The Earth is able to regulate and stabilize its temperature over a long period of time – 100,000 years or more on average – despite extreme climate changes caused by ice ages, solar movements, and volcanic eruptions, new research shows.
This ‘mental stability’ is one of the reasons why Earth has been able to sustain life for the past 3.7 billion years, a new research team says. These comments have already been considered, but there is also direct evidence.
To find the evidence, researchers analyzed data collected 66 million years ago, using mathematics to determine whether global temperature fluctuations can be reduced by one or more factors.
Climate scientist Constantin Arnscheidt, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said: “You have a world whose climate has changed dramatically. “Why did life survive all this time?”
“One argument is that we need some mechanism to regulate temperature to maintain the temperature of life. But it has not been shown from the data that such a mechanism has been controlling the Earth’s climate.”
The team thinks that silicate weathering is important here: as silicate rocks erode over time, deeper layers of minerals are constantly exposed in the atmosphere. The silicates used draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, depositing it in sediments and oceans.
The increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the climate to warm, increasing the amount of silicates that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, reducing the future climate.
Indeed, the periods of stable temperature correspond to the periods during which silicate weathering is active, up to about 400,000 years. The fossil record left behind by the glaciers shows that the climate is actually helping to keep us warm.
Without this geological explanation, the researchers say, our planet would have continued to experience an ever-increasing temperature cycle. Knowing how this works is important to understanding the world’s past, as well as its future.
“To some extent, it’s like your car is speeding down the road, and when you put on the brakes, you skid for a long time before stopping,” says geophysicist Daniel Rothman, of MIT.
“There is a time when resistance to resistance, or stabilization of responses, begins, when the system returns to normal.”
There is something going on: after the team looked for a long time, more than a million years, no such permanent solutions were observed. It is possible that this opportunity has contributed greatly to the reason why life endures.
These researchers have concluded that although the temperature of the silicate is sufficient to stabilize in the short term (relative), we have been lucky that the temperature fluctuations in the long term have not been so severe as to disturb this hypothesis.
It is true that these findings are also related to predicting the future of this world. It seems that life on Earth can handle any challenge humans throw at it – but we won’t be here long enough to see.
“On the one hand, it’s good because we know that global warming today will end because of this stabilization,” says Arnscheidt.
“But on the other hand, it will take hundreds of thousands of years to happen, so not fast enough to solve our current problems.”
Research has been published in Advances in Science.