iron hypothesis

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The proposal that during ice ages the more arid global climate increased the amount of airborne dust falling on to the ocean surface. The dust particles contain iron that stimulates the primary productivity of marine phytoplankton. The increased rate of photosynthesis draws down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and fixes it in the tissues, shells, and tests of marine organisms. The overall mechanism would therefore exert a negative greenhouse effect.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.

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