TechEarth could become "hell": Scientists predict consequences of uncontrolled greenhouse effect

Earth could become "hell": Scientists predict consequences of uncontrolled greenhouse effect

Uncontrolled greenhouse effect is a serious threat to Earth.
Uncontrolled greenhouse effect is a serious threat to Earth.
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4:34 PM EST, December 21, 2023

A group of astronomers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), working together with the French laboratories CNRS in Paris and Bordeaux, are proud to be the first to simulate all stages of an uncontrolled greenhouse effect. The outcome of their research has been published in the scientific journal "Astronomy & Astrophysics".

As explained by the Science Alert service, the study serves a twofold purpose. It is not only intended to delve deeper into the understanding of Earth's potential threats but also to examine the climatic conditions of other planets, specifically exoplanets where life might exist.

Understanding the greenhouse effect and its implications for Earth

The greenhouse effect refers to the atmospheric process that causes a rise in Earth's temperature due to the presence of greenhouse gases. Certain naturally occurring gases, such as water vapor, contribute to this, while others are influenced by human activities. Carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels is a prime example.

The greenhouse effect plays an instrumental role in moderating Earth's climate. Without it, the average global temperature would plummet to around -4°F. This is due to the unique properties of certain atmospheric gases which mimic the functionality of a greenhouse. Conversely, an uncontrolled greenhouse effect poses a severe threat to Earth. Excessive greenhouse effects could lead to ocean evaporation, consequently reducing the amount of atmospheric water vapor that helps retain heat.

The research paper indicated that even a slight increase in solar radiation, resulting in only a minimal rise in global temperature, could trigger this unreversible and uncontrolled process. The consequence could be an Earth that resembles Venus, often referred to as "Earth's evil twin" owing to its harsh environmental conditions caused by an extreme greenhouse effect. The average temperature on Venus hovers around an inhospitable 860°F, and the pressure is 90 times that of Earth.

Highlighting the imminent threat of this scenario, the lead scientist, Chaverot, stated that Earth isn't far from reaching this apocalyptic state. Suppose an uncontrolled process of this sort starts on Earth. In that case, the evaporation of only about 33 feet of the ocean surface could cause a 1-bar increase in atmospheric pressure at ground level. This signifies that in a few centuries, we may have to endure average ground temperatures exceeding 932°F. Furthermore, the scientist proposes that the complete evaporation of the oceans could result in a whopping 273 bars of surface pressure and temperatures above 2732°F.

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