Could passing through an interstellar dust cloud have triggered a Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth?

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Authors
Malone, Andrew.
Issue Date
2011-11-15T16:37:56Z
Type
Thesis
Language
en_US
Keywords
Snowball Earth (Geology) , Global temperature changes. , Climatic changes. , Geomorphology. , Climatology. , Cosmic dust. , Interstellar matter -- Optical properties. , Earth -- History. , Geology, Stratigraphic -- Proterozoic. , Undergraduate research. , Undergraduate thesis.
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Could passing through an interstellar dust cloud have triggered a Snowball Earth?
Abstract
The Interstellar Dust Hypothesis has been posited as a possible triggering mechanism for a Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth event [Pavlov et al., 2005]. This hypothesis is reevaluated using a zero-dimensional computer energy balance model with a more accurate set of optical assumptions for the dust layer. It is determined that a model with a reflective and absorptive dust layer has about a 20% reduction in the radiative forcing caused by the dust layer as compared to a model with a purely reflective dust layer. This reduction in the radiative forcing suggests that the results obtained by Pavlov et al. [2005] may be an underestimate for the dust cloud densities required to trigger a Snowball Earth event. However, even with the percent reduction in the radiative forcing, both climate models experience a substantial decrease in the incoming solar energy and serious surface temperature reduction, which would likely result in noticeable climate changes.
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i, 60 leaves : illustrations (some color), maps.
Bibliography: leaves 59-60.
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Wheaton College; Norton, Mass.
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