Water/Hycean Worlds & Oceanography

Diverse Carbonates In Exoplanet Oceans Promote The Carbon Cycle

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
January 9, 2023
Filed under , , , , , ,
Diverse Carbonates In Exoplanet Oceans Promote The Carbon Cycle
Numerical, analytical and semi-analytical solutions of the upper and lower limits of ocean pH in the Ca system. — astro-ph.EP

Carbonate precipitation in oceans is essential for the carbonate-silicate cycle (inorganic carbon cycle) to maintain temperate climates.

By considering the thermodynamics of carbonate chemistry, we demonstrate that the ocean pH decreases by approximately 0.5 for a factor of 10 increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide content. The upper and lower limits of ocean pH are within 1-4 of each other, where the upper limit is buffered by carbonate precipitation and defines the ocean pH when the carbon cycle operates.

If the carbonate compensation depth (CCD) resides above the ocean floor, then carbonate precipitation and the carbon cycle cease to operate. The CCD is deep (>40 km) for high ocean temperature and high atmospheric carbon dioxide content.

Key divalent carbonates of magnesium, calcium and iron produce an increasingly wider parameter space of deep CCDs, suggesting that chemical diversity promotes the carbon cycle. The search for life from exoplanets will benefit by including chemically more diverse targets than Earth twins.

Kaustubh Hakim, Meng Tian, Dan J. Bower, Kevin Heng

Comments: Published in ApJ Letters
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2301.02652 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2301.02652v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Journal reference: Astrophys. J. Lett. 942 (2023) L20
Related DOI:
Focus to learn more
Submission history
From: Kaustubh Hakim
[v1] Fri, 6 Jan 2023 18:57:52 UTC (416 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻