A sudden drop in sunlight caused by volcanic activity or biologically induced cloud formation may have been enough to cause Snowball Earths, according to a new mathematical model published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A. "The model captures essential aspects of the relationships between incoming and outgoing solar radiation, the surface temperature of the Earth, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the processes that control atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on long timescales," explained Constantin Arnscheidt, the study's lead author.
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