Waterworlds may have better climate buffering capacities than their continental counterparts

Benjamin P.C. Hayworth, Bradford J. Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The long-term habitability of a planet is often assumed to be controlled by its ability to cycle carbon between the solid planetary interior and atmosphere. This process allows the planet to respond to external forcings (i.e., changes in insolation, changes in volcanic outgassing rates, etc.) and regulate its surface temperature through negative feedbacks on atmospheric CO2 involved in silicate weathering. Continental weathering and seafloor weathering rates have different, non-linear dependencies on pCO2 and will respond differently to changes in external forcings. Because waterworlds (planets with only seafloor weathering) have a weaker pCO2 dependence than continental worlds (such as modern Earth), we find that waterworlds are better at resisting changes in surface temperature resulting from perturbations in insolation than their continental counterparts, and may be more habitable in this respect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL10
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume902
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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