SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Archean climate;
  • CO2-rich atmospheres;
  • Earth's rotation rate;
  • climate modelling;
  • faint young Sun problem;
  • paleoclimatology

[1] During the Archean (3.8–2.5 billion years ago), the Sun was up to 25% less luminous than today, yet there is strong evidence that the Earth's ocean surface was not completely frozen. The most obvious solutions to this ‘faint young Sun problem’ demand high concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Here we present the first comprehensive 3-dimensional simulations of the Archean climate that include processes as the sea-ice albedo feedback and the higher rotation rate of the Earth. These effects lead to CO2 partial pressures required to prevent the Earth from freezing that are significantly higher than previously thought. For the early Archean, we find a critical CO2partial pressure of 0.4 bar in contrast to 0.06 bar estimated in previous studies with 1-dimensional radiative-convective models. Our results suggest that currently favored greenhouse solutions could be in conflict with constraints emerging for the middle and late Archean.