The Sulfur Cycle and Atmospheric Oxygen

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Science  20 Nov 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5393, pp. 1426-1427
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5393.1426

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Changes in the ratios of isotopes of sulfur and carbon in seawater and sediment caused by biological processes can reveal much about past climate changes. In their Perspective, Berner and Petsch discuss results reported in the same issue by Paytan et al. on measurements of isotope abundances that overcome difficulties that have plagued previous studies. This new data set should prove useful in understanding atmospheric chemistry in the past, particularly changes in atmospheric oxygen.