We principally use the Earth system model (‘cGENIE’); a model that is unique in its direct applicability to the study of long-term climate in that it represents an unprecedentedly diverse suite of marine nutrient cycles (P, N, Fe, Si), both major and trace elements (Ca, Mg, S, I, Li, Sr, Os), and many of their isotopes, plus the key processes controlling the concentration of O2, CO2, and CH4 in the atmosphere. Many of these capabilities have been developed here at UCR over the past ~6 years.
We apply the model to a wide variety of topical Earth history questions and time-periods. Questions include controls on ocean circulation and oxygenation (and implications for extinctions), constraining the amount and understanding the causes and consequences of massive CO2 release, how CO2 and hence climate is regulated on geological time-scales, and how marine ecosystems differed in the past and the implications for marine carbon cycling and atmospheric CO2. Time-periods of interest span much of Earth history: Precambrian, Ordovician and end Permian extinctions, episodes of intense ocean anoxia during the Mesozoic, ecosystem and carbon cycling disruption and recovery after the end Cretaceous impact, carbon release events in the Paleogene, and the emergence of the modern ice-house climate system from the Miocene to the present-day.
The climate and biogeochemistry group also applies discoveries informed by the geological record to the future. Our knowledge of the past informs future projections regarding the long-term fate of fossil fuel CO2 and duration of elevated global warming, the fate of zooplankton diversity in the ocean, and even the trajectory of future sea-level rise.
Faculty involved: Allen, Liu, Ridgwell, Turner