Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres
Proposed evolutionary histories of solar luminosity, atmospheric carbon dioxide amounts, Earth rotation rate, and continent formation have been used to generate a time evolution of Earth's surface temperature. While speculative because of uncertainties in the input parameters, such a study does help to prioritize the areas of most concern to paleoclimatic research while illustrating the relationships and mutual dependencies. The mean temperature averages about 5 K higher than today over most of geologic time; the overall variation is less than 15 K. The evolution of Earth's rotation rate makes a significant contribution to the surface temperature distribution as late as 0.5 b.y. ago. While there is little change in equatorial temperatures, polar temperatures decrease, being some 15 K lower 3.5 b.y. ago than with present day rotation. The effect of continent growth on albedo is of secondary importance.
Original Publication Citation
Kuhn, W.R., Walker, J.C.G., & Marshall, H.G. (1989). The effect on earths surface-temperature from variations in rotation rate, continent formation, solar luminosity, and carbon-dioxide. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 94(D8), 11129-11136. doi: 10.1029/JD094iD08p11129
Kuhn, William R.; Walker, J. C.G.; and Marshall, Harold G., "The Effect on Earth's Surface-Temperature from Variations in Rotations Rate, Continent Formation, Solar Luminosity, and Carbon Dioxide" (1989). Biological Sciences Faculty Publications. 132.