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back to article Earth once had hazy methane atmosphere like ice-moon Titan

Billions of years ago, before Earth's atmosphere had oxygen, it periodically possessed a "haze" of organic chemicals including methane, boffins have discovered. During these periods the planet's air was more like that of Titan, ice moon of Saturn, than the stuff we breathe today. "Models have previously suggested that the Earth' …

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Anonymous Coward

"Earth's early atmosphere could have been warmed by a layer of organic haze,"

It still is in areas of the planet where beans are sold.

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Joke

Fart thread!

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Gimp

This is why iApps are a good thing

Farting for real will probably be illegal soon and without the iFart App an important and endangered part of our culture would simply disappear.

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Facepalm

Really?

But, according to all those AGW gloom'n'doom Luddites, we're the only ones that can change the atmosphere, ol' Mother Nature is just helpless in the face of Grim Humanity! Maybe it was time-travellers using fossil-fuel burning time machines. Crafty scientists (all male, of course) must be to blame!

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FAIL

Re: Really?

"according to all those AGW gloom'n'doom Luddites, we're the only ones that can change the atmosphere,"

And of course the tiny detail that none of those scientists have made such a claim is irrelevant to the rant.

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FAIL

Re: Really?

Straw men don't fart.

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Thumb Down

Re: Really?

Of course the Earth has went through much worse cooling and warming periods in the distant past but the difference is humans weren't alive then or they would have probably died off for example when the entire Earth was under glaciers. Most of these periods are caused by the continents all coming together or super massive volcanic activity. The point is as a species we are very susceptible to these ultra rare events but we also need to avoid doing it to ourselves on a smaller but still very disruptive scale. We also need to get off this one rock in order to assure the survival of our species in the long run but that is some ways off.

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Happy

Re: Really?

Vintage stuff.

Combative with a hint of stupid.

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I'm surprised that no one associated this discovery with the origin of life on Earth. Amino acids require a reducing atmosphere, but the only evidence for it previously has been the supposition that amino acids once formed naturally on Earth.

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Methane from environmental policy

Environmental policy to prevent biomass recovery from forests and used in biomass generators also leads to more Global Warming Effect. A unit of wood left to rot will produce a higher amount than burning it, which produces mostly CO2. And after 9 years methane oxidizes to CO2 anyway. What I found by asking US EPA and Dept of Agriculture officials is they haven't done any studies to quantify rotting vs burning gas concentrations.

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Flame

Early faint Sun

The young Sun was quite a bit less luminous than nowadays, so the methane atmosphere might have helped keep water liquid on the Earth's surface.

Interestingly, there's evidence that the Earth went thru a massive ice age (snowball Earth) a few hundred million years after the period dealt with in the article. I don't know when most of the methane was replaced by an oxygen atmosphere, but a faint young Sun, and the loss of a warming blanket due to reaction with oxygen might have contributed to snowball Earth.

(flame/methane/warmth)

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Facepalm

Methane has greenhouse effect many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Methane has greenhouse effect many times more powerful than carbon dioxide yet somehow the planet didn't cook itself to death yet with some small of additional CO2 it will.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Methane has greenhouse effect many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Seven billion tonnes per year could be describes as small, but its was a lot more than the additional methane being produced.

However, now frozen methane (since the last iceage) is evaporating from the northern Steppes at an ever increasing - and probably unstoppable - rate. So you will get to see the warming effect of methane.

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Stop

Re: Methane has greenhouse effect many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

The Earth at various times in history has cooked itself quite nicely. The difference is sentient high order life is a very irregular recent phenomenon. The odds are its zone of comfort for its current population growth are quite small.

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Re: Methane has greenhouse effect many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Good grief. Is this a straw man convention? Nobody has ever suggested the planet will "cook itself to death".

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Anonymous Coward

hazy methane atmosphere

Cauliflower does it for me

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"role of aerosol formation." " most poorly understood components "in .. climate models"

The cynic in me wonders "What f***ing parts of the process *do* you understand with sufficient confidence exactly?"

But my better side..

reckons he's looking for some follow on funding and I'd certainly say that if this lays down some more anchor points (like the study running back IIRC 60million years and dropping the absolute *worst* case to about a 5c rise) he *should* get it.

Thumbs up for providing more *solid* data and hope their findings feed into the GCM's soon.

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Mushroom

Explosive transition

That's the transition from a methane rich atmosphere to an oxygen rich one. In the middle of this change, the atmosphere becomes explosive, and all it needs is a lightning strike for one massive explosion.

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Methane has a whopping 1.7 parts per million in the atmosphere and has a dwell time of less than four years. See "Strange Tale of the Green House Gas Gang". Organic sources are minute and the main source is 'elemental' production by Earth's fission by-products. This is described in "Fossil Fuel is Nuclear Waste" and other articles at the Faux Science Slayer website. There is six-time the proven reserves locked in Methane Hydrates at the poles and ten-times the proven reserves in Methane Calthrate crystals on the ocean floor. Peak Oil is an even bigger lie than Carbon Climate Forcing....and brought to you by the same robber barons as all the 'other big lies'. Find and share Truth.

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