The Palaeocene

Much of the scientific and public focus on anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions have been on climate impacts. Emission targets have been suggested based primarily on arguments for preventing climate from shifting significantly from its preindustrial state. However, recent studies underline a second major impact of carbon emissions: ocean acidification. Over the past 200 years, the oceans have take up `40% of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This uptake shows the rise in atmospheric CO2 considerably, thus alleviating climate change caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

On geological timescales, carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through volcanism and organic matter oxidation and is removed through mineral weathering and carbonate burial. An analysis of ice-core CO2 records and marine carbonate chemistry indicates a tight coupling between these processes during the past 610,000 years, which suggests that a weathering feedback driven by atmospheric CO2 leads to a mass balance between CO2 sources and sinks on long timescales.