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Global silicate weathering flux overestimated because of sediment–water cation exchange

Tipper, Edward T.; Stevenson, Emily I.; Alcock, Victoria; Knight, Alasdair C. G.; Baronas, J. Jotautas; Hilton, Robert G.; Bickle, Mike J.; Larkin, Christina S.; Feng, Linshu; Relph, Katy E.; Hughes, Genevieve


Edward T. Tipper

Emily I. Stevenson

Victoria Alcock

Alasdair C. G. Knight

Robert G. Hilton

Mike J. Bickle

Christina S. Larkin

Linshu Feng

Katy E. Relph

Genevieve Hughes


Large rivers transport water and sediment to floodplains and oceans, supplying the nutrients that sustain life. They also transport carbon, removed from the atmosphere during mineral dissolution reactions, which is thought to provide a key negative climate feedback on long timescales. We demonstrate that the (million-year) carbon flux associated with mineral dissolution has been overestimated by up to 28% because of a reactive pool of elements transported with river-borne suspended sediment. This is most acute in regions of high erosion, where silicate weathering is thought to be most intense.


Tipper, E. T., Stevenson, E. I., Alcock, V., Knight, A. C. G., Baronas, J. J., Hilton, R. G., …Hughes, G. (2021). Global silicate weathering flux overestimated because of sediment–water cation exchange. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(1), Article e2016430118.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Dec 21, 2020
Publication Date Jan 5, 2021
Deposit Date Dec 12, 2023
Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Print ISSN 0027-8424
Electronic ISSN 1091-6490
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 118
Issue 1
Article Number e2016430118
Keywords Multidisciplinary
Public URL
Additional Information Published: 2020-12-21