We investigate in the paper the impact of the hydrologic cycle on climate at different periods. The aim is to illustrate how the changes in moisture transport, precipitation pattern, and weathering may alter, at regional or global scales, the CO2 and climate equilibriums. We choose three climate periods to pinpoint intricate relationships between water cycle and climate. The illustrations are the following. (i) The onset of ice-sheet build-up, 115 kyr BP. We show that the increased thermal meridian gradient of SST allows large moisture advection over the North American continent and provides appropriate conditions for perennial snow on the Canadian Archipelago. (ii) The onset of Indian Monsoon at the end of the Tertiary. We demonstrate that superimposed to the Tibetan Plateau, the shrinkage of the Tethys, since Oligocene, plays a major role to explain changes in the geographical pattern of the southeastern Asian Monsoon. (iii) The onset of Global Glaciation (750 Ma). We show that the break-up of Rodinia occurring at low latitudes is an important feature to explain how the important precipitation increase leads to weathering and carbon burial, which contribute to decrease atmospheric CO2 enough to produce a snows ball Earth. All these periods have been simulated with a hierarchy of models appropriate to quantify the water cycle impact on climate. (C) 2004 Academie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
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