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What makes the Earth habitable?

Water supply Surface temperature Oxygen gas Energy reserves

Water is the main ingredient needed for life: 1) Planet must have captured enough water to make oceans 2) Water must have migrated to the Earths surface 3) Water must not have been lost to space 4) Temperature needs to be above freezing and below boiling Earth is 1.5 weight percent water (captured 1 in 3,000,000 H from the solar nebula). When was the atmosphere formed?

decays to 129Xe half-life of 16Ma Xe escapes to the atmosphere, Iodine stays in the solid Earth

Present day atmosphere has less 129Xe than present day basalts Atmosphere was formed very early on at the same time as core formation

Why did it stay?

Escape depends strongly on the gravity of the planet For Earth the speed of a molecule needs to be 11km/sec Mean time to escape from Earth: 4He 106 years; 20Ne 1011 years

Where is the water?

We know how much 4He is produced over Earths history

Composition of the atmosphere

Planet temperature
Planet surface temperature dependent on: Luminosity of the star it is orbiting Planets distance from this star Reflectivity of the planet

For Earth several other factors important: Changes in the rate and pattern of mantle flow (tectonics) Planet architecture: equatorial bulge and tilted rotational axis results in precession Gravitational forces (other planets) results in orbital tilt and shape

Earth as a black body?

Black body: all light is absorbed none is reflected, but re-irradiated as light The hotter the black body the more energy its emits Reflectivity is important on Earth and - cloud cover, - ice caps, and - deserts reflect, and less sun energy is absorbed.

Absorption of outgoing light

Molecules made of three or more atoms are able to absorp outgoing infrared light Water Carbon dioxide Methane Nitrous oxide

Surface temperature

Only 60ppm of the Earths carbon budget is in the atmosphere If all carbon was in the atmosphere as CO2 the atmospheric pressure would be 100 times higher Venus similar to Earth in size but its CO2 is the atmosphere Extreme greenhouse effects exists on Venus and it has lost all its water

Atmospheric heat balance

Earths albedo (31%) is energy reflected by clouds (22%) and Earths surface (9%). The remaining incoming solar radiation is abosrbed by the atmosphere (20%) and the Earths surface To achieve radiation balance, Earth radiation balance, Earth radiates the sum of the radiation absorbed by the atmosphere and surface back into space

Hot air, moisture and radiation export more energy than is received. Greenhouse gases reflect most back

Earths thermostat

CaSiO3+2CO2+2H2O Ca2++2HCO3-+H4SiO4

Carbon cycle

Inflow into each reservoir is balanced by outflow Rocks contain 12 million Gt of carbon, by far the largest reservoir

Earths orbit

Determines how much and where sunlight is received

Orbit and ice ages

Tilt, eccentricity and precession combine to cause variations in the amount of sunlight received by Earth.

Orbit and ice ages

How can we determine there were previous ice ages: -Continental sediment record: recognition and dating of glacial sediment on land -Oceanic sediment record: rock released by icebergs -Ocean surface temperature recorded by fossils -Ice volume changes recorded in the oxygen isotope record of fossils.

Oxygen isotope evidence

Ratios of two oxygen isotopes: 16O and 18O Lighter isotope has slightly higher vibrational frequency and velocity Lighter isotope better able to go into the vapor phase Water in the atmosphere has higher 16O/18O than the ocean Precipitation out of the atmosphere will thus have higher 16O/18O (lighter) than the ocean Ice caps result in storage of this lighter water Increase in ice caps makes water in the ocean heavier because of snow and ice build up in ice caps Marine organisms record the oxygen isotope composition of the seawater.

Oxygen isotope record

Oxygen isotope record of foraminefera

Glacial: less 16O in the ocean

1. There is a decline in temperature and greenhouse gases during the onset of glacial periods

Vostok Ice core

2. Rapid rise during deglaciation 3. Climate has been relatively warm during the last 10,000 yearsthe Holocene interglacial

During the ice age

August 16,000BC
Ice thickness in meters

Air temperatures

Human CO2 production

1. 2. 3.

Human activity increase the CO2 flux to the atmosphere by 7.1 Gt/year In response, new plant growth and ocean take up 3.8Gt/year Result atmospheric increase of 3.3Gt/year

The record
Recent warming trends correlate with increase in CO2 from emissions since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century

The 20thy century record is clearly anomalous when compared with climate change documented during the last millenium

What are the consequences?

Rate of carbon dioxide increase depends on growth in fossil fuel use.

Shading indicates uncertainty in the climate models

Conveyor belt

Thermohaline circulation
Temperature Salinity

El Nio I
El Nio: originally recognized by fisherman off the coast of South America as the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific ocean around Christmas. El Nio means The Little Boy or Christ child in Spanish.

The opposite: La Nia means The Little Girl. La Nia is sometimes called El Viejo, anti-El Nio, or simply "a cold event" or "a cold episode".

Suwannee River

Periodicity in streamflow data for Suwanee River. El Nio years are associated with less rainfall and resulting less river runoff in Florida

El Nio II
1. 2. 3. Normal years warm surface waters east off Indonesia cause low pressure and heavy rainfall Pressure pattern drives trade winds from east to west, pushing warm water westward Cold water upwells along South America
4. Periodically air pressure rises over the western pacific weakening the trade winds and warm water shifts east 5. The western pacific experiences drought 6. Low pressure over eastern Pacific causes heavy rains and inhibits the cold upwelling. 7. La Nia opposite SST.

Snowball Earth?