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How did the Earth manage to stabilize temperature fluctuations over hundreds of thousands of years?

A new study confirms that the Earth is able to adjust and regulate its temperature over hundreds of thousands of years to keep it within a fixed range.

According to a study by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the planet has a “constant feedback” mechanism capable of keeping global temperatures within a stable range, preventing them from fluctuating too much in either direction for long periods of time.

The study shows that the Earth is able to regulate its temperature and stability over huge timescales, averaging about 100,000 years, even after massive climate changes caused by ice ages, changes in solar radiation and intense volcanic activity.

The team behind the new study says these “stabilizing reactions” are part of the reason Earth could have sustained life on it for the past 3.7 billion years or so. These theories have been put forward before, but now there are some direct confirmation of this.

To find this evidence, the researchers examined climate data collected over the past 66 million years and applied mathematical modeling to determine whether fluctuations in the Earth’s average temperature could be limited by one or more factors.

“You have a planet whose climate has undergone many dramatic external changes. It has stabilized to maintain a temperature suitable for life. But the data did not show this. Such a mechanism constantly took over, ”says climatologist Konstantin Arnscheidt of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Earth Climate.

This is thought to be due to “silicate weathering,” a geological process that involves the slow and continuous weathering of silicate rocks, which through chemical reactions draws carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into rock deposits in the oceans, thereby trapping the gas in the rocks. . . .

According to the findings, published in the journal Science Advances, scientists have found a consistent pattern in which fluctuations in the planet’s temperature decrease over hundreds of thousands of years. This duration is similar to the timescales over which silicate weathering is thought to be active.

And thanks to previous research, scientists have observed how the movement of carbon into and out of the environment on the Earth’s surface remains relatively balanced despite global temperature fluctuations.

Scientists believe we are in a warming period and have called on policy makers to adopt a series of changes to cut carbon emissions or become carbon neutral.

“To some extent, it feels like your car is accelerating down the street, and when you apply the brake, you slide for a long time before coming to a stop,” Daniel Rothman, professor of geophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a statement.

As a result, they found that temperature fluctuations stabilize about every 100,000 years, a phenomenon that would not exist if there were no underlying mechanism. Similarly, they showed that periods of climate stability corresponded to periods of silicate weathering.

The findings for the first time, based on the analysis of specific data, confirm the existence of a proven feedback process due to the absorption of carbon by silicate rocks.

The scientists noted that understanding how the Earth’s climate stabilizes on geologic time scales is an important issue for understanding the long-term effects of anthropogenic climate change and its impact on the planet’s habitability.

Source: Daily Mail


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