Dr. Lewis Alcott, a Hutchinson Environmental Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University, will be giving a talk titled: Phosphorus and climate through time and sampling uncertainties in the past and present.
The evolution of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans through time had profound consequences for the biosphere. Biological or tectonic revolutions have been proposed to explain large changes, but the principal drivers remain unclear. The role of phosphorus in these events is also poorly constrained. Here we show, using a theoretical model and geochemical data, that the behaviour of phosphorus played a major role in regulating Earth’s oxygen trajectory. The model also supports a major role for climate in nutrient delivery to the global oceans and that methane likely played a large role. To attempt to address the uncertainties in the past methane cycle, the present methane cycle was investigated using an expert elicitation survey, highlighting the need for a more quantitative method to estimate spatial uncertainty of geochemical data, which is also presented here.