Donnadieu, Y., and Gernon, T.: Delineating driving mechanisms of Phanerozoic climate: building a habitable Earth, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11544,, 2022.