Climate Dynamics

, Volume 35, Issue 2–3, pp 285–297 | Cite as

Toward the snowball earth deglaciation…

  • Guillaume Le HirEmail author
  • Yannick Donnadieu
  • Gerhard Krinner
  • Gilles Ramstein


The current state of knowledge suggests that the Neoproterozoic snowball Earth is far from deglaciation even at 0.2 bars of CO2. Since understanding the termination of the fully ice-covered state is essential to sustain, or not, the snowball Earth theory, we used an Atmospheric General Climate Model (AGCM) to explore some key factors which could induce deglaciation. After testing the models’ sensitivity to their parameterizations of clouds, CO2 and snow, we investigated the warming effect caused by a dusty surface, associated with ash release during a mega-volcanic eruption. We found that the snow aging process, its dirtiness and the ash deposition on the snow-free ice are key factors for deglaciation. Our modelling study suggests that, under a CO2 enriched atmosphere, a dusty snowball Earth could reach the deglaciation threshold.


Snowball earth Albedo Snow Deglaciation Modelling 



The authors thank the two reviewers, R. Pierrehumbert for his constructive review and comments on the snowball Earth climate, and S. Warren for his very detailed and interesting review, notably his helpful comments concerning interactions between sea-ice albedo and ash particles deposition. J.L Dufresne is thanked for discussion of an earlier version of the manuscript. This research was supported by INSU, this work being a contribution to the ANR project Accro-Earth. We used computer resources at CCRT/CEA. This is IPGP contribution no. 2587.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillaume Le Hir
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yannick Donnadieu
    • 2
  • Gerhard Krinner
    • 3
  • Gilles Ramstein
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut de Physique du Globe de ParisUniversité ParisParisFrance
  2. 2.LSCECNRS-CEA-UVSQGif sur Yvette CedexFrance
  3. 3.LGGECNRS and UJF GrenobleSaint Martin d’Héres CedexFrance

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