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Nature Communications: A global temperature control of silicate weathering intensity

Kai Deng1,2*, Shouye Yang1*, Yulong Guo1

1 State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology, Tongji University, 200092 Shanghai, China

2 Institute of Geochemistry and Petrology, Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich, Clausiusstrasse 25, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland



Silicate weathering as an important negative feedback can regulate the Earth’s climate over time, but much debate concerns its response strength to each climatic factor and its evolution with land surface reorganisation. Such discrepancy arises from lacking weathering proxy validation and scarce quantitative paleo-constraints on individual forcing factors. Here we examine the catchment-scale link of silicate weathering intensity with various environmental parameters using a global compilation of modern sediment dataset (n = 3828). We show the primary control of temperature on silicate weathering given the monotonic increase of feldspar dissolution with it (0–30 °C), while controls of precipitation or topographic-lithological factors are regional and subordinate. We interpret the non-linear forcing of temperature on feldspar dissolution as depletion of more reactive plagioclase (relative to orthoclase) at higher temperature. Our results hint at stronger temperature-weathering feedback at lower surface temperature and support the hypothesis of increased land surface reactivity during the late Cenozoic cooling.


Full Article: https://rdcu.be/cKDwi