How Soil Carbonate Can Tell Us About Climate – #365papers – 2017 – 75

#365papers for March 16, 2017

Cerling, T.E., 1984, The stable isotopic composition of modern soil carbonate and its relationship to climate: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 71, p. 229-240.

What’s it about?

This paper discusses in detail how isotopes of carbon and oxygen in carbonate minerals that form in soils are related to that of plant biomass (carbon) or local precipitation (oxygen).

Why does it matter?

If we want to use the isotopic values from ancient soil carbonates to interpret past climates, it serves us well to show that this is a valid practice using modern soils from known climates.

Why did I read this?

This is a paper that lies in the category of ‘seminal’ for the science of paleo-climatology using stable isotopes. It felt like a good time to review the basis for some of the assumptions that today we accept as ‘given fact’.

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