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Sample records for early earth atmosphere

  1. A hydrogen-rich early Earth atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Tian, Feng; Toon, Owen B; Pavlov, Alexander A; De Sterck, H

    2005-05-13

    We show that the escape of hydrogen from early Earth's atmosphere likely occurred at rates slower by two orders of magnitude than previously thought. The balance between slow hydrogen escape and volcanic outgassing could have maintained a hydrogen mixing ratio of more than 30%. The production of prebiotic organic compounds in such an atmosphere would have been more efficient than either exogenous delivery or synthesis in hydrothermal systems. The organic soup in the oceans and ponds on early Earth would have been a more favorable place for the origin of life than previously thought.

  2. WATER FORMATION IN THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE OF THE EARLY EARTH

    SciT

    Fleury, Benjamin; Carrasco, Nathalie; Marcq, Emmanuel

    2015-07-10

    The water concentration and distribution in the early Earth's atmosphere are important parameters that contribute to the chemistry and the radiative budget of the atmosphere. If the atmosphere above the troposphere is generally considered as dry, photochemistry is known to be responsible for the production of numerous minor species. Here we used an experimental setup to study the production of water in conditions simulating the chemistry above the troposphere of the early Earth with an atmospheric composition based on three major molecules: N{sub 2}, CO{sub 2}, and H{sub 2}. The formation of gaseous products was monitored using infrared spectroscopy. Watermore » was found as the major product, with approximately 10% of the gas products detected. This important water formation is discussed in the context of the early Earth.« less

  3. The rise of oxygen in Earth's early ocean and atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Lyons, Timothy W; Reinhard, Christopher T; Planavsky, Noah J

    2014-02-20

    The rapid increase of carbon dioxide concentration in Earth's modern atmosphere is a matter of major concern. But for the atmosphere of roughly two-and-half billion years ago, interest centres on a different gas: free oxygen (O2) spawned by early biological production. The initial increase of O2 in the atmosphere, its delayed build-up in the ocean, its increase to near-modern levels in the sea and air two billion years later, and its cause-and-effect relationship with life are among the most compelling stories in Earth's history.

  4. Comment on "A hydrogen-rich early Earth atmosphere".

    PubMed

    Catling, David C

    2006-01-06

    Tian et al. (Reports, 13 May 2005, p. 1014) proposed a hydrogen-rich early atmosphere with slow hydrogen escape from a cold thermosphere. However, their model neglects the ultraviolet absorption of all gases other than H2. The model also neglects Earth's magnetic field, which affects the temperature and density of ions and promotes nonthermal escape of neutral hydrogen.

  5. Organic chemistry in a CO2 rich early Earth atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fleury, Benjamin; Carrasco, Nathalie; Millan, Maëva; Vettier, Ludovic; Szopa, Cyril

    2017-12-01

    The emergence of life on the Earth has required a prior organic chemistry leading to the formation of prebiotic molecules. The origin and the evolution of the organic matter on the early Earth is not yet firmly understood. Several hypothesis, possibly complementary, are considered. They can be divided in two categories: endogenous and exogenous sources. In this work we investigate the contribution of a specific endogenous source: the organic chemistry occurring in the ionosphere of the early Earth where the significant VUV contribution of the young Sun involved an efficient formation of reactive species. We address the issue whether this chemistry can lead to the formation of complex organic compounds with CO2 as only source of carbon in an early atmosphere made of N2, CO2 and H2, by mimicking experimentally this type of chemistry using a low pressure plasma reactor. By analyzing the gaseous phase composition, we strictly identified the formation of H2O, NH3, N2O and C2N2. The formation of a solid organic phase is also observed, confirming the possibility to trigger organic chemistry in the upper atmosphere of the early Earth. The identification of Nitrogen-bearing chemical functions in the solid highlights the possibility for an efficient ionospheric chemistry to provide prebiotic material on the early Earth.

  6. Hydrogen-nitrogen greenhouse warming in Earth's early atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Wordsworth, Robin; Pierrehumbert, Raymond

    2013-01-04

    Understanding how Earth has sustained surface liquid water throughout its history remains a key challenge, given that the Sun's luminosity was much lower in the past. Here we show that with an atmospheric composition consistent with the most recent constraints, the early Earth would have been significantly warmed by H(2)-N(2) collision-induced absorption. With two to three times the present-day atmospheric mass of N(2) and a H(2) mixing ratio of 0.1, H(2)-N(2) warming would be sufficient to raise global mean surface temperatures above 0°C under 75% of present-day solar flux, with CO(2) levels only 2 to 25 times the present-day values. Depending on their time of emergence and diversification, early methanogens may have caused global cooling via the conversion of H(2) and CO(2) to CH(4), with potentially observable consequences in the geological record.

  7. Argon isotopic composition of Archaean atmosphere probes early Earth geodynamics.

    PubMed

    Pujol, Magali; Marty, Bernard; Burgess, Ray; Turner, Grenville; Philippot, Pascal

    2013-06-06

    Understanding the growth rate of the continental crust through time is a fundamental issue in Earth sciences. The isotopic signatures of noble gases in the silicate Earth (mantle, crust) and in the atmosphere afford exceptional insight into the evolution through time of these geochemical reservoirs. However, no data for the compositions of these reservoirs exists for the distant past, and temporal exchange rates between Earth's interior and its surface are severely under-constrained owing to a lack of samples preserving the original signature of the atmosphere at the time of their formation. Here, we report the analysis of argon in Archaean (3.5-billion-year-old) hydrothermal quartz. Noble gases are hosted in primary fluid inclusions containing a mixture of Archaean freshwater and hydrothermal fluid. Our analysis reveals Archaean atmospheric argon with a (40)Ar/(36)Ar value of 143 ± 24, lower than the present-day value of 298.6 (for which (40)Ar has been produced by the radioactive decay of the potassium isotope (40)K, with a half-life of 1.25 billion years; (36)Ar is primordial in origin). This ratio is consistent with an early development of the felsic crust, which might have had an important role in climate variability during the first half of Earth's history.

  8. The early Earth atmosphere and early life catalysts.

    PubMed

    Ramírez Jiménez, Sandra Ignacia

    2014-01-01

    Homochirality is a property of living systems on Earth. The time, the place, and the way in which it appeared are uncertain. In a prebiotic scenario two situations are of interest: either an initial small bias for handedness of some biomolecules arouse and progressed with life, or an initial slight excess led to the actual complete dominance of the known chiral molecules. A definitive answer can probably never be given, neither from the fields of physics and chemistry nor biology. Some arguments can be advanced to understand if homochirality is necessary for the initiation of a prebiotic homochiral polymer chemistry, if this homochirality is suggesting a unique origin of life, or if a chiral template such as a mineral surface is always required to result in an enantiomeric excess. A general description of the early Earth scenario will be presented in this chapter, followed by a general description of some clays, and their role as substrates to allow the concentration and amplification of some of the building blocks of life.

  9. A Model of Volcanic Outgassing for Earth's Early Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dhaliwal, J. K.; Kasting, J. F.; Zhang, Z.

    2017-12-01

    We build on historical paradigms of volcanic degassing [1] to account for non-linear relations among C-O-H-S volatiles, their speciation, solubility and concentrations in magmatic melts, and the resulting contribution to atmospheric volatile inventories. We focus on the build-up of greenhouse-relevant carbon species (CO2 and CH4) and molecular oxygen to better understand the environments of early life and the Great Oxygenation Event [2,3,4]. The mantle is an important reservoir of C-O-H-S volatiles [5], and melt concentrations depend on temperature, pressure and oxygen fugacity. We present a preliminary chemical model that simulates volatile concentrations released into the Earth's atmosphere at 1 bar, or pressures corresponding to the early Earth prior to 2.4 Ga. We maintain redox balance in the system using H+ [2, 6] because the melt oxidation state evolves with volatile melt concentrations [7] and affects the composition of degassed compounds. For example, low fO2 in the melt degasses CO, CH4, H2S and H2 while high fO2 yields CO2, SO2 and H2O [1,8,9]. Our calculations incorporate empirical relations from experimental petrology studies [e.g., 10, 11] to account for inter-dependencies among volatile element solubility trends. This model has implications for exploring planetary atmospheric evolution and potential greenhouse effects on Venus and Mars [12]­, and possibly exoplanets. A future direction of this work would be to link this chemical degassing model with different tectonic regimes [13] to account for degassing and ingassing, such as during subduction. References: [1] Holland, H. D. (1984) The chemical evolution of the atmosphere and oceans [2] Kasting, J. F. (2013) Chem. Geo. 362, 13-25 [3] Kasting, J.F. (1993) Sci. 259, 920-926 [4] Duncan, M.S. & Dasgupta, R. (2017) Nat. Geoscience 10, 387-392. [5] Hier-Majumder, S. & Hirschmann, M.M. (2017) G3, doi: 10.1002/2017GC006937 [6] Gaillard, F. et al. (2003) GCA 67, 2427- 2441 [7] Moussalam, Y. et al. (2014

  10. Atmospheric Expression of Seasonality on the Early Earth and Earth-like Exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olson, S. L.; Schwieterman, E. W.; Reinhard, C. T.; Ridgwell, A.; Lyons, T. W.

    2017-12-01

    Biologically modulated seasonality impacts nearly every chemical constituent of Earth's atmosphere. For example, seasonal shifts in the balance of photosynthesis and respiration manifest as striking oscillation in the atmospheric abundance of CO2 and O2. Similar temporal variability is likely on other inhabited worlds, and seasonality is often regarded as a potential exoplanetary biosignature. Seasonality is a particularly intriguing biosignature because it may allow us to identify life through the abundance of spectrally active gases that are not uniquely biological in origin (e.g., CO2 or CH4). To date, however, the discussion of seasonality as a biosignature has been exclusively qualitative. We lack both quantitative constraints on the likelihood of spectrally detectable seasonality elsewhere and a framework for evaluating potential false positive scenarios (e.g., seasonal CO2 ice sublimation). That is, we do not yet know for which gases, and under which conditions, we could expect to detect seasonality and reliably infer the presence of an active biosphere. The composition of Earth's atmosphere has changed dramatically through time, and consequently, the atmospheric expression of seasonality has necessarily changed throughout Earth history as well. Thus, Earth offers several case studies for examining the potential for observable seasonality on chemically and tectonically diverse exoplanets. We outline an approach for exploring the history of seasonality on Earth via coupled biogeochemical and photochemical models, with particular emphasis on the seasonal cycles of CO2, CH4, and O2/O3. We also discuss the remote detectability of these seasonal signals on directly imaged exoplanets via reflectance and emission spectra. We suggest that seasonality in O2 on the early Earth was biogeochemically significant—and that seasonal cycles in O3, an indirect biological product coupled to biogenic O2, may be a readily detectable fingerprint of life in the absence of

  11. Biological modulation of planetary atmospheres: The early Earth scenario

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schidlowski, M.

    1985-01-01

    The establishment and subsequent evolution of life on Earth had a profound impact on the chemical regime at the planet's surface and its atmosphere. A thermodynamic gradient was imposed on near-surface environments that served as the driving force for a number on important geochemical transformations. An example is the redox imbalance between the modern atmosphere and the material of the Earth's crust. Current photochemical models predict extremely low partial pressures of oxygen in the Earth's prebiological atmosphere. There is widespread consensus that any large-scale oxygenation of the primitive atmosphere was contingent on the advent of biological (autotrophic) carbon fixation. It is suggested that photoautotrophy existed both as a biochemical process and as a geochemical agent since at least 3.8 Ga ago. Combining the stoichiometry of the photosynthesis reaction with a carbon isotope mass balance and current concepts for the evolution of the stationary sedimentary mass as a funion of time, it is possible to quantify, the accumulation of oxygen and its photosynthetic oxidation equivalents through Earth history.

  12. Biospheric-atmospheric coupling on the early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levine, J. S.

    1991-01-01

    Theoretical calculations performed with a one-dimensional photochemical model have been performed to assess the biospheric-atmospheric transfer of gases. Ozone reached levels to shield the Earth from biologically lethal solar ultraviolet radiation (220-300 nm) when atmospheric oxygen reached about 1/10 of its present atmospheric level. In the present atmosphere, about 90 percent of atmospheric nitrous oxide is destroyed via solar photolysis in the stratosphere with about 10 percent destroyed via reaction with excited oxygen atoms. The reaction between nitrous oxide and excited oxygen atoms leads to the production of nitric oxide in the stratosphere, which is responsible for about 70 percent of the global destruction of oxygen in the stratosphere. In the oxygen/ozone deficient atmosphere, solar photolysis destroyed about 100 percent of the atmospheric nitrous oxide, relegating the production of nitric oxide via reaction with excited oxygen to zero. Our laboratory and field measurements indicate that atmospheric oxygen promotes the biogenic production of N2O and NO via denitrification and the biogenic production of methane by methanogenesis.

  13. Evolution of Earth-like Extrasolar Planetary Atmospheres: Assessing the Atmospheres and Biospheres of Early Earth Analog Planets with a Coupled Atmosphere Biogeochemical Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gebauer, S.; Grenfell, J. L.; Stock, J. W.; Lehmann, R.; Godolt, M.; von Paris, P.; Rauer, H.

    2017-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of Earth and potentially habitable Earth-like worlds is essential to fathom our origin in the Universe. The search for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone and investigation of their atmospheres with climate and photochemical models is a central focus in exoplanetary science. Taking the evolution of Earth as a reference for Earth-like planets, a central scientific goal is to understand what the interactions were between atmosphere, geology, and biology on early Earth. The Great Oxidation Event in Earth's history was certainly caused by their interplay, but the origin and controlling processes of this occurrence are not well understood, the study of which will require interdisciplinary, coupled models. In this work, we present results from our newly developed Coupled Atmosphere Biogeochemistry model in which atmospheric O2 concentrations are fixed to values inferred by geological evidence. Applying a unique tool (Pathway Analysis Program), ours is the first quantitative analysis of catalytic cycles that governed O2 in early Earth's atmosphere near the Great Oxidation Event. Complicated oxidation pathways play a key role in destroying O2, whereas in the upper atmosphere, most O2 is formed abiotically via CO2 photolysis. The O2 bistability found by Goldblatt et al. (2006) is not observed in our calculations likely due to our detailed CH4 oxidation scheme. We calculate increased CH4 with increasing O2 during the Great Oxidation Event. For a given atmospheric surface flux, different atmospheric states are possible; however, the net primary productivity of the biosphere that produces O2 is unique. Mixing, CH4 fluxes, ocean solubility, and mantle/crust properties strongly affect net primary productivity and surface O2 fluxes. Regarding exoplanets, different "states" of O2 could exist for similar biomass output. Strong geological activity could lead to false negatives for life (since our analysis suggests that reducing gases remove O2 that

  14. Evolution of Earth-like Extrasolar Planetary Atmospheres: Assessing the Atmospheres and Biospheres of Early Earth Analog Planets with a Coupled Atmosphere Biogeochemical Model.

    PubMed

    Gebauer, S; Grenfell, J L; Stock, J W; Lehmann, R; Godolt, M; von Paris, P; Rauer, H

    2017-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of Earth and potentially habitable Earth-like worlds is essential to fathom our origin in the Universe. The search for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone and investigation of their atmospheres with climate and photochemical models is a central focus in exoplanetary science. Taking the evolution of Earth as a reference for Earth-like planets, a central scientific goal is to understand what the interactions were between atmosphere, geology, and biology on early Earth. The Great Oxidation Event in Earth's history was certainly caused by their interplay, but the origin and controlling processes of this occurrence are not well understood, the study of which will require interdisciplinary, coupled models. In this work, we present results from our newly developed Coupled Atmosphere Biogeochemistry model in which atmospheric O 2 concentrations are fixed to values inferred by geological evidence. Applying a unique tool (Pathway Analysis Program), ours is the first quantitative analysis of catalytic cycles that governed O 2 in early Earth's atmosphere near the Great Oxidation Event. Complicated oxidation pathways play a key role in destroying O 2 , whereas in the upper atmosphere, most O 2 is formed abiotically via CO 2 photolysis. The O 2 bistability found by Goldblatt et al. ( 2006 ) is not observed in our calculations likely due to our detailed CH 4 oxidation scheme. We calculate increased CH 4 with increasing O 2 during the Great Oxidation Event. For a given atmospheric surface flux, different atmospheric states are possible; however, the net primary productivity of the biosphere that produces O 2 is unique. Mixing, CH 4 fluxes, ocean solubility, and mantle/crust properties strongly affect net primary productivity and surface O 2 fluxes. Regarding exoplanets, different "states" of O 2 could exist for similar biomass output. Strong geological activity could lead to false negatives for life (since our analysis suggests that reducing gases

  15. Massive impact-induced release of carbon and sulfur gases in the early Earth's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marchi, S.; Black, B. A.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Bottke, W. F.

    2016-09-01

    Recent revisions to our understanding of the collisional history of the Hadean and early-Archean Earth indicate that large collisions may have been an important geophysical process. In this work we show that the early bombardment flux of large impactors (>100 km) facilitated the atmospheric release of greenhouse gases (particularly CO2) from Earth's mantle. Depending on the timescale for the drawdown of atmospheric CO2, the Earth's surface could have been subject to prolonged clement surface conditions or multiple freeze-thaw cycles. The bombardment also delivered and redistributed to the surface large quantities of sulfur, one of the most important elements for life. The stochastic occurrence of large collisions could provide insights on why the Earth and Venus, considered Earth's twin planet, exhibit radically different atmospheres.

  16. What Do We Really Know About the Earth's Early Atmosphere?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Catling, D. C.; Krissansen-Totton, J.; Zahnle, K. J.

    2016-12-01

    Theory suggests that oceans collapsed from a steam atmosphere and CO2 was lost into the seafloor by 108 yrs after the Moon-forming impact [1]. Afterwards, zircons suggest continents, oceans, and even life, but the Hadean atmosphere remains obscure. Gas proportions in modern outgassing tentatively suggest that Hadean air was probably N2 and CO2 with minor CO, H2 and CH4, but little direct evidence confirms this. In contrast, evidence for oceans, an atmosphere, and land becomes unambiguous by 3.8 Ga [2], with suggestive signs of life [3]. Biological modulation, a faint Sun, and a lack of O2 all circumscribe any model of Archean air. Glacial rocks (3.5, 2.9 and 2.7 Ga) indicate climates below a global mean 20°C. Even with little land, control of CO2 by seafloor weathering should have moderated climate. Probably CO2 was always an important greenhouse gas, as indicated by new paleosol estimates [4]. Estimates of pN2< 0.5 bar at 2.7 Ga [5] would lower pressure broadening of IR absorption, which demands high concentrations of greenhouse gases. Low pN2 could occur in an anoxic N cycle. Today, long-term N sources are outgassing and oxidative weathering of organics. In the Archean, the N source from oxidative weathering was absent, so pN2 was plausibly lower and would have risen at the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) [5]. Archean mass independent fractionation of S isotopes requires >20 ppmv CH4 [6]. But evidence of hydrogen escape to space (lighter ocean D/H [7] and Xe isotopes that become lighter in time [8]), suggest 2H2+CH4 levels 103 ppmv. Polar H escape that drags Xe+ions could explain the Xe isotope trend. The GOE relied upon long-term oxidation of the surface environment by removing reductants. We continue to argue that removal by H escape (the biggest net redox flux over time) pushed towards oxygenation by shifting the balance of oxygen sources and sinks [9]. [1] Zahnle K. et al. (2010) CSH Perspect. Biol. 2, doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a004895. [2] Nutman A. P. (2006

  17. Origin and evolution of the atmospheres of early Venus, Earth and Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lammer, Helmut; Zerkle, Aubrey L.; Gebauer, Stefanie; Tosi, Nicola; Noack, Lena; Scherf, Manuel; Pilat-Lohinger, Elke; Güdel, Manuel; Grenfell, John Lee; Godolt, Mareike; Nikolaou, Athanasia

    2018-05-01

    We review the origin and evolution of the atmospheres of Earth, Venus and Mars from the time when their accreting bodies were released from the protoplanetary disk a few million years after the origin of the Sun. If the accreting planetary cores reached masses ≥ 0.5 M_Earth before the gas in the disk disappeared, primordial atmospheres consisting mainly of H_2 form around the young planetary body, contrary to late-stage planet formation, where terrestrial planets accrete material after the nebula phase of the disk. The differences between these two scenarios are explored by investigating non-radiogenic atmospheric noble gas isotope anomalies observed on the three terrestrial planets. The role of the young Sun's more efficient EUV radiation and of the plasma environment into the escape of early atmospheres is also addressed. We discuss the catastrophic outgassing of volatiles and the formation and cooling of steam atmospheres after the solidification of magma oceans and we describe the geochemical evidence for additional delivery of volatile-rich chondritic materials during the main stages of terrestrial planet formation. The evolution scenario of early Earth is then compared with the atmospheric evolution of planets where no active plate tectonics emerged like on Venus and Mars. We look at the diversity between early Earth, Venus and Mars, which is found to be related to their differing geochemical, geodynamical and geophysical conditions, including plate tectonics, crust and mantle oxidation processes and their involvement in degassing processes of secondary N_2 atmospheres. The buildup of atmospheric N_2, O_2, and the role of greenhouse gases such as CO_2 and CH_4 to counter the Faint Young Sun Paradox (FYSP), when the earliest life forms on Earth originated until the Great Oxidation Event ≈ 2.3 Gyr ago, are addressed. This review concludes with a discussion on the implications of understanding Earth's geophysical and related atmospheric evolution in relation

  18. Prebiotic Chemistry and Atmospheric Warming of Early Earth by an Active Young Sun

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Airapetian, V. S.; Glocer, A.; Gronoff, G.; Hebrard, E.; Danchi, W.

    2016-01-01

    Nitrogen is a critical ingredient of complex biological molecules. Molecular nitrogen, however, which was outgassed Into the Earth's early atmosphere, is relatively chemically inert and nitrogen fixation into more chemically reactive compounds requires high temperatures. Possible mechanisms of nitrogen fixation include lightning, atmospheric shock heating by meteorites, and solar ultraviolet radiation. Here we show that nitrogen fixation in the early terrestrial atmosphere can be explained by frequent and powerful coronal mass ejection events from the young Sun -- so-called superflares. Using magnetohydrodynamic simulations constrained by Kepler Space Telescope observations, we find that successive superflare ejections produce shocks that accelerate energetic particles, which would have compressed the early Earth's magnetosphere. The resulting extended polar cap openings provide pathways for energetic particles to penetrate into the atmosphere and, according to our atmospheric chemistry simulations, initiate reactions converting molecular nitrogen, carbon dioxide and methane to the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide as well as hydrogen cyanide, an essential compound for life. Furthermore, the destruction of N2, C02 and CH, suggests that these greenhouse gases cannot explain the stability of liquid water on the early Earth. Instead, we propose that the efficient formation of nitrous oxide could explain a warm early Earth.

  19. The Formation of Haze During the Rise of Oxygen in the Atmosphere of the Early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horst, S. M.; Jellinek, M.; Pierrehumbert, R.; Tolbert, M. A.

    2013-12-01

    Atmospheric aerosols play an important role in determining the radiation budget of an atmosphere and can also provide a wealth of organic material to the surface. Photochemical hazes are abundant in reducing atmospheres, such as the N2/CH4 atmosphere of Titan, but are unlikely to form in oxidizing atmospheres, such as the N2/O2 atmosphere of present day Earth. However, information about haze formation in mildly oxidizing atmospheres is lacking. Understanding haze formation in mildly oxidizing atmospheres is necessary for models that wish to investigate the atmosphere of the Early Earth as O2 first appeared and then increased in abundance. Previous studies of the atmosphere of the Early Earth have focused on haze formation in N2/CO2/CH4 atmospheres. In this work, we experimentally investigate the effect of the addition of O2 on the formation and composition of aerosols. Using a High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) (see e.g. [1]) we have obtained in situ composition measurements of aerosol particles produced in N2/CO2/CH4/O2 gas mixtures subjected to FUV radiation (deuterium lamp, 115-400 nm) for a range of initial CO2/CH4/O2 mixing ratios. In particular, we studied the effect of O2 ranging from 2 ppm to 2%. The particles were also investigated using a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS), which measures particle size, number density and mass loading. A comparison of the composition of the aerosols will be presented. The effect of variation of O2 mixing ratio on aerosol production, size, and composition will also be discussed. [1] Trainer, M.G., et al. (2012) Astrobiology, 12, 315-326.

  20. Prebiotic chemistry and atmospheric warming of early Earth by an active young Sun

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Airapetian, V. S.; Glocer, A.; Gronoff, G.; Hébrard, E.; Danchi, W.

    2016-06-01

    Nitrogen is a critical ingredient of complex biological molecules. Molecular nitrogen, however, which was outgassed into the Earth’s early atmosphere, is relatively chemically inert and nitrogen fixation into more chemically reactive compounds requires high temperatures. Possible mechanisms of nitrogen fixation include lightning, atmospheric shock heating by meteorites, and solar ultraviolet radiation. Here we show that nitrogen fixation in the early terrestrial atmosphere can be explained by frequent and powerful coronal mass ejection events from the young Sun--so-called superflares. Using magnetohydrodynamic simulations constrained by Kepler Space Telescope observations, we find that successive superflare ejections produce shocks that accelerate energetic particles, which would have compressed the early Earth’s magnetosphere. The resulting extended polar cap openings provide pathways for energetic particles to penetrate into the atmosphere and, according to our atmospheric chemistry simulations, initiate reactions converting molecular nitrogen, carbon dioxide and methane to the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide as well as hydrogen cyanide, an essential compound for life. Furthermore, the destruction of N2, CO2 and CH4 suggests that these greenhouse gases cannot explain the stability of liquid water on the early Earth. Instead, we propose that the efficient formation of nitrous oxide could explain a warm early Earth.

  1. The Formation of Haze During the Rise of Oxygen in the Atmosphere of the Early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horst, S. M.; Jellinek, M.; Pierrehumbert, R.; Tolbert, M. A.

    2014-12-01

    also provide a wealth of organic material to the surface. Photochemical hazes are abundant in reducing atmospheres, such as the N2/CH4 atmosphere of Titan, but are unlikely to form in oxidizing atmospheres, such as the N2/O2 atmosphere of present day Earth. However, information about haze formation in mildly oxidizing atmospheres is lacking. Understanding haze formation in mildly oxidizing atmospheres is necessary for models that wish to investigate the atmosphere of the Early Earth as O2 first appeared and then increased in abundance. Previous studies of the atmosphere of the Early Earth have focused on haze formation in N2/CO2/CH4 atmospheres. In this work, we experimentally investigate the effect of the addition of O2 on the formation and composition of aerosols. Using a High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) (see e.g. [1]) we have obtained in situ composition measurements of aerosol particles produced in N2/CO2/CH4/O2 gas mixtures subjected to FUV radiation (deuterium lamp, 115-400 nm) for a range of initial CO2/CH4/O2 mixing ratios. In particular, we studied the effect of O2 ranging from 2 ppm to 2%. The particles were also investigated using a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS), which measures particle size, number density and mass loading. A comparison of the composition of the aerosols will be presented. The effect of variation of O2 mixing ratio on aerosol production, size, and composition will also be discussed. [1] Trainer, M.G., et al. (2012) Astrobiology, 12, 315-326.

  2. Haze aerosols in the atmosphere of early Earth: manna from heaven.

    PubMed

    Trainer, Melissa G; Pavlov, Alexander A; Curtis, Daniel B; McKay, Christopher P; Worsnop, Douglas R; Delia, Alice E; Toohey, Darin W; Toon, Owen B; Tolbert, Margaret A

    2004-01-01

    An organic haze layer in the upper atmosphere of Titan plays a crucial role in the atmospheric composition and climate of that moon. Such a haze layer may also have existed on the early Earth, providing an ultraviolet shield for greenhouse gases needed to warm the planet enough for life to arise and evolve. Despite the implications of such a haze layer, little is known about the organic material produced under early Earth conditions when both CO(2) and CH(4) may have been abundant in the atmosphere. For the first time, we experimentally demonstrate that organic haze can be generated in different CH(4)/CO(2) ratios. Here, we show that haze aerosols are able to form at CH(4) mixing ratios of 1,000 ppmv, a level likely to be present on early Earth. In addition, we find that organic hazes will form at C/O ratios as low as 0.6, which is lower than the predicted value of unity. We also show that as the C/O ratio decreases, the organic particles produced are more oxidized and contain biologically labile compounds. After life arose, the haze may thus have provided food for biota.

  3. Investigating the Early Atmospheres of Earth and Mars through Rivers, Raindrops, and Lava Flows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Som, Sanjoy M.

    2010-11-01

    The discovery of a habitable Earth-like planet beyond our solar-system will be remembered as one of the major breakthroughs of 21st century science, and of the same magnitude as Copernicus' heliocentric model dating from the mid 16th century. The real astrobiological breakthrough will be the added results from atmospheric remote sensing of such planets to determine habitability. Atmospheres, in both concentration and composition are suggestive of processes occurring at the planetary surface and upper crust. Unfortunately, only the modern Earth's atmosphere is known to be habitable. I investigate the density and pressure of our planet's early atmosphere before the rise of oxygen 2.5 billion years ago, because our planet was very much alive microbially. Such knowledge gives us another example of a habitable atmosphere. I also investigates the atmosphere of early Mars, as geomorphic signatures on its surface are suggestive of a past where liquid water may have present in a warmer climate, conditions suitable for the emergence of life, compared with today's 6 mbar CO2-dominated atmosphere. Using tools of fluvial geomorphology, I find that the largest river-valleys on Mars do not record a signature of a sustained hydrological cycle, in which precipitation onto a drainage basin induces many cycles of water flow, substrate incision, water ponding, and return to the atmosphere via evaporation. Rather, I conclude that while episodes of flow did occur in perhaps warmer environments, those periods were short-lived and overprinted onto a dominantly cold and dry planet. For Earth, I develop a new method of investigating atmospheric density and pressure using the size of raindrop imprints, and find that raindrop imprints preserved in the 2.7 billion year old Ventersdorp Supergroup of South Africa are consistent with precipitation falling in an atmosphere of near-surface density < 2 kg/m3 and probably > 0.1 kg/m3, compared to a modern value of 1.2 kg/m3, further suggesting a

  4. Climatic consequences of very high CO2 levels in Earth's early atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kasting, J. F.

    1985-01-01

    Earth has approximately 60 bars of carbon dioxide tied up in carbonate rocks, or roughly 2/3 the amount of CO2 of Venus' atmosphere. Two different lines of evidence, one based on thermodynamics and the other on geochemical cycles, indicate that a substantial fraction of this CO2 may have resulted in the atmosphere during the first few hundred million years of the Earth's history. A natural question which arises concerning this hypothesis is whether this would have resulted in a runaway greenhouse affect. One-dimensional radiative/convective model calculations show that the surface temperature of a hypothetical primitive atmosphere containing 20 bars of CO2 would have been less than 100C and no runaway greenhouse should have occurred. The climatic stability of the early atmosphere is a consequence of three factors: (1) reduced solar luminosity at that time; (2) an increase in planetary albedo caused by Rayleigh scattering by CO2; and (3) the stabilizing effects of moist convection. The latter two factors are sufficient to prevent a CO2-induced runaway greenhouse on the present Earth and for CO2 levels up to 100 bars. It is determined whether a runaway greenhouse could have occurred during the latter stages of the accretion process and, if so, whether it would have collapsed once the influx of material slowed down.

  5. Earth's earliest atmospheres.

    PubMed

    Zahnle, Kevin; Schaefer, Laura; Fegley, Bruce

    2010-10-01

    Earth is the one known example of an inhabited planet and to current knowledge the likeliest site of the one known origin of life. Here we discuss the origin of Earth's atmosphere and ocean and some of the environmental conditions of the early Earth as they may relate to the origin of life. A key punctuating event in the narrative is the Moon-forming impact, partly because it made Earth for a short time absolutely uninhabitable, and partly because it sets the boundary conditions for Earth's subsequent evolution. If life began on Earth, as opposed to having migrated here, it would have done so after the Moon-forming impact. What took place before the Moon formed determined the bulk properties of the Earth and probably determined the overall compositions and sizes of its atmospheres and oceans. What took place afterward animated these materials. One interesting consequence of the Moon-forming impact is that the mantle is devolatized, so that the volatiles subsequently fell out in a kind of condensation sequence. This ensures that the volatiles were concentrated toward the surface so that, for example, the oceans were likely salty from the start. We also point out that an atmosphere generated by impact degassing would tend to have a composition reflective of the impacting bodies (rather than the mantle), and these are almost without exception strongly reducing and volatile-rich. A consequence is that, although CO- or methane-rich atmospheres are not necessarily stable as steady states, they are quite likely to have existed as long-lived transients, many times. With CO comes abundant chemical energy in a metastable package, and with methane comes hydrogen cyanide and ammonia as important albeit less abundant gases.

  6. Early stages in the evolution of the atmosphere and climate on the Earth-group planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moroz, V. I.; Mukhin, L. M.

    1977-01-01

    The early evolution of the atmospheres and climate of the Earth, Mars and Venus is discussed, based on a concept of common initial conditions and main processes (besides known differences in chemical composition and outgassing rate). It is concluded that: (1) liquid water appeared on the surface of the earth in the first few hundred million years; the average surface temperature was near the melting point for about the first two eons; CO2 was the main component of the atmosphere in the first 100-500 million years; (2) much more temperate outgassing and low solar heating led to the much later appearance of liquid water on the Martian surface, only one to two billion years ago; the Martian era of rivers, relatively dense atmosphere and warm climate ended as a result of irreversible chemical bonding of CO2 by Urey equilibrium processes; (3) a great lack of water in the primordial material of Venus is proposed; liquid water never was present on the surface of the planet, and there was practically no chemical bonding of CO2; the surface temperature was over 600 K four billion years ago.

  7. NOx in the Atmosphere of Early Earth as Electron Acceptors for Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wong, M. L.; Charnay, B.; Gao, P.; Yung, Y. L.; Russell, M. J.

    2015-12-01

    We quantify the amount of NOx produced in the Hadean atmosphere and available in the Hadean ocean for the emergence of life. Atmospherically generated nitrate (NO3-) and nitrite (NO2-) are the most attractive high-potential electron acceptors for driving the highly endergonic reactions at the entry points to autotrophic metabolic pathways at submarine alkaline hydrothermal vents (Ducluzeau, 2008; Russell, 2014). The Hadean atmosphere, dominated by CO2 and N2, will produce nitric oxide (NO) when shocked by lightning and impacts (Ducluzeau, 2008; Nna Mvondo, 2001). Photochemical reactions involving NO and H2O vapor will then produce acids such as HNO3 and HNO2 that rain into the ocean and dissociate into NO3- and NO2-. Previous work suggests that 1018 g of NOx can be produced in a million years or so, satisfying the need for micromolar concentrations of NO3- and NO2- in the ocean (Ducluzeau, 2008). But because this number is controversial, we present new calculations based on a novel combination of early-Earth GCM and photochemical modeling, calculating the sources and sinks for fixed nitrogen. Finally, it is notable that lightning has been detected on Venus and Mars along with evidence of atmospheric NO; in the distant past, could NOx have been created and available for the emergence of life on numerous wet, rocky worlds?

  8. Nitrogen Oxides in Early Earth's Atmosphere as Electron Acceptors for Life's Emergence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wong, Michael L.; Charnay, Benjamin D.; Gao, Peter; Yung, Yuk L.; Russell, Michael J.

    2017-10-01

    We quantify the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) produced through lightning and photochemical processes in the Hadean atmosphere to be available in the Hadean ocean for the emergence of life. Atmospherically generated nitrate (NO3-) and nitrite (NO2-) are the most attractive high-potential electron acceptors for pulling and enabling crucial redox reactions of autotrophic metabolic pathways at submarine alkaline hydrothermal vents. The Hadean atmosphere, dominated by CO2 and N2, will produce nitric oxide (NO) when shocked by lightning. Photochemical reactions involving NO and H2O vapor will then produce acids such as HNO, HNO2, HNO3, and HO2NO2 that rain into the ocean. There, they dissociate into or react to form nitrate and nitrite. We present new calculations based on a novel combination of early-Earth global climate model and photochemical modeling, and we predict the flux of NOx to the Hadean ocean. In our 0.1-, 1-, and 10-bar pCO2 models, we calculate the NOx delivery to be 2.4 × 105, 6.5 × 108, and 1.9 × 108 molecules cm-2 s-1. After only tens of thousands to tens of millions of years, these NOx fluxes are expected to produce sufficient (micromolar) ocean concentrations of high-potential electron acceptors for the emergence of life.

  9. The oxidation state of Hadean magmas and implications for early Earth's atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Trail, Dustin; Watson, E Bruce; Tailby, Nicholas D

    2011-11-30

    Magmatic outgassing of volatiles from Earth's interior probably played a critical part in determining the composition of the earliest atmosphere, more than 4,000 million years (Myr) ago. Given an elemental inventory of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur, the identity of molecular species in gaseous volcanic emanations depends critically on the pressure (fugacity) of oxygen. Reduced melts having oxygen fugacities close to that defined by the iron-wüstite buffer would yield volatile species such as CH(4), H(2), H(2)S, NH(3) and CO, whereas melts close to the fayalite-magnetite-quartz buffer would be similar to present-day conditions and would be dominated by H(2)O, CO(2), SO(2) and N(2) (refs 1-4). Direct constraints on the oxidation state of terrestrial magmas before 3,850 Myr before present (that is, the Hadean eon) are tenuous because the rock record is sparse or absent. Samples from this earliest period of Earth's history are limited to igneous detrital zircons that pre-date the known rock record, with ages approaching ∼4,400 Myr (refs 5-8). Here we report a redox-sensitive calibration to determine the oxidation state of Hadean magmatic melts that is based on the incorporation of cerium into zircon crystals. We find that the melts have average oxygen fugacities that are consistent with an oxidation state defined by the fayalite-magnetite-quartz buffer, similar to present-day conditions. Moreover, selected Hadean zircons (having chemical characteristics consistent with crystallization specifically from mantle-derived melts) suggest oxygen fugacities similar to those of Archaean and present-day mantle-derived lavas as early as ∼4,350 Myr before present. These results suggest that outgassing of Earth's interior later than ∼200 Myr into the history of Solar System formation would not have resulted in a reducing atmosphere.

  10. Earth's early atmosphere as seen from carbon and nitrogen isotopic analysis of Archean sediments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gibson, E. K., Jr.; Carr, L. P.; Gilmour, I.; Pillinger, C. T.

    1986-01-01

    The origin and evolution of the Earth's early atmosphere has long been a topic of great interest but determination of actual compositions over geologic time is a difficult problem. However, recent systematic studies of stromatolite deposits (Precambrian Paleobiology Research Group) has extended our knowledge of Archean ecosystems. It has been shown that many stromatolite deposits have undergone negligible alteration since their time of formation. The discovery of primary fluid inclusions within unaltered 3.5 b.y. old Archiean sediments and the observation that the 3.3 b.y. old Barberton cherts have remained closed to argon loss and have not been subjected to thermal metamorphism suggests that an opportunity exists for the direct measurement of the volatile constituents present at their time of formation. Of primary interest to this study was the possibility that the stromatolites and other Archean sediments might retain a vestige of the atmosphere and thus afford an indication of the variations in carbon dioxide and nitrogen isotopic compositions with time. A suite of essentially unaltered Archean stromatolites and the cherts of different ages and geologic sites have been analyzed for their trapped carbon dioxide and nitrogen compositions by the stepped combustion extraction tech nique utilizing static mass spectrometers for the isotope measurements.

  11. The Atmospheres of the Terrestrial Planets:Clues to the Origins and Early Evolution of Venus, Earth, and Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baines, Kevin H.; Atreya, Sushil K.; Bullock, Mark A.; Grinspoon, David H,; Mahaffy, Paul; Russell, Christopher T.; Schubert, Gerald; Zahnle, Kevin

    2015-01-01

    We review the current state of knowledge of the origin and early evolution of the three largest terrestrial planets - Venus, Earth, and Mars - setting the stage for the chapters on comparative climatological processes to follow. We summarize current models of planetary formation, as revealed by studies of solid materials from Earth and meteorites from Mars. For Venus, we emphasize the known differences and similarities in planetary bulk properties and composition with Earth and Mars, focusing on key properties indicative of planetary formation and early evolution, particularly of the atmospheres of all three planets. We review the need for future in situ measurements for improving our understanding of the origin and evolution of the atmospheres of our planetary neighbors and Earth, and suggest the accuracies required of such new in situ data. Finally, we discuss the role new measurements of Mars and Venus have in understanding the state and evolution of planets found in the habitable zones of other stars.

  12. Nitrogen Oxides in Early Earth's Atmosphere as Electron Acceptors for Life's Emergence.

    PubMed

    Wong, Michael L; Charnay, Benjamin D; Gao, Peter; Yung, Yuk L; Russell, Michael J

    2017-10-01

    We quantify the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) produced through lightning and photochemical processes in the Hadean atmosphere to be available in the Hadean ocean for the emergence of life. Atmospherically generated nitrate (NO 3 - ) and nitrite (NO 2 - ) are the most attractive high-potential electron acceptors for pulling and enabling crucial redox reactions of autotrophic metabolic pathways at submarine alkaline hydrothermal vents. The Hadean atmosphere, dominated by CO 2 and N 2 , will produce nitric oxide (NO) when shocked by lightning. Photochemical reactions involving NO and H 2 O vapor will then produce acids such as HNO, HNO 2 , HNO 3 , and HO 2 NO 2 that rain into the ocean. There, they dissociate into or react to form nitrate and nitrite. We present new calculations based on a novel combination of early-Earth global climate model and photochemical modeling, and we predict the flux of NOx to the Hadean ocean. In our 0.1-, 1-, and 10-bar pCO 2 models, we calculate the NOx delivery to be 2.4 × 10 5 , 6.5 × 10 8 , and 1.9 × 10 8 molecules cm -2 s -1 . After only tens of thousands to tens of millions of years, these NOx fluxes are expected to produce sufficient (micromolar) ocean concentrations of high-potential electron acceptors for the emergence of life. Key Words: Nitrogen oxides-Nitrate-Nitrite-Photochemistry-Lightning-Emergence of life. Astrobiology 17, 975-983.

  13. Early evolution of the Earth: Accretion, atmosphere formation, and thermal history

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abe, Yutaka; Matsui, Takafumi

    1986-03-01

    Atmospheric and thermal evolution of the earth growing by planetesimal impacts was modeled by taking into account the blanketing effect of an impact-induced H2O atmosphere and the temperature dependence of H2O degassing. When the water content of planetesimals is larger than 0.1% by weight and the accretion time of the earth is less than 5 × 107 years, the surface of the accreting earth melts and thus a “magma ocean” forms and covers the surface. The formation of a “magma ocean” will result in the initiation of core-mantle separation and mantle differentiation during accretion. Once a magma ocean is formed, the surface temperature, the degree of melting in the magma ocean, and the mass of the H2O atmosphere are nearly constant as the protoplanet grows further. The final mass of the H2O atmosphere is about 1021 kg, a value which is insensitive to variations in the model parameter values such as the accretion time and the water content of planetesimals. That the final mass of the H2O atmosphere is close to the mass of the present oceans suggests an impact origin for the earth's hydrosphere. On the other hand, most of the H2O retained in planetesimals will be deposited in the solid earth. Free water within the proto-earth may affect differentiation of the proto-mantle, in particular, the mantle FeO abundance and the incorporation of a light element in the outer core.

  14. The composition of the primitive atmosphere and the synthesis of organic compounds on the early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bada, J. L.; Miller, S. L.

    1985-01-01

    The generally accepted theory for the origin of life on the Earth requires that a large variety of organic compounds be present to form the first living organisms and to provide the energy sources for primitive life either directly or through various fermentation reactions. This can provide a strong constraint on discussions of the formation of the Earth and on the composition of the primitive atmosphere. In order for substantial amounts of organic compounds to have been present on the prebiological Earth, certain conditions must have existed. There is a large body of literature on the prebiotic synthesis of organic compounds in various postulated atmospheres. In this mixture of abiotically synthesized organic compounds, the amino acids are of special interest since they are utilized by modern organisms to synthesize structural materials and a large array of catalytic peptides.

  15. Early evolution of the earth - Accretion, atmosphere formation, and thermal history

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abe, Yutaka; Matsui, Takafumi

    1986-01-01

    The thermal and atmospheric evolution of the earth growing planetesimal impacts are studied. The generation of an H2O protoatmosphere is examined, and the surface temperatures are estimated. The evolution of an impact-induced H2O atmosphere is analyzed. Consideration is given to the formation time of a 'magma ocean'and internal water budgets. The thermal history of an accreting earth is reviewed. The wet convection and greenhouse effects are discussed, and the role of Fe oxidation on the evolution of an impact-induced H2O atmopshere is described. The relationship between differentiation processes and core segregation, the H2O and FeO content of the mantle, and the origin of the hydrosphere is also examined.

  16. Bolide impacts and the oxidation state of carbon in the earth's early atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kasting, James F.

    1990-01-01

    A one-dimensional photochemical model was used to examine the effect of bolide impacts on the oxidation state of earth's primitive atmosphere. The impact rate should have been high prior to 3.8 Ga before present, based on evidence derived from the moon. Impacts of comets or carbonaceous asteroids should have enhanced the atmospheric CO/CO2 ratio by bringing in CO ice and/or organic carbon that can be oxidized to CO in the impact plume. Ordinary chondritic impactors would contain elemental iron that could have reacted with ambient CO2 to give CO. Nitric oxide (NO) should also have been produced by reaction between ambient CO2 and N2 in the hot impact plumes. High NO concentrations increase the atmospheric CO/CO2 ratio by increasing the rainout rate of oxidized gases. According to the model, atmospheric CO/CO2 ratios of unity or greater are possible during the first several hundred million years of earth's history, provided that dissolved CO was not rapidly oxidized to bicarbonate in the ocean.

  17. Bolide impacts and the oxidation state of carbon in the Earth's early atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kasting, J. F.

    1992-01-01

    A one-dimensional photochemical model was used to examine the effect of bolide impacts on the oxidation state of Earth's primitive atmosphere. The impact rate should have been high prior to 3.8 Ga before present, based on evidence derived from the Moon. Impacts of comets or carbonaceous asteroids should have enhanced the atmospheric CO/CO2 ratio by bringing in CO ice and/or organic carbon that can be oxidized to CO in the impact plume. Ordinary chondritic impactors would contain elemental iron that could have reacted with ambient CO2 to give CO. Nitric oxide (NO) should also have been produced by reaction between ambient CO2 and N2 in the hot impact plumes. High NO concentrations increase the atmospheric CO/CO2 ratio by increasing the rainout rate of oxidized gases. According to the model, atmospheric CO/CO2 ratios of unity or greater are possible during the first several hundred million years of Earth's history, provided that dissolved CO was not rapidly oxidized to bicarbonate in the ocean. Specifically, high atmospheric CO/CO2 ratios are possible if either: (1) the climate was cool (like today's climate), so that hydration of dissolved CO to formate was slow, or (2) the formate formed from CO was efficiently converted into volatile, reduced carbon compounds, such as methane. A high atmospheric CO/CO2 ratio may have helped to facilitate prebiotic synthesis by enhancing the production rates of hydrogen cyanide and formaldehyde. Formaldehyde may have been produced even more efficiently by photochemical reduction of bicarbonate and formate in Fe(++)-rich surface waters.

  18. Biosignatures of early earths

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pilcher, Carl B.

    2003-01-01

    A major goal of NASA's Origins Program is to find habitable planets around other stars and determine which might harbor life. Determining whether or not an extrasolar planet harbors life requires an understanding of what spectral features (i.e., biosignatures) might result from life's presence. Consideration of potential biosignatures has tended to focus on spectral features of gases in Earth's modern atmosphere, particularly ozone, the photolytic product of biogenically produced molecular oxygen. But life existed on Earth for about 1(1/2) billion years before the buildup of atmospheric oxygen. Inferred characteristics of Earth's earliest biosphere and studies of modern microbial ecosystems that share some of those characteristics suggest that organosulfur compounds, particularly methanethiol (CH(3)SH, the sulfur analog of methanol), may have been biogenic products on early Earth. Similar production could take place on extrasolar Earth-like planets whose biota share functional chemical characteristics with Earth life. Since methanethiol and related organosulfur compounds (as well as carbon dioxide) absorb at wavelengths near or overlapping the 9.6-microm band of ozone, there is potential ambiguity in interpreting a feature around this wavelength in an extrasolar planet spectrum.

  19. Biosignatures of early earths.

    PubMed

    Pilcher, Carl B

    2003-01-01

    A major goal of NASA's Origins Program is to find habitable planets around other stars and determine which might harbor life. Determining whether or not an extrasolar planet harbors life requires an understanding of what spectral features (i.e., biosignatures) might result from life's presence. Consideration of potential biosignatures has tended to focus on spectral features of gases in Earth's modern atmosphere, particularly ozone, the photolytic product of biogenically produced molecular oxygen. But life existed on Earth for about 1(1/2) billion years before the buildup of atmospheric oxygen. Inferred characteristics of Earth's earliest biosphere and studies of modern microbial ecosystems that share some of those characteristics suggest that organosulfur compounds, particularly methanethiol (CH(3)SH, the sulfur analog of methanol), may have been biogenic products on early Earth. Similar production could take place on extrasolar Earth-like planets whose biota share functional chemical characteristics with Earth life. Since methanethiol and related organosulfur compounds (as well as carbon dioxide) absorb at wavelengths near or overlapping the 9.6-microm band of ozone, there is potential ambiguity in interpreting a feature around this wavelength in an extrasolar planet spectrum.

  20. Earth's early biosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Des Marais, D. J.

    1998-01-01

    Understanding our own early biosphere is essential to our search for life elsewhere, because life arose on Earth very early and rocky planets shared similar early histories. The biosphere arose before 3.8 Ga ago, was exclusively unicellular and was dominated by hyperthermophiles that utilized chemical sources of energy and employed a range of metabolic pathways for CO2 assimilation. Photosynthesis also arose very early. Oxygenic photosynthesis arose later but still prior to 2.7 Ga. The transition toward the modern global environment was paced by a decline in volcanic and hydrothermal activity. These developments allowed atmospheric O2 levels to increase. The O2 increase created new niches for aerobic life, most notably the more advanced Eukarya that eventually spawned the megascopic fauna and flora of our modern biosphere.

  1. Composition of LHB Comets and Their Influence on the Early Earth Atmosphere Composition

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tornow, C.; Kupper, S.; Ilgner, M.; Kuehrt, E.; Motschmann, U.

    2011-01-01

    Two main processes were responsible for the composition of this atmosphere: chemical evolution of the volatile fraction of the accretion material forming the planet and the delivery of gasses to the planetary surface by impactors during the late heavy bombardment (LHB). The amount and composition of the volatile fraction influences the outgassing of the Earth mantle during the last planetary formation period. A very weakened form of outgassing activity can still be observed today by examining the composition of volcanic gasses. An enlightenment of the second process is based on the sparse records of the LHB impactors resulting from the composition of meteorites, observed cometary comas, and the impact material found on the Moon. However, for an assessment of the influence of the outgassing on the one hand and the LHB event on the other, one has to supplement the observations with numerical simulations of the formation of volatiles and their incorporation into the accretion material which is the precursors of planetary matter, comets and asteroids. These simulations are performed with a combined hydrodynamic-chemical model of the solar nebula (SN). We calculate the chemical composition of the gas and dust phase of the SN. From these data, we draw conclusions on the upper limits of the water content and the amount of carbon and nitrogen rich volatiles incorporated later into the accretion material. Knowing these limits we determine the portion of major gas compounds delivered during the LHB and compare it with the related quantities of the outgassed species.

  2. The young sun, the early earth and the photochemistry of oxygen, ozone and formaldehyde in the early atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Canuto, V. M.; Levine, J. S.; Augustsson, T. R.; Imhoff, C. L.; Goldman, I.; Hubickyj, O.

    1986-01-01

    Recent work on the evolution of the solar nebula and the subsequent formation of planets is reviewed, and the stages of star formation thought to lead to a protosun and an accompanying solar nebula are considered. Photochemical results suggest that concentrations of O2, O3, and H2CO, and the ratio of CO/CO2 in the prebiological paleoatmosphere are very sensitive to atmospheric levels of H2O and CO2 and to the flux of incident solar ultraviolet. For enhanced levels of CO2 and solar UV, surface levels of O2 may have approached the parts per billion level in the prebiological paleoatmosphere. It is suggested that 10 percent or more of the enhanced H2CO production could have been rained out of the atmosphere into the early oceans where synthesis into more complex organic molecules could have taken place. CO/CO2 values of greater than unity could have been possible for enhanced levels of solar UV flux.

  3. Photochemistry of methane and the formation of hydrocyanic acid (HCN) in the earth's early atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zahnle, K. J.

    1986-01-01

    A one-dimensional photochemical model is used to analyze the photochemistries of CH4 and HCN in the primitive terrestrial atmosphere. CH4, N2, and HCN photolysis are examined. The background atmosphere and boundary conditions applied in the analysis are described. The formation of HCN as a by-product of N2 and CH4 photolysis is investigated; the effects of photodissociation and rainfall on HCN is discussed. The low and high CH4 mixing ratios and radical densities are studied.

  4. Experimental investigation of anaerobic nitrogen fixation rates with varying pressure, temperature and metal concentration with application to the atmospheric evolution of early Earth and Mars.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gupta, Prateek

    2012-07-01

    The atmosphere of the early Earth is thought to have been significantly different than the modern composition of 21% O2 and 78% N2, yet the planet has been clearly established as hosting microbial life as far back as 3.8 billion years ago. As such, constraining the atmospheric composition of the early Earth is fundamental to establishing a database of habitable atmospheric compositions. A similar argument can be made for the planet Mars, where nitrates have been hypothesized to exist in the subsurface. During the early period on Mars when liquid water was likely more abundant, life may have developed to take advantage of available nitrates and a biologically-driven Martian nitrogen cycle could have evolved. Early Earth atmospheric composition has been investigated numerically, but only recently has the common assumption of a pN2 different than modern been investigated. Nonetheless, these latest attempts fail to take into account a key atmospheric parameter: life. On modern Earth, nitrogen is cycled vigorously by biology. The nitrogen cycle likely operated on the early Earth, but probably differed in the metabolic processes responsible, dominantly due to the lack of abundant oxygen which stabilizes oxidized forms of N that drive de-nitrification today. Recent advances in evolutionary genomics suggest that microbial pathways that are relatively uncommon today (i.e. vanadium and iron-based nitrogen fixation) probably played important roles in the early N cycle. We quantitatively investigate in the laboratory the effects of variable pressure, temperature and metal concentration on the rates of anoxic nitrogen fixation, as possible inputs for future models investigating atmospheric evolution, and better understand the evolution of the nitrogen cycle on Earth. A common anaerobic methanogenic archaeal species with i) a fully sequenced genome, ii) all three nitrogenases (molybdenum, vanadium and iron-based) and iii) the ability to be genetically manipulated will be used as

  5. Early Earth slab stagnation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agrusta, R.; Van Hunen, J.

    2016-12-01

    At present day, the Earth's mantle exhibits a combination of stagnant and penetrating slabs within the transition zone, indicating a intermittent convection mode between layered and whole-mantle convection. Isoviscous thermal convection calculations show that in a hotter Earth, the natural mode of convection was dominated by double-layered convection, which may imply that slabs were more prone to stagnate in the transition zone. Today, slab penetration is to a large extent controlled by trench mobility for a plausible range of lower mantle viscosity and Clapeyron slope of the mantle phase transitions. Trench mobility is, in turn, governed by slab strength and density and upper plate forcing. In this study, we systematically investigate the slab-transition zone internation in the Early Earth, using 2D self-consistent numerical subduction models. Early Earth's higher mantle temperature facilitates decoupling between the plates and the underlying asthenosphere, and may result in slab sinking almost without trench retreat. Such behaviour together with a low resistance of a weak lower mantle may allow slabs to penetrate. The ability of slab to sink into the lower mantle throughout Earth's history may have important implications for Earth's evolution: it would provide efficient mass and heat flux through the transition zone therefore provide an efficient way to cool and mix the Earth's mantle.

  6. Rethinking early Earth phosphorus geochemistry

    PubMed Central

    Pasek, Matthew A.

    2008-01-01

    Phosphorus is a key biologic element, and a prebiotic pathway leading to its incorporation into biomolecules has been difficult to ascertain. Most potentially prebiotic phosphorylation reactions have relied on orthophosphate as the source of phosphorus. It is suggested here that the geochemistry of phosphorus on the early Earth was instead controlled by reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds such as phosphite (HPO32−), which are more soluble and reactive than orthophosphates. This reduced oxidation state phosphorus originated from extraterrestrial material that fell during the heavy bombardment period or was produced during impacts, and persisted in the mildly reducing atmosphere. This alternate view of early Earth phosphorus geochemistry provides an unexplored route to the formation of pertinent prebiotic phosphorus compounds, suggests a facile reaction pathway to condensed phosphates, and is consistent with the biochemical usage of reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds in life today. Possible studies are suggested that may detect reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds in ancient Archean rocks. PMID:18195373

  7. Rethinking early Earth phosphorus geochemistry.

    PubMed

    Pasek, Matthew A

    2008-01-22

    Phosphorus is a key biologic element, and a prebiotic pathway leading to its incorporation into biomolecules has been difficult to ascertain. Most potentially prebiotic phosphorylation reactions have relied on orthophosphate as the source of phosphorus. It is suggested here that the geochemistry of phosphorus on the early Earth was instead controlled by reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds such as phosphite (HPO(3)(2-)), which are more soluble and reactive than orthophosphates. This reduced oxidation state phosphorus originated from extraterrestrial material that fell during the heavy bombardment period or was produced during impacts, and persisted in the mildly reducing atmosphere. This alternate view of early Earth phosphorus geochemistry provides an unexplored route to the formation of pertinent prebiotic phosphorus compounds, suggests a facile reaction pathway to condensed phosphates, and is consistent with the biochemical usage of reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds in life today. Possible studies are suggested that may detect reduced oxidation state phosphorus compounds in ancient Archean rocks.

  8. Effects of high CO2 levels on surface temperature and atmospheric oxidation state of the early earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kasting, J. F.; Pollack, J. B.; Crisp, D.

    1984-01-01

    One-dimensional radiative and photochemical models are used to determine how much CO2 must have been present to maintain a temperate early climate and to examine the consequences that are implied for the controls on atmospheric oxidation state. It is shown that CO2 concentrations of the order of 1000 PAL are required to keep the average surface temperature close to the present value, if albedo changes and heating by reduced greenhouse gases were relatively unimportant. The oxidation state of such a high-CO2, prebiotic atmosphere should have been largely determined by the balance between the H2O2 rainout rate and the rate at which hydrogen escaped to space, with only a weak dependence on the volcanic outgassing rate or on other speculative sources of H2. The implied upper limit on the ground-level O2 mixing ratio is approximately 10 to the -11th and is subject to less uncertainty than the results of previous models.

  9. [How did the earth's oxygen atmosphere originate?].

    PubMed

    Schäfer, G

    2004-09-01

    The planet earth did not carry an oxygen atmosphere from the beginning. Though oxygen could arise from radiation mediated water splitting, these processes were not efficient enough to create a global gas atmosphere. Oxygen in the latter is a product of the photosynthetic activity of early green organisms. Only after biological mass-formation of oxygen the UV-protective ozone layer could develop, then enabeling life to move from water onto land. This took billions of years. The basics of the processes of biological oxygen liberation and utilization are described in the following as well as the importance of their steady state equilibrium. Also a hint is given to oxygen as a toxic compound though being a chemical prerequisite for aerobic life on earth.

  10. Refractive indices of Early Earth organic aerosol analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gavilan, L.; Carrasco, N.; Fleury, B.; Vettier, L.

    2017-09-01

    Organic hazes in the early Earth atmosphere are hypothesized to provide additional shielding to solar radiation. We simulate the conditions of this primitive atmosphere by adding CO2 to a N2:CH4 gas mixture feeding a plasma. In this plasma, solid organic films were produced simulating early aerosols. We performed ellipsometry on these films from the visible to the near-ultraviolet range. Such measurements reveal how organic aerosols in the early Earth atmosphere preferentially absorb photons of shorter wavelengths than typical Titan tholins, suggesting a coolant role in the early Earth.

  11. Physical conditions on the early Earth

    PubMed Central

    Lunine, Jonathan I

    2006-01-01

    The formation of the Earth as a planet was a large stochastic process in which the rapid assembly of asteroidal-to-Mars-sized bodies was followed by a more extended period of growth through collisions of these objects, facilitated by the gravitational perturbations associated with Jupiter. The Earth's inventory of water and organic molecules may have come from diverse sources, not more than 10% roughly from comets, the rest from asteroidal precursors to chondritic bodies and possibly objects near Earth's orbit for which no representative class of meteorites exists today in laboratory collections. The final assembly of the Earth included a catastrophic impact with a Mars-sized body, ejecting mantle and crustal material to form the Moon, and also devolatilizing part of the Earth. A magma ocean and steam atmosphere (possibly with silica vapour) existed briefly in this period, but terrestrial surface waters were below the critical point within 100 million years after Earth's formation, and liquid water existed continuously on the surface within a few hundred million years. Organic material delivered by comets and asteroids would have survived, in part, this violent early period, but frequent impacts of remaining debris probably prevented the continuous habitability of the Earth for one to several hundred million years. Planetary analogues to or records of this early time when life began include Io (heat flow), Titan (organic chemistry) and Venus (remnant early granites). PMID:17008213

  12. Physical conditions on the early Earth.

    PubMed

    Lunine, Jonathan I

    2006-10-29

    The formation of the Earth as a planet was a large stochastic process in which the rapid assembly of asteroidal-to-Mars-sized bodies was followed by a more extended period of growth through collisions of these objects, facilitated by the gravitational perturbations associated with Jupiter. The Earth's inventory of water and organic molecules may have come from diverse sources, not more than 10% roughly from comets, the rest from asteroidal precursors to chondritic bodies and possibly objects near Earth's orbit for which no representative class of meteorites exists today in laboratory collections. The final assembly of the Earth included a catastrophic impact with a Mars-sized body, ejecting mantle and crustal material to form the Moon, and also devolatilizing part of the Earth. A magma ocean and steam atmosphere (possibly with silica vapour) existed briefly in this period, but terrestrial surface waters were below the critical point within 100 million years after Earth's formation, and liquid water existed continuously on the surface within a few hundred million years. Organic material delivered by comets and asteroids would have survived, in part, this violent early period, but frequent impacts of remaining debris probably prevented the continuous habitability of the Earth for one to several hundred million years. Planetary analogues to or records of this early time when life began include Io (heat flow), Titan (organic chemistry) and Venus (remnant early granites).

  13. Photosynthesis and early Earth.

    PubMed

    Shih, Patrick M

    2015-10-05

    Life has been built on the evolution and innovation of microbial metabolisms. Even with our scant understanding of the full diversity of microbial life, it is clear that microbes have become integral components of the biogeochemical cycles that drive our planet. The antiquity of life further suggests that various microbial metabolisms have been core and essential to global elemental cycling for a majority of Earth's history. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Shuttle Atlantis enters Earth's Atmosphere

    2011-07-21

    ISS028-E-018216 (21 July 2011) --- This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against the darkness of space, a faint line of airglow over a dark cloud-covered Earth, on its way home, was photographed by the crew of the International Space Station. Airglow over Earth can be seen in the background.

  15. Evolution of Earth&'s Atmosphere and Climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kasting, J. F.

    2004-12-01

    Earth's climate prior to 2.5 Ga seems to have been, if anything, warmer than today (1,2), despite the faintness of the young Sun (3). The idea that the young Sun was 25-30 percent less bright has been bolstered by data on mass loss from young, solar-type stars (4). Sagan and Mullen (1) suggested many years ago that the warming required to offset low solar luminosity was provided by high concentrations of reduced greenhouse gases. Ammonia has since been shown to be photochemically unstable in low-O2 atmospheres (5), but methane is a viable candidate. Methane photolyzes only at wavelengths shorter than 145 nm, so it is long-lived in the absence of O2 and O3. Furthermore, it is produced by anaerobic bacteria (methanogens) that are thought to have evolved early in Earth history (6). A biological methane flux comparable to today's flux, ~500 Tg CH4/yr, could have been generated by methanogens living in an anaerobic early ocean and sediments (7). This flux should have increased once oxygenic photosynthesis evolved because of increased production and recycling of organic matter (8). An Archean methane flux equal to today's flux could have generated atmospheric CH4 concentrations in excess of 1000 ppmv (9). This, in turn, could have provided 30 degrees or more of greenhouse warming (10) enough to have kept the early Earth warm even if atmospheric CO2 was no higher than today. All of this does not imply that CO2 concentrations must have been low throughout the Archean. Indeed, siderite-coated stream pebbles imply that pCO2 was greater than 2.5,e10-3 bar, or ~7 times present, at 3.2 Ga (11). Atmospheric CO2 could have been much higher than this if the continents had formed slowly (12) and/or if subduction of carbonates was inhibited (13). The rise in O2 at ~2.3 Ga (14,15) brought an end to the methane greenhouse and may have triggered the Huronian glaciation (10). Although methane concentrations declined with the rise of O2, they may still have remained much higher than

  16. Early Earth(s) Across Time and Space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mojzsis, S.

    2014-04-01

    The geochemical and cosmochemical record of our solar system is the baseline for exploring the question: "when could life appear on a world similar to our own?" Data arising from direct analysis of the oldest terrestrial rocks and minerals from the first 500 Myr of Earth history - termed the Hadean Eon - inform us about the timing for the establishment of a habitable silicate world. Liquid water is the key medium for life. The origin of water, and its interaction with the crust as revealed in the geologic record, guides our exploration for a cosmochemically Earth-like planets. From the time of primary planetary accretion to the start of the continuous rock record on Earth at ca. 3850 million years ago, our planet experienced a waning bolide flux that partially or entirely wiped out surface rocks, vaporized oceans, and created transient serpentinizing atmospheres. Arguably, "Early Earths" across the galaxy may start off as ice planets due to feeble insolation from their young stars, occasionally punctuated by steam atmospheres generated by cataclysmic impacts. Alternatively, early global environments conducive to life spanned from a benign surface zone to deep into crustal rocks and sediments. In some scenarios, nascent biospheres benefit from the exogenous delivery of essential bio-elements via leftovers of accretion, and the subsequent establishment of planetary-scale hydrothermal systems. If what is now known about the early dynamical regime of the Earth serves as any measure of the potential habitability of worlds across space and time, several key boundary conditions emerge. These are: (i) availability and long-term stability of liquid water; (ii) presence of energy resources; (iii) accessibility of organic raw materials; (iv) adequate inventory of radioisotopes to drive internal heating; (v) gross compositional parameters such as mantle/core mass ratio, and (vi) P-T conditions at or near the surface suitable for sustaining biological activity. Life could

  17. Background Lamb waves in the Earth's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nishida, Kiwamu; Kobayashi, Naoki; Fukao, Yoshio

    2014-01-01

    Lamb waves of the Earth's atmosphere in the millihertz band have been considered as transient phenomena excited only by large events. Here, we show the first evidence of background Lamb waves in the Earth's atmosphere from 0.2 to 10 mHz, based on the array analysis of microbarometer data from the USArray in 2012. The observations suggest that the probable excitation source is atmospheric turbulence in the troposphere. Theoretically, their energy in the troposphere tunnels into the thermosphere at a resonant frequency via thermospheric gravity wave, where the observed amplitudes indeed take a local minimum. The energy leak through the frequency window could partly contribute to thermospheric wave activity.

  18. Shuttle Atlantis enters Earth's Atmosphere

    2011-07-21

    ISS028-E-018217 (21 July 2011) --- This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights, on its way home, was photographed by the Expedition 28 crew on the International Space Station. Airglow over Earth can be seen in the background.

  19. Shuttle Atlantis enters Earth's Atmosphere

    2011-07-21

    ISS028-E-018188 (21 July 2011) --- This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights, on its way home, was photographed by the Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station. Airglow over Earth can be seen in the background.

  20. Shuttle Atlantis enters Earth's Atmosphere

    2011-07-21

    ISS028-E-018199 (21 July 2011) --- This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights, on its way home, was photographed by the Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station. Airglow over Earth can be seen in the background.

  1. Shuttle Atlantis enters Earth's Atmosphere

    2011-07-21

    ISS028-E-018177 (21 July 2011) --- This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights, on its way home, was photographed by the Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station. Airglow over Earth can be seen in the background.

  2. Shuttle Atlantis enters Earth's Atmosphere

    2011-07-21

    ISS028-E-018200 (21 July 2011) --- This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights, on its way home, was photographed by the Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station. Airglow over Earth can be seen in the background.

  3. Shuttle Atlantis enters Earth's Atmosphere

    2011-07-21

    ISS028-E-018221 (21 July 2011) --- This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights, on its way home, was photographed by the Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station. Airglow over Earth can be seen in the background.

  4. Shuttle Atlantis enters Earth's Atmosphere

    2011-07-21

    ISS028-E-018218 (21 July 2011) --- This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights, on its way home, was photographed by the Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station. Airglow over Earth can be seen in the background.

  5. Simulating super earth atmospheres in the laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Claudi, R.; Erculiani, M. S.; Galletta, G.; Billi, D.; Pace, E.; Schierano, D.; Giro, E.; D'Alessandro, M.

    2016-01-01

    Several space missions, such as JWST, TESS and the very recently proposed ARIEL, or ground-based experiments, as SPHERE and GPI, have been proposed to measure the atmospheric transmission, reflection and emission spectra of extrasolar planets. The planet atmosphere characteristics and possible biosignatures will be inferred by studying planetary spectra in order to identify the emission/absorption lines/bands from atmospheric molecules such as water (H2O), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), etc. In particular, it is important to know in detail the optical characteristics of gases in the typical physical conditions of the planetary atmospheres and how these characteristics could be affected by radiation driven photochemical and biochemical reaction. The main aim of the project `Atmosphere in a Test Tube' is to provide insights on exoplanet atmosphere modification due to biological intervention. This can be achieved simulating planetary atmosphere at different pressure and temperature conditions under the effects of radiation sources, used as proxies of different bands of the stellar emission. We are tackling the characterization of extrasolar planet atmospheres by mean of innovative laboratory experiments described in this paper. The experiments are intended to reproduce the conditions on warm earths and super earths hosted by low-mass M dwarfs primaries with the aim to understand if a cyanobacteria population hosted on a Earth-like planet orbiting an M0 star is able to maintain its photosynthetic activity and produce traceable signatures.

  6. Giant Impacts and Earth's Primordial Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agnor, C.; Asphaug, E.

    2002-09-01

    Estimates of Earth's accretion timescale based on modeling (e.g. Wetherill 1990) and isotopic evidence (Halliday and Porcelli 2000) indicate that the Earth formed in 25-100 Myr. At least a portion of this accretion took place in the presence of the solar nebula. While the problem of nailing down the nebular lifetime remains open, observations of dust disks surrounding young stars and meteoritic evidence suggest that the gas disk existed and was involved in making planetary material for 10 Myr (e.g. Podosek & Cassen 1994, Trilling et al. 2001). The persistence of a remnant of the nebula's original gas disk during terrestrial planet accretion is certainly plausible. The existence of this remnant nebula has dynamical (Agnor & Ward 2002, Kominami & Ida 2002) and geochemical (Porcelli & Pepin 2000) implications for terrestrial planet formation. Nakazawa et al. (1985) explored the structure of Earth's primordial atmosphere as the solar nebula was dissipating. They found that even for low surface densities of nebular gas ( σ gas ~ 1 g cm-2 or ~0.1% of the minimum mass nebula), Earth can capture a significant primordial atmosphere directly from the nebula (i.e. total mass up to a few lunar masses, or ~ 105 times the current atmosphere). Such a massive primordial atmosphere may have played a dynamical role in the formation of the Moon (e.g. models of lunar capture have employed aerodynamic drag in Earth's atmosphere as the primary mechanism for reducing the Moon's orbital energy, Nakazawa et al. 1983). Conversely, the formation of the Moon may have played a role in removing Earth's primordial atmosphere. Giant impacts have been suggested as one possible mechanism that could accomplish global atmospheric removal (Ahrens 1993). We are using smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) to model the removal of Earth's primordial atmosphere via giant impact. We employ initial conditions similar to recent works on lunar formation (e.g. Canup & Asphaug 2001) but also include ideal gas

  7. Evolution of the Earth's Atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Rasool, S I

    1967-09-22

    We living things are a late outgrowth of the metabolism of our Galaxy. The carbon that enters so importantly into our composition was cooked in the remote past in a dying star. From it at lower temperatures nitrogen and oxygen were formed. These, our indispensable elements, were spewed out into space in the exhalations of red giants and such stellar catastrophes as supernovae, there to be mixed with hydrogen, to form eventually the substance of the sun and planets, and ourselves. The waters of ancient seas set the pattern of ions in our blood. The ancient atmospheres molded our metabolism.

  8. Early Earth differentiation [rapid communication

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walter, Michael J.; Trønnes, Reidar G.

    2004-09-01

    The birth and infancy of Earth was a time of profound differentiation involving massive internal reorganization into core, mantle and proto-crust, all within a few hundred million years of solar system formation ( t0). Physical and isotopic evidence indicate that the formation of iron-rich cores generally occurred very early in planetesimals, the building blocks of proto-Earth, within about 3 million years of t0. The final stages of terrestrial planetary accretion involved violent and tremendously energetic giant impacts among core-segregated Mercury- to Mars-sized objects and planetary embryos. As a consequence of impact heating, the early Earth was at times partially or wholly molten, increasing the likelihood for high-pressure and high-temperature equilibration among core- and mantle-forming materials. The Earth's silicate mantle harmoniously possesses abundance levels of the siderophile elements Ni and Co that can be reconciled by equilibration between iron alloy and silicate at conditions comparable to those expected for a deep magma ocean. Solidification of a deep magma ocean possibly involved crystal-melt segregation at high pressures, but subsequent convective stirring of the mantle could have largely erased nascent layering. However, primitive upper mantle rocks apparently have some nonchondritic major and trace element refractory lithophile element ratios that can be plausibly linked to early mantle differentiation of ultra-high-pressure mantle phases. The geochemical effects of crystal fractionation in a deep magma ocean are partly constrained by high-pressure experimentation. Comparison between compositional models for the primitive convecting mantle and bulk silicate Earth generally allows, and possibly favors, 10-15% total fractionation of a deep mantle assemblage comprised predominantly of Mg-perovskite and with minor but geochemically important amounts of Ca-perovskite and ferropericlase. Long-term isolation of such a crystal pile is generally

  9. Atmospheric neutrino oscillations for Earth tomography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winter, Walter

    2016-07-01

    Modern proposed atmospheric neutrino oscillation experiments, such as PINGU in the Antarctic ice or ORCA in Mediterranean sea water, aim for precision measurements of the oscillation parameters including the ordering of the neutrino masses. They can, however, go far beyond that: Since neutrino oscillations are affected by the coherent forward scattering with matter, neutrinos can provide a new view on the interior of the earth. We show that the proposed atmospheric oscillation experiments can measure the lower mantle density of the earth with a precision at the level of a few percent, including the uncertainties of the oscillation parameters and correlations among different density layers. While the earth's core is, in principle, accessible by the angular resolution, new technology would be required to extract degeneracy-free information.

  10. The early atmosphere: a new picture.

    PubMed

    Levine, J S

    1986-01-01

    Over the last several years, many of the fundamental ideas concerning the composition and chemical evolution of the Earth's early atmosphere have changed. While many aspects of this subject are clouded--either uncertain or unknown, a new picture is emerging. We are just beginning to understand how astronomical, geochemical, and atmospheric processes each contributed to the development of the gaseous envelope around the third planet from the sun some 4.6 billion years ago and how that envelope chemically evolved over the history of our planet. Simple compounds in that gaseous envelope, energized by atmospheric lightning and/or solar ultraviolet radiation, formed molecules of increasing complexity that eventually evolved into the first living systems on our planet. This process is called "chemical evolution" and immediately preceded biological evolution; once life developed and evolved, it began to alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere that provided the very essence of its creation. Photosynthetic organisms which have the ability to biochemically transform carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates, which they use for food, produce large amounts of molecular oxygen (O2) as a by-product of the reaction. Atmospheric oxygen photochemically formed ozone, which absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun and shields the Earth's surface from this biologically lethal radiation. Once atmospheric ozone levels increased sufficiently, life could leave the safety of the oceans and go ashore for the first time. Throughout the history of our planet, there has been strong interaction between life and the atmosphere. Understanding our cosmic roots is particularly relevant as we embark on a search for life outside the Earth. At this very moment, several radio telescopes around the world are searching for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

  11. Hygroscopicity of Early Earth and Titan Laboratory Aerosol Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasenkopf, C. A.; Beaver, M. R.; Freedman, M. A.; Toon, O. B.; Tolbert, M. A.

    2009-12-01

    We have explored the ability of organic hazes, known to exist in the atmosphere of Titan and postulated to have existed in the Archean Earth atmosphere, to act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). These laboratory aerosol analogs are generated via UV-photolysis of early Earth and Titan analog gas mixtures and are designed to mimic the present day atmospheric conditions on Titan and the early Earth atmosphere before the rise of oxygen. Water uptake is observed to occur on the early Earth and Titan aerosol analogs at relative humidities of 80% - 90% via optical growth measurements using cavity ring-down aerosol extinction spectroscopy. We find the optical growth of these aerosols is similar to known slightly-soluble organic acids, such as phthalic and pyromellitic acids. On average, the optical growth of the early Earth analog is slightly larger than the Titan analog. In order to translate our measurements obtained in a subsaturated regime into the CCN ability of these particles, we rely on the hygroscopicity parameter κ, developed by Petters & Kreidenweis (2007). We retrieve κ = 0.17±0.03 and 0.06±0.01 for the early Earth and Titan analogs, respectively. This early Earth analog hygroscopicity value indicates that the aerosol could activate at reasonable water vapor supersaturations. We use previous aerosol mass spectrometry results to correlate the chemical structure of the two types of analog with their hygroscopicity. The hygroscopicity of the early Earth aerosol analog, coupled with the apparent lack of other good CCN during the Archean, helps explain the role of the organic haze in the indirect effect of clouds on the early Earth and indicates that it may have had a significant impact on the hydrological cycle.

  12. Experimental study of heterogeneous organic chemistry induced by far ultraviolet light: Implications for growth of organic aerosols by CH3 addition in the atmospheres of Titan and early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hong, Peng; Sekine, Yasuhito; Sasamori, Tsutoni; Sugita, Seiji

    2018-06-01

    Formation of organic aerosols driven by photochemical reactions has been observed and suggested in CH4-containing atmospheres, including Titan and early Earth. However, the detailed production and growth mechanisms of organic aerosols driven by solar far ultraviolet (FUV) light remain poorly constrained. We conducted laboratory experiments simulating photochemical reactions in a CH4sbnd CO2 atmosphere driven by the FUV radiations dominated by the Lyman-α line. In the experiments, we analyzed time variations in thickness and infrared spectra of solid organic film formed on an optical window in a reaction cell. Gas species formed by FUV irradiation were also analyzed and compared with photochemical model calculations. Our experimental results show that the growth rate of the organic film decreases as the CH4/CO2 ratio of reactant gas mixture decreases, and that the decrease becomes very steep for CH4/CO2 < 1. Comparison with photochemical model calculations suggests that polymerizations of gas-phase hydrocarbons, such as polyynes and aromatics, cannot account for the growth rate of the organic film but that the addition reaction of CH3 radicals onto the organic film with the reaction probability around 10-2 can explain the growth rate. At CH4/CO2 < 1, etching by O atom formed by CO2 photolysis would reduce or inhibit the growth of the organic film. Our results suggest that organic aerosols would grow through CH3 addition onto the surface during the precipitation of aerosol particles in the middle atmosphere of Titan and early Earth. On Titan, effective CH3 addition would reduce C2H6 production in the atmosphere. On early Earth, growth of aerosol particles would be less efficient than those on Titan, possibly resulting in small-sized monomers and influencing UV shielding.

  13. Biological modulation of the earth's atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Margulis, L.; Lovelock, J. E.

    1974-01-01

    Review of the evidence that the earth's atmosphere is regulated by life on the surface so that the probability of growth of the entire biosphere is maximized. Acidity, gas composition including oxygen level, and ambient temperature are enormously important determinants for the distribution of life. The earth's atmosphere deviates greatly from that of the other terrestrial planets in particular with respect to acidity, composition, redox potential and temperature history as predicted from solar luminosity. These deviations from predicted steady state conditions have apparently persisted over millions of years. These anomalies may be evidence for a complex planet-wide homeostasis that is the product of natural selection. Possible homeostatic mechanisms that may be further investigated by both theoretical and experimental methods are suggested.

  14. Carbon dioxide warming of the early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arrhenius, G.

    1997-01-01

    Svante Arrhenius' research in atmospheric physics extended beyond the recent past and the near future states of the Earth, which today are at the center of sociopolitical attention. His plan encompassed all of the physical phenomena known at the time to relate to the formation and evolution of stars and planets. His two-volume textbook on cosmic physics is a comprehensive synopsis of the field. The inquiry into the possible cause of the ice ages and the theory of selective wavelength filter control led Arrhenius to consider the surface states of the other terrestrial planets, and of the ancient Earth before it had been modified by the emergence of life. The rapid escape of hydrogen and the equilibration with igneous rocks required that carbon in the early atmosphere prevailed mainly in oxidized form as carbon dioxide, together with other photoactive gases exerting a greenhouse effect orders of magnitude larger than in our present atmosphere. This effect, together with the ensuing chemical processes, would have set the conditions for life to evolve on our planet, seeded from spores spreading through an infinite Universe, and propelled, as Arrhenius thought, by stellar radiation pressure.

  15. Carbon dioxide warming of the early Earth.

    PubMed

    Arrhenius, G

    1997-02-01

    Svante Arrhenius' research in atmospheric physics extended beyond the recent past and the near future states of the Earth, which today are at the center of sociopolitical attention. His plan encompassed all of the physical phenomena known at the time to relate to the formation and evolution of stars and planets. His two-volume textbook on cosmic physics is a comprehensive synopsis of the field. The inquiry into the possible cause of the ice ages and the theory of selective wavelength filter control led Arrhenius to consider the surface states of the other terrestrial planets, and of the ancient Earth before it had been modified by the emergence of life. The rapid escape of hydrogen and the equilibration with igneous rocks required that carbon in the early atmosphere prevailed mainly in oxidized form as carbon dioxide, together with other photoactive gases exerting a greenhouse effect orders of magnitude larger than in our present atmosphere. This effect, together with the ensuing chemical processes, would have set the conditions for life to evolve on our planet, seeded from spores spreading through an infinite Universe, and propelled, as Arrhenius thought, by stellar radiation pressure.

  16. Background Lamb waves in the Earth's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nishida, K.; Kobayashi, N.; Fukao, Y.

    2013-12-01

    Lamb waves of the Earth's atmosphere in the millihertz band have been considered as transient phenomena excited only by large events [e.g. the major volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1833, the impact of Siberian meteorite in 1908, the testing of large nuclear tests and the huge earthquakes, Garrett1969]. In a case of the solid Earth, observation of background free oscillations in the millihertz band-now known as Earth's background free oscillations or seismic hum, has been firmly established. Above 5 mHz, their dominant excitation sources are oceanic infragravity waves. At 3.7 and 4.4 mHz an elasto-acoustic resonance between the solid Earth and the atmosphere was observed [Nishida et al., 2000]. These seismic observations show that the contribution of atmospheric disturbances to the seismic hum is dominant below 5 mHz. Such contribution implies background excitations of acoustic-gravity waves in this frequency range. For direct detection of the background acoustic-gravity waves, our group conducted observations using an array of barometers [Nishida et al. 2005]. However, the spatial scale of the array of about 10 km was too small to detect acoustic modes below 10 mHz. Since then, no direct observations of these waves have been reported. In 2011, 337 high-resolution microbarometers were installed on a continental scale at USArray Transportable Array. The large and dense array enables us to detect the background atmospheric waves. Here, we show the first evidence of background Lamb waves in the Earth's atmosphere from 0.2 to 10 mHz, based on the array analysis of microbarometer data from the USArray in 2012. The observations suggest that the excitation sources are atmospheric disturbances in the troposphere. Theoretically, their energy in the troposphere tunnels into the thermosphere at a resonant frequency via thermospheric gravity wave, where the observed amplitudes indeed take a local minimum. The energy leak through the frequency window could partly contribute to

  17. Cosmic dust in the earth's atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Plane, John M C

    2012-10-07

    This review discusses the magnitude of the cosmic dust input into the earth's atmosphere, and the resulting impacts from around 100 km to the earth's surface. Zodiacal cloud observations and measurements made with a spaceborne dust detector indicate a daily mass input of interplanetary dust particles ranging from 100 to 300 tonnes, which is in agreement with the accumulation rates of cosmic-enriched elements (Ir, Pt, Os and super-paramagnetic Fe) in polar ice cores and deep-sea sediments. In contrast, measurements in the middle atmosphere - by radar, lidar, high-flying aircraft and satellite remote sensing - indicate that the input is between 5 and 50 tonnes per day. There are two reasons why this huge discrepancy matters. First, if the upper range of estimates is correct, then vertical transport in the middle atmosphere must be considerably faster than generally believed; whereas if the lower range is correct, then our understanding of dust evolution in the solar system, and transport from the middle atmosphere to the surface, will need substantial revision. Second, cosmic dust particles enter the atmosphere at high speeds and undergo significant ablation. The resulting metals injected into the atmosphere are involved in a diverse range of phenomena, including: the formation of layers of metal atoms and ions; the nucleation of noctilucent clouds, which are a sensitive marker of climate change; impacts on stratospheric aerosols and O(3) chemistry, which need to be considered against the background of a cooling stratosphere and geo-engineering plans to increase sulphate aerosol; and fertilization of the ocean with bio-available Fe, which has potential climate feedbacks.

  18. Chemistry of Earth's Putative Steam Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fegley, B.; Schaefer, L.

    2007-12-01

    The concept of a steam atmosphere generated by impact devolatilization of planetesimals accreted during Earth's formation is over 20 years old (Matsui and Abe, 1986; Lange and Ahrens, 1982). Surprisingly, with the possible exception of a few qualitative remarks, no one has critically assessed this scenario. We use thermochemical equilibrium and, where relevant, thermochemical kinetic calculations to model the chemistry of the "steam" atmosphere produced by impact volatilization of different types of accreting material. We present results for our nominal conditions (1500 K, total P = 100 bar). We also studied the effects of variable temperature and total pressure. The composition of the accreting material is modeled using average compositions of the Orgueil CI chondrite, the Murchison CM2 chondrite, the Allende CV3 chondrite, average ordinary (H, L, LL) chondrites, and average enstatite (EH, EL) chondrites. The major gases released from CI and CM chondritic material are H2O, CO2, H2, H2S, CO, CH4, and SO2 in decreasing order of abundance. About 10% of the atmosphere is CO2. The major gases released from CV chondritic material are CO2, H2O, CO, H2, and SO2 in decreasing order of abundance. About 20% of the total atmosphere is steam. The major gases released from average ordinary chondritic material are H2, CO, H2O, CO2, CH4, H2S, and N2 in decreasing order of abundance. The "steam" atmosphere is predominantly H2 + CO with steam being about 10% of the total atmosphere. The major gases released from EH chondritic material are H2, CO, H2O, CO2, N2, and CH4 in decreasing order of abundance. The "steam" atmosphere is predominantly H2 + CO with about 10% of the total atmosphere as steam. This work was supported by the NASA Astrobiology and Origins Programs.

  19. Organic haze on Titan and the early Earth

    PubMed Central

    Trainer, Melissa G.; Pavlov, Alexander A.; DeWitt, H. Langley; Jimenez, Jose L.; McKay, Christopher P.; Toon, Owen B.; Tolbert, Margaret A.

    2006-01-01

    Recent exploration by the Cassini/Huygens mission has stimulated a great deal of interest in Saturn's moon, Titan. One of Titan's most captivating features is the thick organic haze layer surrounding the moon, believed to be formed from photochemistry high in the CH4/N2 atmosphere. It has been suggested that a similar haze layer may have formed on the early Earth. Here we report laboratory experiments that demonstrate the properties of haze likely to form through photochemistry on Titan and early Earth. We have used a deuterium lamp to initiate particle production in these simulated atmospheres from UV photolysis. Using a unique analysis technique, the aerosol mass spectrometer, we have studied the chemical composition, size, and shape of the particles produced as a function of initial trace gas composition. Our results show that the aerosols produced in the laboratory can serve as analogs for the observed haze in Titan's atmosphere. Experiments performed under possible conditions for early Earth suggest a significant optical depth of haze may have dominated the early Earth's atmosphere. Aerosol size measurements are presented, and implications for the haze layer properties are discussed. We estimate that aerosol production on the early Earth may have been on the order of 1014 g·year−1 and thus could have served as a primary source of organic material to the surface. PMID:17101962

  20. First Super-Earth Atmosphere Analysed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2010-12-01

    The atmosphere around a super-Earth exoplanet has been analysed for the first time by an international team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope. The planet, which is known as GJ 1214b, was studied as it passed in front of its parent star and some of the starlight passed through the planet's atmosphere. We now know that the atmosphere is either mostly water in the form of steam or is dominated by thick clouds or hazes. The results will appear in the 2 December 2010 issue of the journal Nature. The planet GJ 1214b was confirmed in 2009 using the HARPS instrument on ESO's 3.6-metre telescope in Chile (eso0950) [1]. Initial findings suggested that this planet had an atmosphere, which has now been confirmed and studied in detail by an international team of astronomers, led by Jacob Bean (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), using the FORS instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope. "This is the first super-Earth to have its atmosphere analysed. We've reached a real milestone on the road toward characterising these worlds," said Bean. GJ 1214b has a radius of about 2.6 times that of the Earth and is about 6.5 times as massive, putting it squarely into the class of exoplanets known as super-Earths. Its host star lies about 40 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Ophiuchus (the Serpent Bearer). It is a faint star [2], but it is also small, which means that the size of the planet is large compared to the stellar disc, making it relatively easy to study [3]. The planet travels across the disc of its parent star once every 38 hours as it orbits at a distance of only two million kilometres: about seventy times closer than the Earth orbits the Sun. To study the atmosphere, the team observed the light coming from the star as the planet passed in front of it [4]. During these transits, some of the starlight passes through the planet's atmosphere and, depending on the chemical composition and weather on the planet, specific wavelengths of light are

  1. Atmospheric heat engines on earth and Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Philip, J. R.

    1987-06-01

    The character of the earth's atmospheric heat engine depends, inter alia, on the relatively tight linkage between surface fluxes of energy and of H2O. On Mars, on the other hand, H2O-based latent heat fluxes are only a trivial fraction of total surface energy fluxes, and the dominant component of the working fluid is CO2. These considerations are made quantitative through evaluation of Lambda, the equivalent temperature excess at the surface for a particular component of the working fluid. The very different values (and latitudinal distribution) of Lambda on the two planets signalize vividly their different meteorology. Preliminary study of the climatology of Lambda on earth brings out, in particular, the tightness of the H2O-energy linkage in the tropics.

  2. Potential climatic impact of organic haze on early Earth.

    PubMed

    Hasenkopf, Christa A; Freedman, Miriam A; Beaver, Melinda R; Toon, Owen B; Tolbert, Margaret A

    2011-03-01

    We have explored the direct and indirect radiative effects on climate of organic particles likely to have been present on early Earth by measuring their hygroscopicity and cloud nucleating ability. The early Earth analog aerosol particles were generated via ultraviolet photolysis of an early Earth analog gas mixture, which was designed to mimic possible atmospheric conditions before the rise of oxygen. An analog aerosol for the present-day atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan was tested for comparison. We exposed the early Earth aerosol to a range of relative humidities (RHs). Water uptake onto the aerosol was observed to occur over the entire RH range tested (RH=80-87%). To translate our measurements of hygroscopicity over a specific range of RHs into their water uptake ability at any RH < 100% and into their ability to act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) at RH > 100%, we relied on the hygroscopicity parameter κ, developed by Petters and Kreidenweis. We retrieved κ=0.22 ±0.12 for the early Earth aerosol, which indicates that the humidified aerosol (RH < 100 %) could have contributed to a larger antigreenhouse effect on the early Earth atmosphere than previously modeled with dry aerosol. Such effects would have been of significance in regions where the humidity was larger than 50%, because such high humidities are needed for significant amounts of water to be on the aerosol. Additionally, Earth organic aerosol particles could have activated into CCN at reasonable-and even low-water-vapor supersaturations (RH > 100%). In regions where the haze was dominant, it is expected that low particle concentrations, once activated into cloud droplets, would have created short-lived, optically thin clouds. Such clouds, if predominant on early Earth, would have had a lower albedo than clouds today, thereby warming the planet relative to current-day clouds. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

  3. Flash heating on the early Earth.

    PubMed

    Lyons, J R; Vasavada, A R

    1999-03-01

    It has been suggested that very large impact events (approximately 500 km diameter impactors) sterilized the surface of the young Earth by producing enough rock vapor to boil the oceans. Here, we consider surface heating due to smaller impactors, and demonstrate that surface temperatures conductive to organic synthesis resulted. In particular, we focus on the synthesis of thermal peptides. Previously, laboratory experiments have demonstrated that dry heating a mixture of amino acids containing excess Asp, Glu, or Lys to temperatures approximately 170 degrees C for approximately 2 hours yields polypeptides. It has been argued that such temperature conditions would not have been available on the early Earth. Here we demonstrate, by analogy with the K/T impact, that the requisite temperatures are achieved on sand surfaces during the atmospheric reentry of fine ejecta particles produced by impacts of bolides approximately 10-20 km in diameter, assuming approximately 1-100 PAL CO2. Impactors of this size struck the Earth with a frequency of approximately 1 per 10(4)-10(5) y at 4.2 Ga. Smaller bolides produced negligible global surface heating, whereas bolides > 30 km in diameter yielded solid surface temperatures > 1000 K, high enough to pyrolyze amino acids and other organic compounds. Thus, peptide formation would have occurred globally for a relatively narrow range of bolide sizes.

  4. Precambrian Time - The Story of the Early Earth

    Lindsey, D.A.

    2007-01-01

    The Precambrian is the least-understood part of Earth history, yet it is arguably the most important. Precambrian time spans almost nine-tenths of Earth history, from the formation of the Earth to the dawn of the Cambrian Period. It represents time so vast and long ago that it challenges all comprehension. The Precambrian is the time of big questions. How old is the Earth? How old are the oldest rocks and continents? What was the early Earth like? What was the early atmosphere like? When did life appear, and what did it look like? And, how do we know this? In recent years, remarkable progress has been made in understanding the early evolution of the Earth and life itself. Yet, the scientific story of the early Earth is still a work in progress, humankind's latest attempt to understand the planet. Like previous attempts, it too will change as we learn more about the Earth. Read on to discover what we know now, in the early 21st century.

  5. Atmospheric breakup of a small comet in the Earth's atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Teterev, A. V.; Misychenko, N. I.; Rudak, L. V.; Romanov, G. S.; Smetannikov, A. S.; Nemchinov, I. V.

    1993-01-01

    The aerodynamic stresses can lead to the deformation and even to destruction of the meteoroids during their flight through the atmosphere. The pressure at the blunt nose of the cosmic body moving at very high speed through the dense layers of the atmosphere may be much larger than the tensile or the compressive strength of the body. So the usage of the hydrodynamics theory is validated. The estimates show that the transverse velocity of the substance of the body U is of the order of (rho(sub a)/rho(sub o))(sup 1/2)V where V is the velocity of the body and rho(sub o) is its density, rho(sub a) is the density of the atmosphere. The separation of the fragments is larger than the diameter of the body D if D is less than D(sub c) = 2H(square root of rho(sub a)/rho(sub o)), where H is the characteristic scale of the atmosphere. For an icy body one obtains U = 1/30(V) and critical diameter D(sub C) = 500 m. The process of the disintegration of the body is still not fully understood and so one can use the numerical simulation to investigate it. Such simulations where conducted for the Venusian atmosphere and the gaseous equation of state of the body was used. For the Earth atmosphere for the velocity V = 50 km/s the pressure at the blunt nose of the body is 25 kbar, and is of the order of bulk modulus of compressibility of the water or ice. The realistic EOS of water in tabular form was used. It was assumed that the initial shape of the body was spherical and the initial diameter D(sub o) of the body is 200 m and so it is smaller than the critical diameter D(sub C). The initial kinetic energy of the icy body is equivalent to the energy of the explosion 1200 Mt of TNT. The results of the simulation of the deformation of the body during its vertical flight through the atmosphere and during its impact into the ocean are presented.

  6. Laboratory investigation on super-Earths atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erculiani, M. S.; Claudi, R. U.; Lessio, L.; Farisato, G.; Giro, E.; Cocola, L.; Billi, D.; D'alessandro, M.; Pace, E.; Schierano, D.; Benatti, S.; Bonavita, M.; Galletta, G.

    2014-04-01

    In the framework of Atmosphere in a Test Tube, at the Astronomical Observatory of Padova (INAF) we are going to perform experiments aimed to understand the possible modification of the atmosphere by photosynthetic biota present on the planet surface. This goal can be achieved simulating M star planetary environmental conditions. The bacteria that are being studied are Acaryochloris marina, Chroococcidiopsis spp. and Halomicronema hingdechloris. Tests will be performed with LISA or MINI-LISA ambient simulator in the laboratory of the Padova Astronomic Observatory. In this paper we describe the whole road map to follow in order to perform experiments and to obtain useful data to be compared with the real ones that will be obtained by the future space missions. Starting by a fiducial experiment we will modify either environmental and thermodynamical properties in order to simulate both real irradiation by an M star and gas mixture mimicing super earths atmospheres. These laboratory tests could be used as a guideline in order to understand whether chemical disequilibrium of O2, CO2 and CH4 could be ascribed to biotic life forms.

  7. Effects of primitive photosynthesis on Earth's early climate system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ozaki, Kazumi; Tajika, Eiichi; Hong, Peng K.; Nakagawa, Yusuke; Reinhard, Christopher T.

    2018-01-01

    The evolution of different forms of photosynthetic life has profoundly altered the activity level of the biosphere, radically reshaping the composition of Earth's oceans and atmosphere over time. However, the mechanistic impacts of a primitive photosynthetic biosphere on Earth's early atmospheric chemistry and climate are poorly understood. Here, we use a global redox balance model to explore the biogeochemical and climatological effects of different forms of primitive photosynthesis. We find that a hybrid ecosystem of H2-based and Fe2+-based anoxygenic photoautotrophs—organisms that perform photosynthesis without producing oxygen—gives rise to a strong nonlinear amplification of Earth's methane (CH4) cycle, and would thus have represented a critical component of Earth's early climate system before the advent of oxygenic photosynthesis. Using a Monte Carlo approach, we find that a hybrid photosynthetic biosphere widens the range of geochemical conditions that allow for warm climate states well beyond either of these metabolic processes acting in isolation. Our results imply that the Earth's early climate was governed by a novel and poorly explored set of regulatory feedbacks linking the anoxic biosphere and the coupled H, C and Fe cycles. We suggest that similar processes should be considered when assessing the potential for sustained habitability on Earth-like planets with reducing atmospheres.

  8. Follow the Carbon: Isotopic Labeling Studies of Early Earth Aerosol.

    PubMed

    Hicks, Raea K; Day, Douglas A; Jimenez, Jose L; Tolbert, Margaret A

    2016-11-01

    Despite the faint young Sun, early Earth might have been kept warm by an atmosphere containing the greenhouse gases CH 4 and CO 2 in mixing ratios higher than those found on Earth today. Laboratory and modeling studies suggest that an atmosphere containing these trace gases could lead to the formation of organic aerosol haze due to UV photochemistry. Chemical mechanisms proposed to explain haze formation rely on CH 4 as the source of carbon and treat CO 2 as a source of oxygen only, but this has not previously been verified experimentally. In the present work, we use isotopically labeled precursor gases and unit-mass resolution (UMR) and high-resolution (HR) aerosol mass spectrometry to examine the sources of carbon and oxygen to photochemical aerosol formed in a CH 4 /CO 2 /N 2 atmosphere. UMR results suggest that CH 4 contributes 70-100% of carbon in the aerosol, while HR results constrain the value from 94% to 100%. We also confirm that CO 2 contributes approximately 10% of the total mass to the aerosol as oxygen. These results have implications for the geochemical interpretations of inclusions found in Archean rocks on Earth and for the astrobiological potential of other planetary atmospheres. Key Words: Atmosphere-Early Earth-Planetary atmospheres-Carbon dioxide-Methane. Astrobiology 16, 822-830.

  9. Earth Atmosphere Observations taken by the Expedition 35 Crew

    2013-04-03

    Earth atmosphere observation taken by the Expedition 35 crew aboard the ISS. The colors roughly denote the layers of the atmosphere (the orange troposphere, the white stratosphere, and the blue mesosphere).

  10. Infrasound: Connecting the Solid Earth, Oceans, and Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hedlin, M. A. H.; Walker, K.; Drob, D. P.; de Groot-Hedlin, C. D.

    2012-05-01

    The recently reinvigorated field of infrasonics is poised to provide insight into atmospheric structure and the physics of large atmospheric phenomena, just as seismology has shed considerable light on the workings and structure of Earth's solid interior. Although a natural tool to monitor the atmosphere and shallow Earth for nuclear explosions, it is becoming increasingly apparent that infrasound also provides another means to monitor a suite of natural hazards. The frequent observation of geophysical sources—such as the unsteady sea surface, volcanoes, and earthquakes—that radiate energy both up into the atmosphere and down into the liquid or solid Earth and transmission of energy across Earth's boundaries reminds us that Earth is an interconnected system. This review details the rich history of the unheard sound in the atmosphere and the role that infrasonics plays in helping us understand the Earth system.

  11. Atmospheres and evolution. [of microbial life on earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Margulis, L.; Lovelock, J. E.

    1981-01-01

    Studies concerning the regulation of the earth atmosphere and the relation of atmospheric changes to the evolution of microbial life are reviewed. The improbable nature of the composition of the earth atmosphere in light of the atmospheric compositions of Mars and Venus and equilibrium considerations is pointed out, and evidence for the existence of microbial (procaryotic) life on earth as far back as 3.5 billion years ago is presented. The emergence of eucaryotic life in the Phanerozoic due to evolving symbioses between different procaryotic species is discussed with examples given of present-day symbiotic relationships between bacteria and eucaryotes. The idea that atmospheric gases are kept in balance mainly by the actions of bacterial cells is then considered, and it is argued that species diversity is necessary for the maintenance and origin of life on earth in its present form.

  12. An Impaired View of Earth's Early History

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vervoort, J. D.; Kemp, A. I.; Bauer, A.; Bowring, S. A.; Fisher, C.

    2014-12-01

    The Hf and Nd isotope records of Earth's early history are sparse, difficult to interpret, and controversial, much like the few remnants of crust older than 4 Ga. New analytical techniques have been brought to bear on this problem but despite this recent work­-or, perhaps, because of it-the record is no clearer than it was 15 years ago. Several studies, based on highly variable calculated initial isotopic compositions, have argued for highly heterogeneous crust and mantle reservoirs in the early Earth1,2 and an ultra-depleted Eoarchean mantle3. These data come mostly from two sources: Hf-Nd isotope analyses of ultramafic rocks and Hf isotope analyses of zircons by solution or laser ablation. An important question for understanding the chemical evolution of the early Earth is: Do these data offer a unique window into the early Earth or are they artefacts not representative of crust/mantle evolution, giving an impaired view of the Earth's early history? In complex samples, measured isotopic compositions can result from open-system behavior in easily altered ultramafic compositions, in multicomponent, polymetamorphic gneisses, or in zircons with multiple generations of growth. Perhaps most importantly, accurate age assignment is often lacking, compromised, or impossible in these rocks, making calculation of initial epsilon Hf and Nd values ambiguous at best. In order to gain insight into crust mantle evolution in the early Earth we need, above all, a robust and unambiguous isotopic record to work with. This can be achieved by integrating zircon U-Pb and Hf and whole-rock Hf and Nd isotope compositions in relatively undisturbed igneous rocks with well-constrained ages. When this approach is used apparent isotopic heterogeneity decreases and a simpler model for crust-mantle evolution in the early Earth emerges. Careful screening of geological relationships, petrology, and geochemistry of samples from the early Earth should be done before interpreting isotopic data

  13. Reconciling atmospheric temperatures in the early Archean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pope, E. C.; Rosing, M.; Bird, D. K.; Albarede, F.

    2012-12-01

    Average surface temperatures of Earth in the Archean remain unresolved despite decades of diverse approaches to the problem. As in the present, early Earth climates were complex systems dependent on many variables. With few constraints on such variables, climate models must be relatively simplistic, and consider only one or two factors that drive Archean climate (e.g. a fainter young sun, a low albedo, the extent and effect of cloud cover, or the presence and abundance of a wide array of greenhouse and icehouse gasses). Compounded on the limitations of modeling is the sparse and often ambiguous Archean rock record. The goal of this study is to compile and reconcile Archean geologic and geochemical features that are in some way controlled by surface temperature and/or atmospheric composition, so that at the very least paleoclimate models can be checked by physical limits. Data used to this end include the oxygen isotope record of chemical sediments and ancient ocean crust, chemical equilibria amongst primary phases in banded iron formations (BIFs), sedimentary features indicative of temperate or glacial environments, and paleosol indicators of atmospheric CO2. Further, we explore the extent to which hydrogen isotopes contribute to the geologic record as a signal for glaciations, continental growth and atmospheric methane levels. Oceanic serpentinites and subduction-related volcanic and hydrothermal environments obtain their hydrogen isotope signature from seawater, and thus may be used to calculate secular variation in δDSEAWATER which may fluctuate significantly due to hydrogen escape, continental growth and large-scale glaciation events. Further, ancient records of low-δD meteoric fluids signal both cooler temperatures and the emergence of large continents (increasing the effects of continental weathering on climate). Selective alteration of δD in Isua rocks to values of -130 to -100‰ post-dates ca. 3.55Ga Ameralik dikes, but may be associated with a poorly

  14. A massive early atmosphere on Triton

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lunine, Jonathan I.; Nolan, Michael C.

    1992-01-01

    The idea of an early greenhouse atmosphere for Triton is presented and the conditions under which it may have been sustained are quantified. The volatile content of primordial Triton is modeled, and tidal heating rates are assessed to set bounds on the available energy. The atmospheric model formalism is presented, and it is shown how a massive atmosphere could have been raised by modest tidal heating fluxes. The implications of the model atmospheres for the atmospheric escape rates, the chemical evolution, and the cratering record are addressed.

  15. Earth Global Reference Atmospheric Model (Earth-GRAM) GRAM Virtual Meeting

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, Patrick

    2017-01-01

    What is Earth-GRAM? Provide monthly mean and standard deviation for any point in atmosphere; Monthly, Geographic, and Altitude Variation. Earth-GRAM is a C++ software package; Currently distributed as Earth-GRAM 2016. Atmospheric variables included: pressure, density, temperature, horizontal and vertical winds, speed of sound, and atmospheric constituents. Used by engineering community because of ability to create dispersions inatmosphere at a rapid runtime; Often embedded in trajectory simulation software. Not a forecast model. Does not readily capture localized atmospheric effects.

  16. Crossing the Boundaries in Planetary Atmospheres - From Earth to Exoplanets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Simon-Miller, Amy A.; Genio, Anthony Del

    2013-01-01

    The past decade has been an especially exciting time to study atmospheres, with a renaissance in fundamental studies of Earths general circulation and hydrological cycle, stimulated by questions about past climates and the urgency of projecting the future impacts of humankinds activities. Long-term spacecraft and Earth-based observation of solar system planets have now reinvigorated the study of comparative planetary climatology. The explosion in discoveries of planets outside our solar system has made atmospheric science integral to understanding the diversity of our solar system and the potential habitability of planets outside it. Thus, the AGU Chapman Conference Crossing the Boundaries in Planetary Atmospheres From Earth to Exoplanets, held in Annapolis, MD from June 24-27, 2013 gathered Earth, solar system, and exoplanet scientists to share experiences, insights, and challenges from their individual disciplines, and discuss areas in which thinking broadly might enhance our fundamental understanding of how atmospheres work.

  17. Space Science in Action: Earth's Atmosphere [Videotape].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    1999

    In this videotape recording, students learn about the layers of the atmosphere and why each is important to the survival of life on the planet. Students discover why the atmosphere is responsible for weather and see how special aircraft actually fly into hurricanes. Students build their own working barometer in a hands-on activity. Contents…

  18. Energetic particle influences in Earth's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aplin, Karen; Harrison, R. Giles; Nicoll, Keri; Rycroft, Michael; Briggs, Aaron

    2016-04-01

    Energetic particles from outer space, known as galactic cosmic rays, constantly ionise the entire atmosphere. During strong solar storms, solar energetic particles can also reach the troposphere and enhance ionisation. Atmospheric ionisation generates cluster ions. These facilitate current flow in the global electric circuit, which arises from charge separation in thunderstorms driven by meteorological processes. Energetic particles, whether solar or galactic in origin, may influence the troposphere and stratosphere through a range of different mechanisms, each probably contributing a small amount. Some of the suggested processes potentially acting over a wide spatial area in the troposphere include enhanced scavenging of charged aerosol particles, modification of droplet or droplet-droplet behavior by charging, and the direct absorption of infra-red radiation by the bending and stretching of hydrogen bonds inside atmospheric cluster-ions. As well as reviewing the proposed mechanisms by which energetic particles modulate atmospheric properties, we will also discuss new instrumentation for measurement of energetic particles in the atmosphere.

  19. Earth Global Reference Atmospheric Model 2007 (Earth-GRAM07)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leslie, Fred W.; Justus, C. G.

    2008-01-01

    GRAM is a Fortran software package that can run on a variety of platforms including PC's. GRAM provides values of atmospheric quantities such as temperature, pressure, density, winds, constituents, etc. GRAM99 covers all global locations, all months, and heights from the surface to approx. 1000 km). Dispersions (perturbations) of these parameters are also provided and are spatially and temporally correlated. GRAM can be run in a stand-alone mode or called as a subroutine from a trajectory program. GRAM07 is diagnostic, not prognostic (i.e., it describes the atmosphere, but it does not forecast). The source code is distributed free-of-charge to eligible recipients.

  20. Atmospherics: A Look at the Earth's Airy Shell.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Byalko, A. V.

    1991-01-01

    Describes differences in the composition, pressure, and temperature at distinct altitudes of the Earth's atmosphere from the point of view of physical laws. Discusses the genesis and importance of ozone, thermal radiation and the "layer cake" arrangement of the atmosphere, and solar energy in connection with thermal equilibrium. (JJK)

  1. CHEMISTRY OF SILICATE ATMOSPHERES OF EVAPORATING SUPER-EARTHS

    SciT

    Schaefer, Laura; Fegley, Bruce, E-mail: laura_s@levee.wustl.ed, E-mail: bfegley@levee.wustl.ed

    2009-10-01

    We model the formation of silicate atmospheres on hot volatile-free super-Earths. Our calculations assume that all volatile elements such as H, C, N, S, and Cl have been lost from the planet. We find that the atmospheres are composed primarily of Na, O{sub 2}, O, and SiO gas, in order of decreasing abundance. The atmospheric composition may be altered by fractional vaporization, cloud condensation, photoionization, and reaction with any residual volatile elements remaining in the atmosphere. Cloud condensation reduces the abundance of all elements in the atmosphere except Na and K. We speculate that large Na and K clouds suchmore » as those observed around Mercury and Io may surround hot super-Earths. These clouds would occult much larger fractions of the parent star than a closely bound atmosphere, and may be observable through currently available methods.« less

  2. Expedition Seven Takes Breathtaking Photo of Earth's Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    This Expedition Seven image, taken while aboard the International Space Station (ISS), shows the limb of the Earth at the bottom transitioning into the orange-colored stratosphere, the lowest and most dense portion of the Earth's atmosphere. The troposphere ends abruptly at the tropopause, which appears in the image as the sharp boundary between the orange- and blue-colored atmosphere. The silvery blue noctilucent clouds extend far above the Earth's troposphere. The silver of the setting moon is visible at upper right.

  3. Physical state of the very early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abe, Yutaka

    1993-09-01

    The earliest surface environment of the Earth is reconstructed in accordance with the planetary formation theory. Formation of an atmosphere is an inevitable consequence of Earth's formation. The atmosphere near the close of accretion is composed of 200 ˜ 300 bars of H 2 and H 2O, and several tens of bars of CO and CO 2. Either by the blanketing effect of the proto-atmosphere or heating by large planetesimal impacts a magma ocean is formed during accretion. We can distinguish three stages for the thermal evolution of the magma ocean and proto-crust. Stage 0 is characterized by a super-liquidus (or completely molten) regime near the surface. At this stage the surface of the Earth is covered by a super-liquidus magma ocean. No chemical differentiation is expected during this stage. Once the energy flux released by planet formation decreases to the 200 W/m 2 level the super-liquidus magma ocean then disappears within a time interval of 1 m.y. This is the transition from stage 0 to 1. Stage 1 is characterized by a partially molten magma ocean. In the magma ocean consisting of 20 ˜ 30% partial melt, heat transport is controlled by melt-solid separation (a type of compositional convection) rather than thermal convection. Chemical differentiation of the mantle mainly occurs in this stage. Once the energy flux drops to the 160 W/m 2 level, more than 90% of water vapor in the proto-atmosphere condense to form the proto-oceans. Several tens of bars of CO and CO 2 remain in the atmosphere just after formation of the oceans. Water oceans are occasionally evaporated by large impacts. After each such event, recondensation of the ocean takes several hundred years. Although the surface is covered by a chilled proto-crust, it is short-lived because of extensive volcanic resurfacing activity as well as meteorite impacts resurfacing. This stage ends when the energy flux drops to 0.1 ˜ 1 W/m 2 level. The duration time of stage 1 is estimated to be several hundred million years (the

  4. Isotope composition and volume of Earth's early oceans.

    PubMed

    Pope, Emily C; Bird, Dennis K; Rosing, Minik T

    2012-03-20

    Oxygen and hydrogen isotope compositions of Earth's seawater are controlled by volatile fluxes among mantle, lithospheric (oceanic and continental crust), and atmospheric reservoirs. Throughout geologic time the oxygen mass budget was likely conserved within these Earth system reservoirs, but hydrogen's was not, as it can escape to space. Isotopic properties of serpentine from the approximately 3.8 Ga Isua Supracrustal Belt in West Greenland are used to characterize hydrogen and oxygen isotope compositions of ancient seawater. Archaean oceans were depleted in deuterium [expressed as δD relative to Vienna standard mean ocean water (VSMOW)] by at most 25 ± 5‰, but oxygen isotope ratios were comparable to modern oceans. Mass balance of the global hydrogen budget constrains the contribution of continental growth and planetary hydrogen loss to the secular evolution of hydrogen isotope ratios in Earth's oceans. Our calculations predict that the oceans of early Earth were up to 26% more voluminous, and atmospheric CH(4) and CO(2) concentrations determined from limits on hydrogen escape to space are consistent with clement conditions on Archaean Earth.

  5. The effect of aerosols on the earth-atmosphere albedo

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herman, B. M.; Browning, S. R.

    1975-01-01

    The paper presents calculations of the change in reflected flux by the earth-atmosphere system in response to increases in the atmospheric aerosol loading for a range of complex indices of refraction, solar elevation angle and ground albedo. Results show that, for small values of ground albedo, the reflected solar flux may either increase or decrease with increasing aerosol loadings, depending upon the complex part of the index of refraction of the aerosols. For high ground albedos, an increase in aerosol levels always results in a decrease of reflected flux (i.e., a warming of the earth-atmosphere system).

  6. Propagation of sound through the Earth's atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meredith, R. W.; Becher, J.

    1983-01-01

    The data collected at a pressure of one atmosphere for the different temperatures and relative humidities of the air-water vapor mixtures is summarized. The dew point hygrometer used in these measurements did not give reliable results for dew points much above the ambient room temperature. For this reason measurements were not attempted at the higher temperatures and humidities. Viscous wall losses in the resonant tube at 0 C so dominate the molecular relaxation of nitrogen, in the air-water vapor mixture, that reliable data could not be obtained using the free decay method in a resonant tube at one atmosphere. In an effort to obtain viable data at these temperatures, measurements were performed at a pressure of 10 atmospheres. Since the molecular relaxation peak is proportional to the pressure and the viscous losses are proportional to the inverse square root of the pressure the peak height should be measurable at the higher pressure. The tradeoff here is that at 10 atmospheres; the highest relative humidity attainable is 10 percent. The data collected at 10 atmospheres is also summarized.

  7. Optical Instability of the Earth's Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kucherov, N. I. (Editor)

    1966-01-01

    The atmosphere is not stationary: it changes continuously and its optical properties are inherently unstable. This optical instability of the air medium is of considerable significance in various fields of research and observation where light transmission through the atmosphere plays a basic role. Under the category of optical instabilities we mainly have the different atmospheric perturbations whose integrated effect constitutes the astroclimate: these are image pulsation, scintillation, and the blurring of the diffraction disk. The artificial satellites and space probes collected a great amount of new data on the upper atmosphere and on the outer space environment. New interesting and important problems arose, which attracted the attention of many geophysicists and astronomers. This shift in the center of gravity of scientific interests and efforts is observed mainly among scientists specializing in atmospheric physics. Recently, scientific organizations engaged on optical instability research switched to astroclimatic topics. Twelve scientific organizations were represented at the Soviet astronomers have recently been charged with a very difficult and responsible task: to select suitable sites for the erection of new observatories, including an astrophysical observatory with the largest telescope in the USSR. A considerable number of research groups were dispatched into various areas of the Soviet Union, and many astronomical observatories took part in the astroclimatic survey. The work of these expeditions remains un-paralleled by any other country in the world. On the other hand, these researches aroused a definite interest in astroclimate in Soviet astronomical observatories. International astronomical circles pay an ever growing attention to the problems of astroclimate.

  8. Earth Global Reference Atmospheric Model (GRAM99): Short Course

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leslie, Fred W.; Justus, C. G.

    2007-01-01

    Earth-GRAM is a FORTRAN software package that can run on a variety of platforms including PC's. For any time and location in the Earth's atmosphere, Earth-GRAM provides values of atmospheric quantities such as temperature, pressure, density, winds, constituents, etc.. Dispersions (perturbations) of these parameters are also provided and have realistic correlations, means, and variances - useful for Monte Carlo analysis. Earth-GRAM is driven by observations including a tropospheric database available from the National Climatic Data Center. Although Earth-GRAM can be run in a "stand-alone" mode, many users incorporate it into their trajectory codes. The source code is distributed free-of-charge to eligible recipients.

  9. Evolution of a steam atmosphere during earth's accretion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zahnle, K. J.; Kasting, J. F.; Pollack, J. B.

    1988-04-01

    The evolution of an impact-generated steam atmosphere around an accreting earth is presently modeled under the assumption of Safronov (1978) accretion, in a scheme that encompasses the degassing of planetesimals on impact, thermal blanketing by the steam atmosphere, surface-to-interior water exchange, the shock heating and convective cooling of the earth's interior, and hydrogen escape due both to solar EUV-powered planetary wind and impact erosion. The model yields four distinct classes of impact-generated atmospheres: the first, on which emphasis is placed, has as its salient feature a molten surface that is maintained by the opacity of a massive water vapor atmosphere; the second occurs when the EUV-limited escape exceeds the impact degassing rate, while the third is dominated by impact erosion and the fourth is characterized by an atmosphere more massive than any thus far encountered.

  10. Impact-induced atmospheres and oceans on earth and Venus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matsui, T.; Abe, Y.

    1986-01-01

    The effects of planetesimal-impact induced atmosphere formation on the earth and Venus are modeled to gain an indication why the two planets, at relatively equal distances from the sun, evolved so differently. Both planets gained approximately 10 to the 21 kg of water from the impacts. The water mass of the accreting planetesimals would have remained, initially, as a hot atmosphere. A two-stream approximation is defined for the temperature profile of a plane parallel atmosphere in radiative equilibrium. It is shown that the Venus atmosphere did not, as happened on earth, condense into a hot ocean after the impact epoch. Instead, the greenhouse effect caused the Venus equilibrium thermal structure to remain higher than the vapor pressure, keepinig the atmosphere in a vapor phase until the vapor dissociated and H2 atoms eventually escaped into space.

  11. Evolution of a steam atmosphere during earth's accretion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zahnle, Kevin J.; Kasting, James F.; Pollack, James B.

    1988-01-01

    The evolution of an impact-generated steam atmosphere around an accreting earth is presently modeled under the assumption of Safronov (1978) accretion, in a scheme that encompasses the degassing of planetesimals on impact, thermal blanketing by the steam atmosphere, surface-to-interior water exchange, the shock heating and convective cooling of the earth's interior, and hydrogen escape due both to solar EUV-powered planetary wind and impact erosion. The model yields four distinct classes of impact-generated atmospheres: the first, on which emphasis is placed, has as its salient feature a molten surface that is maintained by the opacity of a massive water vapor atmosphere; the second occurs when the EUV-limited escape exceeds the impact degassing rate, while the third is dominated by impact erosion and the fourth is characterized by an atmosphere more massive than any thus far encountered.

  12. CLOUDS IN SUPER-EARTH ATMOSPHERES: CHEMICAL EQUILIBRIUM CALCULATIONS

    SciT

    Mbarek, Rostom; Kempton, Eliza M.-R., E-mail: mbarekro@grinnell.edu, E-mail: kemptone@grinnell.edu

    Recent studies have unequivocally proven the existence of clouds in super-Earth atmospheres. Here we provide a theoretical context for the formation of super-Earth clouds by determining which condensates are likely to form under the assumption of chemical equilibrium. We study super-Earth atmospheres of diverse bulk composition, which are assumed to form by outgassing from a solid core of chondritic material, following Schaefer and Fegley. The super-Earth atmospheres that we study arise from planetary cores made up of individual types of chondritic meteorites. They range from highly reducing to oxidizing and have carbon to oxygen (C:O) ratios that are both sub-solarmore » and super-solar, thereby spanning a range of atmospheric composition that is appropriate for low-mass exoplanets. Given the atomic makeup of these atmospheres, we minimize the global Gibbs free energy of formation for over 550 gases and condensates to obtain the molecular composition of the atmospheres over a temperature range of 350–3000 K. Clouds should form along the temperature–pressure boundaries where the condensed species appear in our calculation. We find that the composition of condensate clouds depends strongly on both the H:O and C:O ratios. For the super-Earth archetype GJ 1214b, KCl and ZnS are the primary cloud-forming condensates at solar composition, in agreement with previous work. However, for oxidizing atmospheres, K{sub 2}SO{sub 4} and ZnO condensates are favored instead, and for carbon-rich atmospheres with super-solar C:O ratios, graphite clouds appear. For even hotter planets, clouds form from a wide variety of rock-forming and metallic species.« less

  13. Clouds in Super-Earth Atmospheres: Chemical Equilibrium Calculations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mbarek, Rostom; Kempton, Eliza M.-R.

    2016-08-01

    Recent studies have unequivocally proven the existence of clouds in super-Earth atmospheres. Here we provide a theoretical context for the formation of super-Earth clouds by determining which condensates are likely to form under the assumption of chemical equilibrium. We study super-Earth atmospheres of diverse bulk composition, which are assumed to form by outgassing from a solid core of chondritic material, following Schaefer & Fegley. The super-Earth atmospheres that we study arise from planetary cores made up of individual types of chondritic meteorites. They range from highly reducing to oxidizing and have carbon to oxygen (C:O) ratios that are both sub-solar and super-solar, thereby spanning a range of atmospheric composition that is appropriate for low-mass exoplanets. Given the atomic makeup of these atmospheres, we minimize the global Gibbs free energy of formation for over 550 gases and condensates to obtain the molecular composition of the atmospheres over a temperature range of 350-3000 K. Clouds should form along the temperature-pressure boundaries where the condensed species appear in our calculation. We find that the composition of condensate clouds depends strongly on both the H:O and C:O ratios. For the super-Earth archetype GJ 1214b, KCl and ZnS are the primary cloud-forming condensates at solar composition, in agreement with previous work. However, for oxidizing atmospheres, K2SO4 and ZnO condensates are favored instead, and for carbon-rich atmospheres with super-solar C:O ratios, graphite clouds appear. For even hotter planets, clouds form from a wide variety of rock-forming and metallic species.

  14. Clouds Composition in Super-Earth Atmospheres: Chemical Equilibrium Calculations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kempton, Eliza M.-R.; Mbarek, Rostom

    2015-12-01

    Attempts to determine the composition of super-Earth atmospheres have so far been plagued by the presence of clouds. Yet the theoretical framework to understand these clouds is still in its infancy. For the super-Earth archetype GJ 1214b, KCl, Na2S, and ZnS have been proposed as condensates that would form under the condition of chemical equilibrium, if the planet’s atmosphere has a bulk composition near solar. Condensation chemistry calculations have not been presented for a wider range of atmospheric bulk composition that is to be expected for super-Earth exoplanets. Here we provide a theoretical context for the formation of super-Earth clouds in atmospheres of varied composition by determining which condensates are likely to form, under the assumption of chemical equilibrium. We model super-Earth atmospheres assuming they are formed by degassing of volatiles from a solid planetary core of chondritic material. Given the atomic makeup of these atmospheres, we minimize the global Gibbs free energy of over 550 gases and condensates to obtain the molecular composition of the atmospheres over a temperature range of 350-3,000 K. Clouds should form along the temperature-pressure boundaries where the condensed species appear in our calculations. The super-Earth atmospheres that we study range from highly reducing to oxidizing and have carbon to oxygen (C:O) ratios that are both sub-solar and super-solar, thereby spanning a diverse range of atmospheric composition that is appropriate for low-mass exoplanets. Some condensates appear across all of our models. However, the majority of condensed species appear only over specific ranges of H:O and C:O ratios. We find that for GJ 1214b, KCl is the primary cloud-forming condensate at solar composition, in agreement with previous work. However, for oxidizing atmospheres, where H:O is less than unity, K2SO4 clouds form instead. For carbon-rich atmospheres with super-solar C:O ratios, graphite clouds additionally appear. At

  15. Catalytic processes in the atmospheres of earth and Venus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Demore, W. B.; Yung, Y. L.

    1982-01-01

    Photochemical processes in planetary atmospheres are strongly influenced by catalytic effects of minor constituents. Catalytic cycles in the atmospheres of Earth and Venus are closely related. For example, chlorine oxides (ClOx) act as catalysts in the two atmospheres. On earth, they serve to convert odd oxygen (atomic oxygen and ozone) to molecular oxygen. On Venus they have a similar effect, but in addition they accelerate the reactions of atomic and molecular oxygen with carbon monoxide. The latter process occurs by a unique combination of ClOx catalysis and sulful dioxide photosensitization. The mechanism provides an explanation for the very low extent of carbon dioxide decomposition by sunlight in the Venus atmosphere.

  16. Impact on the earth, ocean and atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ahrens, Thomas J.; O'Keefe, John D.

    1987-01-01

    On the basis of finite-difference techniques, cratering flow calculations are used to obtain the spatial attenuation of shock pressure with radius along the impact axis for the impact of silicate rock and iron impactors on a silicate half-space at speeds of 5 to 45 km/sec. Upon impact of a 10 to 30 km diameter silicate or water object onto a 5 km deep ocean overlying a silicate half-space planet at 30 km/sec, it is found that from 12 to 15 percent of the incident energy is coupled into the water. The mass of atmosphere lost due to impacts of 1 to 5 km radius projectiles is calculated.

  17. Earth Global Reference Atmospheric Model 2007 (Earth-GRAM07) Applications for the NASA Constellation Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leslie, Fred W.; Justus, C. G.

    2008-01-01

    Engineering models of the atmosphere are used extensively by the aerospace community for design issues related to vehicle ascent and descent. The Earth Global Reference Atmosphere Model version 2007 (Earth-GRAM07) is the latest in this series and includes a number of new features. Like previous versions, Earth-GRAM07 provides both mean values and perturbations for density, temperature, pressure, and winds, as well as monthly- and geographically-varying trace constituent concentrations. From 0 km to 27 km, thermodynamics and winds are based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Upper Air Climatic Atlas (GUACA) climatology. For altitudes between 20 km and 120 km, the model uses data from the Middle Atmosphere Program (MAP). Above 120 km, EarthGRAM07 now provides users with a choice of three thermosphere models: the Marshall Engineering Thermosphere (MET-2007) model; the Jacchia-Bowman 2006 thermosphere model (JB2006); and the Naval Research Labs Mass Spectrometer, Incoherent Scatter Radar Extended Model (NRL MSIS E-OO) with the associated Harmonic Wind Model (HWM-93). In place of these datasets, Earth-GRAM07 has the option of using the new 2006 revised Range Reference Atmosphere (RRA) data, the earlier (1983) RRA data, or the user may also provide their own data as an auxiliary profile. Refinements of the perturbation model are also discussed which include wind shears more similar to those observed at the Kennedy Space Center than the previous version Earth-GRAM99.

  18. Atmospheric effects on earth rotation and polar motion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salstein, David A.

    1988-01-01

    The variability in the earth's rotation rate not due to known solid body tides is dominated on time scales of about four years and less by variations in global atmospheric angular momentum (M) as derived from the zonal wind distribution. Among features seen in the length of day record produced by atmospheric forcing are the strong seasonal cycle, quasi-periodic fluctuations around 40-50 days, and an interannual signal forced by a strong Pacific warming event known as the El Nino. Momentum variations associated with these time scales arise in different latitudinal regions. Furthermore, winds in the stratosphere make a particularly important contribution to seasonal variability. Other related topics discussed here are: (1) comparisons of the M series from wind fields produced at different weather centers; (2) the torques that dynamically link the atmosphere and earth; and (3) longer-term nonatmospheric effects that can be seen upon removal of the atmospheric signal.an interestigapplication for climatological purposes is the use of the historical earth rotation series as a proxy for atmospheric wind variability prior to the era of upper-air data. Lastly, results pertaining to the role of atmospheric pressure systems in exciting rapid polar motion are presented.

  19. Water inventories on Earth and Mars: Clues to atmosphere formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carr, M. H.

    1992-01-01

    Water is distributed differently on Earth and on Mars and the differences may have implications for the accretion of the two planets and the formation of their atmospheres. The Earth's mantle appears to contain at least several times the water content of the Martian mantle even accounting for differences in plate tectonics. One explanation is that the Earth's surface melted during accretion, as a result of development of a steam atmosphere, thereby allowing impact-devolitalized water at the surface to dissolve into the Earth's interior. In contrast, because of Mars' smaller size and greater distance from the Sun, the Martian surface may not have melted, so that the devolatilized water could not dissolve into the surface. A second possibility is suggested by the siderophile elements in the Earth's mantle, which indicates the Earth acquired a volatile-rich veneer after the core formed. Mars may have acquired a late volatile-rich veneer, but it did not get folded into the interior as with the Earth, but instead remained as a water rich veneer. This perception of Mars with a wet surface but dry interior is consistent with our knowledge of Mars' geologic history.

  20. GCM simulations of cold dry Snowball Earth atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Voigt, A.; Held, I.; Marotzke, J.

    2009-12-01

    We use the full-physics atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM5 to investigate cold and virtually dry Snowball Earth atmospheres. These result from specifying sea ice as the surface boundary condition everywhere, corresponding to a frozen aquaplanet, while keeping total solar irradiance at its present-day value of 1365 Wm-2 and setting atmospheric carbon dioxide to 300 ppmv. Here, we present four simulations corresponding to the four possible combinations of enabled or disabled diurnal and seasonal cycles. The aim of this study is twofold. First, we focus on the zonal-mean circulation of Snowball Earth atmospheres, which, due to missing moisture, might constitute an ideal though yet unexplored testbed for theories of atmospheric dynamics. Second, we investigate tropical surface temperatures with an emphasis on the impact of the diurnal and seasonal cycles. This will indicate whether the presence of the diurnal or seasonal cycle would facilitate or anticipate the escape from Snowball Earth conditions when total solar irradiance or atmospheric CO2 levels were increased. The dynamics of the tropical circulation in Snowball Earth atmospheres differs substantially from that in the modern atmosphere. The analysis of the mean zonal momentum budget reveals that the mean flow meridional advection of absolute vorticity is primarily balanced by vertical diffusion of zonal momentum. The contribution of eddies is found to be even smaller than the contribution of mean flow vertical advection of zonal momentum, the latter being usually neglected in theories for the Hadley circulation, at least in its upper tropospheric branch. Suppressing vertical diffusion of horizontal momentum above 850 hPa leads to a stronger Hadley circulation. This behaviour cannot be understood from axisymmetric models of the atmosphere, nor idealized atmospheric general circulation models, which both predict a weakening of the Hadley circulation when the vertical viscosity is decreased globally. We

  1. Life Detection on the Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Runnegar, B.

    2004-01-01

    Finding evidence for first the existence, and then the nature of life on the early Earth or early Mars requires both the recognition of subtle biosignatures and the elimination of false positives. The history of the search for fossils in increasingly older Precambrian strata illustrates these difficulties very clearly, and new observational and theoretical approaches are both needed and being developed. At the microscopic level of investigation, three-dimensional morphological characterization coupled with in situ chemical (isotopic, elemental, structural) analysis is the desirable first step. Geological context is paramount, as has been demonstrated by the controversies over AH84001, the Greenland graphites, and the Apex chert microfossils . At larger scales, the nature of sedimentary bedforms and the structures they display becomes crucial, and here the methods of condensed matter physics prove most useful in discriminating between biological and non-biological constructions. Ultimately, a combination of geochemical, morphological, and contextural evidence may be required for certain life detection on the early Earth or elsewhere.

  2. Selections from 2017: Atmosphere Around an Earth-Like Planet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2017-12-01

    Editors note:In these last two weeks of 2017, well be looking at a few selections that we havent yet discussed on AAS Nova from among the most-downloaded paperspublished in AAS journals this year. The usual posting schedule will resume in January.Detection of the Atmosphere of the 1.6 M Exoplanet GJ 1132 bPublished March2017Main takeaway:An atmosphere was detected around the roughly Earth-size exoplanet GJ 1132 b using a telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. A team of scientists led byJohn Southworth (Keele University) found features indicating the presence of an atmosphere in theobservationsof this 1.6-Earth-mass planet as it transits an M-dwarf host star. This is the lowest-mass planet with a detected atmosphere thus far.Why its interesting:M dwarfs are among the most common stars in our galaxy, and weve found manyEarth-sizeexoplanets in or near the habitable zones around M-dwarf hosts. But M dwarfs are also more magnetically active than stars like our Sun, suggesting that the planets in M-dwarfhabitable zones may not be able to support life due to stellar activity eroding their atmospheres. The detection of an atmosphere around GJ 1132 b suggests that some planets orbiting M dwarfsare able to retain their atmospheres which meansthat these planetsmay be an interesting place to search for life after all.How the atmosphere was detected:The measured planetary radius for GJ 1132 b as a function of the wavelength used to observe it. [Southworth et al. 2017]When measuring the radius of GJ 1132 b based on its transits, the authors noticed that the planet appeared to be largerwhen observed in some wavelengths than in others. This can beexplained if the planet has asurface radius of 1.4 Earth radii, overlaid by an atmosphere that extends out another few tenths of an Earth radius. The atmosphere, which may consist of water vapor or methane, is transparent to some wavelengths and absorbs others which is why the apparent size of the planet changes

  3. Life and the solar uv environment on the early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bérces, A.; Kovács, G.; Rontó, G.; Lammer, H.; Kargl, G.; Kömle, N.; Bauer, S.

    2003-04-01

    The solar UV radiation environment on planetary surfaces and within their atmospheres is of importance in a wide range of scientific disciplines. Solar UV radiation is the driving force of chemical and organic evolution and serves also as a constraint in biological evolution. Studies of the solar UV environment of the early Earth 2.0 Gyr to 3.8 Gyr ago suggest that the terrestrial atmosphere was essentially anoxic, resulting in an ozone column abundance insufficient for protecting the planetary surface in the UV-B and the UV-C ranges. Since, short wavelength solar UV radiation in the UV-B ind UV-C range penetrated through the unprotected atmosphere to the surface on early Earth, associated biological consequences may be expected. For DNA-based terrestrial solar UV dosimetry, bacteriophage T7, isolated phage-DNA ind polycrystalline Uracil samples have been used. The effect of solar UV radiation can be measured by detecting the biological-structural consequences of the damage induced by UV photons. We show model calculations for the Biological Effective Dose (BED) rate of Uracil and bacteriophage T7, for various ozone concentrations representing early atmospheric conditions on Earth up to a UV protecting ozone layer comparable to present times. Further, we discuss experimental data which show the photo-reverse effect of Uracil molecules caused by short UV wavelengths. These photoreversion effect highly depend on the wavelength of the radiation. Shorter wavelength UV radiation of about 200 nm is strongly effective in monomerisation, while the longer wavelengths prefer the production of dimerisation. We could demonstrate experimentally, for the case of an Uracil thin-layer that the photo-reaction process of the nucleotides can be both, dimerization and the reverse process: monomerization. These results are important for the study of solar UV exposure on organisms in the terrestrial environment more than 2 Gyr ago where Earth had no UV protecting ozone layer as well as

  4. Earth's Mysterious Atmosphere: Atlas 1 Teacher's Guide with Activities.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Essex Corp., Huntsville, AL.

    This atmospheric studies teacher's guide for use with middle school students blends lessons in chemistry, physics, and the life, earth, and space sciences in an attempt to accomplish the following: to nurture students' natural curiosity and excitement about science, mathematics, and technology; to encourage career exploration in science,…

  5. Super-Earths: Atmospheric Accretion, Thermal Evolution and Envelope Loss

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ginzburg, Sivan; Inamdar, Niraj K.; Schlichting, Hilke E.

    Combined mass and radius observations have recently revealed many short-period planets a few times the size of Earth but with significantly lower densities. A natural explanation for the low density of these super Earths super-Earth is a voluminous gas atmosphere that engulfs more compact rocky cores. Planets with such substantial gas atmospheres may be a missing link between smaller planets, that did not manage to obtain or keep an atmosphere, and larger planets, that accreted gas too quickly and became gas giants gas- . In this chapter we review recent advancements in the understanding of low-density low- super-Earth formation and evolution. Specifically, we present a consistent picture of the various stages in the lives of these planets: gas accretion from the protoplanetary disk, possible atmosphere heating and evaporation mechanisms, collisions between planets, and finally, evolution up to the age at which the planets are observed.

  6. Atmospheres of partially differentiated super-Earth exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schaefer, Laura; Sasselov, Dimitar

    2015-11-01

    Terrestrial exoplanets have been discovered in a range of sizes, densities and orbital locations that defy our expectations based upon the Solar System. Planets discovered to date with radii less than ~1.5-1.6 Earth radii all seem to fall on an iso-density curve with the Earth [1]. However, mass and radius determinations, which depend on the known properties of the host star, are not accurate enough to distinguish between a fully differentiated three-layer planet (core, mantle, ocean/atmosphere) and an incompletely differentiated planet [2]. Full differentiation of a planet will depend upon the conditions at the time of accretion, including the abundance of short-lived radioisotopes, which will vary from system to system, as well as the number of giant impacts the planet experiences. Furthermore, separation of metal and silicates at the much larger pressures found inside super-Earths will depend on how the chemistry of these materials change at high pressures. There are therefore hints emerging that not all super-Earths will be fully differentiated. Incomplete differentiation will result in a more reduced mantle oxidation state and may have implications for the composition of an outgassed atmosphere. Here we will present the first results from a chemical equilibrium model of the composition of such an outgassed atmosphere and discuss the possibility of distinguishing between fully and incompletely differentiated planets through atmospheric observations.[1] Rogers, L. 2015. ApJ, 801, 41. [2] Zeng, L. & Sasselov, D. 2013. PASP, 125, 227.

  7. Earth's mysterious atmosphere. ATLAS 1: Teachers guide with activities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    One of our mission's primary goals is to better understand the physics and chemistry of our atmosphere, the thin envelope of air that provides for human life and shields us from the harshness of space. The Space Shuttle Atlantis will carry the ATLAS 1 science instruments 296 km above Earth, so that they can look down into and through the various layers of the atmosphere. Five solar radiometers will precisely measure the amount of energy the Sun injects into Earth's environment. The chemistry at different altitudes will be measured very accurately by five other instruments called spectrometers. Much of our time in the cockpit of Atlantis will be devoted to two very exciting instruments that measure the auroras and the atmosphere's electrical characteristics. Finally, our ultraviolet telescope will probe the secrets of fascinating celestial objects. This Teacher's Guide is designed as a detective story to help you appreciate some of the many questions currently studied by scientists around the world. Many complex factors affect our atmosphere today, possibly even changing the course of global climate. All of us who live on Earth must recognize that we play an ever-growing role in causing some of these changes. We must solve this great atmospheric mystery if we are to understand all these changes and know what to do about them.

  8. Earth's mysterious atmosphere. ATLAS 1: Teachers guide with activities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1991-11-01

    One of our mission's primary goals is to better understand the physics and chemistry of our atmosphere, the thin envelope of air that provides for human life and shields us from the harshness of space. The Space Shuttle Atlantis will carry the ATLAS 1 science instruments 296 km above Earth, so that they can look down into and through the various layers of the atmosphere. Five solar radiometers will precisely measure the amount of energy the Sun injects into Earth's environment. The chemistry at different altitudes will be measured very accurately by five other instruments called spectrometers. Much of our time in the cockpit of Atlantis will be devoted to two very exciting instruments that measure the auroras and the atmosphere's electrical characteristics. Finally, our ultraviolet telescope will probe the secrets of fascinating celestial objects. This Teacher's Guide is designed as a detective story to help you appreciate some of the many questions currently studied by scientists around the world. Many complex factors affect our atmosphere today, possibly even changing the course of global climate. All of us who live on Earth must recognize that we play an ever-growing role in causing some of these changes. We must solve this great atmospheric mystery if we are to understand all these changes and know what to do about them.

  9. Atmospheric Escape from the Closest Super-Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ehrenreich, David

    2015-10-01

    In July 2015, we announced the discovery of the super-Earth HD 219134b, orbiting a V = 5.57 star 6.5-pc away from us (Motalebi et al. 2015). This is the brightest and closest transiting system known so far. With Spitzer and HARPS-N, we measured the density of HD 219134b, which is compatible with a rocky planet, possibly containing a large amount of volatile species. The planet receives high stellar irradiation, which could significantly erode its atmosphere. Preliminary estimates indicate that this 4.5 Earth-mass object should nonetheless retain a substantial atmosphere. HD 219134b lies sufficiently far from its star to allow the formation of a hydrogen cloud with a detectable coma. HST is the only telescope able to detect, for the first time, atmospheric escape from a super-Earth, by observing a Lyman-alpha transit. The detection of escaping hydrogen will represent a smoking gun for the presence of water vapor in the lower atmosphere. Constraining the mass-loss rate will allow us to probe the evolution of super-Earths and assess whether hotter super-Earths can be evaporation remnants. Resolving the Lyman-alpha absorption signal will also bring new insights on the dynamics in the exospheric clouds, revealing interaction between the host star and its super-Earth through radiation pressure and stellar wind. A non-detection could hint at a CO/CO2-rich 'super-Venus' and will prepare for adapted follow-up observations. Both outcomes will thus motivate new proposals in Cycle 24.

  10. Atmospheric CO2: principal control knob governing Earth's temperature.

    PubMed

    Lacis, Andrew A; Schmidt, Gavin A; Rind, David; Ruedy, Reto A

    2010-10-15

    Ample physical evidence shows that carbon dioxide (CO(2)) is the single most important climate-relevant greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere. This is because CO(2), like ozone, N(2)O, CH(4), and chlorofluorocarbons, does not condense and precipitate from the atmosphere at current climate temperatures, whereas water vapor can and does. Noncondensing greenhouse gases, which account for 25% of the total terrestrial greenhouse effect, thus serve to provide the stable temperature structure that sustains the current levels of atmospheric water vapor and clouds via feedback processes that account for the remaining 75% of the greenhouse effect. Without the radiative forcing supplied by CO(2) and the other noncondensing greenhouse gases, the terrestrial greenhouse would collapse, plunging the global climate into an icebound Earth state.

  11. Cometary delivery of organic molecules to the early earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chyba, Christopher F.; Thomas, Paul J.; Sagan, Carl; Brookshaw, Leigh

    1990-01-01

    It has long been speculated that earth accreted prebiotic organic molecules important for the origins of life from impacts of carbonaceous asteroids and comets during the period of heavy bombardment 4.5 x 10 to the 9th to 3.8 x 10 to the 9th years ago. A comprehensive treatment of comet-asteroid interaction with the atmosphere, surface impact, and resulting organic pyrolysis demonstrates that organics will not survive impacts at velocities greater than about 10 kilometers per second and that even comets and asteroids as small as 100 meters in radius cannot be aerobraked to below this velocity in 1-bar atmospheres. However, for plausible dense (10-bar carbon dioxide) early atmospheres, it is found that 4.5 x 10 to the 9th years ago earth was accreting intact cometary organics at a rate of at least about 10 to the 6th to 10 to the 7th kilograms per year, a flux that thereafter declined with a half-life of about 10 to the 8th years. These results may be put in context by comparison with terrestrial oceanic and total biomasses, about 3 x 10 to the 12th kilograms and about 6 x 10 to the 14th kilograms, respectively.

  12. Life of the Earth in the solar atmosphere (multimedia manual)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kononovich, E. V.; Smirnova, O. B.; Matveychuk, T. V.; Jakunina, G. V.; Krasotkin, S. A.

    2006-08-01

    The purpose of this manual is to illustrate the major physical processes occurring in the Sun - Earth system and ecology of the planet life. The material includes three individual parts: "The Earth", "The Sun" and "The solar-terrestrial connections". Sections do not require cross-references since each of them is self-complete. Inside the sections the material is located in sequences based on the principle: from simple to complex. The material is designed for students of the senior classes of high school and junior university level interested by the problem. The section "The Earth" is devoted to the description of the basic characteristics of the planet: internal structure, magnetic field, lithosphere and an atmosphere together with various occurring in them tectonic, hydro- and atmospheric processes. The top layers of an atmosphere, an ionosphere, a zone of polar lights, radiating belts, magnetosphere are also considered. The section "The Sun" includes the following subsections: the Sun as a star, internal structure of the Sun, Solar atmosphere, solar activity, cyclicity of the solar activity, helioseismology. In the section "The solar-terrestrial connections" the previous material is used to present the influence of the active solar processes on the most various aspects of a terrestrial life: ecological, biological, mental, social, economic and so forth. The problem of forecasting of the solar activity as the key parameter determining a condition of the so-called space weather is considered.

  13. Surface and atmosphere parameter maps from earth-orbiting radiometers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gloersen, P.

    1976-01-01

    Earlier studies have shown that an earth-orbiting electrically scanned microwave radiometer (ESMR) is capable of inferring the extent, concentration, and age of sea ice; the extent, concentration, and thickness of lake ice; rainfall rates over oceans; surface wind speeds over open water; particle size distribution in the deep snow cover of continental ice sheets; and soil moisture content in unvegetated fields. Most other features of the surface of the earth and its atmosphere require multispectral imaging techniques to unscramble the combined contributions of the atmosphere and the surface. Multispectral extraction of surface parameters is analyzed on the basis of a pertinent equation in terms of the observed brightness temperature, the emissivity of the surface which depends on wavelength and various parameters, the sensible temperature of the surface, and the total atmospheric opacity which is also wavelength dependent. Implementation of the multispectral technique is examined. Properties of the surface of the earth and its atmosphere to be determined from a scanning multichannel microwave radiometer are tabulated.

  14. STS-39 Earth observation of Earth's limb at sunset shows atmospheric layers

    1991-05-06

    STS039-610-037 (28 April-6 May 1991) --- Numerous atmospheric scattering layers over Earth are apparent in this frame. The layers consist of fine particles suspended in very stable layers of the atmosphere. This photo was taken with a 70mm Rolliflex camera during the Space Shuttle Discovery's eight day mission. Crew members onboard were astronauts Michael L. Coats, L. Blaine Hammond, Guion S. Bluford, Richard J. Hieb, Gregory J. Harbaugh, Donald R. McMonagle and Charles L. (Lacy) Veach.

  15. Structure and Abundance of Nitrous Oxide Complexes in Earth's Atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Salmon, Steven R; de Lange, Katrina M; Lane, Joseph R

    2016-04-07

    We have investigated the lowest energy structures and binding energies of a series of atmospherically relevant nitrous oxide (N2O) complexes using explicitly correlated coupled cluster theory. Specifically, we have considered complexes with nitrogen (N2-N2O), oxygen (O2-N2O), argon (Ar-N2O), and water (H2O-N2O). We have calculated rotational constants and harmonic vibrational frequencies for the complexes and the constituent monomers. Statistical mechanics was used to determine the thermodynamic parameters for complex formation as a function of temperature and pressure. These results, in combination with relevant atmospheric data, were used to estimate the abundance of N2O complexes in Earth's atmosphere as a function of altitude. We find that the abundance of N2O complexes in Earth's atmosphere is small but non-negligible, and we suggest that N2O complexes may contribute to absorption of terrestrial radiation and be relevant for understanding the atmospheric fate of N2O.

  16. Microwave emission and scattering from Earth surface and atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kong, J. A.; Lee, M. C.

    1986-01-01

    Nonlinear Electromagnetic (EM) wave interactions with the upper atmosphere were investigated during the period 15 December 1985 to 15 June 1986. Topics discussed include: the simultaneous excitation of ionospheric density irregularities and Earth's magnetic field fluctuations; the electron acceleration by Langmuir wave turbulence; and the occurrence of artificial spread F. The role of thermal effects in generating ionospheric irregularities by Whistler waves, intense Quasi-DC electric fields, atmospheric gravity waves, and electrojets was investigated. A model was developed to explain the discrete spectrum of the resonant ultralow frequency (ULF) waves that are commonly observed in the magnetosphere.

  17. Nonlinear dynamics of global atmospheric and earth system processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zhang, Taiping; Verbitsky, Mikhail; Saltzman, Barry; Mann, Michael E.; Park, Jeffrey; Lall, Upmanu

    1995-01-01

    During the grant period, the authors continued ongoing studies aimed at enhancing their understanding of the operation of the atmosphere as a complex nonlinear system interacting with the hydrosphere, biosphere, and cryosphere in response to external radiative forcing. Five papers were completed with support from the grant, representing contributions in three main areas of study: (1) theoretical studies of the interactive atmospheric response to changed biospheric boundary conditions measurable from satellites; (2) statistical-observational studies of global-scale temperature variability on interannual to century time scales; and (3) dynamics of long-term earth system changes associated with ice sheet surges.

  18. Implications of Δ33S for Evolution of Earth's Sulfur Cycle and Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farquhar, J.; Wing, B. A.

    2002-12-01

    The recent observation of large magnitude Δ33S anomalies in parts of the rock record has changed the way that we view the sulfur cycle. On the basis of Δ33S we can divide the sulfur cycle into three distinct phases - an Archean phase, an early Paleoproterozoic phase, and a modern phase. The occurrence of large magnitude Δ33S anomalies in rocks of Archean age (>2.45 Ga) is attributed to deep UV photolysis of sulfur dioxide in an atmosphere that was largely anoxic with <= 10-5 PAL O2. The presence of multiple exit channels for both oxidized and reduced atmospheric sulfur allowed efficient transfer of sulfur isotope anomalies to the Earth's surface reservoirs under these conditions (see Pavlov and Kasting, 2002). The absence of an active cycle of surface oxidation and bacterial (?) sulfate reduction insured preservation of the anomalies in the rock record. During the early Paleoproterozoic (<2.45 Ga but > 2.1 Ga) the occurrence of isotopic anomalies with substantially smaller magnitudes points to an atmosphere with higher but probably still diminutive levels of oxygen. As suggested by variations in Δ33S associated with rocks representing global glacial intervals, oxygen levels were probably fluctuating during this interval and reflect the preference of Earth's atmosphere for either a stable reduced or oxidized state. The absence of measurable anomalies in the rock record after 2.1 Ga points to an atmosphere that has been largely oxidized (> 10-5 to 10-2 PAL O2) since then. New Δ33S data from a variety of terrestrial rock samples provide unique insights into the nature of Earth's early surface environment and allow well-constrained speculation about the evolution of Earth's sulfur cycle.

  19. Nonlinear dynamics of global atmospheric and Earth system processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Saltzman, Barry

    1993-01-01

    During the past eight years, we have been engaged in a NASA-supported program of research aimed at establishing the connection between satellite signatures of the earth's environmental state and the nonlinear dynamics of the global weather and climate system. Thirty-five publications and four theses have resulted from this work, which included contributions in five main areas of study: (1) cloud and latent heat processes in finite-amplitude baroclinic waves; (2) application of satellite radiation data in global weather analysis; (3) studies of planetary waves and low-frequency weather variability; (4) GCM studies of the atmospheric response to variable boundary conditions measurable from satellites; and (5) dynamics of long-term earth system changes. Significant accomplishments from the three main lines of investigation pursued during the past year are presented and include the following: (1) planetary atmospheric waves and low frequency variability; (2) GCM studies of the atmospheric response to changed boundary conditions; and (3) dynamics of long-term changes in the global earth system.

  20. Atmospheric Production of Perchlorate on Earth and Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Claire, M.; Catling, D. C.; Zahnle, K. J.

    2009-12-01

    Natural production and preservation of perchlorate on Earth occurs only in arid environments. Isotopic evidence suggests a strong role for atmospheric oxidation of chlorine species via pathways including ozone or its photochemical derivatives. As the Martian atmosphere is both oxidizing and drier than the driest places on Earth, we propose an atmospheric origin for the Martian perchlorates measured by NASA's Phoenix Lander. A variety of hypothetical formation pathways can be proposed including atmospheric photochemical reactions, electrostatic discharge, and gas-solid reactions. Here, we investigate gas phase formation pathways using a 1-D photochemical model (Catling et al. 2009, accepted by JGR). Because perchlorate-rich deposits in the Atacama desert are closest in abundance to perchlorate measured at NASA's Phoenix Lander site, we start with a study of the means to produce Atacama perchlorate. We found that perchlorate can be produced in sufficient quantities to explain the abundance of perchlorate in the Atacama from a proposed gas phase oxidation of chlorine volatiles to perchloric acid. These results are sensitive to estimated reaction rates for ClO3 species. The feasibility of gas phase production for the Atacama provides justification for further investigations of gas phase photochemistry as a possible source for Martian perchlorate. In addition to the Atacama results, we will present a preliminary study incorporating chlorine chemistry into an existing Martian photochemical model (Zahnle et al. JGR 2008).

  1. Hydrogen Fluxes from Photosynthetic Communities: Implications for Early Earth Biogeochemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoehler, Tori M.; Bebout, Brad M.; DesMarais, David J.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    More than half the history of life on Earth was dominated by photosynthetic microbial mats, which must have represented the preeminent biological influence on global geochemical cycling during that time. In modem analogs of then ancient communities, hypersaline microbial mats from Guerrero Negro, Mexico, we have observed a large flux of molecular hydrogen originating in the cyanobacteria-dominated surface layers. Hydrogen production follows a distinct diel pattern and is sensitive to both oxygen tension and microbial species composition within the mat. On an early Earth dominated by microbial mats, the observed H2 fluxes would scale to global levels far in excess of geothermal emissions. A hydrogen flux of this magnitude represents a profound transmission of reducing power from oxygenic photosynthesis, both to the anaerobic biosphere, where H2 is an almost universally-utilized substrate and regulator of microbial redox chemistry, and to the atmosphere, where subsequent escape to space could provide an important mechanism for the net oxidation of Earth's surface.

  2. Prebiotic materials from on and off the early Earth

    PubMed Central

    Bernstein, Max

    2006-01-01

    One of the greatest puzzles of all time is how did life arise? It has been universally presumed that life arose in a soup rich in carbon compounds, but from where did these organic molecules come? In this article, I will review proposed terrestrial sources of prebiotic organic molecules, such as Miller–Urey synthesis (including how they would depend on the oxidation state of the atmosphere) and hydrothermal vents and also input from space. While the former is perhaps better known and more commonly taught in school, we now know that comet and asteroid dust deliver tons of organics to the Earth every day, therefore this flux of reduced carbon from space probably also played a role in making the Earth habitable. We will compare and contrast the types and abundances of organics from on and off the Earth given standard assumptions. Perhaps each process provided specific compounds (amino acids, sugars, amphiphiles) that were directly related to the origin or early evolution of life. In any case, whether planetary, nebular or interstellar, we will consider how one might attempt to distinguish between abiotic organic molecules from actual signs of life as part of a robotic search for life in the Solar System. PMID:17008210

  3. Prebiotic materials from on and off the early Earth.

    PubMed

    Bernstein, Max

    2006-10-29

    One of the greatest puzzles of all time is how did life arise? It has been universally presumed that life arose in a soup rich in carbon compounds, but from where did these organic molecules come? In this article, I will review proposed terrestrial sources of prebiotic organic molecules, such as Miller-Urey synthesis (including how they would depend on the oxidation state of the atmosphere) and hydrothermal vents and also input from space. While the former is perhaps better known and more commonly taught in school, we now know that comet and asteroid dust deliver tons of organics to the Earth every day, therefore this flux of reduced carbon from space probably also played a role in making the Earth habitable. We will compare and contrast the types and abundances of organics from on and off the Earth given standard assumptions. Perhaps each process provided specific compounds (amino acids, sugars, amphiphiles) that were directly related to the origin or early evolution of life. In any case, whether planetary, nebular or interstellar, we will consider how one might attempt to distinguish between abiotic organic molecules from actual signs of life as part of a robotic search for life in the Solar System.

  4. A New Model of the Earth System Nitrogen Cycle: How Plates and Life Affect the Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, B. W.; Goldblatt, C.

    2017-11-01

    We have developed an Earth system N cycle model, including biologic and geologic fluxes and key nutrients such as phosphorus. The atmosphere can change mass significantly over Earth history, and the solid Earth contains most of the planet's N.

  5. The role of impacting processes in the chemical evolution of the atmosphere of primordial Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mukhin, Lev M.; Gerasimov, M. V.

    1991-01-01

    The role of impacting processes in the chemical evolution of the atmosphere of primordial Earth is discussed. The following subject areas are covered: (1) Earth's initial atmosphere; (2) continuous degassing; (3) impact processes and the Earth's protoatmosphere; and (4) the evolution of an impact-generated atmosphere.

  6. Quantifying Atmospheric Moist Processes from Earth Observations. Really?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shepson, P. B.; Cambaliza, M. O. L.; Salmon, O. E.; Heimburger, A. M. F.; Davis, K. J.; Lauvaux, T.; McGowan, L. E.; Miles, N.; Richardson, S.; Sarmiento, D. P.; Hardesty, M.; Karion, A.; Sweeney, C.; Iraci, L. T.; Hillyard, P. W.; Podolske, J. R.; Gurney, K. R.; Patarasuk, R.; Razlivanov, I. N.; Song, Y.; O'Keeffe, D.; Turnbull, J. C.; Vimont, I.; Whetstone, J. R.; Possolo, A.; Prasad, K.; Lopez-Coto, I.

    2014-12-01

    The amount of water in the Earth's atmosphere is tiny compared to all other sources of water on our planet, fresh or otherwise. However, this tiny amount of water is fundamental to most aspects of human life. The tiny amount of water that cycles from the Earth's surface, through condensation into clouds in the atmosphere returning as precipitation falling is not only natures way of delivering fresh water to land-locked human societies but it also exerts a fundamental control on our climate system producing the most important feedbacks in the system. The representation of these processes in Earth system models contain many errors that produce well now biases in the hydrological cycle. Surprisingly the parameterizations of these important processes are not well validated with observations. Part of the reason for this situation stems from the fact that process evaluation is difficult to achieve on the global scale since it has commonly been assumed that the static observations available from snap-shots of individual parameters contain little information on processes. One of the successes of the A-Train has been the development of multi-parameter analysis based on the multi-sensor data produced by the satellite constellation. This has led to new insights on how water cycles through the Earth's atmosphere. Examples of these insights will be highlighted. It will be described how the rain formation process has been observed and how this has been used to constrain this process in models, with a huge impact. How these observations are beginning to reveal insights on deep convection and examples of the use these observations applied to models will also be highlighted as will the effects of aerosol on clouds on radiation.

  7. Quantifying Atmospheric Moist Processes from Earth Observations. Really?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stephens, G. L.

    2015-12-01

    The amount of water in the Earth's atmosphere is tiny compared to all other sources of water on our planet, fresh or otherwise. However, this tiny amount of water is fundamental to most aspects of human life. The tiny amount of water that cycles from the Earth's surface, through condensation into clouds in the atmosphere returning as precipitation falling is not only natures way of delivering fresh water to land-locked human societies but it also exerts a fundamental control on our climate system producing the most important feedbacks in the system. The representation of these processes in Earth system models contain many errors that produce well now biases in the hydrological cycle. Surprisingly the parameterizations of these important processes are not well validated with observations. Part of the reason for this situation stems from the fact that process evaluation is difficult to achieve on the global scale since it has commonly been assumed that the static observations available from snap-shots of individual parameters contain little information on processes. One of the successes of the A-Train has been the development of multi-parameter analysis based on the multi-sensor data produced by the satellite constellation. This has led to new insights on how water cycles through the Earth's atmosphere. Examples of these insights will be highlighted. It will be described how the rain formation process has been observed and how this has been used to constrain this process in models, with a huge impact. How these observations are beginning to reveal insights on deep convection and examples of the use these observations applied to models will also be highlighted as will the effects of aerosol on clouds on radiation.

  8. Planetary Perspective on Life on Early Mars and the Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sleep, Norman H.; Zahnle, Kevin

    1996-01-01

    Impacts of asteroids and comets posed a major hazard to the continuous existence of early life on Mars as on the Earth. The chief danger was presented by globally distributed ejecta, which for very large impacts takes the form of transient thick rock vapor atmospheres; both planets suffered such impacts repeatedly. The exposed surface on both planets was sterilized when it was quickly heated to the temperature of condensed rock vapor by radiation and rock rain. Shallow water bodies were quickly evaporated and sterilized. Any surviving life must have been either in deep water or well below the surface.

  9. Evolving Oxygen Landscape of the Early Atmosphere and Oceans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyons, T. W.; Reinhard, C. T.; Planavsky, N. J.

    2013-12-01

    The past decade has witnessed remarkable advances in our understanding of oxygen on the early Earth, and a new framework, the topic of this presentation, is now in place to address the controls on spatiotemporal distributions of oxygen and their potential relationships to deep-Earth processes. Recent challenges to the Archean biomarker record have put an added burden on inorganic geochemistry to fingerprint and quantify the early production, accumulation, and variation of biospheric oxygen. Fortunately, a wide variety of techniques now point convincingly to photosynthetic oxygen production and dynamic accumulation well before the canonical Great Oxidation Event (GOE). Recent modeling of sulfur recycling over this interval allows for transient oxygen accumulation in the atmosphere without the disappearance of non-mass-dependent (NMD) sulfur isotope anomalies from the stratigraphic record and further allows for persistent accumulation in the atmosphere well before the permanent disappearance of NMD signals. This recent work suggests that the initial rise of oxygen may have occurred in fits and starts rather than a single step, and that once permanently present in the atmosphere, oxygen likely rose to high levels and then plummeted, in phase with the Paleoproterozoic Lomagundi positive carbon isotope excursion. More than a billion years of oxygen-free conditions in the deep ocean followed and set a challenging course for life, including limited abundances and diversity of eukaryotic organisms. Despite this widespread anoxia, sulfidic (euxinic) conditions were likely limited to productive ocean margins. Nevertheless, euxinia was sufficiently widespread to impact redox-dependent nutrient relationships, particularly the availability of bioessential trace metals critical in the nitrogen cycle, which spawned feedbacks that likely maintained oxygen at very low levels in the ocean and atmosphere and delayed the arrival of animals. Then, in the mid, pre-glacial Neoproterozoic

  10. Potential Biosignatures in Super-Earth Atmospheres II. Photochemical Responses

    PubMed Central

    Gebauer, S.; Godolt, M.; Palczynski, K.; Rauer, H.; Stock, J.; von Paris, P.; Lehmann, R.; Selsis, F.

    2013-01-01

    Abstract Spectral characterization of super-Earth atmospheres for planets orbiting in the habitable zone of M dwarf stars is a key focus in exoplanet science. A central challenge is to understand and predict the expected spectral signals of atmospheric biosignatures (species associated with life). Our work applies a global-mean radiative-convective-photochemical column model assuming a planet with an Earth-like biomass and planetary development. We investigated planets with gravities of 1g and 3g and a surface pressure of 1 bar around central stars with spectral classes from M0 to M7. The spectral signals of the calculated planetary scenarios have been presented by in an earlier work by Rauer and colleagues. The main motivation of the present work is to perform a deeper analysis of the chemical processes in the planetary atmospheres. We apply a diagnostic tool, the Pathway Analysis Program, to shed light on the photochemical pathways that form and destroy biosignature species. Ozone is a potential biosignature for complex life. An important result of our analysis is a shift in the ozone photochemistry from mainly Chapman production (which dominates in Earth's stratosphere) to smog-dominated ozone production for planets in the habitable zone of cooler (M5–M7)-class dwarf stars. This result is associated with a lower energy flux in the UVB wavelength range from the central star, hence slower planetary atmospheric photolysis of molecular oxygen, which slows the Chapman ozone production. This is important for future atmospheric characterization missions because it provides an indication of different chemical environments that can lead to very different responses of ozone, for example, cosmic rays. Nitrous oxide, a biosignature for simple bacterial life, is favored for low stratospheric UV conditions, that is, on planets orbiting cooler stars. Transport of this species from its surface source to the stratosphere where it is destroyed can also be a key process

  11. Probing the atmosphere of the coolest super-Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Desert, Jean-Michel; Charbonneau, David; Berta, Zachory; Burke, Christopher; Irwin, Jonathan; Nutzman, Philip; Miller-Ricci, Eliza

    2010-02-01

    Theoretical models predict that low mass planets are likely to exist with atmospheres that can vary widely in their composition and structure. Our team recently detected a super-Earth transiting the nearby low-mass star GJ1214 (Charbonneau et al., 2009). This detection has opened the door to testing predictions of low mass planet atmosphere theories. We propose to use the Spitzer space telescope to detect the atmosphere and infer the molecular composition of GJ1214b. The mid-infrared (MIR) is particularly well suited to observe numerous molecular signatures such as water vapor. We plan to observe the primary eclipse of the planet (when the planet passes in front of the parent star) with the IRAC instrument in the two available channels at 3.6 and 4.5 microns. Comparing the radius measurements obtained in the two band-passes will allow us to detect the atmosphere of this object and to place constraints on its molecular composition. This study is possible because of the small size of the host star GJ1214. Consequently, the expected atmospheric signatures observed in transmission (0.1%) can be detected with the same level of confidence as has successfully been accomplished with much larger planets (hot-Jupiters). Moreover, the high photometric precision, continuous coverage and no limb-darkening of these light curves will improve the planetary parameters, and allow to search for transiting moons.

  12. Notes on Earth Atmospheric Entry for Mars Sample Return Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rivell, Thomas

    2006-01-01

    The entry of sample return vehicles (SRVs) into the Earth's atmosphere is the subject of this document. The Earth entry environment for vehicles, or capsules, returning from the planet Mars is discussed along with the subjects of dynamics, aerodynamics, and heat transfer. The material presented is intended for engineers and scientists who do not have strong backgrounds in aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics and flight mechanics. The document is not intended to be comprehensive and some important topics are omitted. The topics considered in this document include basic principles of physics (fluid mechanics, dynamics and heat transfer), chemistry and engineering mechanics. These subjects include: a) fluid mechanics (aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics, compressible fluids, shock waves, boundary layers, and flow regimes from subsonic to hypervelocity; b) the Earth s atmosphere and gravity; c) thermal protection system design considerations; d) heat and mass transfer (convection, radiation, and ablation); e) flight mechanics (basic rigid body dynamics and stability); and f) flight- and ground-test requirements; and g) trajectory and flow simulation methods.

  13. Autotrophic Ecosystems on the Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schulte, M.

    2003-01-01

    Ophiolite sequences, sections of lower oceanic crust and upper mantle that have been thrust onto continental craton, are located in northern and central California and provide easily accessible areas that serve as good analogs for similar, more extensive areas of the early Earth. We have begun investigating and characterizing these sites in order to understand better the processes that may be responsible for the water chemistry, mineralogy and biology of similar environments on the early Earth. The geophysical and geochemical processes in these terranes provide niches for unique communities of extremeophiles and likely provide a good analog to the location that first gave rise to life on Earth. The ophiolites found in northern and central California include the Trinity, Josephine, Coast Range and Point Sal, all of which are approximately 160 million years old. Fluids from serpentinizing springs are generally alkaline with high pH and H2 contents, indicating that the mafic rock compositions control the fluid composition through water-rock reactions during relatively low-grade hydrothermal processes. There are significant amounts of primary mineralogy remaining in the rocks, meaning that substantial alteration processes are still occurring in these terranes. The general reaction for serpentinization of olivine is given by one of the authors. olivine + H2O = serpentine + brucite + magnetite + H2. We have analyzed the mineralogical composition of several rock samples collected from the Coast Range Ophiolite near Clear Lake, CA by electron microprobe. The remnant primary mineralogy is fairly urnform in composition, with an olivine composition of Fo(sub 90), and with pyroxene compositions of En(sub 90) for orthopyroxene and En(sub 49)Wo(sub 48)Fs(sub 03) for the clinopyroxene. Other primary phases observed include chromites and other spinels. Examination of petrographic thin sections reveals that serpentinization reactions have occurred in these locations. The serpentine

  14. Peptide synthesis in early earth hydrothermal systems

    Lemke, K.H.; Rosenbauer, R.J.; Bird, D.K.

    2009-01-01

    We report here results from experiments and thermodynamic calculations that demonstrate a rapid, temperature-enhanced synthesis of oligopeptides from the condensation of aqueous glycine. Experiments were conducted in custom-made hydrothermal reactors, and organic compounds were characterized with ultraviolet-visible procedures. A comparison of peptide yields at 260??C with those obtained at more moderate temperatures (160??C) gives evidence of a significant (13 kJ ?? mol-1) exergonic shift. In contrast to previous hydrothermal studies, we demonstrate that peptide synthesis is favored in hydrothermal fluids and that rates of peptide hydrolysis are controlled by the stability of the parent amino acid, with a critical dependence on reactor surface composition. From our study, we predict that rapid recycling of product peptides from cool into near-supercritical fluids in mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal systems will enhance peptide chain elongation. It is anticipated that the abundant hydrothermal systems on early Earth could have provided a substantial source of biomolecules required for the origin of life. Astrobiology 9, 141-146. ?? 2009 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2009.

  15. Abstracts for the International Workshop on Meteorite Impact on the Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    This volume contains abstracts that were accepted for presentation at the International Workshop on Meteorite Impact on the Early Earth, September 21-22, 1990, in Perth, Western Australia. The effects these impacts had on the young Earth are emphasized and a few of the topics covered are as follows: impact induced hot atmosphere, crater size and distribution, late heavy bombardment, terrestrial mantle and crust, impact damage, continental growth, volcanism, climate catastrophes, shocked quartz, and others.

  16. Self-consistent formation of continents on early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noack, Lena; Van Hoolst, Tim; Breuer, Doris; Dehant, Véronique

    2013-04-01

    In our study we want to understand how Earth evolved with time and examine the initiation of plate tectonics and the possible formation of continents on Earth. Plate tectonics and continents seem to influence the likelihood of a planet to harbour life [1], and both are strongly influenced by the planetary interior (e.g. mantle temperature and rheology) and surface conditions (e.g. stabilizing effect of continents, atmospheric temperature), and may also depend on the biosphere. Earth is the only terrestrial planet (i.e. with a rocky mantle and iron core) in the solar system where long-term plate tectonics evolved. Knowing the factors that have a strong influence on the occurrence of plate tectonics allows for prognoses about plate tectonics on terrestrial exoplanets that have been detected in the past decade, and about the likelihood of these planets to harbour Earth-like life. For this purpose, planetary interior and surface processes are coupled via 'particles' as computational tracers in the 3D code GAIA [2,3]. These particles are dispersed in the mantle and crust of the modelled planet and can track the relevant rock properties (e.g. density or water content) over time. During the thermal evolution of the planet, the particles are advected due to mantle convection and along melt paths towards the surface and help to gain information about the thermo-chemical system. This way basaltic crust that is subducted into the silicate mantle is traced in our model. It is treated differently than mantle silicates when re-molten, such that granitic (felsic) crust is produced (similar to the evolution of continental crust on early Earth [4]), which is stored in the particle properties. We apply a pseudo-plastic rheology and use small friction coefficients (since an increased reference viscosity is used in our model). We obtain initiation of plate tectonics and self-consistent formation of pre-continents after a few Myr up to several Gyr - depending on the initial conditions

  17. Applying Authentic Data Analysis in Learning Earth Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johan, H.; Suhandi, A.; Samsudin, A.; Wulan, A. R.

    2017-09-01

    The aim of this research was to develop earth science learning material especially earth atmosphere supported by science research with authentic data analysis to enhance reasoning through. Various earth and space science phenomenon require reasoning. This research used experimental research with one group pre test-post test design. 23 pre-service physics teacher participated in this research. Essay test was conducted to get data about reason ability. Essay test was analyzed quantitatively. Observation sheet was used to capture phenomena during learning process. The results showed that student’s reasoning ability improved from unidentified and no reasoning to evidence based reasoning and inductive/deductive rule-based reasoning. Authentic data was considered using Grid Analysis Display System (GrADS). Visualization from GrADS facilitated students to correlate the concepts and bring out real condition of nature in classroom activity. It also helped student to reason the phenomena related to earth and space science concept. It can be concluded that applying authentic data analysis in learning process can help to enhance students reasoning. This study is expected to help lecture to bring out result of geoscience research in learning process and facilitate student understand concepts.

  18. Integrating the Earth, Atmospheric, and Ocean Sciences at Millersville University

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, R. D.

    2005-12-01

    For nearly 40 years, the Department of Earth Sciences at Millersville University (MU-DES) of Pennsylvania has been preparing students for careers in the earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences by providing a rigorous and comprehensive curricula leading to B.S. degrees in geology, meteorology, and oceanography. Undergraduate research is a hallmark of these earth sciences programs with over 30 students participating in some form of meritorious research each year. These programs are rich in applied physics, couched in mathematics, and steeped in technical computing and computer languages. Our success is measured by the number of students that find meaningful careers or go on to earn graduate degrees in their respective fields, as well as the high quality of faculty that the department has retained over the years. Student retention rates in the major have steadily increased with the introduction of a formal learning community and peer mentoring initiatives, and the number of new incoming freshmen and transfer students stands at an all-time high. Yet until recently, the disciplines have remained largely disparate with only minor inroads made into integrating courses that seek to address the Earth as a system. This is soon to change as the MU-DES unveils a new program leading to a B.S. in Integrated Earth Systems. The B.S. in Integrated Earth Systems (ISS) is not a reorganization of existing courses to form a marketable program. Instead, it is a fully integrated program two years in development that borrows from the multi-disciplinary backgrounds and experiences of faculty, while bringing in resources that are tailored to visualizing and modeling the Earth system. The result is the creation of a cross-cutting curriculum designed to prepare the 21st century student for the challenges and opportunities attending the holistic study of the Earth as a system. MU-DES will continue to offer programs leading to degrees in geology, meteorology, and ocean science, but in addition

  19. Calculations of Reflected and Transmitted Radiance for Earth's Atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Plass, G N; Kattawar, G W

    1968-06-01

    The reflected and transmitted radiance of the earth's atmosphere is calculated by Monte Carlo techniques. The exact scattering function for the aerosols is used as calculated from the Mie theory. The aerosol vs height distributions proposed by Elterman and by Kondratiev et al. are compared. The Rayleigh and aerosol scattering events are included in the calculation, as well as the ozone absorption, where appropriate. Results are given at wavelengths of 0.27 micro, 0.3 micro, 0.4 micro, 0.7 micro, and 1.67 micro. The mean optical paths of the reflected and transmitted photons, the flux at the lower boundary, and the planetary albedo are tabulated.

  20. Potential biosignatures in super-Earth atmospheres II. Photochemical responses.

    PubMed

    Grenfell, J L; Gebauer, S; Godolt, M; Palczynski, K; Rauer, H; Stock, J; von Paris, P; Lehmann, R; Selsis, F

    2013-05-01

    Spectral characterization of super-Earth atmospheres for planets orbiting in the habitable zone of M dwarf stars is a key focus in exoplanet science. A central challenge is to understand and predict the expected spectral signals of atmospheric biosignatures (species associated with life). Our work applies a global-mean radiative-convective-photochemical column model assuming a planet with an Earth-like biomass and planetary development. We investigated planets with gravities of 1g and 3g and a surface pressure of 1 bar around central stars with spectral classes from M0 to M7. The spectral signals of the calculated planetary scenarios have been presented by in an earlier work by Rauer and colleagues. The main motivation of the present work is to perform a deeper analysis of the chemical processes in the planetary atmospheres. We apply a diagnostic tool, the Pathway Analysis Program, to shed light on the photochemical pathways that form and destroy biosignature species. Ozone is a potential biosignature for complex life. An important result of our analysis is a shift in the ozone photochemistry from mainly Chapman production (which dominates in Earth's stratosphere) to smog-dominated ozone production for planets in the habitable zone of cooler (M5-M7)-class dwarf stars. This result is associated with a lower energy flux in the UVB wavelength range from the central star, hence slower planetary atmospheric photolysis of molecular oxygen, which slows the Chapman ozone production. This is important for future atmospheric characterization missions because it provides an indication of different chemical environments that can lead to very different responses of ozone, for example, cosmic rays. Nitrous oxide, a biosignature for simple bacterial life, is favored for low stratospheric UV conditions, that is, on planets orbiting cooler stars. Transport of this species from its surface source to the stratosphere where it is destroyed can also be a key process. Comparing 1g with

  1. Role of Earth's plasmasphere in coupling of upper atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singh, A. K.; Mishra, Sandhya; Dohare, S. K.

    2010-02-01

    The near-Earth space environment is a complex, ever changing system of magnetized plasmas whose behaviour has a profound impact upon our technology dependent society. The exploration of the cold, relatively dense, inner region of upper atmosphere (the plasmasphere) and its unexpectedly sharp outer boundary (the plasma pause) has proceeded through a combination of in-situ observations and ground based whistler observations. Studies have shown that plasmasphere is highly variable both spatially and temporally responding to changes in geomagnetic indices, ring current, penetration and shielding electric fields and subauroral electric fields. Consequently the plasmasphere exhibits erosion, emptying and refilling during active times. Infact, it is the electric field that plays one of the most important roles in coupling of upper atmosphere. The atmospheric dynamo is the main generator of the large-scale electric field in the upper atmosphere. It arises because of a special situation which electrons and ions move with different velocities across the magnetic field because of different collisions between electrons and neutral particles and ions with neutral particles. This process leads to charge separation and consequently to an electric field. In the present paper, storm/ quiet period VLF whistler data recorded at lower latitudes/mid latitudes are analyzed and attempt has been made to look at plasmasphere response on coupling of ionosphere and magnetosphere.

  2. Siderophilic Cyanobacteria: Implications for Early Earth.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brown, I. I.; Mummey, D.; Sarkisova, S.; Shen, G.; Bryant, D. A.; Lindsay, J.; Garrison, D.; McKay, D. S.

    2006-01-01

    Of all extant environs, iron-depositing hot springs (IDHS) may exhibit the greatest similarity to late Precambrian shallow warm oceans in regards to temperature, O2 gradients and dissolved iron and H2S concentrations. Despite the insights into the ecology, evolutionary biology, paleogeobiochemistry, and astrobiology examination of IDHS could potentially provide, very few studies dedicated to the physiology and diversity of cyanobacteria (CB) inhabiting IDHS have been conducted. Results. Here we describe the phylogeny, physiology, ultrastructure and biogeochemical activity of several recent CB isolates from two different greater Yellowstone area IDHS, LaDuke and Chocolate Pots. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA genes indicated that 6 of 12 new isolates examined couldn't be placed within established CB genera. Some of the isolates exhibited pronounced requirements for elevated iron concentrations, with maximum growth rates observed when 0.4-1 mM Fe(3+) was present in the media. In light of "typical" CB iron requirements, our results indicate that elevated iron likely represents a salient factor selecting for "siderophilicM CB species in IDHS. A universal feature of our new isolates is their ability to produce thick EPS layers in which iron accumulates resulting in the generation of well preserved signatures. In parallel, siderophilic CB show enhanced ability to etch the analogs of iron-rich lunar regolith minerals and impact glasses. Despite that iron deposition by CB is not well understood mechanistically, we recently obtained evidence that the PS I:PS II ratio is higher in one of our isolates than for other CB. Although still preliminary, this finding is in direct support of the Y. Cohen hypothesis that PSI can directly oxidize Fe(2+). Conclusion. Our results may have implications for factors driving CB evolutionary relationships and biogeochemical processes on early Earth and probably Mars.

  3. Reduced Gas Cycling in Microbial Mats: Implications for Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoehler, Tori M.; Bebout, Brad M.; DesMarais, David J.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    For more than half the history of life on Earth, biological productivity was dominated by photosynthetic microbial mats. During this time, mats served as the preeminent biological influence on earth's surface and atmospheric chemistry and also as the primary crucible for microbial evolution. We find that modern analogs of these ancient mat communities generate substantial quantities of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane. Escape of these gases from the biosphere would contribute strongly to atmospheric evolution and potentially to the net oxidation of earth's surface; sequestration within the biosphere carries equally important implications for the structure, function, and evolution of anaerobic microbial communities within the context of mat biology.

  4. Earth's early O2 cycle suppressed by primitive continents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smit, Matthijs A.; Mezger, Klaus

    2017-10-01

    Free oxygen began to accumulate in Earth's surface environments between 3.0 and 2.4 billion years ago. Links between oxygenation and changes in the composition of continental crust during this time are suspected, but have been difficult to demonstrate. Here we constrain the average composition of the exposed continental crust since 3.7 billion years ago by compiling records of the Cr/U ratio of terrigenous sediments. The resulting record is consistent with a predominantly mafic crust prior to 3.0 billion years ago, followed by a 500- to 700-million-year transition to a crust of modern andesitic composition. Olivine and other Mg-rich minerals in the mafic Archaean crust formed serpentine minerals upon hydration, continuously releasing O2-scavenging agents such as dihydrogen, hydrogen sulfide and methane to the environment. Temporally, the decline in mafic crust capable of such process coincides with the first accumulation of O2 in the oceans, and subsequently the atmosphere. We therefore suggest that Earth's early O2 cycle was ultimately limited by the composition of the exposed upper crust, and remained underdeveloped until modern andesitic continents emerged.

  5. Constraints on Earth degassing history from the argon isotope composition of Devonian atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stuart, F. M.; Mark, D.

    2012-04-01

    The primordial and radiogenic isotopes of the noble gases combine to make them a powerful tool for determining the time and tempo of the outgassing of the Earth's interior. The outgassing history of the Earth is largely constrained from measurements of the isotopic composition of He, Ne, Ar and Xe in samples of modern mantle, crust and atmosphere. There have been few unequivocal measurement of the isotopic composition of noble gases in ancient atmosphere. We have re-visited whether ancient Ar is trapped in the ~400 Ma Rhynie chert [1]. We have analysed samples of pristine Rhynie chert using the ARGUS multi-collector mass spectrometer calibrated against the new determination of atmospheric Ar isotope ratios [2]. 40Ar/36Ar ratios are low, with many lower than the modern air value (298.8). Importantly these are accompanied by atmospheric 38Ar/36Ar ratios indicating that the low 40Ar/36Ar are not due to mass fractionation. We conclude that the Rhynie chert has captured Devonian atmosphere-derived Ar. The data indicate that the Devonian atmosphere 40Ar/36Ar was at least 3 % lower than the modern air value. Thus the Earth's atmosphere has accumulated at least 5 ± 0.2 x 1016 moles of 40Ar in the last 400 million years, at an average rate of 1.24 ± 0.06 x 108 mol 40Ar/year. This overlaps the rate determined from ice cores for the last 800,000 years [3] and implies that there has been no resolvable temporal change in Earth outgassing rate since mid-Palaeozoic times. The new data require the Earth outgassed early, and suggests that pristine samples of Archaean and Proterozoic chert may prove useful as palaeo-atmosphere tracers. [1] G. Turner, J. Geol. Soc. London 146, 147-154 (1989) [2] D. Mark, F.M. Stuart, M. de Podesta, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 75, 7494-7501 [3] M. Bender et al., Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 105, 8232-8237 (2008)

  6. Formation of the Aerosol of Space Origin in Earth's Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kozak, P. M.; Kruchynenko, V. G.

    2011-01-01

    The problem of formation of the aerosol of space origin in Earth s atmosphere is examined. Meteoroids of the mass range of 10-18-10-8 g are considered as a source of its origin. The lower bound of the mass range is chosen according to the data presented in literature, the upper bound is determined in accordance with the theory of Whipple s micrometeorites. Basing on the classical equations of deceleration and heating for small meteor bodies we have determined the maximal temperatures of the particles, and altitudes at which they reach critically low velocities, which can be called as velocities of stopping . As a condition for the transformation of a space particle into an aerosol one we have used the condition of non-reaching melting temperature of the meteoroid. The simplified equation of deceleration without earth gravity and barometric formula for the atmosphere density are used. In the equation of heat balance the energy loss for heating is neglected. The analytical solution of the simplified equations is used for the analysis.

  7. An atmosphere around the super-Earth 55 Cancri e

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsiaras, Angelos; Rocchetto, Marco; Waldmann, Ingo; Venot, Olivia; Varley, Rayan; Morello, Giuseppe; Damiano, Mario; Tinetti, Giovanna; Barton, Emma; Yurchenko, Sergey; Tennyson, Jonathan; ExoLights, ExoMol

    2016-10-01

    One of the most successful instruments for observing exoplanetary atmospheres is the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) onboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). In particular, the use of the spatial scanning technique has given us the opportunity for even more efficient observations of the brightest targets, achieving the necessary precision of 10 - 100 ppm. With such data and new advanced reduction and statistical techniques, we were able to detect modulations in the spectrum of the hot super-Earth 55 Cancri e, which suggest the existence of a light-weight atmosphere around this planet. Given the brightness of 55 Cancri, the observers adopted a very long scanning length and a very high scanning speed. We took these effects into account, as they can introduce systematics when coupled with the geometrical distortions of the instrument. Our fully Bayesian spectral retrieval code, T-REx, has identified HCN to be the most likely molecular candidate able to explain the features at 1.42 and 1.54 μm. While additional spectroscopic observations in a broader wavelength range in the infrared will be needed to confirm the HCN detection, we used a chemical model, developed with combustion specialists, to explain its pressence. This model indicates that relatively high mixing ratios of HCN may be caused by a high C/O ratio, suggesting this super-Earth is a carbon-rich environment even more exotic than previously thought.

  8. Particle motion in atmospheric boundary layers of Mars and Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, B. R.; Iversen, J. D.; Greeley, R.; Pollack, J. B.

    1975-01-01

    To study the eolian mechanics of saltating particles, both an experimental investigation of the flow field around a model crater in an atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel and numerical solutions of the two- and three-dimensional equations of motion of a single particle under the influence of a turbulent boundary layer were conducted. Two-dimensional particle motion was calculated for flow near the surfaces of both Earth and Mars. For the case of Earth both a turbulent boundary layer with a viscous sublayer and one without were calculated. For the case of Mars it was only necessary to calculate turbulent boundary layer flow with a laminar sublayer because of the low values of friction Reynolds number; however, it was necessary to include the effects of slip flow on a particle caused by the rarefied Martian atmosphere. In the equations of motion the lift force functions were developed to act on a single particle only in the laminar sublayer or a corresponding small region of high shear near the surface for a fully turbulent boundary layer. The lift force functions were developed from the analytical work by Saffman concerning the lift force acting on a particle in simple shear flow.

  9. Non-linear processes in the Earth atmosphere boundary layer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grunskaya, Lubov; Valery, Isakevich; Dmitry, Rubay

    2013-04-01

    The work is connected with studying electromagnetic fields in the resonator Earth-Ionosphere. There is studied the interconnection of tide processes of geophysical and astrophysical origin with the Earth electromagnetic fields. On account of non-linear property of the resonator Earth-Ionosphere the tides (moon and astrophysical tides) in the electromagnetic Earth fields are kinds of polyharmonic nature. It is impossible to detect such non-linear processes with the help of the classical spectral analysis. Therefore to extract tide processes in the electromagnetic fields, the method of covariance matrix eigen vectors is used. Experimental investigations of electromagnetic fields in the atmosphere boundary layer are done at the distance spaced stations, situated on Vladimir State University test ground, at Main Geophysical Observatory (St. Petersburg), on Kamchatka pen., on Lake Baikal. In 2012 there was continued to operate the multichannel synchronic monitoring system of electrical and geomagnetic fields at the spaced apart stations: VSU physical experimental proving ground; the station of the Institute of Solar and Terrestrial Physics of Russian Academy of Science (RAS) at Lake Baikal; the station of the Institute of volcanology and seismology of RAS in Paratunka; the station in Obninsk on the base of the scientific and production society "Typhoon". Such investigations turned out to be possible after developing the method of scanning experimental signal of electromagnetic field into non- correlated components. There was used a method of the analysis of the eigen vectors ofthe time series covariance matrix for exposing influence of the moon tides on Ez. The method allows to distribute an experimental signal into non-correlated periodicities. The present method is effective just in the situation when energetical deposit because of possible influence of moon tides upon the electromagnetic fields is little. There have been developed and realized in program components

  10. Cosmic Dust and the Earth's Atmosphere (Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal Lecture)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Plane, John M. C.

    2017-04-01

    Cosmic dust particles are produced in the solar system from the sublimation of comets as they orbit close to the sun, and also from collisions between asteroids in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. Dust particles enter the atmosphere at hyperthermal velocities (11 - 72 km s-1), and ablate at heights between 80 and 120 km in the mesosphere/lower thermosphere (MLT). The resulting metallic vapours (Fe, Mg, Si and Na etc.) then oxidize and recondense to form nm-size particles, termed "meteoric smoke particles (MSPs)". MSPs are too small to sediment downwards and so are transported by the general circulation of the atmosphere, taking roughly 4 years to reach the surface. Smoke particles play a potentially important role as condensation nuclei of noctilucent ice clouds in the mesosphere, and polar stratospheric clouds in the lower stratosphere, where they also facilitate freezing of the clouds. There are also potential implications for climate, as the input of bio-available cosmic Fe in the Southern Ocean can increase biological productivity and stimulate CO2 drawdown from the atmosphere. However, current estimates of the magnitude of the cosmic dust mass input rate into the Earth's atmosphere range from 2 to over 200 tonnes per day, depending on whether the measurements are made in space, in the middle atmosphere, or in polar ice cores. This nearly 2 order-of-magnitude discrepancy indicates that there must be serious flaws in the interpretation of observations that have been used to make the estimates. Furthermore, given this degree of uncertainty, the significance of these potential atmospheric impacts remains speculative. In this lecture I will describe the results of a large study designed to determine the size of the cosmic dust input rate using a self-consistent treatment of cosmic dust from the outer solar system to the Earth's surface. An astronomical model which tracks the evolution of dust from various sources into the inner solar system was combined with a

  11. The NASA MSFC Earth Global Reference Atmospheric Model-2007 Version

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leslie, F.W.; Justus, C.G.

    2008-01-01

    Reference or standard atmospheric models have long been used for design and mission planning of various aerospace systems. The NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Global Reference Atmospheric Model (GRAM) was developed in response to the need for a design reference atmosphere that provides complete global geographical variability, and complete altitude coverage (surface to orbital altitudes) as well as complete seasonal and monthly variability of the thermodynamic variables and wind components. A unique feature of GRAM is that, addition to providing the geographical, height, and monthly variation of the mean atmospheric state, it includes the ability to simulate spatial and temporal perturbations in these atmospheric parameters (e.g. fluctuations due to turbulence and other atmospheric perturbation phenomena). A summary comparing GRAM features to characteristics and features of other reference or standard atmospheric models, can be found Guide to Reference and Standard Atmosphere Models. The original GRAM has undergone a series of improvements over the years with recent additions and changes. The software program is called Earth-GRAM2007 to distinguish it from similar programs for other bodies (e.g. Mars, Venus, Neptune, and Titan). However, in order to make this Technical Memorandum (TM) more readable, the software will be referred to simply as GRAM07 or GRAM unless additional clarity is needed. Section 1 provides an overview of the basic features of GRAM07 including the newly added features. Section 2 provides a more detailed description of GRAM07 and how the model output generated. Section 3 presents sample results. Appendices A and B describe the Global Upper Air Climatic Atlas (GUACA) data and the Global Gridded Air Statistics (GGUAS) database. Appendix C provides instructions for compiling and running GRAM07. Appendix D gives a description of the required NAMELIST format input. Appendix E gives sample output. Appendix F provides a list of available

  12. BENNU’S JOURNEY - Early Earth

    2017-12-08

    This is an artist's concept of the young Earth being bombarded by asteroids. Scientists think these impacts could have delivered significant amounts of organic matter and water to Earth. Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security -- Regolith Explorer spacecraft (OSIRIS-REx) will travel to a near-Earth asteroid, called Bennu, and bring a sample back to Earth for study. The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth. OSIRIS-REx is scheduled for launch in late 2016. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023. Watch the full video: youtu.be/gtUgarROs08 Learn more about NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission and the making of Bennu’s Journey: www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/bennus-journey/ More information on the OSIRIS-REx mission is available at: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/osiris-rex/index.html www.asteroidmission.org NASA image use policy. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram

  13. Volatile inventory and early evolution of the planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marov, Mikhail Ya.; Ipatov, Sergei I.

    Formation of atmospheres of the inner planets involved the concurrent processes of mantle degassing and collisions that culminated during the heavy bombardment. Volatile-rich icy planetesimals impacting on the planets as a late veneer strongly contributed to the volatile inventory. Icy remnants of the outer planet accretion significantly complemented the accumulation of the lithophile and atmophile elements forced out onto the surface of the inner planets from silicate basaltic magma enriched in volatiles. Orbital dynamics of small bodies, including near-Earth asteroids, comets, and bodies from the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt evolving to become inner planet crossers, is addressed to examine different plausible amounts of volatile accretion. The relative importance of comets and chondrites in the delivery of volatiles is constrained by the observed fractionation pattern of noble gas abundances in the atmospheres of inner planets. The following development of the early atmospheres depended on the amount of volatiles expelled from the interiors and deposited by impactors, while the position of the planet relative to the Sun and its mass affected its climatic evolution.

  14. Identifying early Earth microfossils in unsilicified sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Javaux, Emmanuelle J.; Asael, Dan; Bekker, Andrey; Debaille, Vinciane; Derenne, Sylvie; Hofmann, Axel; Mattielli, Nadine; Poulton, Simon

    2013-04-01

    The search for life on the early Earth or beyond Earth requires the definition of biosignatures, or "indices of life". These traditionally include fossil molecules, isotopic fractionations, biosedimentary structures and morphological fossils interpreted as remnants of life preserved in rocks. This research focuses on traces of life preserved in unsilicified siliciclastic sediments. Indeed, these deposits preserve well sedimentary structures indicative of past aqueous environments and organic matter, including the original organic walls of microscopic organisms. They also do not form in hydrothermal conditions which may be source of abiotic organics. At our knowledge, the only reported occurrence of microfossils preserved in unsilicified Archean sediments is a population of large organic-walled vesicles discovered in shales and siltstones of the 3.2 Ga Moodies Group, South Africa. (Javaux et al, Nature 2010). These have been interpreted as microfossils based on petrographic and geochemical evidence for their endogenicity and syngeneity, their carbonaceous composition, cellular morphology and ultrastructure, occurrence in populations, taphonomic features of soft wall deformation, and the geological context plausible for life, as well as lack of abiotic explanation falsifying a biological origin. Demonstrating that carbonaceous objects from Archaean rocks are truly old and truly biological is the subject of considerable debate. Abiotic processes are known to produce organics and isotopic signatures similar to life. Spheroidal pseudofossils may form as self-assembling vesicles from abiotic CM, e.g. in prebiotic chemistry experiments (Shoztak et al, 2001), from meteoritic lipids (Deamer et al, 2006), or hydrothermal fluids (Akashi et al, 1996); by artifact of maceration; by migration of abiotic or biotic CM along microfractures (VanZuilen et al, 2007) or along mineral casts (Brasier et al, 2005), or around silica spheres formed in silica-saturated water (Jones and

  15. The Xenon record of Earth's early differentiaiton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peto, M. K.; Mukhopadhyay, S.; Kelley, K. A.

    2011-12-01

    Xenon isotopes in mantle derived rocks provide information on the early differentiation of the silicate mantle of our planet. {131,132 134,136}Xe isotopes are produced by the spontaneous fission of two different elements: the now extinct radionuclide 244Pu, and the long-lived 238U. These two parent nuclides, however, yield rather different proportion of fissiogenic Xenon isotopes. Hence, the proportion of Pu- to U-derived fission xenon is indicative of the degree and rate of outgassing of a mantle reservoir. Recent data obtained from Iceland in our lab confirm that the Xenon isotopic composition of the plume source(s) is characterized by lower 136Xe/130Xe ratios than the MORB source and the Iceland plume is more enriched in the Pu-derived Xenon component. These features are interpreted as reflecting different degrees of outgassing and appear not to be the result of preferential recycling of Xenon to the deep mantle. To further investigate how representative the Icelandic measurements might be of other mantle plumes, we measured noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Xe) in gas-rich basalt glasses from the Rochambeau Ridge (RR) in the Northern Lau Basin. Recent work suggests the presence of a "Samoan-like" OIB source in the northern Lau Basin and our measurements were performed on samples with plume-like 3He/4He ratios (15-28 RA) [1]. The Xenon isotopic measurements indicate that the maximum measured 136Xe/130Xe ratios in the Rochambeau samples are similar to Iceland. In particular, for one of the gas rich samples we were able to obtain 77 different isotopic measurements through step-crushing. Preliminary investigation of this sample suggests higher Pu- to U-derived fission Xenon than in MORBs. To quantitatively evaluate the degree and rate of outgassing of the plume and MORB reservoirs, particularly during the first few hundred million years of Earth's history, we have modified a geochemical reservoir model that was previously developed to investigate mantle overturn and mixing

  16. Nonlinear dynamics of global atmospheric and Earth-system processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Saltzman, Barry; Ebisuzaki, Wesley; Maasch, Kirk A.; Oglesby, Robert; Pandolfo, Lionel

    1990-01-01

    Researchers are continuing their studies of the nonlinear dynamics of global weather systems. Sensitivity analyses of large-scale dynamical models of the atmosphere (i.e., general circulation models i.e., GCM's) were performed to establish the role of satellite-signatures of soil moisture, sea surface temperature, snow cover, and sea ice as crucial boundary conditions determining global weather variability. To complete their study of the bimodality of the planetary wave states, they are using the dynamical systems approach to construct a low-order theoretical explanation of this phenomenon. This work should have important implications for extended range forecasting of low-frequency oscillations, elucidating the mechanisms for the transitions between the two wave modes. Researchers are using the methods of jump analysis and attractor dimension analysis to examine the long-term satellite records of significant variables (e.g., long wave radiation, and cloud amount), to explore the nature of mode transitions in the atmosphere, and to determine the minimum number of equations needed to describe the main weather variations with a low-order dynamical system. Where feasible they will continue to explore the applicability of the methods of complex dynamical systems analysis to the study of the global earth-system from an integrative viewpoint involving the roles of geochemical cycling and the interactive behavior of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.

  17. Mother Earth, Earth Mother: Gabriela Mistral as an Early Ecofeminist

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Finzer, Erin

    2015-01-01

    Historians have noted that male bureaucrats and natural resource experts tended to dominate early twentieth-century national and hemispheric conservationist movements in Latin America, but a constellation of female activists, notable among them Gabriela Mistral, strengthened conservationism in the cultural sphere. Capitalizing on her leadership in…

  18. Earth Global Reference Atmospheric Model (GRAM) Overview and Updates: DOLWG Meeting

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, Patrick

    2017-01-01

    What is Earth-GRAM (Global Reference Atmospheric Model): Provides monthly mean and standard deviation for any point in atmosphere - Monthly, Geographic, and Altitude Variation; Earth-GRAM is a C++ software package - Currently distributed as Earth-GRAM 2016; Atmospheric variables included: pressure, density, temperature, horizontal and vertical winds, speed of sound, and atmospheric constituents; Used by engineering community because of ability to create dispersions in atmosphere at a rapid runtime - Often embedded in trajectory simulation software; Not a forecast model; Does not readily capture localized atmospheric effects.

  19. Sources of cosmic dust in the Earth's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrillo-Sánchez, J. D.; Nesvorný, D.; Pokorný, P.; Janches, D.; Plane, J. M. C.

    2016-12-01

    There are four known sources of dust in the inner solar system: Jupiter Family comets, asteroids, Halley Type comets, and Oort Cloud comets. Here we combine the mass, velocity, and radiant distributions of these cosmic dust populations from an astronomical model with a chemical ablation model to estimate the injection rates of Na and Fe into the Earth's upper atmosphere, as well as the flux of cosmic spherules to the surface. Comparing these parameters to lidar observations of the vertical Na and Fe fluxes above 87.5 km, and the measured cosmic spherule accretion rate at South Pole, shows that Jupiter Family Comets contribute (80 ± 17)% of the total input mass (43 ± 14 t d-1), in good accord with Cosmic Background Explorer and Planck observations of the zodiacal cloud.

  20. Sources of cosmic dust in the Earth's atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Carrillo-Sánchez, J D; Nesvorný, D; Pokorný, P; Janches, D; Plane, J M C

    2016-12-16

    There are four known sources of dust in the inner solar system: Jupiter Family comets, asteroids, Halley Type comets, and Oort Cloud comets. Here we combine the mass, velocity, and radiant distributions of these cosmic dust populations from an astronomical model with a chemical ablation model to estimate the injection rates of Na and Fe into the Earth's upper atmosphere, as well as the flux of cosmic spherules to the surface. Comparing these parameters to lidar observations of the vertical Na and Fe fluxes above 87.5 km, and the measured cosmic spherule accretion rate at South Pole, shows that Jupiter Family Comets contribute (80 ± 17)% of the total input mass (43 ± 14 t d -1 ), in good accord with Cosmic Background Explorer and Planck observations of the zodiacal cloud.

  1. Sources of cosmic dust in the Earth's atmosphere

    PubMed Central

    Carrillo‐Sánchez, J. D.; Nesvorný, D.; Pokorný, P.; Janches, D.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract There are four known sources of dust in the inner solar system: Jupiter Family comets, asteroids, Halley Type comets, and Oort Cloud comets. Here we combine the mass, velocity, and radiant distributions of these cosmic dust populations from an astronomical model with a chemical ablation model to estimate the injection rates of Na and Fe into the Earth's upper atmosphere, as well as the flux of cosmic spherules to the surface. Comparing these parameters to lidar observations of the vertical Na and Fe fluxes above 87.5 km, and the measured cosmic spherule accretion rate at South Pole, shows that Jupiter Family Comets contribute (80 ± 17)% of the total input mass (43 ± 14 t d−1), in good accord with Cosmic Background Explorer and Planck observations of the zodiacal cloud. PMID:28275286

  2. Runaway and moist greenhouse atmospheres and the evolution of earth and Venus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kasting, James F.

    1988-01-01

    For the case of fully moisture-saturated and cloud-free conditions, the present one-dimensional climate model for the response of an earthlike atmosphere to large solar flux increases notes the critical solar flux at which runaway greenhouse (total evaporation of oceans) occurs to be 1.4 times the present flux at the earth's orbit, almost independently of the CO2 content of the atmophere. The value is, however, sensitive to the H2O absorption coefficient in the 8-12 micron window. Venus oceans may have been lost early on due to rapid water vapor photodissociation, followed by hydrogen escape into space.

  3. Fluctuations of radio occultation signals in sounding the Earth's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kan, Valery; Gorbunov, Michael E.; Sofieva, Viktoria F.

    2018-02-01

    We discuss the relationships that link the observed fluctuation spectra of the amplitude and phase of signals used for the radio occultation sounding of the Earth's atmosphere, with the spectra of atmospheric inhomogeneities. Our analysis employs the approximation of the phase screen and of weak fluctuations. We make our estimates for the following characteristic inhomogeneity types: (1) the isotropic Kolmogorov turbulence and (2) the anisotropic saturated internal gravity waves. We obtain the expressions for the variances of the amplitude and phase fluctuations of radio occultation signals as well as their estimates for the typical parameters of inhomogeneity models. From the GPS/MET observations, we evaluate the spectra of the amplitude and phase fluctuations in the altitude interval from 4 to 25 km in the middle and polar latitudes. As indicated by theoretical and experimental estimates, the main contribution into the radio signal fluctuations comes from the internal gravity waves. The influence of the Kolmogorov turbulence is negligible. We derive simple relationships that link the parameters of internal gravity waves and the statistical characteristics of the radio signal fluctuations. These results may serve as the basis for the global monitoring of the wave activity in the stratosphere and upper troposphere.

  4. LAWS (Laser Atmospheric Wind Sounder) earth observing system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1988-01-01

    Wind profiles can be measured from space using current technology. These wind profiles are essential for answering many of the interdisciplinary scientific questions to be addressed by EOS, the Earth Observing System. This report provides guidance for the development of a spaceborne wind sounder, the Laser Atmospheric Wind Sounder (LAWS), discussing the current state of the technology and reviewing the scientific rationale for the instrument. Whether obtained globally from the EOS polar platform or in the tropics and subtropics from the Space Station, wind profiles from space will provide essential information for advancing the skill of numerical weather prediction, furthering knowledge of large-scale atmospheric circulation and climate dynamics, and improving understanding of the global biogeochemical and hydrologic cycles. The LAWS Instrument Panel recommends that it be given high priority for new instrument development because of the pressing scientific need and the availability of the necessary technology. LAWS is to measure wind profiles with an accuracy of a few meters per second and to sample at intervals of 100 km horizontally for layers km thick.

  5. The equilibrium of atmospheric sodium. [in atmospheres of Earth, Io, Mercury and Moon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hunten, Donald M.

    1992-01-01

    We now have four examples of planetary objects with detectable sodium (and potassium) in their atmospheres: Earth, Io, Mercury and the moon. After a summary of the observational data, this survey discusses proposed sources and sinks. It appears that Io's surface material is rich in frozen SO2, but with around 1 percent of some sodium compound. The Io plasma torus contains ions of S, O and Na, also with at least one molecular ion containing Na. In turn, impact by these ions probably sustains the torus, as well as an extended neutral corona. A primary source for the Earth, Mercury and the moon is meteoroidal bombardment; at Mercury and perhaps the moon it may be supplemented by degassing of atoms from the regolith. Photoionization is important everywhere, although hot electrons are dominant at Io.

  6. Catching Comet's Particles in the Earth's Atmosphere by Using Balloons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Potashko, Oleksandr; Viso, Michel

    The project is intended to catch cometary particles in the atmosphere by using balloons. The investigation is based upon knowledge that the Earth crosses the comet’s tails during the year. One can catch these particles at different altitudes in the atmosphere. So, we will be able to gradually advance in the ability to launch balloons from low to high altitudes and try to catch particles from different comet tails. The maximum altitude that we have to reach is 40 km. Both methods - distance observation and cometary samples from mission Stardust testify to the presence of organic components in comet’s particles. It would be useful to know more details about this organic matter for astrobiology; besides, the factor poses danger to the Earth. Moreover, it is important to prove that it is possible to get fundamental scientific results at low cost. In the last 5 years launching balloons has become popular and this movement looks like hackers’ one - as most of them occur without launch permission to airspace. The popularity of ballooning is connected with low cost of balloon, GPS unit, video recording unit. If you use iPhone, you have a light solution with GPS, video, picture and control function in one unit. The price of balloon itself begins from $50; it depends on maximum altitude, payload weight and material. Many university teams realized balloon launching and reached even stratosphere at an altitude of 33 km. But most of them take only video and picture. Meanwhile, it is possible to carry out scientific experiments by ballooning, for example to collect comet particles. There is rich experience at the moment of the use of mineral, chemical and isotopic analysis techniques and data of the comet’s dust after successful landing of StarDust capsule with samples in 2006. Besides, we may use absolutely perfect material to catch particles in the atmosphere, which was used by cosmic missions such as Stardust and Japanese Hayabusa. As to balloon launches, we could use

  7. The early Martian environment: Clues from the cratered highlands and the Precambrian Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Craddock, R. A.; Maxwell, T. A.

    1993-01-01

    There is abundant geomorphic evidence to suggest that Mars once had a much denser and warmer atmosphere than present today. Outflow channel, ancient valley networks, and degraded impact craters in the highlands all suggest that ancient Martian atmospheric conditions supported liquid water on the surface. The pressure, composition, and duration of this atmosphere is largely unknown. However, we have attempted to place some constraints on the nature of the early Martian atmosphere by analyzing morphologic variations of highland impact crater populations, synthesizing results of other investigators, and incorporating what is know about the geologic history of the early Earth. This is important for understanding the climatic evolution of Mars, the relative abundance of martian volatiles, and the nature of highland surface materials.

  8. Sulfur Chemistry in the Early and Present Atmosphere of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levine, Joel S.; Summers, M. E.

    2011-01-01

    Atmospheric sulfur species resulting from volcanic emissions impact the composition and chemistry of the atmosphere, impact the climate, and hence, the habitability of Mars and impact the mineralogy and composition of the surface of Mars. The geochemical/ photochemical cycling of sulfur species between the interior (via volcanism), the atmosphere (atmospheric photochemical and chemical processes) and the deposition of sulfuric acid on the surface of Mars is an important, but as yet poorly understood geochemical/ photochemical cycle on Mars. There is no observational evidence to indicate that Mars is volcanically active at the present time, however, there is strong evidence that volcanism was an important and widespread process on early Mars. The chemistry and photochemistry of sulfur species in the early and present atmosphere of Mars will be assessed using a one-dimensional photochemical model. Since it is generally assumed that the atmosphere of early Mars was significantly denser than the present 6-millibar atmosphere, photochemical calculations were performed for the present atmosphere and for the atmosphere of early Mars with assumed surface pressures of 60 and 350-millibars, where higher surface pressure resulted from enhanced atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2). The following sections include the results of earlier modeling studies, a summary of the one-dimensional photochemical model used in this study, a summary of the photochemistry and chemistry of sulfur species in the atmosphere of Mars and some of the results of the calculations.

  9. Impact melting of frozen oceans on the early Earth: implications for the origin of life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bada, J. L.; Bigham, C.; Miller, S. L.

    1994-01-01

    Without sufficient greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the early Earth would have become a permanently frozen planet because the young Sun was less luminous than it is today. Several resolutions to this faint young Sun-frozen Earth paradox have been proposed, with an atmosphere rich in CO2 being the one generally favored. However, these models assume that there were no mechanisms for melting a once frozen ocean. Here we show that bolide impacts between about 3.6 and 4.0 billion years ago could have episodically melted an ice-covered early ocean. Thaw-freeze cycles associated with bolide impacts could have been important for the initiation of abiotic reactions that gave rise to the first living organisms.

  10. Impact melting of frozen oceans on the early Earth: Implications for the origin of life

    PubMed Central

    Bada, J. L.; Bigham, C.; Miller, S. L.

    1994-01-01

    Without sufficient greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the early Earth would have become a permanently frozen planet because the young Sun was less luminous than it is today. Several resolutions to this faint young Sun-frozen Earth paradox have been proposed, with an atmosphere rich in CO2 being the one generally favored. However, these models assume that there were no mechanisms for melting a once frozen ocean. Here we show that bolide impacts between about 3.6 and 4.0 billion years ago could have episodically melted an ice-covered early ocean. Thaw-freeze cycles associated with bolide impacts could have been important for the initiation of abiotic reactions that gave rise to the first living organisms. PMID:11539550

  11. X-38: Artist Concept of Re-Entering Earth's Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    This is an artist's depiction of NASA's proposed Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) re-entering the earth's atmosphere. A team of NASA researchers began free flight tests of the X-38, a technology demonstrator for the CRV, at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, in 1998. The CRV is being designed as a 'lifeboat' for the International Space Station The X-38 Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) research project is designed to develop the technology for a prototype emergency crew return vehicle, or lifeboat, for the International Space Station. The project is also intended to develop a crew return vehicle design that could be modified for other uses, such as a joint U.S. and international human spacecraft that could be launched on the French Ariane-5 Booster. The X-38 project is using available technology and off-the-shelf equipment to significantly decrease development costs. Original estimates to develop a capsule-type crew return vehicle were estimated at more than $2 billion. X-38 project officials have estimated that development costs for the X-38 concept will be approximately one quarter of the original estimate. Off-the-shelf technology is not necessarily 'old' technology. Many of the technologies being used in the X-38 project have never before been applied to a human-flight spacecraft. For example, the X-38 flight computer is commercial equipment currently used in aircraft and the flight software operating system is a commercial system already in use in many aerospace applications. The video equipment for the X-38 is existing equipment, some of which has already flown on the space shuttle for previous NASA experiments. The X-38's primary navigational equipment, the Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System, is a unit already in use on Navy fighters. The X-38 electromechanical actuators come from previous joint NASA, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Navy research and development projects. Finally, an existing special coating developed by NASA will be used

  12. Archean Earth Atmosphere Fractal Haze Aggregates: Light Scattering Calculations and the Faint Young Sun Paradox

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boness, D. A.; Terrell-Martinez, B.

    2010-12-01

    As part of an ongoing undergraduate research project of light scattering calculations involving fractal carbonaceous soot aggregates relevant to current anthropogenic and natural sources in Earth's atmosphere, we have read with interest a recent paper [E.T. Wolf and O.B Toon,Science 328, 1266 (2010)] claiming that the Faint Young Sun paradox discussed four decades ago by Carl Sagan and others can be resolved without invoking heavy CO2 concentrations as a greenhouse gas warming the early Earth enough to sustain liquid water and hence allow the origin of life. Wolf and Toon report that a Titan-like Archean Earth haze, with a fractal haze aggregate nature due to nitrogen-methane photochemistry at high altitudes, should block enough UV light to protect the warming greenhouse gas NH3 while allowing enough visible light to reach the surface of the Earth. To test this hypothesis, we have employed a rigorous T-Matrix arbitrary-particle light scattering technique, to avoid the simplifications inherent in Mie-sphere scattering, on haze fractal aggregates at UV and visible wavelenths of incident light. We generate these model aggregates using diffusion-limited cluster aggregation (DLCA) algorithms, which much more closely fit actual haze fractal aggregates than do diffusion-limited aggregation (DLA) algorithms.

  13. Alternative Earths: The Diverse Chapters of Sustained Habitability on a Dynamic Early Earth and Their Astrobiological Significance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyons, T. W.

    2015-12-01

    The oldest signs of animal life appear in the geologic record 600 to 700 million years ago. For the four billion years prior, our planet experienced dramatic changes that paved the way for this milestone. Beyond the establishment of Earth's earliest oceans 4.3 billion years ago (Ga), the single most important environmental transformation in history may have been the first permanent rise of atmospheric oxygen around 2.3 Ga. Before this Great Oxidation Event (GOE), Earth's atmosphere and oceans were virtually devoid of this gas, which forms the basis for all macroscopic life. Yet full oxygenation was a long, drawn out process. This talk will lay out the state-of-the-art in our understanding of Earth's early oxygenation, with an emphasis on the delay between the first biological oxygen production, tentatively placed at 3 Ga, and the appearance of animals almost 2.5 billion years later. Recent work suggests transient oxygenation episodes occurred prior to the GOE. Once permanently present in the atmosphere, oxygen may have risen to very high levels and then nose-dived. Then, at least a billion years of dominantly oxygen-free conditions in the deep ocean followed, beneath an atmosphere and shallow oceans much leaner in oxygen than previous estimates indicated. Deficiencies in oxygen and associated nutrients may have, in turn, set a challenging course for many of the oceans' inhabitants, explaining persistently low populations and diversities of eukaryotes. The latest data suggest these billion-plus years of intermediate oxygen were followed by increases in both ocean and atmosphere oxygen contents and eukaryotic diversity 750 to 800 million years ago. Novel, rock-bound proxies and complementary numerical models are now steering our views of co-evolving life and marine and atmospheric chemistry, including greenhouse gas controls on climate. New findings are revealing various states of planetary habitability that differ greatly from the Earth we know today. These

  14. Radiative transfer in CO2-rich atmospheres: 1. Collisional line mixing implies a colder early Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ozak, N.; Aharonson, O.; Halevy, I.

    2016-06-01

    Fast and accurate radiative transfer methods are essential for modeling CO2-rich atmospheres, relevant to the climate of early Earth and Mars, present-day Venus, and some exoplanets. Although such models already exist, their accuracy may be improved as better theoretical and experimental constraints become available. Here we develop a unidimensional radiative transfer code for CO2-rich atmospheres, using the correlated k approach and with a focus on modeling early Mars. Our model differs from existing models in that it includes the effects of CO2 collisional line mixing in the calculation of the line-by-line absorption coefficients. Inclusion of these effects results in model atmospheres that are more transparent to infrared radiation and, therefore, in colder surface temperatures at radiative-convective equilibrium, compared with results of previous studies. Inclusion of water vapor in the model atmosphere results in negligible warming due to the low atmospheric temperatures under a weaker early Sun, which translate into climatically unimportant concentrations of water vapor. Overall, the results imply that sustained warmth on early Mars would not have been possible with an atmosphere containing only CO2 and water vapor, suggesting that other components of the early Martian climate system are missing from current models or that warm conditions were not long lived.

  15. Atmospheric Loss and Warming Of The Early Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Airapetian, V.; Gronoff, G.; Grocer, A.; Khazanov, G. V.; Hébrard, E.

    2016-12-01

    Today Mars represents an inhospitable world with a thin 6-mbar atmosphere that cannot support surface water. Current evidence suggests that the early Mars was a wet and at least somewhat warmer world that could support life. How hospitable Mars was for life? The atmospheric evolution of Mars over the last 4 billion years was affected by the rate of atmospheric loss and the chemical changes induced by space weather events from the evolving Sun and the planet's early outgassing history. We apply our atmospheric model enhanced with chemistry that describes photo-collisional dissociation and ionization of molecular nitrogen and carbon dioxide rich atmosphere of the early Mars due to XUV emission and penetration of energetic protons accelerated in extended shock waves driven by super Carrington events from the young Sun. We calculate the rate of atmospheric loss of oxygen ions from the atmosphere of early Mars to be 200 kg/s. This suggests that the early Martian atmosphere was subject to significant erosion, which implies the large rate of outgassing due to tectonic and volcanic activity. We also show that energetic protons produce multiple generations of secondary electrons that contribute to the destruction of N2 into reactive nitrogen, and the subsequent destruction of CO2 and CH4 efficiently producing N2O, a powerful greenhouse gas. The efficient production of nitrous oxide in the Martian troposphere can explain the longstanding problem of the Faint Young Sun paradox for Mars.

  16. Runaway greenhouse atmospheres: Applications to Earth and Venus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kasting, James F.

    1991-01-01

    Runaway greenhouse atmospheres are discussed from a theoretical standpoint and with respect to various practical situation in which they might occur. The following subject areas are covered: (1) runaway greenhouse atmospheres; (2) moist greenhouse atmospheres; (3) loss of water from Venus; (4) steam atmosphere during accretion; and (5) the continuously habitable zone.

  17. The Third Tibetan Plateau Atmospheric Scientific Experiment for Understanding the Earth-Atmosphere Coupled System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, P.; Xu, X.; Chen, F.; Guo, X.; Zheng, X.; Liu, L. P.; Hong, Y.; Li, Y.; La, Z.; Peng, H.; Zhong, L. Z.; Ma, Y.; Tang, S. H.; Liu, Y.; Liu, H.; Li, Y. H.; Zhang, Q.; Hu, Z.; Sun, J. H.; Zhang, S.; Dong, L.; Zhang, H.; Zhao, Y.; Yan, X.; Xiao, A.; Wan, W.; Zhou, X.

    2016-12-01

    The Third Tibetan Plateau atmospheric scientific experiment (TIPEX-III) was initiated jointly by the China Meteorological Administration, the National Natural Scientific Foundation, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This paper presents the background, scientific objectives, and overall experimental design of TIPEX-III. It was designed to conduct an integrated observation of the earth-atmosphere coupled system over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) from land surface, planetary boundary layer (PBL), troposphere, and stratosphere for eight to ten years by coordinating ground- and air-based measurement facilities for understanding spatial heterogeneities of complex land-air interactions, cloud-precipitation physical processes, and interactions between troposphere and stratosphere. TIPEX-III originally began in 2014, and is ongoing. It established multiscale land-surface and PBL observation networks over the TP and a tropospheric meteorological radiosonde network over the western TP, and executed an integrated observation mission for cloud-precipitation physical features using ground-based radar systems and aircraft campaigns and an observation task for atmospheric ozone, aerosol, and water vapor. The archive, management, and share policy of the observation data are also introduced herein. Some TIPEX-III data have been preliminarily applied to analyze the features of surface sensible and latent heat fluxes, cloud-precipitation physical processes, and atmospheric water vapor and ozone over the TP, and to improve the local precipitation forecast. Furthermore, TIPEX-III intends to promote greater scientific and technological cooperation with international research communities and broader organizations. Scientists working internationally are invited to participate in the field campaigns and to use the TIPEX-III data for their own research.

  18. Workshop on Early Crustal Genesis: Implications from Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phinney, W. C. (Compiler)

    1981-01-01

    Ways to foster increased study of the early evolution of the Earth, considering the planet as a whole, were explored and recommendations were made to NASA with the intent of exploring optimal ways for integrating Archean studies with problems of planetary evolution. Major themes addressed include: (1) Archean contribution to constraints for modeling planetary evolution; (2) Archean surface conditions and processes as clues to early planetary history; and (3) Archean evidence for physical, chemical and isotopic transfer processes in early planetary crusts. Ten early crustal evolution problems are outlined.

  19. Environmental Consequences of Big Nasty Impacts on the Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zahnle, Kevin

    2015-01-01

    The geological record of the Archean Earth is spattered with impact spherules from a dozen or so major cosmic collisions involving Earth and asteroids or comets (Lowe, Byerly 1986, 2015). Extrapolation of the documented deposits suggests that most of these impacts were as big or bigger than the Chicxulub event that famously ended the reign of the thunder lizards. As the Archean impacts were greater, the environmental effects were also greater. The number and magnitude of the impacts is bounded by the lunar record. There are no lunar craters bigger than Chicxulub that date to Earth's mid-to-late Archean. Chance dictates that Earth experienced no more than approximately 10 impacts bigger than Chicxulub between 2.5 billion years and 3.5 billion years, the biggest of which were approximately 30-100 times more energetic, comparable to the Orientale impact on the Moon (1x10 (sup 26) joules). To quantify the thermal consequences of big impacts on old Earth, we model the global flow of energy from the impact into the environment. The model presumes that a significant fraction of the impact energy goes into ejecta that interact with the atmosphere. Much of this energy is initially in rock vapor, melt, and high speed particles. (i) The upper atmosphere is heated by ejecta as they reenter the atmosphere. The mix of hot air, rock vapor, and hot silicates cools by thermal radiation. Rock raindrops fall out as the upper atmosphere cools. (ii) The energy balance of the lower atmosphere is set by radiative exchange with the upper atmosphere and with the surface, and by evaporation of seawater. Susequent cooling is governed by condensation of water vapor. (iii) The oceans are heated by thermal radiation and rock rain and cooled by evaporation. Surface waters become hot and salty; if a deep ocean remains it is relatively cool. Subsequently water vapor condenses to replenish the oceans with hot fresh water (how fresh depending on continental weathering, which might be rather rapid

  20. Environmental Consequences of Big Nasty Impacts on the Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zahnle, Kevin

    2015-01-01

    The geological record of the Archean Earth is spattered with impact spherules from a dozen or so major cosmic collisions involving Earth and asteroids or comets (Lowe, Byerly 1986, 2015). Extrapolation of the documented deposits suggests that most of these impacts were as big or bigger than the Chicxulub event that famously ended the reign of the thunder lizards. As the Archean impacts were greater, the environmental effects were also greater. The number and magnitude of the impacts is bounded by the lunar record. There are no lunar craters bigger than Chicxulub that date to Earth's mid-to-late Archean. Chance dictates that Earth experienced no more than approximately 10 impacts bigger than Chicxulub between 2.5 billion years and 3.5 2.5 billion years, the biggest of which were approximately30-100 times more energetic, comparable to the Orientale impact on the Moon (1x10 (sup 26) joules). To quantify the thermal consequences of big impacts on old Earth, we model the global flow of energy from the impact into the environment. The model presumes that a significant fraction of the impact energy goes into ejecta that interact with the atmosphere. Much of this energy is initially in rock vapor, melt, and high speed particles. (i) The upper atmosphere is heated by ejecta as they reenter the atmosphere. The mix of hot air, rock vapor, and hot silicates cools by thermal radiation. Rock raindrops fall out as the upper atmosphere cools. (ii) The energy balance of the lower atmosphere is set by radiative exchange with the upper atmosphere and with the surface, and by evaporation of seawater. Susequent cooling is governed by condensation of water vapor. (iii) The oceans are heated by thermal radiation and rock rain and cooled by evaporation. Surface waters become hot and salty; if a deep ocean remains it is relatively cool. Subsequently water vapor condenses to replenish the oceans with hot fresh water (how fresh depending on continental weathering, which might be rather rapid

  1. Environmental Consequences of Big Nasty Impacts on the Early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zahnle, K. J.

    2015-12-01

    The geological record of the Archean Earth is spattered with impact spherules from a dozen or so major cosmic collisions involving Earth and asteroids or comets (Lowe, Byerly 1986, 2015). Extrapolation of the documented deposits suggests that most of these impacts were as big or bigger than the Chicxulub event that famously ended the reign of the thunder lizards. As the Archean impacts were greater, the environmental effects were also greater. The number and magnitude of the impacts is bounded by the lunar record. There are no lunar craters bigger than Chicxulub that date to Earth's mid-to-late Archean. Chance dictates that Earth experienced ~10 impacts bigger than Chicxulub between 2.5 Ga and 3.5 Ga, the biggest of which were ~30-100X more energetic than Chicxulub. To quantify the thermal consequences of big impacts on old Earth, we model the global flow of energy from the impact into the environment. The model presumes that a significant fraction of the impact energy goes into ejecta that interact with the atmosphere. Much of this energy is initially in rock vapor, melt, and high speed particles. (i) The upper atmosphere is heated by ejecta as they reenter the atmosphere. The mix of hot air, rock vapor, and hot silicates cools by thermal radiation. Rock raindrops fall out as the upper atmosphere cools. (ii) The energy balance of the lower atmosphere is set by radiative exchange with the upper atmosphere and with the surface, and by evaporation of seawater. Susequent cooling is governed by condensation of water vapor. (iii) The oceans are heated by thermal radiation and rock rain and cooled by evaporation. Surface waters become hot and salty; if a deep ocean remains it is relatively cool. Subsequently water vapor condenses to replenish the oceans with hot fresh water (how fresh depending on continental weathering, which might be rather rapid under the circumstances). (iv) The surface temperature of dry land is presumed to be the same as the lower atmosphere. A

  2. A petrological view of early Earth geodynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herzberg, C.

    2003-04-01

    primary magmas contained 14 to 22% MgO, similar to Reykjanes MORB, Gorgona, Hawaii, and the early Icelandic plume in the model of Herzberg & O'Hara (2002). However, a few xenoliths record T_P as low as 1300oC. Two geodynamic interpretations follow: 1) Archean cratonic mantle formed as residues below ridges and hotspots similar to those of today, except the lithosphere was somewhat thinner in some cases, 2) Archean cratonic mantle formed as residues below hot ridges in most cases. Early Proterozoic sheeted dikes and eruptives from the Cape Smith Belt in Canada are consistent with the hot ridge interpretation. Ridge potential temperatures could have been 1520-1570oC, higher than modern ridges (1300-1450oC) but similar to those for the Gorgona and early Tertiary Icelandic plumes.

  3. Pathways to Earth-like atmospheres. Extreme ultraviolet (EUV)-powered escape of hydrogen-rich protoatmospheres.

    PubMed

    Lammer, Helmut; Kislyakova, K G; Odert, P; Leitzinger, M; Schwarz, R; Pilat-Lohinger, E; Kulikov, Yu N; Khodachenko, M L; Güdel, M; Hanslmeier, M

    2011-12-01

    We discuss the evolution of the atmosphere of early Earth and of terrestrial exoplanets which may be capable of sustaining liquid water oceans and continents where life may originate. The formation age of a terrestrial planet, its mass and size, as well as the lifetime in the EUV-saturated early phase of its host star play a significant role in its atmosphere evolution. We show that planets even in orbits within the habitable zone of their host stars might not lose nebular- or catastrophically outgassed initial protoatmospheres completely and could end up as water worlds with CO2 and hydrogen- or oxygen-rich upper atmospheres. If an atmosphere of a terrestrial planet evolves to an N2-rich atmosphere too early in its lifetime, the atmosphere may be lost. We show that the initial conditions set up by the formation of a terrestrial planet and by the evolution of the host star's EUV and plasma environment are very important factors owing to which a planet may evolve to a habitable world. Finally we present a method for studying the discussed atmosphere evolution hypotheses by future UV transit observations of terrestrial exoplanets.

  4. Terrestrial production vs. extraterrestrial delivery of prebiotic organics to the early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chyba, C. F.; Sagan, C.; Thomas, P. J.; Brookshaw, L.

    1991-01-01

    A comprehensive treatment of comet/asteroid interaction with the atmosphere, ensuring surface impact, and resulting organic pyrolysis is required to determine whether more than a negligible fraction of the organics in incident comets and asteroids actually survived collision with Earth. Results of such an investigation, using a smoothed particle hydrodynamic simulation of cometary and asteroidal impacts into both oceans and rock, demonstrate that organics will not survive impacts at velocities approx. greater than 10 km s(exp -1), and that even comets and asteroids as small as 100m in radius cannot be aerobraked to below this velocity in 1 bar atmospheres. However, for plausible dense (10 bar CO2) early atmospheres, there will be sufficient aerobraking during atmospheric passage for some organics to survive the ensuing impact. Combining these results with analytical fits to the lunar impact record shows that 4.5 Gyr ago Earth was accreting at least approx. 10(exp 6) kg yr(exp 1) of intact cometary organics, a flux which thereafter declined with a approx. 100 Myr half-life. The extent to which this influx was augmented by asteroid impacts, as well as the effect of more careful modelling of a variety of conservative approximations, is currently being quantified. These results may be placed in context by comparison with in situ organic production from a variety of terrestrial energy sources, as well as organic delivery by interplanetary dust. Which source dominated the early terrestrial prebiotic inventory is found to depend on the nature of the early terrestrial atmosphere. However, there is an intriguing symmetry: it is exactly those dense CO2 atmospheres where in situ atmospheric production of organic molecules should be the most difficult, in which intact cometary organics would be delivered in large amounts.

  5. 3D climate-carbon modelling of the early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Charnay, B.; Le Hir, G.; Fluteau, F.; Forget, F.; Catling, D.

    2017-09-01

    We revisit the climate and carbon cycle of the early Earth at 3.8 Ga using a 3D climate-carbon model. Our resultsfavor cold or temperate climates with global mean temperatures between around 8°C (281 K) and 30°C (303 K) and with 0.1-0.36 bar of CO2 for the late Hadean and early Archean.

  6. The origin and early evolution of life on earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oro, J.; Miller, Stanley L.; Lazcano, Antonio

    1990-01-01

    Results of the studies that have provided insights into the cosmic and primitive earth environments are reviewed with emphasis on those environments in which life is thought to have originated. The evidence bearing on the antiquity of life on the earth and the prebiotic significance of organic compounds found in interstellar clouds and in primitive solar-system bodies such as comets, dark asteroids, and carbonaceous chondrites are assessed. The environmental models of the Hadean and early Archean earth are discussed, as well as the prebiotic formation of organic monomers and polymers essential to life. The processes that may have led to the appearance in the Archean of the first cells are considered, and possible effects of these processes on the early steps of biological evolution are analyzed. The significance of these results to the study of the distribution of life in the universe is evaluated.

  7. Early Life on Earth and the Search for Extraterrestrial Biosignatures

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oehler, Dorothy Z.; House, Christopher

    2014-01-01

    In the last 2 years, scientists within the ARES Directorate at JSC have applied the technology of Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) to individual organic structures preserved in Archean (approximately 3 billion years old) sediments on Earth. These organic structures are among the oldest on Earth that may be microfossils - structurally preserved remnants of ancient microbes. The SIMS work was done to determine the microfossils' stable carbon isotopic composition (delta C-13 values). This is the first time that such ancient, potential microfossils have been successfully analyzed for their individual delta C-13 values. The results support the interpretation that these structures are remnants of early life on Earth and that they may represent planktonic organisms that were widely distributed in the Earth's earliest oceans. This study has been accepted for publication in the journal Geology.

  8. The fate of the hydroxyl radical in the earth's primitive atmosphere and implications for the production of molecular oxygen

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vander Wood, T. B.; Thiemens, M. H.

    1980-01-01

    Behavior of the hydroxyl radical produced by the photolysis of water vapor in the earth's early atmosphere is examined. Because of the substantial OH radical reactivity with trace species (CO, HCl, SO2, H2S, NH3, and CH4) the formation of molecular oxygen may be prevented, even at a trace species mixing ratio. The photolysis rate of H2O, with corrections for hydrogen exospheric escape, is capable of describing the oxidation of the atmosphere and crust but may not be used to determine the rate of molecular oxygen generation without consideration of the various OH-trace species reactions.

  9. Early differentiation of the Earth and the Moon.

    PubMed

    Bourdon, Bernard; Touboul, Mathieu; Caro, Guillaume; Kleine, Thorsten

    2008-11-28

    We examine the implications of new 182W and 142Nd data for Mars and the Moon for the early evolution of the Earth. The similarity of 182W in the terrestrial and lunar mantles and their apparently differing Hf/W ratios indicate that the Moon-forming giant impact most probably took place more than 60Ma after the formation of calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions (4.568Gyr). This is not inconsistent with the apparent U-Pb age of the Earth. The new 142Nd data for Martian meteorites show that Mars probably has a super-chondritic Sm/Nd that could coincide with that of the Earth and the Moon. If this is interpreted by an early mantle differentiation event, this requires a buried enriched reservoir for the three objects. This is highly unlikely. For the Earth, we show, based on new mass-balance calculations for Nd isotopes, that the presence of a hidden reservoir is difficult to reconcile with the combined 142Nd-143Nd systematics of the Earth's mantle. We argue that a likely possibility is that the missing component was lost during or prior to accretion. Furthermore, the 142Nd data for the Moon that were used to argue for the solidification of the magma ocean at ca 200Myr are reinterpreted. Cumulate overturn, magma mixing and melting following lunar magma ocean crystallization at 50-100Myr could have yielded the 200Myr model age.

  10. Monitoring the Earth's Atmosphere with the Global IMS Infrasound Network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brachet, Nicolas; Brown, David; Mialle, Pierrick; Le Bras, Ronan; Coyne, John; Given, Jeffrey

    2010-05-01

    , they represent valuable data for other civil applications like monitoring of natural hazards (volcanic activity, storm tracking) and climate change. Non-noise detections are used in network processing at the IDC along with seismic and hydroacoustic technologies. The arrival phases detected on the three waveform technologies may be combined and used for locating events in an automatically generated bulletin of events. This automatic event bulletin is routinely reviewed by analysts during the interactive review process. However, the fusion of infrasound data with the other waveform technologies has only recently (in early 2010) become part of the IDC operational system, after a software development and testing period that began in 2004. The build-up of the IMS infrasound network, the recent developments of the IDC infrasound software, and the progress accomplished during the last decade in the domain of real-time atmospheric modelling have allowed better understanding of infrasound signals and identification of a growing data set of ground-truth sources. These infragenic sources originate from natural or man-made sources. Some of the detected signals are emitted by local or regional phenomena recorded by a single IMS infrasound station: man-made cultural activity, wind farms, aircraft, artillery exercises, ocean surf, thunderstorms, rumbling volcanoes, iceberg calving, aurora, avalanches. Other signals may be recorded by several IMS infrasound stations at larger distances: ocean swell, sonic booms, and mountain associated waves. Only a small fraction of events meet the event definition criteria considering the Treaty verification mission of the Organization. Candidate event types for the IDC Reviewed Event Bulletin include atmospheric or surface explosions, meteor explosions, rocket launches, signals from large earthquakes and explosive volcanic eruptions.

  11. Modeling of atmospheric-coupled Rayleigh waves on planets with atmosphere: From Earth observation to Mars and Venus perspectives.

    PubMed

    Lognonné, Philippe; Karakostas, Foivos; Rolland, Lucie; Nishikawa, Yasuhiro

    2016-08-01

    Acoustic coupling between solid Earth and atmosphere has been observed since the 1960s, first from ground-based seismic, pressure, and ionospheric sensors and since 20 years with various satellite measurements, including with global positioning system (GPS) satellites. This coupling leads to the excitation of the Rayleigh surface waves by local atmospheric sources such as large natural explosions from volcanoes, meteor atmospheric air-bursts, or artificial explosions. It contributes also in the continuous excitation of Rayleigh waves and associated normal modes by atmospheric winds and pressure fluctuations. The same coupling allows the observation of Rayleigh waves in the thermosphere most of the time through ionospheric monitoring with Doppler sounders or GPS. The authors review briefly in this paper observations made on Earth and describe the general frame of the theory enabling the computation of Rayleigh waves for models of telluric planets with atmosphere. The authors then focus on Mars and Venus and give in both cases the atmospheric properties of the Rayleigh normal modes and associated surface waves compared to Earth. The authors then conclude on the observation perspectives especially for Rayleigh waves excited by atmospheric sources on Mars and for remote ionospheric observations of Rayleigh waves excited by quakes on Venus.

  12. Oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere and its impact on the evolution of nitrogen-based metabolisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Papineau, D.; Mojzsis, S. J.

    2002-12-01

    The evolution of metabolic pathways is closely linked to the evolution of the redox state of the terrestrial atmosphere. Nitrogen has been an essential biological element since the emergence of life when reduced nitrogen compounds (e.g. ammonia) were utilized in the prebiotic synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids. The nitrogen isotopic composition of sediments has been used to trace the origin of sedimentary organic matter in the rock record. Nitrogen is therefore suitable as a biosignature to trace the emergence of life on Earth or other planetary bodies as well as to follow the subsequent evolution of the biosphere in response to global redox changes. Evidence is strong that biological nitrogen fixation evolved very early in the history of life. The Last Common Ancestor (LCA) on Earth was most likely capable of nitrogen fixation as seen from the phylogenetic distribution of nitrogen-fixing organisms in both the domains of Bacteria and Archaea. Phylogenetic trees plotted with nitrogen-fixing gene (Nif) sequences from lineages of Bacteria and Archaea suggest that the Nif genes originated in a common ancestor of the two domains. Other phylogenetic analyses have also demonstrated that the paralogous duplication of the nifDK and nifEN operons, central to nitrogen fixation, predated the divergence of Archaea from Bacteria and therefore occurred prior to the emergence of the LCA. Although the same may be true for denitrification, this metabolic pathway probably did not become dominant until atmospheric pO2 increased between ~2.4 to 1.9 Ga during the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE). Recent work has shown a general depletion in 15N content of Archean (pre-2.5 Ga) relative to Phanerozoic (<540 Ma) kerogens. Studies have shown that the distribution of the δ15N values in kerogens shift from negative values in the Early Archean (from -6 to +6‰ with an average near 0‰ ) to approximately contemporary positive values (from +2 to +10‰ with an average at +6‰ ) by the

  13. Meteors as a Delivery Vehicle for Organic Matter to the Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jenniskens, Peter; DeVincenzi, D. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Only in recent years has a concerted effort been made to study the circumstances under which extraterrestrial organic matter is accreted on Earth by way of meteors. Meteors are the luminous phenomena associated with the (partial) ablation of meteoric matter and represent the dominant pathway from space to Earth, with the possible exception of rare giant impacts of asteroids and comets. Meteors dominated the supply of organics to the early Earth if organic matter survived this pathway efficiently. Moreover, meteors are a source of kinetic energy that can convert inert atmospheric gases such as CO, N, and H2O into useful compounds, such as HCN and NO. Understanding these processes relies heavily on empirical evidence that is still very limited. Here I report on the observations in hand and discuss their relevance in the context of the origin of life.

  14. An upper limit on Early Mars atmospheric pressure from small ancient craters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kite, E. S.; Williams, J.; Lucas, A.; Aharonson, O.

    2012-12-01

    Planetary atmospheres brake, ablate, and disrupt small asteroids and comets, filtering out small hypervelocity surface impacts and causing fireballs, airblasts, meteors, and meteorites. Hypervelocity craters <1 km diameter on Earth are typically caused by irons (because stones are more likely to break up), and the smallest hypervelocity craters near sea-level on Earth are ~20 m in diameter. 'Zap pits' as small as 30 microns are known from the airless moon, but the other airy worlds show the effects of progressively thicker atmospheres:- the modern Mars atmosphere is marginally capable of removing >90% of the kinetic energy of >240 kg iron impactors; Titan's paucity of small craters is consistent with a model predicting atmospheric filtering of craters smaller than 6-8km; and on Venus, craters below ~20 km diameter are substantially depleted. Changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration are believed to be the single most important control on Mars climate evolution and habitability. Existing data requires an early epoch of massive atmospheric loss to space; suggests that the present-day rate of escape to space is small; and offers only limited evidence for carbonate formation. Existing evidence has not led to convergence of atmosphere-evolution models, which must balance poorly understood fluxes from volcanic degassing, surface weathering, and escape to space. More direct measurements are required in order to determine the history of CO2 concentrations. Wind erosion and tectonics exposes ancient surfaces on Mars, and the size-frequency distribution of impacts on these surfaces has been previously suggested as a proxy time series of Mars atmospheric thickness. We will present a new upper limit on Early Mars atmospheric pressure using the size-frequency distribution of 20-100m diameter ancient craters in Aeolis Dorsa, validated using HiRISE DTMs, in combination with Monte Carlo simulations of the effect of paleo-atmospheres of varying thickness on the crater flux. These

  15. Noble gas Records of Early Evolution of the Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ozima, M.; Podoesk, F. A.

    2001-12-01

    Comparison between atmospheric noble gases (except for He) and solar (or meteoritic) noble gases clearly suggests that the Earth should have much more Xe than is present in air, and thus that up to about 90 percent of terrestrial Xe is missing from the Earth (1). In this report, we discuss implications of these observations on I-Pu chronology of the Earth and on the origin of terrestrial He3. Whetherill (2) first noted that an estimated I129/I127 ratio (3x10-6) in the proto-Earth was about two orders of magnitude smaller than values commonly observed in meteorites (10-4), and pointed out the possibility that Earth formation postdated meteorites by about 100Ma. Ozima and Podosek (1999) came to a similar conclusion on the basis of I129/I127-Pu244/U238 systematics (1). In this report, we reexamine I-Pu systematics with new data for crustal I content (295 ppb for a bulk crust, (3)). With imposition of an estimated value of 86 percent missing Xe as a constraint on terrestrial Xe inventory, we conclude that the best estimate for a formation age of the Earth is about 28Ma after the initial condensation of the solar nebula (at 4.57Ga). The formation age thus estimated is significantly later than the generally assumed age of meteorites. We also argue from the I-Pu systematics that the missing Xe became missing place about 120Ma after Earth formation. Assuming that the Earth is mostly degassed, the I-Pu formation age of the Earth can be reasonably assumed to represent a whole Earth event. Therefore, we interpret that the I-Pu age of the Earth represents the time when the Earth started to retain noble gases. More specifically, this may correspond to the time when the proto-Earth attained a sufficient size to exert the necessary gravitational force. A giant impact could be another possibility, but it remains to be seen whether or not a giant impact could quantitatively remove heavier noble gases from the Earth. It is interesting to speculate that missing Xe was sequestered in

  16. Impact of atmospheric refraction: how deeply can we probe exo-earth's atmospheres during primary eclipse observations?

    SciT

    Bétrémieux, Yan; Kaltenegger, Lisa, E-mail: betremieux@mpia.de

    2014-08-10

    Most models used to predict or fit exoplanet transmission spectra do not include all the effects of atmospheric refraction. Namely, the angular size of the star with respect to the planet can limit the lowest altitude, or highest density and pressure, probed during primary eclipses as no rays passing below this critical altitude can reach the observer. We discuss this geometrical effect of refraction for all exoplanets and tabulate the critical altitude, density, and pressure for an exoplanet identical to Earth with a 1 bar N{sub 2}/O{sub 2} atmosphere as a function of both the incident stellar flux (Venus, Earth,more » and Mars-like) at the top of the atmosphere and the spectral type (O5-M9) of the host star. We show that such a habitable exo-Earth can be probed to a surface pressure of 1 bar only around the coolest stars. We present 0.4-5.0 μm model transmission spectra of Earth's atmosphere viewed as a transiting exoplanet, and show how atmospheric refraction modifies the transmission spectrum depending on the spectral type of the host star. We demonstrate that refraction is another phenomenon that can potentially explain flat transmission spectra over some spectral regions.« less

  17. Atmosphere, ocean, and land: Critical gaps in Earth system models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prinn, Ronald G.; Hartley, Dana

    1992-01-01

    We briefly review current knowledge and pinpoint some of the major areas of uncertainty for the following fundamental processes: (1) convection, condensation nuclei, and cloud formation; (2) oceanic circulation and its coupling to the atmosphere and cryosphere; (3) land surface hydrology and hydrology-vegetation coupling; (4) biogeochemistry of greenhouse gases; and (5) upper atmospheric chemistry and circulation.

  18. The role of impacts in the history of the early earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    French, Bevan M.

    1991-01-01

    The significant conclusions of a conference called 'Meteorite Impact and the Early Earth' are reported including data which support the notion that extraterrestrial impacts greatly influenced the development of the earth. The cratering of other planetary surfaces is discussed, and the energy added by meteorite impacts is characterized. The primary effects of large impacts are set forth in terms of atmospheric, oceanic, and biological considerations which suggest that the ramifications would have been significant. Contentious issues include the variation of impact rate with time in the early universe, the interpretation of the record of intense bombardment in the lunar highlands, and the effects related to alternative scenarios. Directions of future study are mentioned including the identification of terrestrial impact structures, conducting searches in the Archean, and assessing ancient impact rates.

  19. Thermochemistry and Photochemistry in Thick Atmospheres on Super Earths and Mini Neptunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, R.; Seager, S.

    2013-12-01

    Dectection and characterization of low-mass exoplanets is poised to accelerate in the coming decade. Some low-mass exoplanets, namely super Earths and some mini Neptunes, will likely have thick atmospheres that are not H2-dominated. We have developed a photochemistry-thermochemistry model for exploring the compositions of thick atmospheres on super Earths and mini Neptunes, applicable for both H2-dominated atmospheres and non-H2-dominated atmospheres. Using this model, we have simulated the molecular composition of thick atmospheres on warm and hot super Earths/mini Neptunes, and classified thick atmospheres into hydrogen-rich atmospheres, water-rich atmospheres, oxygen-rich atmospheres, and hydrocarbon-rich atmospheres, depending on the hydrogen abundance and the carbon to oxygen abundance ratio. We find that carbon has to be in the form of CO2 rather than CH4 or CO in an H2-depleted water-dominated thick atmosphere, and that the preferred loss of light elements from an oxygen-poor carbon-rich atmosphere leads to formation of unsaturated hydrocarbons. For future observations, we find for GJ 1214b that (1) C2H2 features at 1.0 and 1.5 μm in transmission are diagnostic for hydrocarbon-rich atmospheres; (2) a constraint on the thermal emission at 4.5 μm could differentiate water-rich atmospheres versus hydrocarbon-rich atmospheres; (3) a detection of water-vapor features and a confirmation of nonexistence of methane features would provide sufficient evidence for a water-dominated atmosphere. For a hot super Earth like 55 Cnc e, the diagnostic features of water-rich atmospheres (H2O) and the diagnostic features of hydrocarbon-rich atmospheres (CO and C2H2) are well separated in transmission spectra at 0.6-5 μm, which would enable straightforward characterization. In general, our simulations show that chemical stability has to be taken into account when interpreting the spectrum of a super Earth/mini Neptune. Theoretical transmission spectra and thermal emission

  20. Accretion and differentiation of carbon in the early Earth.

    PubMed

    Tingle, T N

    1998-05-15

    The abundance of C in carbonaceous and ordinary chondrites decreases exponentially with increasing shock pressure as inferred from the petrologic shock classification of Scott et al. [Scott, E.R.D., Keil, K., Stoffler, D., 1992. Shock metamorphism of carbonaceous chondrites. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 56, 4281-4293] and Stoffler et al. [Stoffler, D., Keil, K., Scott, E.R.D., 1991. Shock metamorphism of ordinary chondrites. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 55, 3845-3867]. This confirms the experimental results of Tyburczy et al. [Tyburczy, J.A., Frisch, B., Ahrens, T.J., 1986. Shock-induced volatile loss from a carbonaceous chondrite: implications for planetary accretion. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 80, 201-207] on shock-induced devolatization of the Murchison meteorite showing that carbonaceous chondrites appear to be completely devolatilized at impact velocities greater than 2 km s-1. Both of these results suggest that C incorporation would have been most efficient in the early stages of accretion, and that the primordial C content of the Earth was between 10(24) and 10(25) g C (1-10% efficiency of incorporation). This estimate agrees well with the value of 3-7 x 10(24) g C based on the atmospheric abundance of 36Ar and the chondritic C/36Ar (Marty and Jambon, 1987). Several observations suggest that C likely was incorporated into the Earth's core during accretion. (1) Graphite and carbides are commonly present in iron meteorites, and those iron meteorites with Widmanstatten patterns reflecting the slowest cooling rates (mostly Group I and IIIb) contain the highest C abundances. The C abundance-cooling rate correlation is consistent with dissolution of C into Fe-Ni liquids that segregated to form the cores of the iron meteorite parent bodies. (2) The carbon isotopic composition of graphite in iron meteorites exhibits a uniform value of -5% [Deines, P., Wickman, F.E. 1973. The isotopic composition of 'graphitic' carbon from iron meteorites and some remarks on the troilitic

  1. Mineral remains of early life on Earth? On Mars?

    Iberall, Robbins E.; Iberall, A.S.

    1991-01-01

    The oldest sedimentary rocks on Earth, the 3.8-Ga Isua Iron-Formation in southwestern Greenland, are metamorphosed past the point where organic-walled fossils would remain. Acid residues and thin sections of these rocks reveal ferric microstructures that have filamentous, hollow rod, and spherical shapes not characteristic of crystalline minerals. Instead, they resemble ferric-coated remains of bacteria. Because there are no earlier sedimentary rocks to study on Earth, it may be necessary to expand the search elsewhere in the solar system for clues to any biotic precursors or other types of early life. A study of morphologies of iron oxide minerals collected in the southern highlands during a Mars sample return mission may therefore help to fill in important gaps in the history of Earth's earliest biosphere. -from Authors

  2. Atmospheric Neutrinos as a Tool for Exploring the Earth's Inner Parts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naumov, P. Yu.; Sinev, V. V.

    2017-11-01

    Investigation of the Earth's inner parts requires developing new methods. It is well known that atmospheric neutrinos traverse the Earth, undergoing virtually no interaction. The change in the neutrino flux is due exclusively to neutrino oscillations, which are enhanced by the effect of Earth's matter. At the present time, there are two projects outside Russia (PINGU and ORCA) that are aimed at detecting atmospheric neutrinos that traversed the Earth, which are supposed to be used for purposes of Earth's tomography. The creation of a large neutrino detector on the basis of a liquid scintillator is planned at the BaksanNeutrino Observatory (Institute for Nuclear Research, Russian Academy of Sciences) in the North Caucasus. After testing this detector, there will arise the possibility of employing it as part of the worldwide network of neutrino detectors for studying the Earth's inner parts.

  3. Our life is protected by the Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field: what aurora research tells us.

    PubMed

    Kamide, Y

    2001-01-01

    Our sun is an average middle-aged star. Without the sun, there would be no atmosphere, no water, and no life on the Earth. The sun is constantly changing, providing the Earth with energy through a complicated chain of processes that occur in space surrounding the Earth. This paper demonstrates that life on Earth is protected by two barriers, i.e., the atmosphere and the magnetic field, against otherwise menacing events in space. Because of these shielding effects, we, peacefully sitting on the Earth's surface, are not aware of a number of critical and potentially dangerous episodes that are taking place only 100 km above the Earth's surface. The aurora, which dances in the polar sky also because of the two barriers, is sending us a crucial hint about what is happening in space.

  4. Determining How Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentrations Have Changed during the History of the Earth

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Badger, Marcus P. S.; Pancost, Richard D.; Harrison, Timothy G.

    2011-01-01

    The reconstruction of ancient atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is essential to understanding the history of the Earth and life. It is also an important guide to identifying the sensitivity of the Earth system to this greenhouse gas and, therefore, constraining its future impact on climate. However, determining the concentration of…

  5. Electrical energy sources for organic synthesis on the early earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chyba, Christopher; Sagan, Carl

    1991-01-01

    It is pointed out that much of the contemporary origin-of-life research uses the original estimates of Miller and Urey (1959) for terrestrial energy dissipation by lightning and coronal discharges being equal to 2 x 10 to the 19th J/yr and 6 x 10 to the 19th J/yr, respectively. However, data from experiments that provide analogues to naturally-occurring lightning and coronal discharges indicate that lightning energy yields for organic synthesis (nmole/J) are about one order of magnitude higher than the coronal discharge yields. This suggests that, on early earth, organic production by lightning may have dominated that due to coronal emission. New values are recommended for lightning and coronal discharge dissipation rates on the early earth, 1 x 10 to the 18th J/yr and 5 x 10 to the 17th J/yr, respectively.

  6. Photochemistry in terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres. III. Photochemistry and thermochemistry in thick atmospheres on super Earths and mini Neptunes

    SciT

    Hu, Renyu; Seager, Sara, E-mail: hury@caltech.edu

    Some super Earths and mini Neptunes will likely have thick atmospheres that are not H{sub 2}-dominated. We have developed a photochemistry-thermochemistry kinetic-transport model for exploring the compositions of thick atmospheres on super Earths and mini Neptunes, applicable for both H{sub 2}-dominated atmospheres and non-H{sub 2}-dominated atmospheres. Using this model to study thick atmospheres for wide ranges of temperatures and elemental abundances, we classify them into hydrogen-rich atmospheres, water-rich atmospheres, oxygen-rich atmospheres, and hydrocarbon-rich atmospheres. We find that carbon has to be in the form of CO{sub 2} rather than CH{sub 4} or CO in a H{sub 2}-depleted water-dominated thick atmospheremore » and that the preferred loss of light elements from an oxygen-poor carbon-rich atmosphere leads to the formation of unsaturated hydrocarbons (C{sub 2}H{sub 2} and C{sub 2}H{sub 4}). We apply our self-consistent atmosphere models to compute spectra and diagnostic features for known transiting low-mass exoplanets GJ 1214 b, HD 97658 b, and 55 Cnc e. For GJ 1214 b, we find that (1) C{sub 2}H{sub 2} features at 1.0 and 1.5 μm in transmission and C{sub 2}H{sub 2} and C{sub 2}H{sub 4} features at 9-14 μm in thermal emission are diagnostic for hydrocarbon-rich atmospheres; (2) a detection of water-vapor features and a confirmation of the nonexistence of methane features would provide sufficient evidence for a water-dominated atmosphere. In general, our simulations show that chemical stability has to be taken into account when interpreting the spectrum of a super Earth/mini Neptune. Water-dominated atmospheres only exist for carbon to oxygen ratios much lower than the solar ratio, suggesting that this kind of atmospheres could be rare.« less

  7. Peroxy defects in Rocks and H2O2 formation on the early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gray, A.; Balk, M.; Mason, P.; Freund, F.; Rothschild, L.

    2013-12-01

    An oxygen-rich atmosphere appears to have been a prerequisite for complex life to evolve on Earth and possibly elsewhere in the Universe. The question is still shrouded in uncertainty how free oxygen became available on the early Earth. Here we study processes of peroxy defects in silicate minerals which, upon weathering, generate mobilized electronic charge carriers resulting in oxygen formation in an initially anoxic subsurface environment. Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are precursors to molecular oxygen during this process. Due to their toxicity they may have strongly influenced the evolution of life. ROS are generated during hydrolysis of peroxy defects, which consist of pairs of oxygen anions. A second pathway for formation occurs during (bio) transformations of iron sulphide minerals. ROS are produced and consumed by intracellular and extracellular reactions of Fe, Mn, C, N, and S species. We propose that despite an overall reducing or neutral oxidation state of the macroenvironment and the absence of free O2 in the atmosphere, microorganisms on the early Earth had to cope with ROS in their microenvironments. They were thus under evolutionary pressure to develop enzymatic and other defenses against the potentially dangerous, even lethal effects of ROS and oxygen. We have investigated how oxygen might be released through weathering and test microorganisms in contact with rock surfaces. Our results show how early Life might have adapted to oxygen. Early microorganisms must have "trained" to detoxify ROS prior to the evolution of aerobic metabolism and oxygenic photosynthesis. A possible way out of this dilemma comes from a study of igneous and high-grade metamorphic rocks, whose minerals contain a small but significant fraction of oxygen anions in the valence state 1- , forming peroxy links of the type O3Si-OO-SiO3 [1, 2]. As water hydrolyzes the peroxy links hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, forms. Continued experimental discovery of H2O2 formation at rock

  8. Electrochemistry of Prebiotic Early Earth Hydrothermal Chimney Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hermis, N.; Barge, L. M.; Chin, K. B.; LeBlanc, G.; Cameron, R.

    2017-12-01

    Hydrothermal chimneys are self-organizing chemical garden precipitates generated from geochemical disequilibria within sea-vent environments, and have been proposed as a possible setting for the emergence of life because they contain mineral catalysts and transect ambient pH / Eh / chemical gradients [1]. We simulated the growth of hydrothermal chimneys in early Earth vent systems by using different hydrothermal simulants such as sodium sulfide (optionally doped with organic molecules) which were injected into an early Earth ocean simulant containing dissolved ferrous iron, nickel, and bicarbonate [2]. Chimneys on the early Earth would have constituted flow-through reactors, likely containing Fe/Ni-sulfide catalysts that could have driven proto-metabolic electrochemical reactions. The electrochemical activity of the chimney system was characterized non-invasively by placing electrodes at different locations across the chimney wall and in the ocean to analyze the bulk properties of surface charge potential in the chimney / ocean / hydrothermal fluid system. We performed in-situ characterization of the chimney using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) which allowed us to observe the changes in physio-chemical behavior of the system through electrical spectra of capacitance and impedance over a wide range of frequencies during the metal sulfide chimney growth. The electrochemical properties of hydrothermal chimneys in natural systems persist due to the disequilibria maintained between the ocean and hydrothermal fluid. When the injection in our experiment (analogous to fluid flow in a vent) stopped, we observed a corresponding decline in open circuit voltage across the chimney wall, though the impedance of the precipitate remained lor. Further work is needed to characterize the electrochemistry of simulated chimney systems by controlling response factors such as electrode geometry and environmental conditions, in order to simulate electrochemical reactions

  9. Acquisition and Early Losses of Rare Gases from the Deep Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Porcelli, D.; Cassen, P.; Woolum, D.; Wasserburg, G. J.

    1998-01-01

    Direct observations show that the deep Earth contains rare gases of solar composition distinct from those in the atmosphere. We examine the implications of mantle rare gas characteristics on acquisition of rare gases from the solar nebula and subsequent losses due to a large impact. Deep mantle rare gas concentrations and isotopic compositions can be obtained from a model of transport and distribution of mantle rare gases. This model assumes the lower mantle closed early, while the upper mantle is open to subduction from the atmosphere and mass transfer from the lower mantle. Constraints are derived that can be incorporated into models for terrestrial volatile acquisition: (1) Calculated lower-mantle Xe-isotopic ratios indicate that the fraction of radiogenic Xe produced by I-129 and Pu-244 during the first about 10(exp 8) yr was lost, a conclusion also drawn for atmospheric Xe. Thus, either the Earth was made from materials that had lost >99% of rare gases about (0.7-2) x 10(exp 8) yr after the solar system formed, or gases were then lost from the fully formed Earth. (2) Concentrations of 3He and 20Ne in the lower mantle were established after these losses. (3) Neon-isotopic data indicates that mantle Ne has solar composition. The model allows for solar Ar/Ne and Xe/Ne in the lower mantle if a dominant fraction of upper mantle Ar and Xe are subduction-derived. If Earth formed in the presence of the solar nebula, it could have been melted by accretional energy and the blanketing effect of a massive, nebula-derived atmosphere. Gases from this atmosphere would have been sequestered within the molten Earth by dissolution at the surface and downward mixing. It was found that too much Ne would be dissolved in the Earth unless the atmosphere began to escape when the Earth was only partially assembled. Here we consider conditions required to initially dissolve sufficient rare gases to account for the present lower mantle concentrations after subsequent losses at 10(exp 8

  10. The carbon cycle on early Earth--and on Mars?

    PubMed

    Grady, Monica M; Wright, Ian

    2006-10-29

    One of the goals of the present Martian exploration is to search for evidence of extinct (or even extant) life. This could be redefined as a search for carbon. The carbon cycle (or, more properly, cycles) on Earth is a complex interaction among three reservoirs: the atmosphere; the hydrosphere; and the lithosphere. Superimposed on this is the biosphere, and its presence influences the fixing and release of carbon in these reservoirs over different time-scales. The overall carbon balance is kept at equilibrium on the surface by a combination of tectonic processes (which bury carbon), volcanism (which releases it) and biology (which mediates it). In contrast to Earth, Mars presently has no active tectonic system; neither does it possess a significant biosphere. However, these observations might not necessarily have held in the past. By looking at how Earth's carbon cycles have changed with time, as both the Earth's tectonic structure and a more sophisticated biology have evolved, and also by constructing a carbon cycle for Mars based on the carbon chemistry of Martian meteorites, we investigate whether or not there is evidence for a Martian biosphere.

  11. Production and recycling of oceanic crust in the early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Thienen, P.; van den Berg, A. P.; Vlaar, N. J.

    2004-08-01

    Because of the strongly different conditions in the mantle of the early Earth regarding temperature and viscosity, present-day geodynamics cannot simply be extrapolated back to the early history of the Earth. We use numerical thermochemical convection models including partial melting and a simple mechanism for melt segregation and oceanic crust production to investigate an alternative suite of dynamics which may have been in operation in the early Earth. Our modelling results show three processes that may have played an important role in the production and recycling of oceanic crust: (1) Small-scale ( x×100 km) convection involving the lower crust and shallow upper mantle. Partial melting and thus crustal production takes place in the upwelling limb and delamination of the eclogitic lower crust in the downwelling limb. (2) Large-scale resurfacing events in which (nearly) the complete crust sinks into the (eventually lower) mantle, thereby forming a stable reservoir enriched in incompatible elements in the deep mantle. New crust is simultaneously formed at the surface from segregating melt. (3) Intrusion of lower mantle diapirs with a high excess temperature (about 250 K) into the upper mantle, causing massive melting and crustal growth. This allows for plumes in the Archean upper mantle with a much higher excess temperature than previously expected from theoretical considerations.

  12. Atmospheric Effect on Remote Sensing of the Earth's Surface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fraser, R. S.; Kaufman, Y. J. (Principal Investigator)

    1985-01-01

    Radiative transfer theory (RT) for an atmosphere with a nonuniform surface is the basis for understanding and correcting for the atmospheric effect on remote sensing of surface properties. In the present work the theory is generalized and tested successfully against laboratory and field measurements. There is still a need to generalize the RT approximation for off-nadir directions and to take into account anisotropic reflectance at the surface. The reflectance at the surface. The adjacency effect results in a significant modification of spectral signatures of the surface, and therefore results in modification of classifications, of separability of field classes, and of spatial resolution. For example, the 30 m resolution of the Thematic Mapper is reduced to 100 m by a hazy atmosphere. The adjacency effect depends on several optical parameters of aerosols: optical thickness, depth of aerosol layer, scattering phase function, and absorption. Remote sensing in general depends on these parameter, not just adjacency effects, but they are not known well enough for making accurate atmospheric corrections. It is important to establish methods for estimating these parameters in order to develop correction methods for atmospheric effects. Such estimations can be based on climatological data, which are not available yet, correlations between the optical parameters and meteorological data, and the same satellite measurements of radiances that are used for estimating surface properties. Knowledge about the atmospheric parameters important for remote sensing is being enlarged with current measurements of them.

  13. Development of the earth-moon system with implications for the geology of the early earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, J. V.

    1976-01-01

    Established facts regarding the basic features of the earth and the moon are reviewed, and some important problems involving the moon are discussed (extent of melting, time of crustal differentiation and nature of bombardment, bulk chemical composition, and nature and source of mare basins), with attention given to the various existing theories concerning these problems. Models of the development of the earth-moon system from the solar nebula are examined, with particular attention focused on those that use the concept of capture with disintegration. Impact processes in the early crust of the earth are briefly considered, with attention paid to Green's (1972) suggestion that Archaean greenstone belts may be the terrestrial equivalent of lunar maria.

  14. The persistent and pernicious myth of the early CO2-N2 atmospheres of terrestrial planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shaw, G. H.

    2009-12-01

    The accepted model for early atmospheres of terrestrial planets has settled on a CO2-N2 composition. Unfortunately, while it is largely based on a brilliant geological analysis by Rubey, there is no compelling evidence whatsoever for such a composition as the first “permanent” atmosphere for Earth or any other planet. In fact, geological discoveries of the past 50+ years reveal several problems with a CO2-N2 atmosphere, some of which Rubey recognized in his own analysis. He clearly addressed the problem of timing of degassing, concluding that early massive degassing of CO2 would produce readily observed and profound effects, which are not evident. Modeling and constraints on the timing of planetary accretion and core formation indicate massive early degassing. If early degassing emitted CO2-N2, the effects are concealed. Plate tectonic recycling is not a solution, as conditions would have persisted beyond the time of the earliest rocks, which do not show the effects. Attempts to return degassed CO2 to the mantle are not only ad hoc, but inconsistent with early thermal structure of the Earth. Second, production of prebiotic organic compounds from a CO2-N2 atmosphere has been a nagging problem. At best this has been addressed by invoking hydrogen production from the mantle to provide reducing capacity. While hydrogen may be emitted in volcanic eruptions, it is exceedingly difficult to imagine this process generating enough organics to yield high concentrations in a global ocean. The recent fashion of invoking organic synthesis at deep-sea vents suffers from the same problem: how to achieve sufficient concentrations of organics in a global ocean by abiotic synthesis when hydrothermal activity stirs the solution and carries the prebiotic products off to great dilution? Suggesting life began at deep-sea vents, and continues to carry on chemosynthesis there, begs the question. Unless you get high enough concentrations of prebiotics by abiotic processes, you simply

  15. The effects from high-altitude storm discharges in Earth atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kozak, L.; Odzimek, A.; Ivchenko, V.; Kozak, P.; Gala, I.; Lapchuk, V.

    2016-06-01

    The regularities of appearance of transient luminous effects in Earth atmosphere and features of their ground-based observations are considered. Using video-observations obtained in the Institution of Geophysics of Poland Academy of Sciences the energy of atmospheric afterglow from these processes in visual wavelength range has been determined. Calibrating curve was plotted using unfocal images of Vega. The star spectrum,atmosphere absorption coefficient and characteristics of the observational camera were used.

  16. Atmospheric Correction Prototype Algorithm for High Spatial Resolution Multispectral Earth Observing Imaging Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pagnutti, Mary

    2006-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the creation of a prototype algorithm for atmospheric correction using high spatial resolution earth observing imaging systems. The objective of the work was to evaluate accuracy of a prototype algorithm that uses satellite-derived atmospheric products to generate scene reflectance maps for high spatial resolution (HSR) systems. This presentation focused on preliminary results of only the satellite-based atmospheric correction algorithm.

  17. Cosmic Rays in the Earth's Atmosphere and Underground

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dorman, Lev I.

    2004-08-01

    This book consists of four parts. In the first part (Chapters 1-4) a full overview is given of the theoretical and experimental basis of Cosmic Ray (CR) research in the atmosphere and underground for Geophysics and Space Physics; the development of CR research and a short history of many fundamental discoveries, main properties of primary and secondary CR, methods of transformation of CR observation data in the atmosphere and underground to space, and the experimental basis of CR research underground and on the ground, on balloons and on satellites and space probes. The second part (Chapters 5-9) is devoted to the influence of atmospheric properties on CR, so called CR meteorological effects; pressure, temperature, humidity, snow, wind, gravitation, and atmospheric electric field effects. The inverse problem - the influence of CR properties on the atmosphere and atmospheric processes is considered in the third part (Chapters 10-14); influence on atmospheric, nuclear and chemical compositions, ionization and radio-wave propagation, formation of thunderstorms and lightning, clouds and climate change. The fourth part (Chapters 15-18) describes many realized and potential applications of CR research in different branches of Science and Technology; Meteorology and Aerodrome Service, Geology and Geophysical Prospecting, Hydrology and Agricultural Applications, Archaeology and Medicine, Seismology and Big Earthquakes Forecasting, Space Weather and Environment Monitoring/Forecasting. The book ends with a list providing more than 1,500 full references, a discussion on future developments and unsolved problems, as well as object and author indices. This book will be useful for experts in different branches of Science and Technology, and for students to be used as additional literature to text-books.

  18. Rapid oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere 2.33 billion years ago.

    PubMed

    Luo, Genming; Ono, Shuhei; Beukes, Nicolas J; Wang, David T; Xie, Shucheng; Summons, Roger E

    2016-05-01

    Molecular oxygen (O2) is, and has been, a primary driver of biological evolution and shapes the contemporary landscape of Earth's biogeochemical cycles. Although "whiffs" of oxygen have been documented in the Archean atmosphere, substantial O2 did not accumulate irreversibly until the Early Paleoproterozoic, during what has been termed the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE). The timing of the GOE and the rate at which this oxygenation took place have been poorly constrained until now. We report the transition (that is, from being mass-independent to becoming mass-dependent) in multiple sulfur isotope signals of diagenetic pyrite in a continuous sedimentary sequence in three coeval drill cores in the Transvaal Supergroup, South Africa. These data precisely constrain the GOE to 2.33 billion years ago. The new data suggest that the oxygenation occurred rapidly-within 1 to 10 million years-and was followed by a slower rise in the ocean sulfate inventory. Our data indicate that a climate perturbation predated the GOE, whereas the relationships among GOE, "Snowball Earth" glaciation, and biogeochemical cycling will require further stratigraphic correlation supported with precise chronologies and paleolatitude reconstructions.

  19. Is the ;Earth-ionosphere capacitor; a valid component in the atmospheric global electric circuit?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haldoupis, Christos; Rycroft, Michael; Williams, Earle; Price, Colin

    2017-11-01

    This paper examines whether the Earth-ionosphere capacitor (EIC) model is correct, by comparing observed atmospheric electrical properties with those expected for a spherical capacitor, as defined in electrostatics. The comparisons suggest that the EIC concept cannot be reconciled with, and hence cannot account for, the observations, particularly the rapid reduction of the atmospheric electric field with height that is measured. This means that the spherical EIC concept is incorrect by being too simplistic; it is thus misleading. The reason for this flawed concept is simple: the model disregards the non-uniform conductivity of the atmosphere which requires the presence of a net positive charge in the lower atmosphere that equals in magnitude the Earth's negative charge. This positive charge shields the action of the Earth's negative charge from polarizing the ionosphere positively. Thus, the lower D region ionosphere remains electrically neutral, which makes the EIC concept inappropriate.

  20. Evaluation of upwelling infrared radiance from earth's atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gupta, S. K.; Tiwari, S. N.

    1975-01-01

    Basic equations for calculating the upwelling atmospheric radiation are presented which account for various sources of radiation coming out at the top of the atmosphere. The theoretical formulation of the transmittance models (line-by-line and quasi-random band model) and the computational procedures used for the evaluation of the transmittance and radiance are discussed in detail. By employing the Lorentz line-by-line and quasi-random computer programs, model calculations were made to determine the upwelling radiance and signal change in the wave number interval of CO fundamental band. These results are useful in determining the effects of different interfering molecules, water vapor profiles, ground temperatures, and ground emittances on the upwelling radiance and signal change. This information is of vital importance in establishing the feasibility of measuring the concentrations of pollutants in the atmosphere from a gas filter correlation instrument flown on an aircraft or mounted on a satellite.

  1. Analysis of longwave radiation for the Earth-atmosphere system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tiwari, S. N.; Venuru, C. S.; Subramanian, S. V.

    1983-01-01

    Accurate radiative transfer models are used to determine the upwelling atmospheric radiance and net radiative flux in the entire longwave spectral range. The validity of the quasi-random band model is established by comparing the results of this model with those of line-by-line formulations and with available theoretical and experimental results. Existing radiative transfer models and computer codes are modified to include various surface and atmospheric effects (surface reflection, nonequilibrium radiation, and cloud effects). The program is used to evaluate the radiative flux in clear atmosphere, provide sensitivity analysis of upwelling radiance in the presence of clouds, and determine the effects of various climatological parameters on the upwelling radiation and anisotropic function. Homogeneous and nonhomogeneous gas emissivities can also be evaluated under different conditions.

  2. Exploring the Atmosphere of Neoproterozoic Earth: The Effect of O2 on Haze Formation and Composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hörst, Sarah M.; He, Chao; Ugelow, Melissa S.; Jellinek, A. Mark; Pierrehumbert, Raymond T.; Tolbert, Margaret A.

    2018-05-01

    Previous studies of haze formation in the atmosphere of the early Earth have focused on N2/CO2/CH4 atmospheres. Here, we experimentally investigate the effect of O2 on the formation and composition of aerosols to improve our understanding of haze formation on the Neoproterozoic Earth. We obtained in situ size, particle density, and composition measurements of aerosol particles produced from N2/CO2/CH4/O2 gas mixtures subjected to FUV radiation (115–400 nm) for a range of initial CO2/CH4/O2 mixing ratios (O2 ranging from 2 ppm to 0.2%). At the lowest O2 concentration (2 ppm), the addition increased particle production for all but one gas mixture. At higher oxygen concentrations (20 ppm and greater), particles are still produced, but the addition of O2 decreases the production rate. Both the particle size and number density decrease with increasing O2, indicating that O2 affects particle nucleation and growth. The particle density increases with increasing O2. The addition of CO2 and O2 not only increases the amount of oxygen in the aerosol, but it also increases the degree of nitrogen incorporation. In particular, the addition of O2 results in the formation of nitrate-bearing molecules. The fact that the presence of oxygen-bearing molecules increases the efficiency of nitrogen fixation has implications for the role of haze as a source of molecules required for the origin and evolution of life. The composition changes also likely affect the absorption and scattering behavior of these particles but optical property measurements are required to fully understand the implications for the effect on the planetary radiative energy balance and climate.

  3. A new model of the Earth system nitrogen cycle: how plates and life affect the atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, B. W.; Goldblatt, C.

    2017-12-01

    Nitrogen is the main component of Earth's atmosphere. It plays a key role in the evolution of the biosphere and surface of Earth [1]. There are contrasting views, however, on how N has evolved on the surface of the Earth over time. Some modeling efforts [e.g., 2] indicate a steady-state level of N in the atmosphere over geologic time, while geochemical [e.g., 3], other proxies [e.g., 4], and more recent models [5] indicate the mass of N in the atmosphere can change dramatically over Earth history. This conundrum, and potential solutions to it, present distinct interpretations of the history of Earth, and teleconnections between the surface and interior of the planet have applications to other terrestrial bodies as well. To help investigate this conundrum, we have constructed an Earth-system N cycle box model. To our knowledge, this is the most capable model for addressing evolution of the N reservoirs of Earth through time. The model combines biologic and geologic processes, driven by a mantle cooling history, to more fully describe the N cycle through geologic history. In addition to a full biologic N cycle (fixing, nitrification, denitrification), we also dynamically solve for PO4 through time and we have a prescribed O2 history. Results indicate that the atmosphere of Earth could have experienced major changes in mass over geologic time. Importantly, the amount of N in the atmosphere today appears to be directly related to the total N budget of the silicate Earth. For example, high initial atmospheric mass, suggested as a solution to the Faint Young Sun Paradox [1], is drawn down over time. This supports work that indicates the mantle has significantly more N than the atmosphere does today [6]. Contrastingly, model runs with low total N result in a crash in atmospheric mass. In nearly all model runs the bulk silicate Earth contains the majority of the planet's N. [1] Goldblatt et al. (2009) Nat. Geosci., 2, 891-896. [2] Berner, R. (2006) Geology., 34, 413

  4. Extraterrestrial flux of potentially prebiotic C, N, and P to the early Earth.

    PubMed

    Pasek, Matthew; Lauretta, Dante

    2008-02-01

    With growing evidence for a heavy bombardment period ending 4-3.8 billion years ago, meteorites and comets may have been an important source of prebiotic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus on the early Earth. Life may have originated shortly after the late-heavy bombardment, when concentrations of organic compounds and reactive phosphorus were enough to "kick life into gear". This work quantifies the sources of potentially prebiotic, extraterrestrial C, N, and P and correlates these fluxes with a comparison to total Ir fluxes, and estimates the effect of atmosphere on the survival of material. We find (1) that carbonaceous chondrites were not a good source of organic compounds, but interplanetary dust particles provided a constant, steady flux of organic compounds to the surface of the Earth, (2) extraterrestrial metallic material was much more abundant on the early Earth, and delivered reactive P in the form of phosphide minerals to the Earth's surface, and (3) large impacts provided substantial local enrichments of potentially prebiotic reagents. These results help elucidate the potential role of extraterrestrial matter in the origin of life.

  5. The origin and early evolution of life on Earth.

    PubMed

    Oró, J; Miller, S L; Lazcano, A

    1990-01-01

    We do not have a detailed knowledge of the processes that led to the appearance of life on Earth. In this review we bring together some of the most important results that have provided insights into the cosmic and primitive Earth environments, particularly those environments in which life is thought to have originated. To do so, we first discuss the evidence bearing on the antiquity of life on our planet and the prebiotic significance of organic compounds found in interstellar clouds and in primitive solar system bodies such as comets, dark asteroids, and carbonaceous chondrites. This is followed by a discussion on the environmental models of the Hadean and early Archean Earth, as well as on the prebiotic formation of organic monomers and polymers essential to life. We then consider the processes that may have led to the appearance in the Archean of the first cells, and how these processes may have affected the early steps of biological evolution. Finally, the significance of these results to the study of the distribution of life in the Universe is discussed.

  6. A new model for early Earth: heat-pipe cooling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Webb, A. G.; Moore, W. B.

    2013-12-01

    In the study of heat transport and lithospheric dynamics of early Earth, current models depend upon plate tectonic and vertical tectonic concepts. Plate tectonic models adequately account for regions with diverse lithologies juxtaposed along ancient shear zones, as seen at the famous Eoarchean Isua supracrustal belt of West Greenland. Vertical tectonic models to date have involved volcanism, sub- and intra-lithospheric diapirism, and sagduction, and can explain the geology of the best-preserved low-grade ancient terranes, such as the Paleoarchean Barberton and Pilbara greenstone belts. However, these models do not offer a globally-complete framework consistent with the geologic record. Plate tectonics models suggest that paired metamorphic belts and passive margins are among the most likely features to be preserved, but the early rock record shows no evidence of these terranes. Existing vertical tectonics models account for the >300 million years of semi-continuous volcanism and diapirism at Barberton and Pilbara, but when they explain the shearing record at Isua, they typically invoke some horizontal motion that cannot be differentiated from plate motion and is not a salient feature of the lengthy Barberton and Pilbara records. Despite the strengths of these models, substantial uncertainty remains about how early Earth evolved from magma ocean to plate tectonics. We have developed a new model, based on numerical simulations and analysis of the geologic record, that provides a coherent, global geodynamic framework for Earth's evolution from magma ocean to subduction tectonics. We hypothesize that heat-pipe cooling offers a viable mechanism for the lithospheric dynamics of early Earth. Our numerical simulations of heat-pipe cooling on early Earth indicate that a cold, thick, single-plate lithosphere developed as a result of frequent volcanic eruptions that advected surface materials downward. The constant resurfacing and downward advection caused compression as the

  7. Nonlinear dynamics of global atmospheric and Earth-system processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Saltzman, Barry; Ebisuzaki, Wesley; Maasch, Kirk A.; Oglesby, Robert; Pandolfo, Lionel

    1991-01-01

    General Circulation Model (GCM) studies of the atmospheric response to change boundary conditions are discussed. Results are reported on an extensive series of numerical studies based on the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate Model (CCM) general circulation model. In these studies the authors determined the response to systematic changes in atmospheric CO2 ranging from 100 to 1000 ppm; to changes in the prescribed sea surface temperature (SST) in the Gulf of Mexico, such as occurred during the deglaciation phase of the last ice age; to changes in soil moisture over North America; and to changes in sea ice extent in the Southern Hemisphere. Study results show that the response of surface temperature and other variables is nearly logarithmic, with lower levels of CO2 implying greater sensitivity of the atmospheric state to changes in CO2. It was found that the surface temperature of the Gulf of Mexico exerts considerable control over the storm track and behavior of storm systems over the North Atlantic through its influence on evaporation and the source of latent heat. It was found that reductions in soil moisture can play a significant role in amplifying and maintaining North American drought, particularly when a negative soil moisture anomaly prevails late in the spring.

  8. The formation of sulfate and elemental sulfur aerosols under varying laboratory conditions: implications for early earth.

    PubMed

    DeWitt, H Langley; Hasenkopf, Christa A; Trainer, Melissa G; Farmer, Delphine K; Jimenez, Jose L; McKay, Christopher P; Toon, Owen B; Tolbert, Margaret A

    2010-10-01

    The presence of sulfur mass-independent fractionation (S-MIF) in sediments more than 2.45 × 10(9) years old is thought to be evidence for an early anoxic atmosphere. Photolysis of sulfur dioxide (SO(2)) by UV light with λ < 220 nm has been shown in models and some initial laboratory studies to create a S-MIF; however, sulfur must leave the atmosphere in at least two chemically different forms to preserve any S-MIF signature. Two commonly cited examples of chemically different sulfur species that could have exited the atmosphere are elemental sulfur (S(8)) and sulfuric acid (H(2)SO(4)) aerosols. Here, we use real-time aerosol mass spectrometry to directly detect the sulfur-containing aerosols formed when SO(2) either photolyzes at wavelengths from 115 to 400 nm, to simulate the UV solar spectrum, or interacts with high-energy electrons, to simulate lightning. We found that sulfur-containing aerosols form under all laboratory conditions. Further, the addition of a reducing gas, in our experiments hydrogen (H(2)) or methane (CH(4)), increased the formation of S(8). With UV photolysis, formation of S(8) aerosols is highly dependent on the initial SO(2) pressure; and S(8) is only formed at a 2% SO(2) mixing ratio and greater in the absence of a reductant, and at a 0.2% SO(2) mixing ratio and greater in the presence of 1000 ppmv CH(4). We also found that organosulfur compounds are formed from the photolysis of CH(4) and moderate amounts of SO(2). The implications for sulfur aerosols on early Earth are discussed. Key Words: S-MIF-Archean atmosphere-Early Earth-Sulfur aerosols.

  9. NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS): Observing the Atmosphere, Land, Oceans, and Ice from Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    King, Michael D.

    2004-01-01

    The Earth Observing System (EOS) is a space-based observing system comprised of a series of satellite sensors by which scientists can monitor the Earth, a Data and Information System (EOSDIS) enabling researchers worldwide to access the satellite data, and an interdisciplinary science research program to interpret the satellite data. During this year, the last of the first series of EOS missions, Aura, was launched. Aura is designed exclusively to conduct research on the composition, chemistry, and dynamics of the Earth's upper and lower atmosphere, employing multiple instruments on a single spacecraft. Aura is the third in a series of major Earth observing satellites to study the environment and climate change and is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise. The first and second missions, Terra and Aqua, are designed to study the land, oceans, atmospheric constituents (aerosols, clouds, temperature, and water vapor), and the Earth's radiation budget. The other seven EOS spacecraft include satellites to study (i) land cover & land use change, (ii) solar irradiance and solar spectral variation, (iii) ice volume, (iv) ocean processes (vector wind and sea surface topography), and (v) vertical variations of clouds, water vapor, and aerosols up to and including the stratosphere. Aura's chemistry measurements will also follow up on measurements that began with NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite and continue the record of satellite ozone data collected from the TOMS missions. In this presentation I will describe how scientists are using EOS data to examine the health of the earth's atmosphere, including atmospheric chemistry, aerosol properties, and cloud properties, with a special but not exclusive look at the latest earth observing mission, Aura.

  10. NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS): Observing the Atmosphere, Land, Oceans, and Ice from Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    King, Michael D.

    2005-01-01

    The Earth Observing System (EOS) is a space-based observing system comprised of a series of satellite sensors by whch scientists can monitor the Earth, a Data and Information System (EOSDIS) enabling researchers worldwide to access the satellite data, and an interdisciplinary science research program to interpret the satellite data. During this year, the last of the first series of EOS missions, Aura, was launched. Aura is designed exclusively to conduct research on the composition, chemistry, and dynamics of the Earth's upper and lower atmosphere, employing multiple instruments on a single spacecraft. Aura is the third in a series of major Earth observing satellites to study the environment and climate change and is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise. The first and second missions, Terra and Aqua, are designed to study the land, oceans, atmospheric constituents (aerosols, clouds, temperature, and water vapor), and the Earth's radiation budget. The other seven EOS spacecraft include satellites to study (i) land cover & land use change, (ii) solar irradiance and solar spectral variation, (iii) ice volume, (iv) ocean processes (vector wind and sea surface topography), and (v) vertical variations of clouds, water vapor, and aerosols up to and including the stratosphere. Aura's chemistry measurements will also follow up on measurements that began with NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite and continue the record of satellite ozone data collected from the TOMS missions. In this presentation I will describe how scientists are using EOS data to examine the health of the earth's atmosphere, including atmospheric chemistry, aerosol properties, and cloud properties, with a special look at the latest earth observing mission, Aura.

  11. Revised Atmospheric Angular Momentum Series Related to Earth's Variable Rotation under Consideration of Surface Topography

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zhou, Y. H.; Salstein, D. A.; Chen, J. L.

    2006-01-01

    The atmospheric angular momentum is closely related to variations in the Earth rotation. The atmospheric excitation function (AEF), or namely atmospheric effective angular momentum function, is introduced in studying the atmospheric excitation of the Earth's variable rotation. It may be separated into two portions, i.e, the "wind" terms due to the atmospheric motion relative to the mantle and the "pressure" terms due to the variations of atmospheric mass distribution evident through surface pressure changes. The AEF wind terms during the period of 1948-2004 are re-processed from the NCEP/NCAR (National Centers for Environmental Prediction-National Center for Atmospheric Research) reanalysis 6-hourly wind and pressure fields. Some previous calculations were approximate, in that the wind terms were integrated from an isobaric lower boundary of 1000 hPa. To consider the surface topography effect, however, the AEF is computed by integration using the winds from the Earth's surface to 10 hPa, the top atmospheric model level, instead of from 1000 hPa. For these two cases, only a minor difference, equivalent to approx. 0.004 milliseconds in length-of-day variation, exists with respect to the axial wind term. However, considerable differences, equivalent to 5-6 milliarcseconds in polar motion, are found regarding equatorial wind terms. We further compare the total equatorial AEF (with and without the topographic effect) with the polar motion excitation function (PMEF) during the period of 1980-2003. The equatorial AEF gets generally closer to the PMEF, and improved coherences are found between them when the topography effect is included. Keywords: Atmospheric angular momentum, Atmospheric excitation function, Earth rotation, Topography, Wind, Pressure.

  12. The oxygen and carbon dioxide balance in the earth's atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, F. S.

    1975-01-01

    The oxygen-carbon dioxide cycle is described in detail, and steps which are sensitive to perturbation or instability are identified. About half of the carbon dioxide consumption each year in photosynthesis occurs in the oceans. Phytoplankton, which are the primary producers, have been shown to assimilate insecticides and herbicides. The impact of such materials on phytoplankton photosynthesis, both direct and as the indirect result of detrimental effects higher up in the food chain, cannot be assessed. Net oxygen production is very small in comparison with the total production and occurs almost exclusively in a few ocean areas with anoxic bottom conditions and in peat-forming marshes which are sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances. The carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere is increasing at a relatively rapid rate as the result of fossil fuel combustion. Increases in photosynthesis as the result of the hothouse effect may in turn reduce the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, leading to global cooling.

  13. A review of noble gas geochemistry in relation to early Earth history

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kurz, M. D.

    1985-01-01

    One of the most fundamental noble gas constraints on early Earth history is derived from isotopic differences in (129)Xe/(130)Xe between various terrestrial materials. The short half life (17 m.y.) of extinct (129I, parent of (129)Xe, means that these differences must have been produced within the first 100 m.y. after terrestrial accretion. The identification of large anomalies in (129)Xe/(130)Xe in mid ocean ridge basalts (MORB), with respect to atmospheric xenon, suggests that the atmosphere and upper mantle have remained separate since that time. This alone is a very strong argument for early catastrophic degassing, which would be consistent with an early fractionation resulting in core formation. However, noble gas isotopic systematics of oceanic basalts show that the mantle cannot necessarily be regarded as a homogeneous system, since there are significant variations in (3)He/(4)He, (40)Ar/(36)Ar, and (129)Xe/(130)Xe. Therefore, the early degassing cannot be considered to have acted on the whole mantle. The specific mechanisms of degassing, in particular the thickness and growth of the early crust, is an important variable in understanding present day noble gas inventories. Another constraint can be obtained from rocks that are thought to be derived from near the lithosphere asthenosphere boundary: ultramafic xenoliths.

  14. Interactions of Earth's atmospheric oxygen and fuel moisture in smouldering wildfires.

    PubMed

    Huang, Xinyan; Rein, Guillermo

    2016-12-01

    Vegetation, wildfire and atmospheric oxygen on Earth have changed throughout geological times, and are dependent on each other, determining the evolution of ecosystems, the carbon cycle, and the climate, as found in the fossil record. Previous work in the literature has only studied flaming wildfires, but smouldering is the most persistent type of fire phenomena, consuming large amounts of biomass. In this study, the dependence of smouldering fires in peatlands, the largest wildfires on Earth, with atmospheric oxygen is investigated. A physics-based computational model of reactive porous media for peat fires, which has been previously validated against experiments, is used. Simulations are conducted for wide ranges of atmospheric oxygen concentrations and fuel moisture contents to find thresholds for ignition and extinction. Results show that the predicted rate of spread increases in oxygen-rich atmospheres, while it decreases over wetter fuels. A novel nonlinear relationship between critical oxygen and critical moisture is found. More importantly, we show that compared to previous work on flaming fires, smouldering fires can be ignited and sustained at substantially higher moisture contents (up to 100% MC vs. 40% for 21% oxygen level), and lower oxygen concentrations (down to 13% vs. 16%). This defines a new atmospheric oxygen threshold for wildfires (13%), even lower than previously thought in Earth Sciences (16%). This finding should lead to reinterpretation of how the char remains observed in the fossil record constrain the lower concentration of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere in geological timescale. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. A GCM simulation of the earth-atmosphere radiation balance for winter and summer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wu, M. L. C.

    1979-01-01

    The radiation balance of the earth-atmosphere system simulated by using the general circulation model (GCM) of the Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences (GLAS) is examined in regards to its graphical distribution, zonally-averaged distribution, and global mean. Most of the main features of the radiation balance at the top of the atmosphere are reasonably simulated, with some differences in the detailed structure of the patterns and intensities for both summer and winter in comparison with values as derived from Nimbus and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) satellite observations. Both the capability and defects of the model are discussed.

  16. Possible viruses from outer space fall into the Earth's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steklov, A. F.; Dashkiev, G. N.; Vidmachenko, A. P.

    2017-05-01

    Statistical data show that sometime after the passage of the Earth along its orbit through the tail of a comet, a number of epidemics and pandemics occurred. This indicated a possible invasion of viruses, which could be in cometary dust. K.I. Churyumov proposed to develop special traps. They need to be placed under the wings of high-altitude aircraft. And with their help it is necessary to catch, accumulate and examine in the laboratories those particles, which are captured in traces of invasions. The main purpose of such experiments is to reveal, or prove the absence of cosmic viruses in the tracks from the intrusions of fragments of cometary nuclei.

  17. Biogenic methane, hydrogen escape, and the irreversible oxidation of early Earth.

    PubMed

    Catling, D C; Zahnle, K J; McKay, C

    2001-08-03

    The low O2 content of the Archean atmosphere implies that methane should have been present at levels approximately 10(2) to 10(3) parts per million volume (ppmv) (compared with 1.7 ppmv today) given a plausible biogenic source. CH4 is favored as the greenhouse gas that countered the lower luminosity of the early Sun. But abundant CH4 implies that hydrogen escapes to space (upward arrow space) orders of magnitude faster than today. Such reductant loss oxidizes the Earth. Photosynthesis splits water into O2 and H, and methanogenesis transfers the H into CH4. Hydrogen escape after CH4 photolysis, therefore, causes a net gain of oxygen [CO2 + 2H2O --> CH4 + 2O2 --> CO2 + O2 + 4H(upward arrow space)]. Expected irreversible oxidation (approximately 10(12) to 10(13) moles oxygen per year) may help explain how Earth's surface environment became irreversibly oxidized.

  18. A carbon dioxide/methane greenhouse atmosphere on early Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brown, L. L.; Kasting, J. F.

    1993-01-01

    One explanation for the formation of fluvial surface features on early Mars is that the global average surface temperature was maintained at or above the freezing point of water by the greenhouse warming of a dense CO2 atmosphere; however, Kasting has shown that CO2 alone is insufficient because the formation of CO2 clouds reduces the magnitude of the greenhouse effect. It is possible that other gases, such as NH3 and CH4, were present in the early atmosphere of Mars and contributed to the greenhouse effect. Kasting et al. investigated the effect of NH3 in a CO2 atmosphere and calculated that an NH3 mixing ratio of approximately 5 x 10 (exp -4) by volume, combined with a CO2 partial pressure of 4-5 bar, could generate a global average surface temperature of 273 K near 3.8 b.y. ago when the fluvial features are believed to have formed. Atmospheric NH3 is photochemically converted to N2 by ultraviolet radiation at wavelengths shortward of 230 nm; maintenance of sufficient NH3 concentrations would therefore require a source of NH3 to balance the photolytic destruction. We have used a one-dimensional photochemical model to estimate the magnitude of the NH3 source required to maintain a given NH3 concentration in a dense CO2 atmosphere. We calculate that an NH3 mixing ratio of 10(exp -4) requires a flux of NH3 on the order of 10(exp 12) molecules /cm-s. This figure is several orders of magnitude greater than estimates of the NH3 flux on early Mars; thus it appears that NH3 with CO2 is not enough to keep early Mars warm.

  19. Radiation in the earth's atmosphere: its radiance, polarization, and ellipticity.

    PubMed

    Hitzfelder, S J; Plass, G N; Kattawar, G W

    1976-10-01

    The complete radiation field including polarization is calculated by the matrix operator method for a model of the real atmosphere. The radiance, direction and amount of polarization, and ellipticity are obtained at the top and bottom of the atmosphere for three values of the surface albedo (0, 0.15, 0.90) and five solar zenith angles. Scattering and absorption by molecules (including ozone) and by aerosols are taken into account together with the variation of the number density of these substances with height. All results are calculated for both a normal aerosol number and a distribution that is one-third of the normal amount at all heights. The calculated values show general qualitative agreement with the available experimental measurements. The position of the neutral points of the polarization in the principal plane is a sensitive indicator of the characteristics of the aerosol particles in the atmosphere, since it depends on the sign and value of the single scattered polarization for scattering angles around 20 degrees and 160 degrees for transmitted and reflected photons, respectively. This, in turn, depends on the index of refraction and size distribution of the aerosols. The neutral point position does not depend appreciably on the surface albedo and, over a considerable range, depends little on the solar zenith angle. The value of the maximum polarization in the principal plane depends on the aerosol amount, surface albedo, and solar zenith angle. It could be used to measure the aerosol amount. The details of the ellipticity curves are similar to those for scattering from pure aerosol layers and, thus, are little modified by the Rayleigh scattering. Aerosols could be identified by their characteristic ellipticity curves.

  20. Abiotic ozone and oxygen in atmospheres similar to prebiotic Earth

    SciT

    Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D.; Segura, Antígona; Claire, Mark W.

    The search for life on planets outside our solar system will use spectroscopic identification of atmospheric biosignatures. The most robust remotely detectable potential biosignature is considered to be the detection of oxygen (O{sub 2}) or ozone (O{sub 3}) simultaneous to methane (CH{sub 4}) at levels indicating fluxes from the planetary surface in excess of those that could be produced abiotically. Here we use an altitude-dependent photochemical model with the enhanced lower boundary conditions necessary to carefully explore abiotic O{sub 2} and O{sub 3} production on lifeless planets with a wide variety of volcanic gas fluxes and stellar energy distributions. Onmore » some of these worlds, we predict limited O{sub 2} and O{sub 3} buildup, caused by fast chemical production of these gases. This results in detectable abiotic O{sub 3} and CH{sub 4} features in the UV-visible, but no detectable abiotic O{sub 2} features. Thus, simultaneous detection of O{sub 3} and CH{sub 4} by a UV-visible mission is not a strong biosignature without proper contextual information. Discrimination between biological and abiotic sources of O{sub 2} and O{sub 3} is possible through analysis of the stellar and atmospheric context—particularly redox state and O atom inventory—of the planet in question. Specifically, understanding the spectral characteristics of the star and obtaining a broad wavelength range for planetary spectra should allow more robust identification of false positives for life. This highlights the importance of wide spectral coverage for future exoplanet characterization missions. Specifically, discrimination between true and false positives may require spectral observations that extend into infrared wavelengths and provide contextual information on the planet's atmospheric chemistry.« less

  1. Earth rotation and ENSO events: combined excitation of interannual LOD variations by multiscale atmospheric oscillations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Dawei; Ding, Xiaoli; Zhou, Yonghong; Chen, Yongqi

    2003-03-01

    Time series of the length of day characterizing the rate of Earth rotation, the atmospheric angular momentum and the Southern Oscillation Index from 1962 to 2000 are used to reexamine the relationships between the ENSO events and the changes in the length of day, as well as the global atmospheric angular momentum. Particular attention is given to the different effects of the 1982-1983 and 1997-1998 ENSO events on the variations of Earth rotation. The combined effects of multiscale atmospheric oscillations (seasonal, quasi-biennial and ENSO time scales) on the anomalous variations of the interannual rates of Earth rotation are revealed in this paper by studying the wavelet spectra of the data series.

  2. Clouds in the atmosphere of the super-Earth exoplanet GJ 1214b.

    PubMed

    Kreidberg, Laura; Bean, Jacob L; Désert, Jean-Michel; Benneke, Björn; Deming, Drake; Stevenson, Kevin B; Seager, Sara; Berta-Thompson, Zachory; Seifahrt, Andreas; Homeier, Derek

    2014-01-02

    Recent surveys have revealed that planets intermediate in size between Earth and Neptune ('super-Earths') are among the most common planets in the Galaxy. Atmospheric studies are the next step towards developing a comprehensive understanding of this new class of object. Much effort has been focused on using transmission spectroscopy to characterize the atmosphere of the super-Earth archetype GJ 1214b (refs 7 - 17), but previous observations did not have sufficient precision to distinguish between two interpretations for the atmosphere. The planet's atmosphere could be dominated by relatively heavy molecules, such as water (for example, a 100 per cent water vapour composition), or it could contain high-altitude clouds that obscure its lower layers. Here we report a measurement of the transmission spectrum of GJ 1214b at near-infrared wavelengths that definitively resolves this ambiguity. The data, obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope, are sufficiently precise to detect absorption features from a high mean-molecular-mass atmosphere. The observed spectrum, however, is featureless. We rule out cloud-free atmospheric models with compositions dominated by water, methane, carbon monoxide, nitrogen or carbon dioxide at greater than 5σ confidence. The planet's atmosphere must contain clouds to be consistent with the data.

  3. CHClF2 (F-22) in the Earth's atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rasmussen, R. A.; Khalil, M. A. K.; Penkett, S. A.; Prosser, N. J. D.

    1980-10-01

    Recent global measurements of CHClF2 (F-22) are reported. Originally, GC/MS techniques were used to obtain these data. Since then, significant advances using an O2-doped electron capture detector have been made in the analytical techniques, so that F-22 can be measured by EC/GC methods at ambient concentrations. The atmospheric burden of F-22 calculated from these measurements (average mixing ratio, mid-1979, ˜45 pptv) is considerably greater than that expected from the estimates of direct industrial emissions (average mixing ratio, mid-1979, ˜30 pptv). This difference is probably due to underestimates of F-22 emissions.

  4. CHClF2 /F-22/ in the earth's atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rasmussen, R. A.; Khalil, M. A. K.; Penkett, S. A.; Prosser, N. J. D.

    1980-01-01

    Recent global measurements of CHClF2 (F-22) are reported. Originally, GC/MS techniques were used to obtain these data. Since then, significant advances using an O2-doped electron capture detector have been made in the analytical techniques, so that F-22 can be measured by EC/GC methods at ambient concentrations. The atmospheric burden of F-22 calculated from these measurements (average mixing ratio, mid-1979, approximately 45 pptv) is considerably greater than that expected from the estimates of direct industrial emissions (average mixing ratio, mid-1979, approximately 30 pptv). This difference is probably due to underestimates of F-22 emissions.

  5. Early Life on Earth: the Ancient Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Westall, F.

    2004-07-01

    The evidence for early life and its initial evolution on Earth is lin= ked intimately with the geological evolution of the early Earth. The environment of the early Earth would be considered extreme by modern standards: hot (50-80=B0C), volcanically and hydrothermally active, a= noxic, high UV flux, and a high flux of extraterrestrial impacts. Habitats = for life were more limited until continent-building processes resulted in= the formation of stable cratons with wide, shallow, continental platforms= in the Mid-Late Archaean. Unfortunately there are no records of the first appearance of life and the earliest isotopic indications of the exist= ence of organisms fractionating carbon in ~3.8 Ga rocks from the Isua greenst= one belt in Greenland are tenuous. Well-preserved microfossils and micro= bial mats (in the form of tabular and domical stromatolites) occur in 3.5-= 3.3 Ga, Early Archaean, sedimentary formations from the Barberton (South Afri= ca) and Pilbara (Australia) greenstone belts. They document life forms that = show a relatively advanced level of evolution. Microfossil morphology inclu= des filamentous, coccoid, rod and vibroid shapes. Colonial microorganism= s formed biofilms and microbial mats at the surfaces of volcaniclastic = and chemical sediments, some of which created (small) macroscopic microbi= alites such as stromatolites. Anoxygenic photosynthesis may already have developed. Carbon, nitrogen and sulphur isotopes ratios are in the r= ange of those for organisms with anaerobic metabolisms, such as methanogenesi= s, sulphate reduction and photosynthesis. Life was apparently distribute= d widely in shallow-water to littoral environments, including exposed, evaporitic basins and regions of hydrothermal activity. Biomass in t= he early Archaean was restricted owing to the limited amount of energy t= hat could be produced by anaerobic metabolisms. Microfossils resembling o= xygenic photosynthesisers, such as cyanobacteria, probably first occurred in

  6. A statistical look at the retrieval of exoplanetary atmospheres of super Earths and giant planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rocchetto, Marco; Waldmann, Ingo Peter; Tinetti, Giovanna; Yurchenko, Sergey; Tennyson, Jonathan

    2015-08-01

    Over the past decades transit spectroscopy has become one of the pioneering methods to characterise exoplanetary atmospheres. With the increasing number of observations, and the advent of new ground and spaced based instruments, it is now crucial to find the most optimal and objective methodologies to interpret these data, and understand the information content they convey. This is particularly true for smaller and fainter super Earth type planets.In this conference we will present a new take on the spectral retrieval of transiting planets, with particular focus on super Earth atmospheres. TauREx (Waldmann et al. 2015a,b.) is a new line-by-line radiative transfer atmospheric retrieval framework for transmission and emission spectroscopy of exoplanetary atmospheres, optimised for hot Jupiters and super Earths. The code has been built from scratch with the ideas of scalability, flexibility and automation. This allows to run retrievals with minimum user input that can be scaled to large cluster computing. Priors on the number and types of molecules considered are automatically determined using a custom built pattern recognition algorithm able to identify the most likely absorbers/emitters in the exoplanetary spectra, minimising the human bias in selecting the major atmospheric constituents.Using these tools, we investigate the impact of signal to noise, spectral resolution and wavelength coverage on the retrievability of individual model parameters from transit spectra of super Earths, and put our models to test (Rocchetto et al. 2015). Characterisation of the atmospheres of super Earths through transit spectroscopy is paramount, as it can provide an indirect - and so far unique - way to probe the nature of these planets. For the first time we analyse in a systematic way large grids of spectra generated for different observing scenarios. We perform thousands of retrievals aimed to fully map the degeneracies and understand the statistics of current exoplanetary

  7. Results of Joint Observations of Jupiter's Atmosphere by Juno and a Network of Earth-Based Observing Stations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orton, Glenn; Momary, Thomas; Bolton, Scott; Levin, Steven; Hansen, Candice; Janssen, Michael; Adriani, Alberto; Gladstone, G. Randall; Bagenal, Fran; Ingersoll, Andrew

    2017-04-01

    The Juno mission has promoted and coordinated a network of Earth-based observations, including both Earth-proximal and ground-based facilities, to extend and enhance observations made by the Juno mission. The spectral region and timeline of all of these observations are summarized in the web site: https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/planned-observations. Among the earliest of these were observation of Jovian auroral phenomena at X-ray, ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths and measurements of Jovian synchrotron radiation from the Earth simultaneously with the measurement of properties of the upstream solar wind. Other observations of significance to the magnetosphere measured the mass loading from Io by tracking its observed volcanic activity and the opacity of its torus. Observations of Jupiter's neutral atmosphere included observations of reflected sunlight from the near-ultraviolet through the near-infrared and thermal emission from 5 μm through the radio region. The point of these measurements is to relate properties of the deep atmosphere that are the focus of Juno's mission to the state of the "weather layer" at much higher atmospheric levels. These observations cover spectral regions not included in Juno's instrumentation, provide spatial context for Juno's often spatially limited coverage of Jupiter, and they describe the evolution of atmospheric features in time that are measured only once by Juno. We will summarize the results of measurements during the approach phase of the mission that characterized the state of the atmosphere, as well as observations made by Juno and the supporting campaign during Juno's perijoves 1 (2016 August 27), 3 (2016 December 11), 4 (2017 February 2) and possibly "early" results from 5 (2017 March 27). Besides a global network of professional astronomers, the Juno mission also benefited from the enlistment of a network of dedicated amateur astronomers who provided a quasi-continuous picture of the evolution of features observed by

  8. Reactive Oxygen Species on the Early Earth and Survival of Bacteria

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Balk, Melikea; Mason, Paul; Stams, Alfons J. M.; Smidt, Hauke; Freund, Friedemann; Rothschild, Lynn

    2011-01-01

    An oxygen-rich atmosphere appears to have been a prerequisite for complex, multicellular life to evolve on Earth and possibly elsewhere in the Universe. However it remains unclear how free oxygen first became available on the early Earth. A potentially important, and as yet poorly constrained pathway, is the production of oxygen through the weathering of rocks and release into the near-surface environment. Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), as precursors to molecular oxygen, are a key step in this process, and may have had a decisive impact on the evolution of life, present and past. ROS are generated from minerals in igneous rocks during hydrolysis of peroxy defects, which consist of pairs of oxygen anions oxidized to the valence state -1 and during (bio) transformations of iron sulphide minerals. ROS are produced and consumed by intracellular and extracellular reactions of Fe, Mn, C, N, and S species. We propose that, despite an overall reducing or neutral oxidation state of the macroenvironment and the absence of free O2 in the atmosphere, organisms on the early Earth had to cope with ROS in their microenvironments. They were thus under evolutionary pressure to develop enzymatic and other defences against the potentially dangerous, even lethal effects of oxygen and its derived ROS. Conversely it appears that microorganisms learned to take advantage of the enormous reactive potential and energy gain provided by nascent oxygen. We investigate how oxygen might be released through weathering. We test microorganisms in contact with rock surfaces and iron sulphides. We model bacteria such as Deionococcus radiodurans and Desulfotomaculum, Moorella and Bacillus species for their ability to grow or survive in the presence of ROS. We examine how early Life might have adapted to oxygen.

  9. Earth Orientation and Its Excitations by Atmosphere, Oceans, and Geomagnetic Jerks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vondrák, J.; Ron, C.

    2015-12-01

    In addition to torques exerted by the Moon, Sun, and planets, changes of the Earth orientation parameters (EOP) are known to be caused also by excitations by the atmosphere and oceans. Recently appeared studies, hinting that geomagnetic jerks (GMJ, rapid changes of geomagnetic field) might be associated with sudden changes of phase and amplitude of EOP (Holme and de Viron 2005, 2013, Gibert and Le Mouël 2008, Malkin 2013). We (Ron et al. 2015) used additional excitations applied at the epochs of GMJ to derive its influence on motion of the spin axis of the Earth in space (precession-nutation). We demonstrated that this effect, if combined with the influence of the atmosphere and oceans, improves substantially the agreement with celestial pole offsets observed by Very Long-Baseline Interferometry. Here we concentrate our efforts to study possible influence of GMJ on temporal changes of all five Earth orientation parameters defining the complete Earth orientation in space. Numerical integration of Brzeziński's broad-band Liouville equations (Brzeziński 1994) with atmospheric and oceanic excitations, combined with expected GMJ effects, is used to derive EOP and compare them with their observed values. We demonstrate that the agreement between all five Earth orientation parameters integrated by this method and those observed by space geodesy is improved substantially if the influence of additional excitations at GMJ epochs is added to excitations by the atmosphere and oceans.

  10. Apollo 13 Service Module and Lunar Module as entering Earth's atmosphere

    1970-04-18

    S70-17646 (18 April 1970) --- An unidentified airline passenger snapped these bright objects, believed to be the Apollo 13 Service Module (SM) and Lunar Module (LM) as they entered Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on April 18, 1970. The aircraft, an Air New Zealand DC-8 was midway between the Fiji Islands (Nandi Island to be specific) and Auckland, New Zealand, when the photograph was taken. The crew men of the problem plagued Apollo 13 mission jettisoned the LM and SM prior to entering Earth's atmosphere in the Apollo 13 Command Module (CM).

  11. Spin evolution of Earth-sized exoplanets, including atmospheric tides and core-mantle friction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cunha, Diana; Correia, Alexandre C. M.; Laskar, Jacques

    2015-04-01

    Planets with masses between 0.1 and 10 M ⊕ are believed to host dense atmospheres. These atmospheres can play an important role on the planet's spin evolution, since thermal atmospheric tides, driven by the host star, may counterbalance gravitational tides. In this work, we study the long-term spin evolution of Earth-sized exoplanets. We generalize previous works by including the effect of eccentric orbits and obliquity. We show that under the effect of tides and core-mantle friction, the obliquity of the planets evolves either to 0° or 180°. The rotation of these planets is also expected to evolve into a very restricted number of equilibrium configurations. In general, none of these equilibria is synchronous with the orbital mean motion. The role of thermal atmospheric tides becomes more important for Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of their systems; so they cannot be neglected when we search for their potential habitability.

  12. Early Action on HFCs Mitigates Future Atmospheric Change

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hurwitz, Margaret M.; Fleming, Eric L.; Newman, Paul A.; Li, Feng; Liang, Qing

    2017-01-01

    As countries take action to mitigate global warming, both by ratifying the UNFCCC Paris Agreement and enacting the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to manage hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), it is important to consider the relative importance of the pertinent greenhouse gases (GHGs), the distinct structure of their atmospheric impacts, and how the timing of potential GHG regulations would affect future changes in atmospheric temperature and ozone. Chemistry-climate model simulations demonstrate that HFCs could contribute substantially to anthropogenic climate change by the mid-21st century, particularly in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere i.e., global average warming up to 0.19K at 80hPa. Three HFC mitigation scenarios demonstrate the benefits of taking early action in avoiding future atmospheric change: more than 90 of the climate change impacts of HFCs can be avoided if emissions stop by 2030.

  13. Early action on HFCs mitigates future atmospheric change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hurwitz, Margaret M.; Fleming, Eric L.; Newman, Paul A.; Li, Feng; Liang, Qing

    2016-11-01

    As countries take action to mitigate global warming, both by ratifying the UNFCCC Paris Agreement and enacting the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to manage hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), it is important to consider the relative importance of the pertinent greenhouse gases and the distinct structure of their atmospheric impacts, and how the timing of potential greenhouse gas regulations would affect future changes in atmospheric temperature and ozone. HFCs should be explicitly considered in upcoming climate and ozone assessments, since chemistry-climate model simulations demonstrate that HFCs could contribute substantially to anthropogenic climate change by the mid-21st century, particularly in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere i.e., global average warming up to 0.19 K at 80 hPa. The HFC mitigation scenarios described in this study demonstrate the benefits of taking early action in avoiding future atmospheric change: more than 90% of the climate change impacts of HFCs can be avoided if emissions stop by 2030.

  14. Early Action on HFCs Mitigates Future Atmospheric Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hurwitz, Margaret; Fleming, Eric; Newman, Paul; Li, Feng; Liang, Qing

    2017-04-01

    As countries take action to mitigate global warming, both by ratifying the UNFCCC Paris Agreement and enacting the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to manage hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), it is important to consider the relative importance of the pertinent greenhouse gases (GHGs), the distinct structure of their atmospheric impacts, and how the timing of potential GHG regulations would affect future changes in atmospheric temperature and ozone. Chemistry-climate model simulations demonstrate that HFCs could contribute substantially to anthropogenic climate change by the mid-21st century, particularly in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere i.e., global average warming up to 0.19K at 80hPa. Three HFC mitigation scenarios demonstrate the benefits of taking early action in avoiding future atmospheric change: more than 90% of the climate change impacts of HFCs can be avoided if emissions stop by 2030.

  15. Early Action on Hfcs Mitigates Future Atmospheric Change

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hurwitz, Margaret M.; Fleming, Eric L.; Newman, Paul A.; Li, Feng; Liang, Qing

    2016-01-01

    As countries take action to mitigate global warming, both by ratifying theUNFCCCParis Agreement and enacting the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to manage hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), it is important to consider the relative importance of the pertinent greenhouse gases and the distinct structure of their atmospheric impacts, and how the timing of potential greenhouse gas regulations would affect future changes in atmospheric temperature and ozone. HFCs should be explicitly considered in upcoming climate and ozone assessments, since chemistry-climate model simulations demonstrate that HFCs could contribute substantially to anthropogenic climate change by the mid- 21st century, particularly in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere i.e., global average warming up to 0.19 Kat 80 hPa. The HFCmitigation scenarios described in this study demonstrate the benefits of taking early action in avoiding future atmospheric change: more than 90% of the climate change impacts of HFCs can be avoided if emissions stop by 2030.

  16. Continental crust formation on early Earth controlled by intrusive magmatism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rozel, A. B.; Golabek, G. J.; Jain, C.; Tackley, P. J.; Gerya, T.

    2017-05-01

    The global geodynamic regime of early Earth, which operated before the onset of plate tectonics, remains contentious. As geological and geochemical data suggest hotter Archean mantle temperature and more intense juvenile magmatism than in the present-day Earth, two crust-mantle interaction modes differing in melt eruption efficiency have been proposed: the Io-like heat-pipe tectonics regime dominated by volcanism and the “Plutonic squishy lid” tectonics regime governed by intrusive magmatism, which is thought to apply to the dynamics of Venus. Both tectonics regimes are capable of producing primordial tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) continental crust but lithospheric geotherms and crust production rates as well as proportions of various TTG compositions differ greatly, which implies that the heat-pipe and Plutonic squishy lid hypotheses can be tested using natural data. Here we investigate the creation of primordial TTG-like continental crust using self-consistent numerical models of global thermochemical convection associated with magmatic processes. We show that the volcanism-dominated heat-pipe tectonics model results in cold crustal geotherms and is not able to produce Earth-like primordial continental crust. In contrast, the Plutonic squishy lid tectonics regime dominated by intrusive magmatism results in hotter crustal geotherms and is capable of reproducing the observed proportions of various TTG rocks. Using a systematic parameter study, we show that the typical modern eruption efficiency of less than 40 per cent leads to the production of the expected amounts of the three main primordial crustal compositions previously reported from field data (low-, medium- and high-pressure TTG). Our study thus suggests that the pre-plate-tectonics Archean Earth operated globally in the Plutonic squishy lid regime rather than in an Io-like heat-pipe regime.

  17. Continental crust formation on early Earth controlled by intrusive magmatism.

    PubMed

    Rozel, A B; Golabek, G J; Jain, C; Tackley, P J; Gerya, T

    2017-05-18

    The global geodynamic regime of early Earth, which operated before the onset of plate tectonics, remains contentious. As geological and geochemical data suggest hotter Archean mantle temperature and more intense juvenile magmatism than in the present-day Earth, two crust-mantle interaction modes differing in melt eruption efficiency have been proposed: the Io-like heat-pipe tectonics regime dominated by volcanism and the "Plutonic squishy lid" tectonics regime governed by intrusive magmatism, which is thought to apply to the dynamics of Venus. Both tectonics regimes are capable of producing primordial tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) continental crust but lithospheric geotherms and crust production rates as well as proportions of various TTG compositions differ greatly, which implies that the heat-pipe and Plutonic squishy lid hypotheses can be tested using natural data. Here we investigate the creation of primordial TTG-like continental crust using self-consistent numerical models of global thermochemical convection associated with magmatic processes. We show that the volcanism-dominated heat-pipe tectonics model results in cold crustal geotherms and is not able to produce Earth-like primordial continental crust. In contrast, the Plutonic squishy lid tectonics regime dominated by intrusive magmatism results in hotter crustal geotherms and is capable of reproducing the observed proportions of various TTG rocks. Using a systematic parameter study, we show that the typical modern eruption efficiency of less than 40 per cent leads to the production of the expected amounts of the three main primordial crustal compositions previously reported from field data (low-, medium- and high-pressure TTG). Our study thus suggests that the pre-plate-tectonics Archean Earth operated globally in the Plutonic squishy lid regime rather than in an Io-like heat-pipe regime.

  18. What do we really know about Earth's early crust?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rudnick, R. L.; Tang, M.

    2016-12-01

    The oldest minerals on Earth, the detrital Hadean Jack Hills zircons from western Australia, show evidence for their crystallization from hydrous, low temperature, granitic magmas. However, considerable debate centers on whether the parental melts are minimum-melt granites formed in subduction zone settings and implying widespread, evolved continental crust (e.g., Harrison, 2009, AREPS), or crystallized from the last differentiates of mafic magmas (Darling et al., 2009, Geology), or even late differentiates of impact melt sheets on a largely water-covered Earth (Kenny et al., 2016, Geology). Another means by which to interrogate the nature of Earth's early crust is through analyses of ancient fine-grained terrigenous sedimentary rocks such as shales or glacial diamictites, which provide averages of the surface of the Earth that is exposed to chemical weathering and erosion. From these studies it has long been known that Archean crust contained a higher proportion of mafic rocks. However, only recently has that proportion been constrained based on a change in the average MgO content of the upper continental crust from 15 wt.% at 3.2 Ga, to 4 wt.% at 2.6 Ga (Tang et al., 2016, Science). These data for terrigeneous sediments require the pre 3.2 Ga crust to be dominated by mafic rocks (only 10-40% `granite' s.l.) and to be high-standing and susceptible to subareal weathering and erosion, implying the mafic crust was thick (see Tang and Rudnick, this meeting). The dramatic transition that occurred in upper crustal composition between 3.2 and 2.6 Ga likely marks the onset of widespread subduction as a means of generating voluminous granite.

  19. Haze production rates in super-Earth and mini-Neptune atmosphere experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hörst, Sarah M.; He, Chao; Lewis, Nikole K.; Kempton, Eliza M.-R.; Marley, Mark S.; Morley, Caroline V.; Moses, Julianne I.; Valenti, Jeff A.; Vuitton, Véronique

    2018-04-01

    Numerous Solar System atmospheres possess photochemically generated hazes, including the characteristic organic hazes of Titan and Pluto. Haze particles substantially impact atmospheric temperature structures and may provide organic material to the surface of a world, potentially affecting its habitability. Observations of exoplanet atmospheres suggest the presence of aerosols, especially in cooler (<800 K), smaller (<0.3× Jupiter's mass) exoplanets. It remains unclear whether the aerosols muting the spectroscopic features of exoplanet atmospheres are condensate clouds or photochemical hazes1-3, which is difficult to predict from theory alone4. Here, we present laboratory haze simulation experiments that probe a broad range of atmospheric parameters relevant to super-Earth- and mini-Neptune-type planets5, the most frequently occurring type of planet in our galaxy6. It is expected that photochemical haze will play a much greater role in the atmospheres of planets with average temperatures below 1,000 K (ref. 7), especially those planets that may have enhanced atmospheric metallicity and/or enhanced C/O ratios, such as super-Earths and Neptune-mass planets8-12. We explored temperatures from 300 to 600 K and a range of atmospheric metallicities (100×, 1,000× and 10,000× solar). All simulated atmospheres produced particles, and the cooler (300 and 400 K) 1,000× solar metallicity (`H2O-dominated' and CH4-rich) experiments exhibited haze production rates higher than our standard Titan simulation ( 10 mg h-1 versus 7.4 mg h-1 for Titan13). However, the particle production rates varied greatly, with measured rates as low as 0.04 mg h-1 (for the case with 100× solar metallicity at 600 K). Here, we show that we should expect great diversity in haze production rates, as some—but not all—super-Earth and mini-Neptune atmospheres will possess photochemically generated haze.

  20. Haze production rates in super-Earth and mini-Neptune atmosphere experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hörst, Sarah M.; He, Chao; Lewis, Nikole K.; Kempton, Eliza M.-R.; Marley, Mark S.; Morley, Caroline V.; Moses, Julianne I.; Valenti, Jeff A.; Vuitton, Véronique

    2018-03-01

    Numerous Solar System atmospheres possess photochemically generated hazes, including the characteristic organic hazes of Titan and Pluto. Haze particles substantially impact atmospheric temperature structures and may provide organic material to the surface of a world, potentially affecting its habitability. Observations of exoplanet atmospheres suggest the presence of aerosols, especially in cooler (<800 K), smaller (<0.3× Jupiter's mass) exoplanets. It remains unclear whether the aerosols muting the spectroscopic features of exoplanet atmospheres are condensate clouds or photochemical hazes1-3, which is difficult to predict from theory alone4. Here, we present laboratory haze simulation experiments that probe a broad range of atmospheric parameters relevant to super-Earth- and mini-Neptune-type planets5, the most frequently occurring type of planet in our galaxy6. It is expected that photochemical haze will play a much greater role in the atmospheres of planets with average temperatures below 1,000 K (ref. 7), especially those planets that may have enhanced atmospheric metallicity and/or enhanced C/O ratios, such as super-Earths and Neptune-mass planets8-12. We explored temperatures from 300 to 600 K and a range of atmospheric metallicities (100×, 1,000× and 10,000× solar). All simulated atmospheres produced particles, and the cooler (300 and 400 K) 1,000× solar metallicity (`H2O-dominated' and CH4-rich) experiments exhibited haze production rates higher than our standard Titan simulation ( 10 mg h-1 versus 7.4 mg h-1 for Titan13). However, the particle production rates varied greatly, with measured rates as low as 0.04 mg h-1 (for the case with 100× solar metallicity at 600 K). Here, we show that we should expect great diversity in haze production rates, as some—but not all—super-Earth and mini-Neptune atmospheres will possess photochemically generated haze.

  1. Large-Scale Impact Cratering and Early Earth Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grieve, R. A. F.; Cintala, M. J.

    1997-01-01

    The surface of the Moon attests to the importance of large-scale impact in its early crustal evolution. Previous models of the effects of a massive bombardment on terrestrial crustal evolution have relied on analogies with the Moon, with allowances for the presence of water and a thinner lithosphere. It is now apparent that strict lunar-terrestrial analogies are incorrect because of the "differential scaling" of crater dimensions and melt volumes with event size and planetary gravity. Impact melt volumes and "ancient cavity dimensions for specific impacts were modeled according to previous procedures. In the terrestrial case, the melt volume (V(sub m)) exceeds that of the transient cavity (V(sub tc)) at diameters > or = 400 km. This condition is reached on the Moon only with transient cavity diameters > or = 3000 km, equivalent to whole Moon melting. The melt volumes in these large impact events are minimum estimates, since, at these sizes, the higher temperature of the target rocks at depth will increase melt production. Using the modification-scaling relation of Croft, a transient cavity diameter of about 400 km in the terrestrial environment corresponds to an expected final impact "basin" diameter of about 900 km. Such a "basin" would be comparable in dimensions to the lunar basin Orientale. This 900-km "basin" on the early Earth, however, would not have had the appearance of Orientale. It would have been essentially a melt pool, and, morphologically, would have had more in common with the palimpsests structures on Callisto and Ganymede. With the terrestrial equivalents to the large multiring basins of the Moon being manifested as muted palimpsest-like structures filled with impact melt, it is unlikely they played a role in establishing the freeboard on the early Earth. The composition of the massive impact melt sheets (> 10 (exp 7) cu km) produced in "basin-forming" events on the early Earth would have most likely ranged from basaltic to more mafic for the

  2. Climatic effects due to halogenated compounds in the earth's atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, W.-C.; Pinto, J. P.; Yung, Y. L.

    1980-01-01

    Using a one-dimensional radiative-convective model, a sensitivity study is performed of the effect of ozone depletion in the stratosphere on the surface temperature. There could be a cooling of the surface temperature by approximately 0.2 K due to chlorofluoromethane-induced ozone depletion at steady state (assuming 1973 release rates). This cooling reduces significantly the greenhouse effect due to the presence of chlorofluoromethanes. Carbon tetrafluoride has a strong nu sub 3 band at 7.8 microns, and the atmospheric greenhouse effect is shown to be 0.07 and 0.12 K/ppbv with and without taking into account overlap with CH4 and N2O bands. At concentrations higher than 1 ppbv, absorption by the nu sub 3 band starts to saturate and the greenhouse effect becomes less efficient.

  3. A Case for an Atmosphere on Super-Earth 55 Cancri e

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Angelo, Isabel; Hu, Renyu

    2017-12-01

    One of the primary questions when characterizing Earth-sized and super-Earth-sized exoplanets is whether they have a substantial atmosphere like Earth and Venus or a bare-rock surface like Mercury. Phase curves of the planets in thermal emission provide clues to this question, because a substantial atmosphere would transport heat more efficiently than a bare-rock surface. Analyzing phase-curve photometric data around secondary eclipses has previously been used to study energy transport in the atmospheres of hot Jupiters. Here we use phase curve, Spitzer time-series photometry to study the thermal emission properties of the super-Earth exoplanet 55 Cancri e. We utilize a semianalytical framework to fit a physical model to the infrared photometric data at 4.5 μm. The model uses parameters of planetary properties including Bond albedo, heat redistribution efficiency (I.e., ratio between radiative timescale and advective timescale of the atmosphere), and the atmospheric greenhouse factor. The phase curve of 55 Cancri e is dominated by thermal emission with an eastward-shifted hotspot. We determine the heat redistribution efficiency to be {1.47}-0.25+0.30, which implies that the advective timescale is on the same order as the radiative timescale. This requirement cannot be met by the bare-rock planet scenario because heat transport by currents of molten lava would be too slow. The phase curve thus favors the scenario with a substantial atmosphere. Our constraints on the heat redistribution efficiency translate to an atmospheric pressure of ˜1.4 bar. The Spitzer 4.5 μm band is thus a window into the deep atmosphere of the planet 55 Cancri e.

  4. Combined 2-micron Dial and Doppler Lidar: Application to the Atmosphere of Earth or Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Singh, Upendra N.; Koch, Grady J.; Ismail, Syed; Kavaya, Michael; Yu, Jirong; Wood, Sidney A.; Emmitt, G. David

    2006-01-01

    A concept is explored for combining the Doppler and DIAL techniques into a single, multifunctional instrument. Wind, CO2 concentration, and aerosol density can all be measured. Technology to build this instrument is described, including the demonstration of a prototype lidar. Applications are described for use in the Earth science. The atmosphere of Mars can also be studied, and results from a recently-developed simulation model of performance in the Martian atmosphere are presented.

  5. Comparing the Atmospheres of Mercury and the Earth's Moon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morgan, Thomas H.; Killen, Rosemary M.; Hurley, Dana M.

    2012-01-01

    The exospheres of Mercury and the Earth's Moon are fundamentally similar, but the differences that do exist between them can help us to develop a better understanding of the processes at work on the two bodies that produce and remove volatiles. The major differences are derived from (1) the different compositions of the two surfaces, (2) the different particle and field em'ironments above the surface of each body (particularly the presence of intrinsic magnetic field of Mercury), and (3) the larger flux of interplanetary dust incident at the orbit of Mercury. The first difference, surface composition, is the most intractable problem, but the most challenging part of that problem, the composition of the Hermean regolith, may be at least partially addressed as the MESSENGER mission completes work over the next year. Much progress has been made with respect to exploring the second difference above--spacecraft such as Helios, Ulysses, WIND, and ACE have measured the solar wind and its composition both in Earth orbit and at distances encompassing the orbit of Mercury. While our knowledge of the solar wind is incomplete, again it is far more detailed than a simple 1/R(sup 2) law would predict. Another problem is that of the flux of charged particles to the surfaces. While Mercury's magnetosphere is the subject of current study with MESSENGER, the influx of charged particles on the Moon has gone beyond a cos (psi) picture, where psi is the solar zenith angle. We know that the influx of ions at the Moon is affected by magnetic anomalies, by craters, and by surface charging. The third external difference is the differing flux of interplanetary dust incident on the two surfaces. In this talk we will consider: (1) the species that one can compare now for these two exospheres (Na, K, and He); (2) the species that you might be able to compare with future measurements (Ca and Mg); arid (3) how intensive ground-based observations of the easiest lunar species to observe from the

  6. Atmospheric Ar and Ne returned from mantle depths to the Earth's surface by forearc recycling.

    PubMed

    Baldwin, Suzanne L; Das, J P

    2015-11-17

    In subduction zones, sediments, hydrothermally altered lithosphere, fluids, and atmospheric gases are transported into the mantle, where ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphism takes place. However, the extent to which atmospheric noble gases are trapped in minerals crystallized during UHP metamorphism is unknown. We measured Ar and Ne trapped in phengite and omphacite from the youngest known UHP terrane on Earth to determine the composition of Ar and Ne returned from mantle depths to the surface by forearc recycling. An (40)Ar/(39)Ar age [7.93 ± 0.10 My (1σ)] for phengite is interpreted as the timing of crystallization at mantle depths and indicates that (40)Ar/(39)Ar phengite ages reliably record the timing of UHP metamorphism. Both phengite and omphacite yielded atmospheric (38)Ar/(36)Ar and (20)Ne/(22)Ne. Our study provides the first documentation, to our knowledge, of entrapment of atmospheric Ar and Ne in phengite and omphacite. Results indicate that a subduction barrier for atmospheric-derived noble gases does not exist at mantle depths associated with UHP metamorphism. We show that the crystallization age together with the isotopic composition of nonradiogenic noble gases trapped in minerals formed during subsolidus crystallization at mantle depths can be used to unambiguously assess forearc recycling of atmospheric noble gases. The flux of atmospheric noble gas entering the deep Earth through subduction and returning to the surface cannot be fully realized until the abundances of atmospheric noble gases trapped in exhumed UHP rocks are known.

  7. Evidence for ancient atmospheric xenon in Archean rocks and implications for the early evolution of the atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pujol, M.; Marty, B.; Burnard, P.; Hofmann, A.

    2012-12-01

    The initial atmospheric xenon isotopic composition has been much debated over the last 4 decades. A Non radiogenic Earth Atmospheric xenon (NEA-Xe) composition has been proposed to be the best estimate of the initial signature ([1]). NEA-Xe consists of modern atmospheric Xe without fission (131-136Xe) or radioactive decay (129Xe) products. However, the isotope composition of such non-radiogenic xenon is very different to that of potential cosmochemical precursors such as solar or meteoritic Xe, as it is mass-fractionated by up to 3-4 % per amu relative to the potential precursors, and it is also elementally depleted relative to other noble gases. Because the Xe isotopic composition of the Archean appears to be intermediate between that of these cosmochemical end-members and that of the modern atmosphere, we argued that isotopic fractionation of atmospheric xenon did not occur early in Earth's history by hydrodynamic escape, as postulated by all other models ([1], [2], [3]), but instead was a continuous, long term process that lasted during at least the Hadean and Archean eons. Taken at face value, the decrease of the Xe isotopic fractionation from 1.6-2.1 % amu-1 3.5 Ga ago ([4]) to 1 % amu-1 3.0 Ga ago (Ar-Ar age in fluid inclusions trapped in quartz from the same Dresser Formation, [5]) could reflect a secular variation of the atmospheric Xe signature. Nevertheless, up until now, all data showing an isotopic mass fractionation have been measured in rocks and fluids from the same formation (Dresser Formation, Western Australia, aged 3.5 Ga), and have yet to be confirmed in rocks from different locations. In order to better constrain xenon isotopic fractionation of the atmosphere through time, we decided to analyze barites from different ages, geological environments and metamorphism grade. We started this study with barite from the Fig Tree Formation (South Africa, aged 3.26 Ga). This barite was sampled in old mines so have negligible modern exposure time. It is

  8. Were micrometeorites a source of prebiotic molecules on the early Earth?

    PubMed

    Maurette, M; Brack, A; Kurat, G; Perreau, M; Engrand, C

    1995-03-01

    "Interplanetary Dust Particles" with sizes approximately 10 micrometers collected in the stratosphere (IDPs), as well as much larger "giant" micrometeorites retrieved from Antarctic ice melt water (AMMs), are mostly composed of unequilibrated assemblages of minerals, thus being related to primitive unequilibrated meteorites. Two independent evaluations of the mass flux of micrometeorites measuring approximately 50 micrometers to approximately 200 micrometers, recovered from either the Greenland or the Antarctic ice sheets have been reported (approximately 20,000 tons/a). A comparison with recent evaluation of the flux of meteorites reaching the Earth's surface (up to masses of 10,000 tons), indicates that micrometeorites represent about 99.5% of the extraterrestrial material falling on the Earth's surface each year. As they show carbon concentrations exceeding that of the most C-rich meteorite (Orgueil), they are the major contributors of extraterrestrial C-rich matter accreting to the Earth today. Moreover they are complex microstructured aggregates of grains. They contain not only a variety of C-rich matter, such as a new "dirty" magnetite phase enriched in P, S, and minor elements, but also a diversity of potential catalysts (hydrous silicates, oxides, sulfides and metal grains of Fe/Ni composition, etc.). They could have individually functioned on the early Earth, as "micro-chondritic-reactors" for the processing of prebiotic organic molecules in liquid water. Future progress requires the challenging development of meaningful laboratory simulation experiments, and a better understanding of the partial reprocessing of micrometeorites in the atmosphere.

  9. Early results from Magsat. [studies of near-earth magnetic fields

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langel, R. A.; Estes, R. H.; Mayhew, M. A.

    1981-01-01

    Papers presented at the May 27, 1981 meeting of the American Geophysical Union concerning early results from the Magsat satellite program, which was designed to study the near-earth magnetic fields originating in the core and lithosphere, are discussed. The satellite was launched on October 30, 1979 into a sun-synchronous (twilight) orbit, and re-entered the atmosphere on June 11, 1980. Instruments carried included a cesium vapor magnetometer to measure field magnitudes, a fluxgate magnetometer to measure field components and an optical system to measure fluxgate magnetometer orientation. Early results concerned spherical harmonic models, fields due to ionospheric and magnetospheric currents, the identification and interpretation of fields from lithospheric sources. The preliminary results confirm the possibility of separating the measured field into core, crustal and external components, and represent significant developments in analytical techniques in main-field modelling and the physics of the field sources.

  10. Exploring Earth's Ionosphere with CINDI: Bringing an Upper Atmosphere Mission into Pre-College Classrooms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Urquhart, M. L.; Hairston, M. R.; Richardson, J. M.; Olson, C.

    2003-12-01

    We will present the Education and Public Outreach work in progress for the joint Air Force/NASA project CINDI (Coupled Ion Neutral Dynamic Investigation), which will launch in early 2004 on a US Air Force C/NOFS (Communications/Navigations Outage Forecast System) Satellite. CINDI, in conjunction with the other instruments on C/NOFS, will study how radio signals sent through the ionosphere are affected by variability with this layer of the atmosphere. The Educational outreach for CINDI is focused on helping students, educators, and the general public better understand the link between the ionosphere and our technological civilization. The ionosphere is typically neglected in pre-college science classes despite its impact on modern society and the substantial resources invested by funding agencies on furthering our understanding of this atmospheric layer. Our approach is to increase student understanding of the terrestrial ionosphere and Sun-Earth connections through strong connections to existing pre-college curricula and standards. We have created a partnership between the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences and the Science Education Program within the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) to produce a quality Educator Guide and a Summer Educator Workshop. A senior graduate student in physics and an experienced middle school educator in UTD's Science Education Master of Science Teaching Program have been partnered to ensure that our the Educator Guide and Workshop will contain both science and pedagogy, and be easily integrated into secondary science classes. The summer 2004 workshop will be offered in the Dallas area, which has a significant population of minority and economically disadvantaged students. We will recruit teachers from districts that serve a large number of underserved/underrepresented students. The Educator Guide and workshop materials will be made available on the CINDI Web site for distribution to a national audience.

  11. Ultraviolet radiation and the photobiology of earth's early oceans.

    PubMed

    Cockell, C S

    2000-10-01

    During the Archean era (3.9-2.5 Ga ago) the earth was dominated by an oceanic lithosphere. Thus, understanding how life arose and persisted in the Archean oceans constitutes a major challenge in understanding early life on earth. Using a radiative transfer model of the late Archean oceans, the photobiological environment of the photic zone and the surface microlayer is explored at the time before the formation of a significant ozone column. DNA damage rates might have been approximately three orders of magnitude higher in the surface layer of the Archean oceans than on the present-day oceans, but at 30 m depth, damage may have been similar to the surface of the present-day oceans. However at this depth the risk of being transported to surface waters in the mixed layer was high. The mixed layer may have been inhabited by a low diversity UV-resistant biota. But it could have been numerically abundant. Repair capabilities similar to Deinococcus radiodurans would be sufficient to survive in the mixed layer. Diversity may have been greater in the region below the mixed layer and above the light compensation point corresponding to today's 'deep chlorophyll maximum'. During much of the Archean the air-water interface was probably an uninhabitable extreme environment for neuston. The habitability of some regions of the photic zone is consistent with the evidence embodied in the geologic record, which suggests an oxygenated upper layer in the Archean oceans. During the early Proterozoic, as ozone concentrations increased to a column abundance above 1 x 10(17) cm-2, UV stress would have been reduced and possibly a greater diversity of organisms could have inhabited the mixed layer. However, nutrient upwelling from newly emergent continental crusts may have been more significant in increasing total planktonic abundance in the open oceans and coastal regions than photobiological factors. The phohobiological environment of the Archean oceans has implications for the potential

  12. Biomarkers as tracers for life on early earth and Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Simoneit, B. R.; Summons, R. E.; Jahnke, L. L.

    1998-01-01

    Biomarkers in geological samples are products derived from biochemical (natural product) precursors by reductive and oxidative processes (e.g., cholestanes from cholesterol). Generally, lipids, pigments and biomembranes are preserved best over longer geological times and labile compounds such as amino acids, sugars, etc. are useful biomarkers for recent times. Thus, the detailed characterization of biomarker compositions permits the assessment of the major contributing species of extinct and/or extant life. In the case of the early Earth, work has progressed to elucidate molecular structure and carbon isotropic signals preserved in ancient sedimentary rocks. In addition, the combination of bacterial biochemistry with the organic geochemistry of contemporary and ancient hydrothermal ecosystems permits the modeling of the nature, behavior and preservation potential of primitive microbial communities. This approach uses combined molecular and isotopic analyses to characterize lipids produced by cultured bacteria (representative of ancient strains) and to test a variety of culture conditions which affect their biosynthesis. On considering Mars, the biomarkers from lipids and biopolymers would be expected to be preserved best if life flourished there during its early history (3.5-4 x 10(9) yr ago). Both oxidized and reduced products would be expected. This is based on the inferred occurrence of hydrothermal activity during that time with the concomitant preservation of biochemically-derived organic matter. Both known biomarkers (i.e., as elucidated for early terrestrial samples and for primitive terrestrial microbiota) and novel, potentially unknown compounds should be characterized.

  13. Effects of atmospheric aerosols on scattering reflected visible light from earth resource features

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Noll, K. E.; Tschantz, B. A.; Davis, W. T.

    1972-01-01

    The vertical variations in atmospheric light attenuation under ambient conditions were identified, and a method through which aerial photographs of earth features might be corrected to yield quantitative information about the actual features was provided. A theoretical equation was developed based on the Bouguer-Lambert extinction law and basic photographic theory.

  14. Comparing Unique Title Coverage of Web of Science and Scopus in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barnett, Philip; Lascar, Claudia

    2012-01-01

    The current journal titles in earth and atmospheric sciences, that are unique to each of two databases, Web of Science and Scopus, were identified using different methods. Comparing by subject category shows that Scopus has hundreds of unique titles, and Web of Science just 16. The titles unique to each database have low SCImago Journal Rank…

  15. A Special Assignment from NASA: Understanding Earth's Atmosphere through the Integration of Science and Mathematics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fox, Justine E.; Glen, Nicole J.

    2012-01-01

    Have your students ever wondered what NASA scientists do? Have they asked you what their science and mathematics lessons have to do with the real world? This unit about Earth's atmosphere can help to answer both of those questions. The unit described here showcases "content specific integration" of science and mathematics in that the lessons meet…

  16. Preliminary Results From Observing The Fast Stardust Sample Return Capsule Entry In Earth's Atmosphere On January 15, 2006.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenniskens, P.; Jordan, D.; Kontinos, D.; Wright, M.; Olejniczak, J.; Raiche, G.; Wercinski, P.; Schilling, E.; Taylor, M.; Rairden, R.; Stenbaek-Nielsen, H.; McHarg, M. G.; Abe, S.; Winter, M.

    2006-08-01

    In order for NASA's Stardust mission to return a comet sample to Earth, the probe was put in an orbit similar to that of Near Earth Asteroids. As a result, the reentry in Earth's atmosphere on January 15, 2006, was the fastest entry ever for a NASA spacecraft, with a speed of 12.8 km/s, similar to that of natural fireballs. A new thermal protection material, PICA, was used to protect the sample, a material that may have a future as thermal protection for the Crew Return Vehicle or for future planetary missions. An airborne and ground-based observing campaign, the "Stardust Hyperseed MAC", was organized to observe the reentry under good observing conditions, with spectroscopic and imaging techniques commonly used for meteor observations (http:// reentry.arc.nasa.gov). A spectacular video of the reentry was obtained. The spectroscopic observations measure how much light was generated in the shock wave, how that radiation added to heating the surface, how the PICA ablated as a function of altitude, and how the carbon reacted with the shock wave to form CN, a possible marker of prebiotic chemistry in natural meteors. In addition, the observations measured a transient signal of zinc and potassium early in the trajectory, from the ablation of a white paint layer that had been applied to the heat shield for thermal control. Implications for sample return and the exploration of atmospheres in future planetary missions will be discussed.

  17. Comparing early twentieth century and present-day atmospheric pollution in SW France: A story of lichens.

    PubMed

    Agnan, Y; Séjalon-Delmas, N; Probst, A

    2013-01-01

    Lichens have long been known to be good indicators of air quality and atmospheric deposition. Xanthoria parietina was selected to investigate past (sourced from a herbarium) and present-day trace metal pollution in four sites from South-West France (close to Albi). Enrichment factors, relationships between elements and hierarchical classification indicated that the atmosphere was mainly impacted by coal combustion (as shown by As, Pb or Cd contamination) during the early twentieth century, whereas more recently, another mixture of pollutants (e.g. Sb, Sn, Pb and Cu) from local factories and car traffic has emerged. The Rare Earth Elements (REE) and other lithogenic elements indicated a higher dust content in the atmosphere in the early twentieth century and a specific lithological local signature. In addition to long-range atmospheric transport, local urban emissions had a strong impact on trace element contamination registered in lichens, particularly for contemporary data. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Investigating CO2 Reservoirs at Gale Crater and Evidence for a Dense Early Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Niles, P. B.; Archer, P. D.; Heil, E.; Eigenbrode, J.; McAdam, A.; Sutter, B.; Franz, H.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Ming, D.; Mahaffy, P. R.; hide

    2015-01-01

    One of the most compelling features of the Gale landing site is its age. Based on crater counts, the formation of Gale crater is dated to be near the beginning of the Hesperian near the pivotal Hesperian/Noachian transition. This is a time period on Mars that is linked to increased fluvial activity through valley network formation and also marks a transition from higher erosion rates/clay mineral formation to lower erosion rates with mineralogies dominated by sulfate minerals. Results from the Curiosity mission have shown extensive evidence for fluvial activity within the crater suggesting that sediments on the floor of the crater and even sediments making up Mt. Sharp itself were the result of longstanding activity of liquid water. Warm/wet conditions on early Mars are likely due to a thicker atmosphere and increased abundance of greenhouse gases including the main component of the atmosphere, CO2. Carbon dioxide is minor component of the Earth's atmosphere yet plays a major role in surface water chemistry, weathering, and formation of secondary minerals. An ancient martian atmosphere was likely dominated by CO2 and any waters in equilibrium with this atmosphere would have different chemical characteristics. Studies have noted that high partial pressures of CO2 would result in increased carbonic acid formation and lowering of the pH so that carbonate minerals are not stable. However, if there were a dense CO2 atmosphere present at the Hesperian/Noachian transition, it would have to be stored in a carbon reservoir on the surface or lost to space. The Mt. Sharp sediments are potentially one of the best places on Mars to investigate these CO2 reservoirs as they are proposed to have formed in the early Hesperian, from an alkaline lake, and record the transition to an aeolian dominated regime near the top of the sequence. The total amount of CO2 in the Gale crater soils and sediments is significant but lower than expected if a thick atmosphere was present at the

  19. Heat flow vs. atmospheric greenhouse on early Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fanale, F. P.; Postawko, S. E.

    1991-01-01

    Researchers derived a quantitative relationship between the effectiveness of an atmospheric greenhouse and internal heat flow in producing the morphological differences between earlier and later Martian terrains. The derivation is based on relationships previously derived by other researchers. The reasoning may be stated as follows: the CO2 mean residence time in the Martian atmosphere is almost certainly much shorter than the total time span over which early climate differences are thought to have been sustained. Therefore, recycling of previously degassed CO2 quickly becomes more important than the ongoing supply of juvenile CO2. If so, then the atmospheric CO2 pressure, and thereby the surface temperature, may be approximated mathematically as a function of the total degassed CO2 in the atmosphere plus buried material and the ratio of the atmospheric and regolith mean residence times. The latter ratio can also be expressed as a function of heat flow. Hence, it follows that the surface temperature may be expressed as a function of heat flow and the total amount of available CO2. However, the depth to the water table can simultaneously be expressed as a function of heat flow and the surface temperature (the boundary condition). Therefore, for any given values of total available CO2 and regolith conductivity, there exist coupled independent equations which relate heat flow, surface temperature, and the depth to the water table. This means we can now derive simultaneous values of surface temperature and the depth of the water table for any value of the heat flow. The derived relationship is used to evaluate the relative importance of the atmospheric greenhouse effect and the internal regolith thermal gradient in producing morphological changes for any value of the heat flow, and to assess the absolute importance of each of the values of the heat flow which are thought to be reasonable on independent geophysical grounds.

  20. Atmospheric and oceanic excitation of decadal-scale Earth orientation variations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gross, Richard S.; Fukumori, Ichiro; Menemenlis, Dimitris

    2005-09-01

    The contribution of atmospheric wind and surface pressure and oceanic current and bottom pressure variations during 1949-2002 to exciting changes in the Earth's orientation on decadal timescales is investigated using an atmospheric angular momentum series computed from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) reanalysis project and an oceanic angular momentum series computed from a near-global ocean model that was forced by surface fluxes from the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis project. Not surprisingly, since decadal-scale variations in the length of day are caused mainly by interactions between the mantle and core, the effect of the atmosphere and oceans is found to be only about 14% of that observed. More surprisingly, it is found that the effect of atmospheric and oceanic processes on decadal-scale changes in polar motion is also only about 20% (x component) and 38% (y component) of that observed. Therefore redistribution of mass within the atmosphere and oceans does not appear to be the main cause of the Markowitz wobble. It is also found that on timescales between 10 days and 4 years the atmospheric and oceanic angular momentum series used here have very little skill in explaining Earth orientation variations before the mid to late 1970s. This is attributed to errors in both the Earth orientation observations prior to 1976 when measurements from the accurate space-geodetic techniques became available and to errors in the modeled atmospheric fields prior to 1979 when the satellite era of global weather observing systems began.

  1. Prebiotic Lipidic Amphiphiles and Condensing Agents on the Early Earth

    PubMed Central

    Fiore, Michele; Strazewski, Peter

    2016-01-01

    It is still uncertain how the first minimal cellular systems evolved to the complexity required for life to begin, but it is obvious that the role of amphiphilic compounds in the origin of life is one of huge relevance. Over the last four decades a number of studies have demonstrated how amphiphilic molecules can be synthesized under plausibly prebiotic conditions. The majority of these experiments also gave evidence for the ability of so formed amphiphiles to assemble in closed membranes of vesicles that, in principle, could have compartmented first biological processes on early Earth, including the emergence of self-replicating systems. For a competitive selection of the best performing molecular replicators to become operative, some kind of bounded units capable of harboring them are indispensable. Without the competition between dynamic populations of different compartments, life itself could not be distinguished from an otherwise disparate array or network of molecular interactions. In this review, we describe experiments that demonstrate how different prebiotically-available building blocks can become precursors of phospholipids that form vesicles. We discuss the experimental conditions that resemble plausibly those of the early Earth (or elsewhere) and consider the analytical methods that were used to characterize synthetic products. Two brief sections focus on phosphorylating agents, catalysts and coupling agents with particular attention given to their geochemical context. In Section 5, we describe how condensing agents such as cyanamide and urea can promote the abiotic synthesis of phospholipids. We conclude the review by reflecting on future studies of phospholipid compartments, particularly, on evolvable chemical systems that include giant vesicles composed of different lipidic amphiphiles. PMID:27043635

  2. Mentors, networks, and resources for early career female atmospheric scientists

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallar, A. G.; Avallone, L. M.; Edwards, L. M.; Thiry, H.; Ascent

    2011-12-01

    Atmospheric Science Collaborations and Enriching NeTworks (ASCENT) is a workshop series designed to bring together early career female scientists in the field of atmospheric science and related disciplines. ASCENT is a multi-faceted approach to retaining these junior scientists through the challenges in their research and teaching career paths. During the workshop, senior women scientists discuss their career and life paths. They also lead seminars on tools, resources and methods that can help early career scientists to be successful. Networking is a significant aspect of ASCENT, and many opportunities for both formal and informal interactions among the participants (of both personal and professional nature) are blended in the schedule. The workshops are held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, home of a high-altitude atmospheric science laboratory - Storm Peak Laboratory, which also allows for nearby casual outings and a pleasant environment for participants. Near the conclusion of each workshop, junior and senior scientists are matched in mentee-mentor ratios of two junior scientists per senior scientist. An external evaluation of the three workshop cohorts concludes that the workshops have been successful in establishing and expanding personal and research-related networks, and that seminars have been useful in creating confidence and sharing resources for such things as preparing promotion and tenure packages, interviewing and negotiating job offers, and writing successful grant proposals.

  3. Earth-Atmospheric Coupling Prior to Strong Earthquakes Analyzed by IR Remote Sensing Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Freund, F.; Ouzounov, D.

    2001-12-01

    Earth-atmosphere interactions during major earthquakes (M>5) are the subject of this study. A mechanism has recently been proposed to account for the appearance of hole-type electronic charge carriers in rocks subjected to transient stress [Freund, 2000]. If such charge carriers are activated in the crust prior to large earthquakes, the predictable consequences are: injection of currents into the rocks, low frequency electromagnetic emission, changes in ground potentials, corona discharges with attendant light emission from high points at the surface of the Earth, and possibly an enhanced emission in the 8-12 μ m region similar to the thermal emission observed during laboratory rock deformation experiments [Geng et al., 1999]. Using data from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) and ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission & Reflection radiometer) onboard NASA's TERRA satellite launched in Dec. 1999 we have begun analyzing vertical atmospheric profiles, land surface and kinetic temperatures. We looked for correlations between atmospheric dynamics and solid Earth processes prior to the Jan. 13, 2001 earthquake in El Salvador (M=7.6) and the Jan. 26, 2001 Gujarat earth-quake in India (M=7.7). With MODIS covering the entire Earth every 1-2 days in 36 wavelength bands (20 visible and 16 infrared) at different spatial resolutions (250 m, 500 m, and 1 km) we find evidence for a thermal anomaly pattern related to the pre-seismic activity. We also find evidence for changes in the aerosol content and atmospheric instability parameters, possibly due to changes in the ground potential that cause ion emission and lead to the formation of a thin near-ground aerosol layer. We analyze the aerosol content, atmospheric pressure, moisture profile and lifted index.

  4. Origin of the moon - Capture by gas drag of the earth's primordial atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakazawa, K.; Komuro, T.; Hayashi, C.

    1983-06-01

    The novel lunar formation scenario proposed is an extension of planetary formation process studies suggesting that the earth originated in a gaseous solar nebula. Attention is given to a series of dynamical processes in which a low energy planetesimal is trapped within the terrestrial Hill sphere under circumstances in which the primordial atmosphere's gas density gradually decreases. An unbound planetesimal entering the Hill sphere would have had to dissipate its kinetic energy and then come into a bound orbit, before escaping from the Hill sphere, without falling onto the earth's surface. The kinetic energy dissipation condition is considered through the calculation of the solar gravity and atmospheric gas drag effects on the planetesimal's orbital motion. The result obtained shows that a low energy planetesimal of less than lunar mass can be trapped in the Hill sphere with a high probability, if it enters at those stages before atmospheric density has decreased to about 1/50th of the initial value.

  5. Earth history. Low mid-Proterozoic atmospheric oxygen levels and the delayed rise of animals.

    PubMed

    Planavsky, Noah J; Reinhard, Christopher T; Wang, Xiangli; Thomson, Danielle; McGoldrick, Peter; Rainbird, Robert H; Johnson, Thomas; Fischer, Woodward W; Lyons, Timothy W

    2014-10-31

    The oxygenation of Earth's surface fundamentally altered global biogeochemical cycles and ultimately paved the way for the rise of metazoans at the end of the Proterozoic. However, current estimates for atmospheric oxygen (O2) levels during the billion years leading up to this time vary widely. On the basis of chromium (Cr) isotope data from a suite of Proterozoic sediments from China, Australia, and North America, interpreted in the context of data from similar depositional environments from Phanerozoic time, we find evidence for inhibited oxidation of Cr at Earth's surface in the mid-Proterozoic (1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago). These data suggest that atmospheric O2 levels were at most 0.1% of present atmospheric levels. Direct evidence for such low O2 concentrations in the Proterozoic helps explain the late emergence and diversification of metazoans. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  6. Earth's Early Biosphere and the Biogeochemical Carbon Cycle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DesMarais, David

    2004-01-01

    Our biosphere has altered the global environment principally by influencing the chemistry of those elements most important for life, e g., C, N, S, O, P and transition metals (e.g., Fe and Mn). The coupling of oxygenic photosynthesis with the burial in sediments of photosynthetic organic matter, and with the escape of H2 to space, has increased the state of oxidation of the Oceans and atmosphere. It has also created highly reduced conditions within sedimentary rocks that have also extensively affected the geochemistry of several elements. The decline of volcanism during Earth's history reduced the flow of reduced chemical species that reacted with photosynthetically produced O2. The long-term net accumulation of photosynthetic O2 via biogeochemical processes has profoundly influenced our atmosphere and biosphere, as evidenced by the O2 levels required for algae, multicellular life and certain modem aerobic bacteria to exist. When our biosphere developed photosynthesis, it tapped into an energy resource that was much larger than the energy available from oxidation-reduction reactions associated with weathering and hydrothermal activity. Today, hydrothermal sources deliver globally (0.13-1.1)x10(exp l2) mol yr(sup -1) of reduced S, Fe(2+), Mn(2+), H2 and CH4; this is estimated to sustain at most about (0.2-2)xl0(exp 12)mol C yr(sup -1) of organic carbon production by chemautotrophic microorganisms. In contrast, global photosynthetic productivity is estimated to be 9000x10(exp 12) mol C yr(sup -1). Thus, even though global thermal fluxes were greater in the distant geologic past than today, the onset of oxygenic photosynthesis probably increased global organic productivity by some two or more orders of magnitude. This enormous productivity materialized principally because oxygenic photosynthesizers unleashed a virtually unlimited supply of reduced H that forever freed life from its sole dependence upon abiotic sources of reducing power such as hydrothermal emanations

  7. Contributions of high-altitude winds and atmospheric moment of inertia to the atmospheric angular momentum-earth rotation relationship

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taylor, H. A., Jr.; Mayr, H. G.; Kramer, L.

    1985-01-01

    For many years it has been recognized that recurrent modulations occur in the time series of the earth's rotation rate or, alternatively, the change in the length of the day (Delta-LOD). Studies relating Delta-LOD to global patterns of zonal winds have confirmed that the variability of atmospheric angular momentum (M) is of sufficient magnitude to account for a large portion of the gross periodicities observed in the earth rotation. The present investigation is concerned with the importance of the contributions of the moment of inertia and high-altitude winds to the angular momentum budget. On the basis of an analysis of the various factors, it is found that within the available data, contributions of high-altitude winds and atmospheric moment of inertia reach levels detectable in the atmospheric angular momentum budget. Nevertheless, for the period December 1978 to December 1979 these contributions are not sufficient to resolve the apparent short-term discrepancies which are evident between Delta-LOD and M.

  8. On the possibility of space objects invasion observations into the Earth's atmosphere with the help of a multifunctional polarimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nevodovskyi, P. V.; Steklov, A. F.; Vidmachenko, A. P.

    2018-05-01

    Relevance of the tasks associated with the observation of the invasion of space objects into the Earth's atmosphere increases with each passing year. We used astronomical panoramic polarimeter for carrying out of polarimetric observations of objects, that flying into the atmosphere of the Earth from the surrounding outer space.

  9. HCN production from impact ejecta on the early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Parkos, Devon; Pikus, Aaron; Alexeenko, Alina; Melosh, H. J.

    2016-11-01

    Major impact events have drastically altered the evolution of life on Earth. The reentry of ejecta formed from these events can trigger widespread chemical changes to the atmosphere on a global scale. This mechanism was proposed as a source of HCN during the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB), 4.1 to 3.8 billion years ago. Significant concentrations of HCN in surface water could directly lead to adenine formation, a precursor for RNA. This work uses the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method to examine the production of CN and HCN due to the reentry of impact ejecta. We use the Statistical Modeling in Low-Density Environment (SMILE) code, which utilizes the Total Collisional Energy (TCE) model for reactions. The collisions are described by the Variable Soft Sphere (VSS) and Larsen-Borgnakke (LB) models. We compare this nonequilibrium production to equilibrium concentrations from bulk atmospheric heating. The equilibrium HCN yield for a 1023 J impact is 7.0×104 moles, corresponding to a 2.5×1014 molecules per m2 surface deposition. We find that additional CN and HCN is produced under thermochemical nonequilibrium, particularly at higher altitudes. The total nonequilibrium yield for a 1023 J impact is 1.2×106 moles of HCN, a value 17 times the equilibrium result. This corresponds to a surface deposition of 1.4×1015 molecules per m2. This increase in production indicates that thermochemical nonequilibrium effects play a strong role in HCN from impact ejecta, and must be considered when investigating impacts as a plausible mechanism for significant adenine production during the LHB.

  10. Evaluating Land-Atmosphere Moisture Feedbacks in Earth System Models With Spaceborne Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levine, P. A.; Randerson, J. T.; Lawrence, D. M.; Swenson, S. C.

    2016-12-01

    We have developed a set of metrics for measuring the feedback loop between the land surface moisture state and the atmosphere globally on an interannual time scale. These metrics consider both the forcing of terrestrial water storage (TWS) on subsequent atmospheric conditions as well as the response of TWS to antecedent atmospheric conditions. We designed our metrics to take advantage of more than one decade's worth of satellite observations of TWS from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) along with atmospheric variables from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP), and Clouds and the Earths Radiant Energy System (CERES). Metrics derived from spaceborne observations were used to evaluate the strength of the feedback loop in the Community Earth System Model (CESM) Large Ensemble (LENS) and in several models that contributed simulations to Phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). We found that both forcing and response limbs of the feedback loop were generally stronger in tropical and temperate regions in CMIP5 models and even more so in LENS compared to satellite observations. Our analysis suggests that models may overestimate the strength of the feedbacks between the land surface and the atmosphere, which is consistent with previous studies conducted across different spatial and temporal scales.

  11. Meteors: A Delivery Mechanism of Organic Matter to The Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jenniskens, Peter; Wilson, Mike A.; Packan, Dennis; Laux, Christophe O.; Krueger, Charles H.; Boyd, Iain, D.; Popova, Olga P.; Fonda, Mark; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    All potential exogenous pre-biotic matter arrived to Earth by ways of our atmosphere, where much material was ablated during a luminous phase called 1. meteors" in rarefied flows of high (up to 270) Mach number. The recent Leonid showers offered a first glimpse into the elusive physical conditions of the ablation process and atmospheric chemistry associated with high-speed meteors. Molecular emissions were detected that trace a meteor's brilliant light to a 4,300 K warm wake rather than to the meteor's head. A new theoretical approach using the direct simulation by Monte Carlo technique identified the source-region and demonstrated that the ablation process is critical in the heating of the meteor's wake. In the head of the meteor, organic carbon appears to survive flash heating and rapid cooling. The temperatures in the wake of the meteor are just right for dissociation of CO and the formation of more complex organic compounds. The resulting materials could account for the bulk of pre-biotic organic carbon on the early Earth at the time of the origin of life.

  12. Sulfidic Anion Concentrations on Early Earth for Surficial Origins-of-Life Chemistry.

    PubMed

    Ranjan, Sukrit; Todd, Zoe R; Sutherland, John D; Sasselov, Dimitar D

    2018-04-08

    A key challenge in origin-of-life studies is understanding the environmental conditions on early Earth under which abiogenesis occurred. While some constraints do exist (e.g., zircon evidence for surface liquid water), relatively few constraints exist on the abundances of trace chemical species, which are relevant to assessing the plausibility and guiding the development of postulated prebiotic chemical pathways which depend on these species. In this work, we combine literature photochemistry models with simple equilibrium chemistry calculations to place constraints on the plausible range of concentrations of sulfidic anions (HS - , HSO 3 - , SO 3 2- ) available in surficial aquatic reservoirs on early Earth due to outgassing of SO 2 and H 2 S and their dissolution into small shallow surface water reservoirs like lakes. We find that this mechanism could have supplied prebiotically relevant levels of SO 2 -derived anions, but not H 2 S-derived anions. Radiative transfer modeling suggests UV light would have remained abundant on the planet surface for all but the largest volcanic explosions. We apply our results to the case study of the proposed prebiotic reaction network of Patel et al. ( 2015 ) and discuss the implications for improving its prebiotic plausibility. In general, epochs of moderately high volcanism could have been especially conducive to cyanosulfidic prebiotic chemistry. Our work can be similarly applied to assess and improve the prebiotic plausibility of other postulated surficial prebiotic chemistries that are sensitive to sulfidic anions, and our methods adapted to study other atmospherically derived trace species. Key Words: Early Earth-Origin of life-Prebiotic chemistry-Volcanism-UV radiation-Planetary environments. Astrobiology 18, xxx-xxx.

  13. Atmospheric reconnaissance of the habitable-zone Earth-sized planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Wit, Julien; Wakeford, Hannah R.; Lewis, Nikole K.; Delrez, Laetitia; Gillon, Michaël; Selsis, Frank; Leconte, Jérémy; Demory, Brice-Olivier; Bolmont, Emeline; Bourrier, Vincent; Burgasser, Adam J.; Grimm, Simon; Jehin, Emmanuël; Lederer, Susan M.; Owen, James E.; Stamenković, Vlada; Triaud, Amaury H. M. J.

    2018-03-01

    Seven temperate Earth-sized exoplanets readily amenable for atmospheric studies transit the nearby ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 (refs 1,2). Their atmospheric regime is unknown and could range from extended primordial hydrogen-dominated to depleted atmospheres3-6. Hydrogen in particular is a powerful greenhouse gas that may prevent the habitability of inner planets while enabling the habitability of outer ones6-8. An atmosphere largely dominated by hydrogen, if cloud-free, should yield prominent spectroscopic signatures in the near-infrared detectable during transits. Observations of the innermost planets have ruled out such signatures9. However, the outermost planets are more likely to have sustained such a Neptune-like atmosphere10, 11. Here, we report observations for the four planets within or near the system's habitable zone, the circumstellar region where liquid water could exist on a planetary surface12-14. These planets do not exhibit prominent spectroscopic signatures at near-infrared wavelengths either, which rules out cloud-free hydrogen-dominated atmospheres for TRAPPIST-1 d, e and f, with significance of 8σ, 6σ and 4σ, respectively. Such an atmosphere is instead not excluded for planet g. As high-altitude clouds and hazes are not expected in hydrogen-dominated atmospheres around planets with such insolation15, 16, these observations further support their terrestrial and potentially habitable nature.

  14. Photochemical Haze Formation in the Atmospheres of Super-Earths and Mini-Neptunes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    He, Chao; Hoerst, Sarah M.; Lewis, Nikole K.; Yu, Xinting; Moses, Julianne I.; Kempton, Eliza M.- R.; Marley, Mark S.; McGuiggan, Patricia; Morley, Caroline V.; Valenti, Jeff A.; hide

    2018-01-01

    UV (ultraviolet) radiation can induce photochemical processes in the atmospheres of exoplanet and produce haze particles. Recent transmission spectra of super-Earths and mini-Neptunes have demonstrated the possibility that exoplanets have haze/cloud layers at high altitudes in their atmospheres. Haze particles play an important role in planetary atmospheres because they affect the chemistry, dynamics, and radiation flux in planetary atmospheres, and may provide a source of organic material to the surface which may impact the origin or evolution of life. However, very little information is known about photochemical processes in cool, high-metallicity exoplanetary atmospheres. We present here photochemical haze formation in laboratory simulation experiments with UV radiation; we explored temperatures ranging from 300 to 600 degrees Kelvin and a range of atmospheric metallicities (100 times, 1000 times, and 10000 times solar metallicity). We find that photochemical hazes are generated in all simulated atmospheres, but the haze production rates appear to be temperature dependent: the particles produced in each metallicity group decrease as the temperature increases. The images taken with an atomic force microscope (AFM) show that the particle size (15 nanometers to 190 nanometers) varies with temperature and metallicity. Our results provide useful laboratory data on the photochemical haze formation and particle properties, which can serve as critical inputs for exoplanet atmosphere modeling, and guide future observations of exoplanets with the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

  15. Simulation of Prebiotic Processing by Comet and Meteoroid Impact: Implications for Life on Early Earth and Other Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dateo, Christopher E.

    2003-01-01

    We develop a reacting flow model to simulate the shock induced chemistry of comets and meteoroids entering planetary atmospheres. Various atmospheric compositions comprising of simpler molecules (i.e., CH4, CO2, H2O, etc.) are investigated to determine the production efficiency of more complex prebiotic molecules as a function of composition, pressure, and entry velocity. The possible role of comets and meteoroids in creating the inventory of prebiotic material necessary for life on Early Earth is considered. Comets and meteoroids can also introduce new materials from the Interstellar Medium (ISM) to planetary atmospheres. The ablation of water from comets, introducing the element oxygen into Titan's atmosphere will also be considered and its implications for the formation of organic and prebiotic material.

  16. Atmospheric dynamics and habitability range in Earth-like aquaplanets obliquity simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nowajewski, Priscilla; Rojas, M.; Rojo, P.; Kimeswenger, S.

    2018-05-01

    We present the evolution of the atmospheric variables that affect planetary climate by increasing the obliquity by using a general circulation model (PlaSim) coupled to a slab ocean with mixed layer flux correction. We increase the obliquity between 30° and 90° in 16 aquaplanets with liquid sea surface and perform the simulation allowing the sea ice cover formation to be a consequence of its atmospheric dynamics. Insolation is maintained constant in each experiment, but changing the obliquity affects the radiation budget and the large scale circulation. Earth-like atmospheric dynamics is observed for planets with obliquity under 54°. Above this value, the latitudinal temperature gradient is reversed giving place to a new regime of jet streams, affecting the shape of Hadley and Ferrel cells and changing the position of the InterTropical Convergence Zone. As humidity and high temperatures determine Earth's habitability, we introduce the wet bulb temperature as an atmospheric index of habitability for Earth-like aquaplanets with above freezing temperatures. The aquaplanets are habitable all year round at all latitudes for values under 54°; above this value habitability decreases toward the poles due to high temperatures.

  17. Development status of the EarthCARE Mission and its atmospheric Lidar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hélière, A.; Wallace, K.; Pereira Do Carmo, J.; Lefebvre, A.; Eisinger, M.; Wehr, T.

    2016-09-01

    The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are co-operating to develop as part of ESA's Living Planet Programme, the third Earth Explorer Core Mission, EarthCARE, with the fundamental objective of improving the understanding of the processes involving clouds, aerosols and radiation in the Earth's atmosphere. EarthCARE payload consists of two active and two passive instruments: an ATmospheric LIDar (ATLID), a Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR), a Multi-Spectral Imager (MSI) and a Broad-Band Radiometer (BBR). The four instruments data are processed individually and in a synergetic manner to produce a large range of products, which include vertical profiles of aerosols, liquid water and ice, observations of cloud distribution and vertical motion within clouds, and will allow the retrieval of profiles of atmospheric radiative heating and cooling. Operating in the UV range at 355 nm, ATLID provides atmospheric echoes with a vertical resolution up to 100 m from ground to an altitude of 40 km. Thanks to a high spectral resolution filtering, the lidar is able to separate the relative contribution of aerosol (Mie) and molecular (Rayleigh) scattering, which gives access to aerosol optical depth. Co-polarised and cross-polarised components of the Mie scattering contribution are also separated and measured on dedicated channels. This paper gives an overview of the mission science objective, the satellite configuration with its four instruments and details more specifically the implementation and development status of the Atmospheric Lidar. Manufacturing status and first equipment qualification test results, in particular for what concerns the laser transmitter development are presented.

  18. Earth-Atmospheric Coupling During Strong Earthquakes by Analyzing MODIS Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ouzounov, Dimitar; Williams, Robin G.; Freund, Friedemann

    2001-01-01

    Interactions between the Earth and the atmosphere during major earthquakes (M greater than 5) are the subject of this investigation. Recently a mechanism has been proposed predicting the build-up of positive ground potentials prior to strong earthquake activity. Connected phenomena include: transient conductivity of rocks, injection of currents, possibly also electromagnetic emission and light emission from high points at the surface of the Earth. To understand this process we analyze vertical atmospheric profiles, land surface and brightness (temperature) data, using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard NASA's Terra satellite launched in December 1999. MODIS covers the entire Earth every 1-2 days in 36 wavelength bands (20 visible and 16 infrared) at different spatial resolutions (250 m, 500 m, and 1 km). Using MODIS data we look for correlations between the atmospheric dynamics and solid Earth processes for the January 2001 strong earthquakes in San Salvador and India. As part of the build-up of positive grounds potential, an IR luminescence is predicted to occur in the 8-12 micrometer band. We use the MODIS data to differentiate between true "thermal" signals and IR luminescence. Indeed, on the basis of a temporal and spatial distribution analysis, a thermal anomaly pattern is found that appears to be related to the seismic activity. Aerosol content and atmospheric instability parameters also change when ground charges build up causing ion emission and leading to a thin aerosol layer over land. We analyze the aerosol content, atmospheric pressure, moisture profile and lifted index. Anomalous trends have been identified in few days prior to the main shocks. The significance of this observation should be explored further using other data sets.

  19. Earth's changing global atmospheric energy cycle in response to climate change

    PubMed Central

    Pan, Yefeng; Li, Liming; Jiang, Xun; Li, Gan; Zhang, Wentao; Wang, Xinyue; Ingersoll, Andrew P.

    2017-01-01

    The Lorenz energy cycle is widely used to investigate atmospheres and climates on planets. However, the long-term temporal variations of such an energy cycle have not yet been explored. Here we use three independent meteorological data sets from the modern satellite era, to examine the temporal characteristics of the Lorenz energy cycle of Earth's global atmosphere in response to climate change. The total mechanical energy of the global atmosphere basically remains constant with time, but the global-average eddy energies show significant positive trends. The spatial investigations suggest that these positive trends are concentrated in the Southern Hemisphere. Significant positive trends are also found in the conversion, generation and dissipation rates of energies. The positive trends in the dissipation rates of kinetic energies suggest that the efficiency of the global atmosphere as a heat engine increased during the modern satellite era. PMID:28117324

  20. LASA (Lidar Atmospheric Sounder and Altimeter) Earth Observing System. Volume 2D: Instrument Panel Report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1987-01-01

    The Earth Observing System (Eos) will provide an ideal forum in which the stronly synergistic characteristics of the lidar systems can be used in concert with the characteristics of a number of other sensors to better understand the Earth as a system. Progress in the development of more efficient and long-lasting laser systems will insure their availability in the Eos time frame. The necessary remote-sensing techniques are being developed to convert the Lidar Atmospheric Sounder and Altimeter (LASA) observations into the proper scientific parameters. Each of these activities reinforces the promise that LASA and GLRS will be a reality in the Eos era.

  1. Nitrogen evolution within the Earth's atmosphere-mantle system assessed by recycling in subduction zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mallik, Ananya; Li, Yuan; Wiedenbeck, Michael

    2018-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of nitrogen (N) across Earth's history requires a comprehensive understanding of N's behaviour in the Earth's mantle - a massive reservoir of this volatile element. Investigation of terrestrial N systematics also requires assessment of its evolution in the Earth's atmosphere, especially to constrain the N content of the Archaean atmosphere, which potentially impacted water retention on the post-accretion Earth, potentially causing enough warming of surface temperatures for liquid water to exist. We estimated the proportion of recycled N in the Earth's mantle today, the isotopic composition of the primitive mantle, and the N content of the Archaean atmosphere based on the recycling rates of N in modern-day subduction zones. We have constrained recycling rates in modern-day subduction zones by focusing on the mechanism and efficiency of N transfer from the subducting slab to the sub-arc mantle by both aqueous fluids and slab partial melts. We also address the transfer of N by aqueous fluids as per the model of Li and Keppler (2014). For slab partial melts, we constrained the transfer of N in two ways - firstly, by an experimental study of the solubility limit of N in melt (which provides an upper estimate of N uptake by slab partial melts) and, secondly, by the partitioning of N between the slab and its partial melt. Globally, 45-74% of N introduced into the mantle by subduction enters the deep mantle past the arc magmatism filter, after taking into account the loss of N from the mantle by degassing at mid-ocean ridges, ocean islands and back-arcs. Although the majority of the N in the present-day mantle remains of primordial origin, our results point to a significant, albeit minor proportion of mantle N that is of recycled origin (17 ± 8% or 12 ± 5% of N in the present-day mantle has undergone recycling assuming that modern-style subduction was initiated 4 or 3 billion years ago, respectively). This proportion of recycled N is enough to

  2. Study of the dynamics of meteoroids through the Earth's atmosphere and retrieval of meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guadalupe Cordero Tercero, Maria; Farah-Simon, Alejandro; Velázquez-Villegas, Fernando

    2016-07-01

    When a comet , asteroid or meteoroid impact with a planet several things can happen depending on the mass, velocity and composition of the impactor, if the planet or moon has an atmosphere or not, and the angle of impact. On bodies without an atmosphere like Mercury or the Moon, every object that strikes their surfaces produces impact craters with sizes ranging from centimeters to hundreds and even thousands of kilometers across. On bodies with an atmosphere, this encounter can produce impact craters, meteorites, meteors and fragmentation. Each and every one of these phenomena is interesting because they provide information about the surfaces and the geological evolution of solar system bodies. Meteors (shooting stars) are luminous wakes on the sky due to the interaction between the meteoroid and the Earth's atmosphere. A meteoroid is asteroidal or cometary material ranging in size from 2 mm to a few tens of meters. The smallest tend to evaporate at heights between 80 and 120 km. Objects of less than 2 mm are called micrometeorites. If the meteor brightness exceeds the brightness of Venus, the phenomenon is called a bolide or fireball. If a meteoroid, or a fragment of it, survives atmospheric ablation and it can be recovered on the ground, that piece is called a meteorite. Most meteoroids 2 meters long fragment suddenly into the atmosphere, it produces a shock wave that can affect humans and their environment like the Chelyabinsk event occurred on February 15, 2013 an two less energetic events in Mexico in 2010 and 2011. To understand the whole phenomenon, we proposed a video camera network for observing meteors. The objectives of this network are to: a) contribute to the study of the fragmentation of meteoroids in the Earth's atmosphere, b) determine values of important physical parameters; c ) study seismic waves produced by atmospheric shock waves, d) study the dynamics of meteoroids and f ) recover and study meteorites. During this meeting, the academic

  3. The Effect of Varying Atmospheric Pressure upon Habitability and Biosignatures of Earth-like Planets.

    PubMed

    Keles, Engin; Grenfell, John Lee; Godolt, Mareike; Stracke, Barbara; Rauer, Heike

    2018-02-01

    Understanding the possible climatic conditions on rocky extrasolar planets, and thereby their potential habitability, is one of the major subjects of exoplanet research. Determining how the climate, as well as potential atmospheric biosignatures, changes under different conditions is a key aspect when studying Earth-like exoplanets. One important property is the atmospheric mass, hence pressure and its influence on the climatic conditions. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to understand the influence of atmospheric mass on climate, hence habitability, and the spectral appearance of planets with Earth-like, that is, N 2 -O 2 dominated, atmospheres orbiting the Sun at 1 AU. This work utilizes a 1D coupled, cloud-free, climate-photochemical atmospheric column model; varies atmospheric surface pressure from 0.5 to 30 bar; and investigates temperature and key species profiles, as well as emission and brightness temperature spectra in a range between 2 and 20 μm. Increasing the surface pressure up to 4 bar leads to an increase in the surface temperature due to increased greenhouse warming. Above this point, Rayleigh scattering dominates, and the surface temperature decreases, reaching surface temperatures below 273 K (approximately at ∼34 bar surface pressure). For ozone, nitrous oxide, water, methane, and carbon dioxide, the spectral response either increases with surface temperature or pressure depending on the species. Masking effects occur, for example, for the bands of the biosignatures ozone and nitrous oxide by carbon dioxide, which could be visible in low carbon dioxide atmospheres. Key Words: Planetary habitability and biosignatures-Atmospheres-Radiative transfer. Astrobiology 18, 116-132.

  4. Spectral identification of abiotic O2 buildup from early runaways and rarefied atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwieterman, Edward; Meadows, Victoria; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn; Arney, Giada; Robinson, Tyler D.; Luger, Rodrigo; Barnes, Rory

    2016-01-01

    The spectral detection of oxygen (O2) in a planetary atmosphere has been considered a robust signature of life because O2 is highly reactive on planets with Earth-like redox buffers and because significant continuous abiotic sources were thought to be implausible. However, recent work has revealed the possibility that significant O2 may build-up in terrestrial atmospheres through (1) photochemical channels or (2) through the escape of hydrogen. We focus on the latter category here. Significant amounts of abiotic O2 could remain in the atmospheres of planets in the habitable zones of late type stars, where an early runaway greenhouse and massive hydrogen escape during the pre-main-sequence phase could have irreversibly oxidized the crust and mantle (Luger & Barnes 2015). Additionally, it has been hypothesized that O2 could accumulate in the atmospheres of planets with sufficiently low abundances of non-condensable gases such as N2 where water would not be cold trapped in the troposphere, leading to H-escape from UV photolysis in a wet stratosphere (Wordsworth & Pierrehumbert 2014). We self-consistently model the climate, photochemistry, and spectra of both rarefied and post-runaway, high-O2 atmospheres. Because an early runaway might not have lasted long enough for the entire water inventory to escape, we explore both completely desiccated scenarios and cases where a surface ocean remains. We find "habitable" surface conditions for a wide variety of oxygen abundances, atmospheric masses, and CO2 mixing ratios. If O2 builds up from massive or sustained H escape, the O2 abundance should be very high, and could be spectrally indicated by the presence of O2-O2 (O4) collisionally-induced absorption (CIA) features. We generate synthetic direct-imaging and transit transmission spectra of these atmospheres and calculate the strength of the UV/Visible and NIR O4 features. We find that while both the UV/Visible and NIR O4 features are strong in the radiance spectra of very

  5. Composition of the earth's atmosphere by shock-layer radiometry during the PAET entry probe experiment.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Whiting, E. E.; Arnold, J. O.; Page, W. A.; Reynolds, R. M.

    1973-01-01

    A determination of the composition of the earth's atmosphere obtained from onboard radiometer measurements of the spectra emitted from the bow shock layer of a high-speed entry probe is reported. The N2, O2, CO2, and noble gas concentrations in the earth's atmosphere were determined to good accuracy by this technique. The results demonstrate unequivocally the feasibility of determining the composition of an unknown planetary atmosphere by means of a multichannel radiometer viewing optical emission from the heated atmospheric gases in the region between the bow shock wave and the vehicle surface. The spectral locations in this experiment were preselected to enable the observation of CN violet, N2(+) first negative and atomic oxygen emission at 3870, 3910, and 7775 A, respectively. The atmospheric gases were heated and compressed by the shock wave to a peak temperature of about 6100 K and a corresponding pressure of 0.4 atm. Complete descriptions of the data analysis technique and the onboard radiometer and its calibration are given.

  6. Interaction between common organic acids and trace nucleation species in the Earth's atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Xu, Yisheng; Nadykto, Alexey B; Yu, Fangqun; Herb, J; Wang, Wei

    2010-01-14

    Atmospheric aerosols formed via nucleation in the Earth's atmosphere play an important role in the aerosol radiative forcing associated directly with global climate changes and public health. Although it is well-known that atmospheric aerosol particles contain organic species, the chemical nature of and physicochemical processes behind atmospheric nucleation involving organic species remain unclear. In the present work, the interaction of common organic acids with molecular weights of 122, 116, 134, 88, 136, and 150 (benzoic, maleic, malic, pyruvic, phenylacetic, and tartaric acids) with nucleation precursors and charged trace species has been investigated. We found a moderate strong effect of the organic species on the stability of neutral and charged ionic species. In most cases, the free energies of the mixed H(2)SO(4)-organic acid dimer formation are within 1-1.5 kcal mol(-1) of the (H(2)SO(4))(NH(3)) formation energy. The interaction of the organic acids with trace ionic species is quite strong, and the corresponding free energies far exceed those of the (H(3)O(+))(H(2)SO(4)) and (H(3)O(+))(H(2)SO(4))(2) formation. These considerations lead us to conclude that the aforementioned organic acids may possess a substantial capability of stabilizing both neutral and positively charged prenucleation clusters, and thus, they should be studied further with regard to their involvement in the gas-to-particle conversion in the Earth's atmosphere.

  7. THEORETICAL EMISSION SPECTRA OF ATMOSPHERES OF HOT ROCKY SUPER-EARTHS

    SciT

    Ito, Yuichi; Ikoma, Masahiro; Kawahara, Hajime

    Motivated by recent detection of transiting high-density super-Earths, we explore the detectability of hot rocky super-Earths orbiting very close to their host stars. In an environment hot enough for their rocky surfaces to be molten, they would have an atmosphere composed of gas species from the magma oceans. In this study, we investigate the radiative properties of the atmosphere that is in gas/melt equilibrium with the underlying magma ocean. Our equilibrium calculations yield Na, K, Fe, Si, SiO, O, and O{sub 2} as the major atmospheric species. We compile the radiative absorption line data of those species available in the literature andmore » calculate their absorption opacities in the wavelength region of 0.1–100 μm. Using them, we integrate the thermal structure of the atmosphere. Then, we find that thermal inversion occurs in the atmosphere because of the UV absorption by SiO. In addition, we calculate the ratio of the planetary to stellar emission fluxes during secondary eclipse, and we find prominent emission features induced by SiO at 4 μm detectable by Spitzer, and those at 10 and 100 μm detectable by near-future space telescopes.« less

  8. Increasing retention of early career female atmospheric scientists

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwards, L. M.; Hallar, A. G.; Avallone, L. M.; Thiry, H.

    2010-12-01

    Atmospheric Science Collaborations and Enriching NeTworks (ASCENT) is a workshop series designed to bring together early career female scientists in the field of atmospheric science and related disciplines. ASCENT uses a multi-faceted approach to provide junior scientists with tools that will help them meet the challenges in their research and teaching career paths and will promote their retention in the field. During the workshop, senior women scientists discuss their career and life paths. They also lead seminars on tools, resources and methods that can help early career scientists to be successful and prepared to fill vacancies created by the “baby boomer” retirees. Networking is a significant aspect of ASCENT, and many opportunities for both formal and informal interactions among the participants (of both personal and professional nature) are blended in the schedule. The workshops are held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, home of a high-altitude atmospheric science laboratory, Storm Peak Laboratory, which also allows for nearby casual outings and a pleasant environment for participants. Near the conclusion of each workshop, junior and senior scientists are matched in mentee-mentor ratios of two junior scientists per senior scientist. Post-workshop reunion events are held at national scientific meetings to maintain connectivity among each year’s participants, and for collaborating among participants of all workshops held to date. Evaluations of the two workshop cohorts thus far conclude that the workshops have been successful in achieving the goals of establishing and expanding personal and research-related networks, and that seminars have been useful in creating confidence and sharing resources for such things as preparing promotion and tenure packages, interviewing and negotiating job offers, and writing successful grant proposals.

  9. Atmospheric Constituents in GEOS-5: Components for an Earth System Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pawson, Steven; Douglass, Anne; Duncan, Bryan; Nielsen, Eric; Ott, Leslie; Strode, Sarah

    2011-01-01

    The GEOS-S model is being developed for weather and climate processes, including the implementation of "Earth System" components. While the stratospheric chemistry capabilities are mature, we are presently extending this to include predictions of the tropospheric composition and chemistry - this includes CO2, CH4, CO, nitrogen species, etc. (Aerosols are also implemented, but are beyond the scope of this paper.) This work will give an overview of our chemistry modules, the approaches taken to represent surface emissions and uptake of chemical species, and some studies of the sensitivity of the atmospheric circulation to changes in atmospheric composition. Results are obtained through focused experiments and multi-decadal simulations.

  10. Exploring earth's atmosphere with radio occultation: contributions to weather, climate and space weather

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anthes, R. A.

    2011-01-01

    The launch of the proof-of-concept mission GPS/MET in 1995 began a revolution in profiling earth's atmosphere through radio occultation (RO). GPS/MET; subsequent single-satellite missions CHAMP, SAC-C, GRACE, METOP-A, and TerraSAR-X; and the six-satellite constellation, FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC, have proven the theoretical capabilities of RO to provide accurate and precise profiles of electron density in the ionosphere and refractivity, containing information on temperature and water vapor, in the stratosphere and troposphere. This paper summarizes results from these RO missions and the applications of RO observations to atmospheric research and operational weather analysis and prediction.

  11. Rocks Here Sequester Some of Mars Early Atmosphere

    2015-09-02

    This view combines information from two instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to map color-coded composition over the shape of the ground in a small portion of the Nili Fossae plains region of Mars' northern hemisphere. This site is part of the largest known carbonate-rich deposit on Mars. In the color coding used for this map, green indicates a carbonate-rich composition, brown indicates olivine-rich sands, and purple indicates basaltic composition. Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on early Mars reacted with surface rocks to form carbonate, thinning the atmosphere by sequestering the carbon in the rocks. An analysis of the amount of carbon contained in Nili Fossae plains estimated the total at no more than twice the amount of carbon in the modern atmosphere of Mars, which is mostly carbon dioxide. That is much more than in all other known carbonate on Mars, but far short of enough to explain how Mars could have had a thick enough atmosphere to keep surface water from freezing during a period when rivers were cutting extensive valley networks on the Red Planet. Other possible explanations for the change from an era with rivers to dry modern Mars are being investigated. This image covers an area approximately 1.4 miles (2.3 kilometers) wide. A scale bar indicates 500 meters (1,640 feet). The full extent of the carbonate-containing deposit in the region is at least as large as Delaware and perhaps as large as Arizona. The color coding is from data acquired by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), in observation FRT0000C968 made on Sept. 19, 2008. The base map showing land shapes is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. It is one product from HiRISE observation ESP_010351_2020, made July 20, 2013. http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19817

  12. Petrochronology in constraining early Archean Earth processes and environments: Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grosch, Eugene

    2017-04-01

    Analytical and petrological software developments over the past decade have seen rapid innovation in high-spatial resolution petrological techniques, for example, laser-ablation ICP-MS, secondary ion microprobe (SIMS, nano-SIMS), thermodynamic modelling and electron microprobe microscale mapping techniques (e.g. XMapTools). This presentation will focus on the application of petrochronology to ca. 3.55 to 3.33 billion-year-old metavolcanic and sedimentary rocks of the Onverwacht Group, shedding light on the earliest geologic evolution of the Paleoarchean Barberton greenstone belt (BGB) of South Africa. The field, scientific drilling and petrological research conducted over the past 8 years, aims to illustrate how: (a) LA-ICP-MS and SIMS U-Pb detrital zircon geochronology has helped identify the earliest tectono-sedimentary basin and sediment sources in the BGB, as well as reconstructing geodynamic processes as early as ca. 3.432 billion-years ago; (b) in-situ SIMS multiple sulphur isotope analysis of sulphides across various early Archean rock units help to reconstruct atmospheric, surface and subsurface environments on early Archean Earth and (c) the earliest candidate textural traces for subsurface microbial life can be investigated by in-situ LA-ICP-MS U-Pb dating of titanite, micro-XANES Fe-speciation analysis and metamorphic microscale mapping. Collectively, petrochronology combined with high-resolution field mapping studies, is a powerful multi-disciplinary approach towards deciphering petrogenetic and geodynamic processes preserved in the Paleoarchean Barberton greenstone belt of South Africa, with implications for early Archean Earth evolution.

  13. Simple model to estimate the contribution of atmospheric CO2 to the Earth's greenhouse effect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Derrek J.; Gea-Banacloche, Julio

    2012-04-01

    We show how the CO2 contribution to the Earth's greenhouse effect can be estimated from relatively simple physical considerations and readily available spectroscopic data. In particular, we present a calculation of the "climate sensitivity" (that is, the increase in temperature caused by a doubling of the concentration of CO2) in the absence of feedbacks. Our treatment highlights the important role played by the frequency dependence of the CO2 absorption spectrum. For pedagogical purposes, we provide two simple models to visualize different ways in which the atmosphere might return infrared radiation back to the Earth. The more physically realistic model, based on the Schwarzschild radiative transfer equations, uses as input an approximate form of the atmosphere's temperature profile, and thus includes implicitly the effect of heat transfer mechanisms other than radiation.

  14. Hadley cell dynamics of a cold and virtually dry Snowball Earth atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Voigt, Aiko; Held, Isaac; Marotzke, Jochem

    2010-05-01

    We use the full-physics atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM5 to investigate a cold and virtually dry Snowball Earth atmosphere that results from specifying sea ice as the surface boundary condition everywhere, corresponding to a frozen aquaplanet, while keeping total solar irradiance at its present-day value of 1365 Wm-2. The aim of this study is the investigation of the zonal-mean circulation of a Snowball Earth atmosphere, which, due to missing moisture, might constitute an ideal though yet unexplored testbed for theories of atmospheric dynamics. To ease comparison with theories, incoming solar insolation follows permanent equinox conditions with disabled diurnal cycle. The meridional circulation consists of a thermally direct cell extending from the equator to 45 N/S with ascent in the equatorial region, and a weak thermally indirect cell with descent between 45 and 65 N/S and ascent in the polar region. The former cell corresponds to the present-day Earth's Hadley cell, while the latter can be viewed as an eddy-driven Ferrell cell; the present-day Earth's direct polar cell is missing. The Hadley cell itself is subdivided into a vigorous cell confined to the troposphere and a weak deep cell reaching well into the stratosphere. The dynamics of the vigorous Snowball Earth Hadley cell differ substantially from the dynamics of the present-day Hadley cell. The zonal momentum balance shows that in the poleward branch of the vigorous Hadley cell, mean flow meridional advection of absolute vorticity is not only balanced by eddy momentum flux convergence but also by vertical diffusion. Inside the poleward branch, eddies are more important in the upper part and vertical diffusion is more important in the lower part. Vertical diffusion also contributes to the meridional momentum balance as it decelerates the vigorous Hadley cell by downgradient momentum mixing between its poleward and equatorward branch. Zonal winds, therefore, are not in thermal wind balance in

  15. Archean Pb Isotope Evolution: Implications for the Early Earth.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vervoort, J. D.; Thorpe, R.; Albarede, F.; Blichert-Toft, J.

    2008-12-01

    .728 Ga (Normetal) to 2.70 Ga (Noranda). The Pb isotopic compositions from these galenas, when normalized to a common age of 2.7 Ga, define a highly linear array in 207Pb/204Pb vs. 206Pb/204Pb. This array is nearly coincident with the 2.7 Ga geochron with a slope that corresponds to an age of ~4.4 Ga and with an extraordinary large range of 207Pb/204Pb, about the same magnitude as modern MORB. These data have important implications for the evolution of the Archean mantle. First, the slope of the Abitibi Pb-Pb array and its coincidence with the 2.7 Ga geochron suggests widespread U-Pb differentiation within the first hundred million years of Earth's history. This may have been due to either core formation or silicate/melt differentiation due to widespread melting of the mantle (e.g., formation of a magma ocean). Second, variations in μ in the Abitibi mantle and the subsequent Pb isotopic heterogeneities, whatever their cause, have not been significantly changed from 4.4 until 2.7 Ga. This implies that changes in μ in the Abitibi mantle source between 4.4 and 2.7 Ga, such as would be caused by crust extraction or recycling of older crust into this region of the mantle, were insufficient to destroy the original μ variations created at 4.4 Ga. Therefore, it appears that this portion of the mantle had essentially remained isolated and undisturbed from the early Hadean until the late Archean.

  16. Mapping the downwelling atmospheric radiation at the Earth's surface: A research strategy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raschke, E.

    1986-01-01

    A strategy is presented along with background material for determining downward atmospheric radiation at the Earth's surface on a regional scale but over the entire globe, using available information on the temperature and humidity of the air near the ground and at cloud base altitudes. Most of these parameters can be inferred from satellite radiance measurements. Careful validation of the derived radiances will be required using ground-based direct measurements of radiances, to avoid systematic biases of these derived field quantities.

  17. A new software tool for computing Earth's atmospheric transmission of near- and far-infrared radiation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lord, Steven D.

    1992-01-01

    This report describes a new software tool, ATRAN, which computes the transmittance of Earth's atmosphere at near- and far-infrared wavelengths. We compare the capabilities of this program with others currently available and demonstrate its utility for observational data calibration and reduction. The program employs current water-vapor and ozone models to produce fast and accurate transmittance spectra for wavelengths ranging from 0.8 microns to 10 mm.

  18. Observational and Modeling Studies of Radiative, Chemical, and Dynamical Interactions in the Earth''s Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salby, Murry

    1998-01-01

    A 3-dimensional model was developed to support mechanistic studies. The model solves the global primitive equations in isentropic coordinates, which directly characterize diabatic processes forcing the Brewer-Dobson circulation of the middle atmosphere. It's numerical formulation is based on Hough harmonics, which partition horizontal motion into its rotational and divergent components. These computational features, along with others, enable 3D integrations to be performed practically on RISC computer architecture, on which they can be iterated to support mechanistic studies. The model conserves potential vorticity quite accurately under adiabatic conditions. Forced by observed tropospheric structure, in which integrations are anchored, the model generates a diabatic circulation that is consistent with satellite observations of tracer behavior and diabatic cooling rates. The model includes a basic but fairly complete treatment of gas-phase photochemistry that represents some 20 chemical species and 50 governing reactions with diurnally-varying shortwave absorption. The model thus provides a reliable framework to study transport and underlying diabatic processes, which can then be compared against chemical and dynamical structure observed and in GCM integrations. Integrations with the Langley GCM were performed to diagnose feedback between simulated convection and the tropical circulation. These were studied in relation to tropospheric properties controlling moisture convergence and environmental conditions supporting deep convection, for comparison against mechanistic integrations of wave CISK that successfully reproduce the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) of the tropical circulation. These comparisons were aimed at identifying and ultimately improving aspects of the convective simulation, with the objective of recovering a successful simulation of the MJO in the Langley GCM, behavior that should be important to budgets of upper-tropospheric water vapor and

  19. Earth Adventure: Virtual Globe-based Suborbital Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wei, Y.; Landolt, K.; Boyer, A.; Santhana Vannan, S. K.; Wei, Z.; Wang, E.

    2016-12-01

    The Earth Venture Suborbital (EVS) mission is an important component of NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program that aims at making substantial advances in Earth system science through measurements from suborbital platforms and modeling researches. For example, the Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) project of EVS-1 collected measurements of greenhouse gases (GHG) on local to regional scales in the Alaskan Arctic. The Atmospheric Carbon and Transport - America (ACT-America) project of EVS-2 will provide advanced, high-resolution measurements of atmospheric profiles and horizontal gradients of CO2 and CH4.As the long-term archival center for CARVE and the future ACT-America data, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC) has been developing a versatile data management system for CARVE data to maximize their usability. One of these efforts is the virtual globe-based Suborbital Atmospheric GHG Exploration application. It leverages Google Earth to simulate the 185 flights flew by the C-23 Sherpa aircraft in 2012-2015 for the CARVE project. Based on Google Earth's 3D modeling capability and the precise coordinates, altitude, pitch, roll, and heading info of the aircraft recorded in every second during each flight, the application provides users accurate and vivid simulation of flight experiences, with an active 3D visualization of a C-23 Sherpa aircraft in view. This application provides dynamic visualization of GHG, including CO2, CO, H2O, and CH4 captured during the flights, at the same pace of the flight simulation in Google Earth. Photos taken during those flights are also properly displayed along the flight paths. In the future, this application will be extended to incorporate more complicated GHG measurements (e.g. vertical profiles) from the ACT-America project. This application leverages virtual globe technology to provide users an integrated framework to interactively explore information

  20. Predicting Earth orientation changes from global forecasts of atmosphere-hydrosphere dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dobslaw, Henryk; Dill, Robert

    2018-02-01

    Effective Angular Momentum (EAM) functions obtained from global numerical simulations of atmosphere, ocean, and land surface dynamics are routinely processed by the Earth System Modelling group at Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum. EAM functions are available since January 1976 with up to 3 h temporal resolution. Additionally, 6 days-long EAM forecasts are routinely published every day. Based on hindcast experiments with 305 individual predictions distributed over 15 months, we demonstrate that EAM forecasts improve the prediction accuracy of the Earth Orientation Parameters at all forecast horizons between 1 and 6 days. At day 6, prediction accuracy improves down to 1.76 mas for the terrestrial pole offset, and 2.6 mas for Δ UT1, which correspond to an accuracy increase of about 41% over predictions published in Bulletin A by the International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service.

  1. An impact-induced terrestrial atmosphere and iron-water reactions during accretion of the Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lange, M. A.; Ahrens, T. J.

    1985-01-01

    Shock wave data and theoretical calculations were used to derive models of an impact-generated terrestrial atmosphere during accretion of the Earth. The models showed that impacts of infalling planetesimals not only provided the entire budget of terrestrial water but also led to a continuous depletion of near-surface layers of water-bearing minerals of their structural water. This resulted in a final atmospheric water reservoir comparable to the present day total water budget of the Earth. The interaction of metallic iron with free water at the surface of the accreting Earth is considered. We carried out model calcualtions simulating these processes during accretion. It is assumed that these processes are the prime source of the terrestrial FeO component of silicates and oxides. It is demonstrated that the iron-water reaction would result in the absence of atmospheric/hydrospheric water, if homogeneous accretion is assumed. In order to obtain the necessary amount of terrestrial water, slightly heterogeneous accretion with initially 36 wt% iron planetesimals, as compared with a homogeneous value of 34 wt% is required.

  2. The role of artificial atmospheric CO2 removal in stabilizing Earth's climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zickfeld, K.; Tokarska, K.

    2014-12-01

    The current CO2 emission trend entails a risk that the 2°C target will be missed, potentially causing "dangerous" changes in Earth's climate system. This research explores the role of artificial atmospheric CO2 removal (also referred to as "negative emissions") in stabilizing Earth's climate after overshoot. We designed a range of plausible CO2 emission scenarios, which follow a gradual transition from a fossil fuel driven economy to a zero-emission energy system, followed by a period of negative emissions. The scenarios differ in peak emissions rate and, accordingly, the amount of negative emissions, to reach the same cumulative emissions compatible with the 2°C temperature stabilization target. The climate system components' responses are computed using the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model of intermediate complexity. Results suggest that negative emissions are effective in reversing the global mean temperature and stabilizing it at a desired level (2°C above pre-industrial) after overshoot. Also, changes in the meridional overturning circulation and sea ice are reversible with the artificial removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. However, sea level continues to rise and is not reversible for several centuries, even under assumption of large amounts of negative emissions. For sea level to decline, atmospheric CO2 needs to be reduced to pre-industrial levels in our simulations. During the negative emission phase, outgassing of CO2 from terrestrial and marine carbon sinks offsets the artificial removal of atmospheric CO2, thereby reducing its effectiveness. On land, the largest CO2 outgassing occurs in the Tropics and is partially compensated by CO2 uptake at northern high latitudes. In the ocean, outgassing occurs mostly in the Southern Ocean, North Atlantic and tropical Pacific. The strongest outgassing occurs for pathways entailing greatest amounts of negative emissions, such that the efficiency of CO2 removal - here defined as the change in

  3. The Stability of Hydrogen-Rich Atmospheres of Earth-Like Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zahnle, Kevin

    2016-01-01

    Understanding hydrogen escape is essential to understanding the limits to habitability, both for liquid water where the Sun is bright, but also to assess the true potential of H2 as a greenhouse gas where the Sun is faint. Hydrogen-rich primary atmospheres of Earth-like planets can result either from gravitational capture of solar nebular gases (with helium), or from impact shock processing of a wide variety of volatile-rich planetesimals (typically accompanied by H2O, CO2, and under the right circumstances, CH4). Most studies of hydrogen escape from planets focus on determining how fast the hydrogen escapes. In general this requires solving hydro- dynamic equations that take into account the acceleration of hydrogen through a critical transonic point and an energy budget that should include radiative heating and cooling, thermal conduction, the work done in lifting the hydrogen against gravity, and the residual heat carried by the hydrogen as it leaves. But for planets from which hydrogen escape is modest or insignificant, the atmosphere can be approximated as hydrostatic, which is much simpler, and for which a relatively full-featured treatment of radiative cooling by embedded molecules, atoms, and ions such as CO2 and H3+ is straightforward. Previous work has overlooked the fact that the H2 molecule is extremely efficient at exciting non-LTE CO2 15 micron emission, and thus that radiative cooling can be markedly more efficient when H2 is abundant. We map out the region of phase space in which terrestrial planets keep hydrogen-rich atmospheres, which is what we actually want to know for habitability. We will use this framework to reassess Tian et al's hypothesis that H2-rich atmospheres may have been rather long-lived on Earth itself. Finally, we will address the empirical observation that rocky planets with thin or negligible atmospheres are rarely or never bigger than 1.6 Earth radii.

  4. Dynamics of space particles and spacecrafts passing by the atmosphere of the Earth.

    PubMed

    Gomes, Vivian Martins; Prado, Antonio Fernando Bertachini de Almeida; Golebiewska, Justyna

    2013-01-01

    The present research studies the motion of a particle or a spacecraft that comes from an orbit around the Sun, which can be elliptic or hyperbolic, and that makes a passage close enough to the Earth such that it crosses its atmosphere. The idea is to measure the Sun-particle two-body energy before and after this passage in order to verify its variation as a function of the periapsis distance, angle of approach, and velocity at the periapsis of the particle. The full system is formed by the Sun, the Earth, and the particle or the spacecraft. The Sun and the Earth are in circular orbits around their center of mass and the motion is planar for all the bodies involved. The equations of motion consider the restricted circular planar three-body problem with the addition of the atmospheric drag. The initial conditions of the particle or spacecraft (position and velocity) are given at the periapsis of its trajectory around the Earth.

  5. Dynamics of Space Particles and Spacecrafts Passing by the Atmosphere of the Earth

    PubMed Central

    Prado, Antonio Fernando Bertachini de Almeida; Golebiewska, Justyna

    2013-01-01

    The present research studies the motion of a particle or a spacecraft that comes from an orbit around the Sun, which can be elliptic or hyperbolic, and that makes a passage close enough to the Earth such that it crosses its atmosphere. The idea is to measure the Sun-particle two-body energy before and after this passage in order to verify its variation as a function of the periapsis distance, angle of approach, and velocity at the periapsis of the particle. The full system is formed by the Sun, the Earth, and the particle or the spacecraft. The Sun and the Earth are in circular orbits around their center of mass and the motion is planar for all the bodies involved. The equations of motion consider the restricted circular planar three-body problem with the addition of the atmospheric drag. The initial conditions of the particle or spacecraft (position and velocity) are given at the periapsis of its trajectory around the Earth. PMID:24396298

  6. Concept of a space optoelectronic system for environmental monitoring of the near-earth space, atmosphere, and earth surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eltsov, Anatoli V.; Karasev, Vladimir I.; Kolotkov, Vjacheslav V.; Kondranin, Timothy V.

    1997-06-01

    The sharp increase of the man-induced pressure on the environment and hence the need to predict and monitor natural anomalies makes global monitoring of the ecosphere of planet Earth an issue of vital importance. The notion of the ecosphere covers three basic shells closely interacting with each other: the near-Earth space, the atmosphere and the Earth surface. In the near-Earth space (covering 100 to 2000 km altitudes) the primary objects of monitoring are: functioning artificial space objects, the fragments of their constructions or space rubbish (which by estimation amounts to 3.5 million pieces including 30,000 to 70,000 objects having dimensions sufficient for heavy damaging or even destroying functioning space objects) and objects of space origin (asteroids, meteorites and comets) whose trajectories come closely enough to the Earth. Maximum concentrations of space rubbish observed on orbits with altitudes of 800, 1000 and 1500 km and inclinations of 60 to 100 deg. are related in the first place to spacecraft launch requirements. Taking into account the number of launches implemented by different countries in the framework of their own space programs the probability of collision of functioning spacecraft with space rubbish may be estimation increase from (1.5 - 3.5)% at present to (15 - 40)% by 2020. Besides, registration of space radiation flow intensity and the solar activity is no less important in this space area. Subject to control in the atmosphere are time and space variations in temperature fields, humidity, tracing gas concentrations, first of all ozone and greenhouse gases, the state of the cloud cover, wind velocity, etc. The range of objects to be under environmental management of Earth surface is just as diverse and essentially should include the state of the surface and the near-surface layer of seas and oceans, internal reservoirs, the cryosphere and the land surface along with vegetation cover, natural resources and human activities. No matter

  7. The Breath of Planet Earth: Atmospheric Circulation. Assimilation of Surface Wind Observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Atlas, Robert; Bloom, Stephen; Otterman, Joseph

    2000-01-01

    Differences in air pressure are a major cause of atmospheric circulation. Because heat excites the movement of atoms, warm temperatures cause, air molecules to expand. Because those molecules now occupy a larger space, the pressure that their weight exerts is decreased. Air from surrounding high-pressure areas is pushed toward the low-pressure areas, creating circulation. This process causes a major pattern of global atmosphere movement known as meridional circulation. In this form of convection, or vertical air movement, heated equatorial air rises and travels through the upper atmosphere toward higher latitudes. Air just above the equator heads toward the North Pole, and air just below the equator moves southward. This air movement fills the gap created where increased air pressure pushes down cold air. The ,cold air moves along the surface back toward the equator, replacing the air masses that rise there. Another influence on atmospheric. circulation is the Coriolis force. Because of the Earth's rotation, large-scale wind currents move in the direction of this axial spin around low-pressure areas. Wind rotates counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. just as the Earth's rotation affects airflow, so too does its surface. In the phenomenon of orographic lifting, elevated topographic features such as mountain ranges lift air as it moves up their surface.

  8. Polarization of the Radiation Reflected and Transmitted by the Earth's Atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Plass, G N; Kattawar, G W

    1970-05-01

    The polarization of the reflected and transmitted radiation is calculated for a realistic model of the earth's atmosphere at five wavelengths ranging from 0.27 micro to 1.67 micro. The single scattering matrix is calculated from the Mie theory for an aerosol size distribution appropriate for our atmosphere. The solar photons are followed through multiple collisions with the aerosols and the Rayleigh scattering centers in the atmosphere by a Monte Carlo method. The aerosol number density as well as the ratio of aerosol to Rayleigh scattering varies with height. The proportion of aerosol to Rayleigh scattering is adjusted for each wavelength; ozone absorption is included where appropriate. The polarization is presented as a function of the zenith and azimuthal angle for six values of the earth's albedo, two values of the solar zenith angle, and four values of the total aerosol concentration. In general the polarization decreases as the wavelength increases and as the total aerosol concentration increases (because of the increasing importance of aerosol scattering). In most situations the polarization is much more sensitive than the radiance to changes in the parameters which specify the atmosphere.

  9. A review of carbon monoxide sources, sinks, and concentrations in the earth's atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bortner, M. H.; Kummler, R. H.; Jaffe, L. S.

    1972-01-01

    Carbon monoxide is a toxic pollutant which is continually introduced into the earth's atmosphere in significant quantities. There are apparently some mechanisms operating which destroy most of the CO in the atmosphere, i.e., a carbon monoxide sink. These mechanisms have not as yet been established in a quantitative sense. This report discusses the various possible removal mechanisms which warrant serious consideration. Particular emphasis is given to chemical reactions (especially that with OH), soil bacteria and other biological action, and transport effects. The sources of carbon monoxide, both natural and anthropogenic, are reviewed and it is noted that there is quite possibly a significant undefined natural source. Atmospheric CO concentrations are discussed and their implications on carbon monoxide lifetime, sinks and sources are considered.

  10. STRATOSPHERIC TEMPERATURES AND WATER LOSS FROM MOIST GREENHOUSE ATMOSPHERES OF EARTH-LIKE PLANETS

    SciT

    Kasting, James F.; Kopparapu, Ravi K.; Chen, Howard, E-mail: jfk4@psu.edu, E-mail: hwchen@bu.edu

    A radiative-convective climate model is used to calculate stratospheric temperatures and water vapor concentrations for ozone-free atmospheres warmer than that of modern Earth. Cold, dry stratospheres are predicted at low surface temperatures, in agreement with recent 3D calculations. However, at surface temperatures above 350 K, the stratosphere warms and water vapor becomes a major upper atmospheric constituent, allowing water to be lost by photodissociation and hydrogen escape. Hence, a moist greenhouse explanation for loss of water from Venus, or some exoplanet receiving a comparable amount of stellar radiation, remains a viable hypothesis. Temperatures in the upper parts of such atmospheresmore » are well below those estimated for a gray atmosphere, and this factor should be taken into account when performing inverse climate calculations to determine habitable zone boundaries using 1D models.« less

  11. Early Paleogene Orbital Variations in Atmospheric CO2 and New Astronomical Solutions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zeebe, R. E.

    2017-12-01

    Geologic records across the globe show prominent variations on orbital time scales during numerous epochs going back hundreds of millions of years. The origin of the Milankovic cycles are variations in orbital parameters of the bodies of the Solar System. On long time scales, the orbital variations can not be computed analytically because of the chaotic nature of the Solar System. Thus, numerical solutions are used to estimate changes in, e.g., Earth's orbital parameters in the past. The orbital solutions represent the backbone of cyclostratigraphy and astrochronology, now widely used in geology and paleoclimatology. Hitherto only two solutions for Earth's eccentricity appear to be used in paleoclimate studies, provided by two different groups that integrated the full Solar System equations over the past >100 Myr. In this presentation, I will touch on the basic physics behind, and present new results of, accurate Solar System integrations for Earth's eccentricity over the past hundred million years. I will discuss various limitations within the framework of the present simulations and compare the results to existing solutions. Furthermore, I will present new results from practical applications of such orbital solutions, including effects of orbital forcing on coupled climate- and carbon cycle variations. For instance, we have recently revealed a mechanism for a large lag between changes in carbon isotope ratios and eccentricity at the 400-kyr period, which has been observed in Paleocene, Oligocene, and Miocene sections. Finally, I will present the first estimates of orbital-scale variations in atmospheric CO2 during the early Paleogene.

  12. The Formation of Sulfate and Elemental Sulfur Aerosols Under Varying Laboratory Conditions: Implications for Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DeWitt, H. Langley; Hasenkopf, Christa A.; Trainer, Melissa G.; Farmer, Delphine K.; Jimenez, Jose L.; McKay, Christopher P.; Toon, Owen B.; Tolbert, Margaret A.

    2010-01-01

    The presence of sulfur mass-independent fractionation (S-MIF) in sediments more than 2.45 x 10(exp 9) years old is thought to be evidence for an early anoxic atmosphere. Photolysis of sulfur dioxide (SO2) by UV light with lambda < 220 nm has been shown in models and some initial laboratory studies to create a S-MIF; however, sulfur must leave the atmosphere in at least two chemically different forms to preserve any S-MIF signature. Two commonly cited examples of chemically different sulfur species that could have exited the atmosphere are elemental sulfur (S8) and sulfuric acid (H2S04) aerosols. Here, we use real-time aerosol mass spectrometry to directly detect the sulfur-containing aerosols formed when SO2 either photolyzes at wavelengths from 115 to 400 nm, to simulate the UV solar spectrum, or interacts with high-energy electrons, to simulate lightning. We found that sulfur-containing aerosols form under all laboratory conditions. Further, the addition of a reducing gas, in our experiments hydrogen (H2) or methane (CH4), increased the formation of S8. With UV photolysis, formation of S8 aerosols is highly dependent on the initial SO2 pressure; and S8 is only formed at a 2% SO2 mixing ratio and greater in the absence of a reductant, and at a 0.2% SO2 mixing ratio and greater in the presence of 1000 ppmv CH4. We also found that organosulfur compounds are formed from the photolysis of CH4 and moderate amounts of SO2, The implications for sulfur aerosols on early Earth are discussed.

  13. Investigation of the effect of atmospheric dust on the determination of total ozone from the earth's ultraviolet reflectivity measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dave, J. V.

    1977-01-01

    Results are presented on the effect of atmospheric aerosols on the value of total ozone, in an atmospheric column of the terrestrial atmosphere, estimated from the simulated measurements of the ultraviolet radiation back scattered by the earth atmosphere models. Simulated measurements were used in five (configuration of the BUV experiment of Nimbus-4 satellite), and in six (configuration of the TOMS section of the SBUV/TOMS experiment on Nimbus-G) narrow spectral regions in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum.

  14. Global-scale water circulation in the Earth's mantle: Implications for the mantle water budget in the early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakagawa, Takashi; Spiegelman, Marc W.

    2017-04-01

    We investigate the influence of the mantle water content in the early Earth on that in the present mantle using numerical convection simulations that include three processes for redistribution of water: dehydration, partitioning of water into partially molten mantle, and regassing assuming an infinite water reservoir at the surface. These models suggest that the water content of the present mantle is insensitive to that of the early Earth. The initial water stored during planetary formation is regulated up to 1.2 OMs (OM = Ocean Mass; 1.4 ×1021 kg), which is reasonable for early Earth. However, the mantle water content is sensitive to the rheological dependence on the water content and can range from 1.2 to 3 OMs at the present day. To explain the evolution of mantle water content, we computed water fluxes due to subducting plates (regassing), degassing and dehydration. For weakly water dependent viscosity, the net water flux is almost balanced with those three fluxes but, for strongly water dependent viscosity, the regassing dominates the water cycle system because the surface plate activity is more vigorous. The increased convection is due to enhanced lubrication of the plates caused by a weak hydrous crust for strongly water dependent viscosity. The degassing history is insensitive to the initial water content of the early Earth as well as rheological strength. The degassing flux from Earth's surface is calculated to be approximately O (1013) kg /yr, consistent with a coupled model of climate evolution and mantle thermal evolution.

  15. Dynamic model constraints on oxygen-17 depletion in atmospheric O2 after a snowball Earth.

    PubMed

    Cao, Xiaobin; Bao, Huiming

    2013-09-03

    A large perturbation in atmospheric CO2 and O2 or bioproductivity will result in a drastic pulse of (17)O change in atmospheric O2, as seen in the Marinoan Oxygen-17 Depletion (MOSD) event in the immediate aftermath of a global deglaciation 635 Mya. The exact nature of the perturbation, however, is debated. Here we constructed a coupled, four-box, and quick-response biosphere-atmosphere model to examine both the steady state and dynamics of the MOSD event. Our model shows that the ultra-high CO2 concentrations proposed by the "snowball' Earth hypothesis produce a typical MOSD duration of less than 10(6) y and a magnitude of (17)O depletion reaching approximately -35‰. Both numbers are in remarkable agreement with geological constraints from South China and Svalbard. Moderate CO2 and low O2 concentration (e.g., 3,200 parts per million by volume and 0.01 bar, respectively) could produce distinct sulfate (17)O depletion only if postglacial marine bioproductivity was impossibly low. Our dynamic model also suggests that a snowball in which the ocean is isolated from the atmosphere by a continuous ice cover may be distinguished from one in which cracks in the ice permit ocean-atmosphere exchange only if partial pressure of atmospheric O2 is larger than 0.02 bar during the snowball period and records of weathering-derived sulfate are available for the very first few tens of thousands of years after the onset of the meltdown. In any case, a snowball Earth is a precondition for the observed MOSD event.

  16. Observing the Atmospheres of Known Temperate Earth-sized Planets with JWST

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morley, Caroline V.; Kreidberg, Laura; Rustamkulov, Zafar; Robinson, Tyler; Fortney, Jonathan J.

    2017-12-01

    Nine transiting Earth-sized planets have recently been discovered around nearby late-M dwarfs, including the TRAPPIST-1 planets and two planets discovered by the MEarth survey, GJ 1132b and LHS 1140b. These planets are the smallest known planets that may have atmospheres amenable to detection with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We present model thermal emission and transmission spectra for each planet, varying composition and surface pressure of the atmosphere. We base elemental compositions on those of Earth, Titan, and Venus and calculate the molecular compositions assuming chemical equilibrium, which can strongly depend on temperature. Both thermal emission and transmission spectra are sensitive to the atmospheric composition; thermal emission spectra are sensitive to surface pressure and temperature. We predict the observability of each planet’s atmosphere with JWST. GJ 1132b and TRAPPIST-1b are excellent targets for emission spectroscopy with JWST/MIRI, requiring fewer than 10 eclipse observations. Emission photometry for TRAPPIST-1c requires 5-15 eclipses; LHS 1140b and TRAPPIST-1d, TRAPPIST-1e, and TRAPPIST-1f, which could possibly have surface liquid water, may be accessible with photometry. Seven of the nine planets are strong candidates for transmission spectroscopy measurements with JWST, although the number of transits required depends strongly on the planets’ actual masses. Using the measured masses, fewer than 20 transits are required for a 5σ detection of spectral features for GJ 1132b and six of the TRAPPIST-1 planets. Dedicated campaigns to measure the atmospheres of these nine planets will allow us, for the first time, to probe formation and evolution processes of terrestrial planetary atmospheres beyond our solar system.

  17. Observations of the Earth's Radiation Budget in relation to atmospheric hydrology. 4: Atmospheric column radiative cooling over the world's oceans

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stephens, Graeme L.; Slingo, Anthony; Webb, Mark J.; Minnett, Peter J.; Daum, Peter H.; Kleinman, Lawrence; Wittmeyer, Ian; Randall, David A.

    1994-01-01

    This paper introduces a simple method for deriving climatological values of the longwave flux emitted from the clear sky atmosphere to the ice-free ocean surface. It is shown using both theory and data from simulations how the ratio of the surface to top-of-atmosphere (TOA) flux is a simple function of water vapor (W) and a validation of the simple relationship is presented based on a limited set of surface flux measurements. The rms difference between the retrieved surface fluxes and the simulated surface fluxes is approximately 6 W/sq m. The clear sky column cooling rate of the atmosphere is derived from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) values of the clear sky TOA flux and the surface flux retrieved using Special Scanning Microwave Imager (SSM/I) measurements of w together with ERBE clear sky fluxes. The relationship between this column cooling rate, w, and the sea surface temperature (SST) is explored and it is shown how the cooling rate systematically increases as both w and SST increase. The uncertainty implied in these estmates of cooling are approximately +/- 0.2 K/d. The effects of clouds on this longwave cooling are also explored by placing bounds on the possible impact of clouds on the column cooling rate based on certain assumptions about the effect of clouds on the longwave flux to the surface. It is shown how the longwave effects of clouds in a moist atmosphere where the column water vapor exceeds approximately 30 kg/sq m may be estimated from presently available satellite data with an uncertainty estimated to be approximately 0.2 K/d. Based on an approach described in this paper, we show how clouds in these relatively moist regions decrease the column cooling by almost 50% of the clear sky values and the existence of significant longitudinal gradients in column radiative heating across the equatorial and subtropical Pacific Ocean.

  18. Effects of differentiation on the geodynamics of the early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piccolo, Andrea; Kaus, Boris; White, Richard; Johnson, Tim

    2016-04-01

    Archean geodynamic processes are not well understood, but there is general agreement that the mantle potential temperature was higher than present, and that as a consequence significant amounts of melt were produced both in the mantle and any overlying crust. This has likely resulted in crustal differentiation. An early attempt to model the geodynamic effects of differentiation was made by Johnson et al. (2014), who used numerical modeling to investigate the crust production and recycling in conjunction with representative phase diagrams (based on the inferred chemical composition of the primary melt in accordance with the Archean temperature field). The results of the simulations show that the base of the over-thickened primary basaltic crust becomes gravitational unstable due to the mineral assemblage changes. This instability leads to the dripping of dense material into the mantle, which causes an asthenospheric return flow, local partial melting and new primary crust generation that is rapidly recycled in to mantle. Whereas they gave important insights, the previous simulations were simplified in a number of aspects: 1) the rheology employed was viscous, and both elasticity and pressure-dependent plasticity were not considered; 2) extracted mantle melts were 100% transformed into volcanic rocks, whereas on the present day Earth only about 20-30% are volcanic and the remainder is plutonic; 3) the effect of a free surface was not studied in a systematic manner. In order to better understand how these simplifications affect the geodynamic models, we here present additional simulations to study the effects of each of these parameters. Johnson, T.E., Brown, M., Kaus, B., and VanTongeren, J.A., 2014, Delamination and recycling of Archaean crust caused by gravitational instabilities: Nature Geoscience, v. 7, no. 1, p. 47-52, doi: 10.1038/NGEO2019.

  19. Defining Top-of-Atmosphere Flux Reference Level for Earth Radiation Budget Studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Loeb, N. G.; Kato, S.; Wielicki, B. A.

    2002-01-01

    To estimate the earth's radiation budget at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) from satellite-measured radiances, it is necessary to account for the finite geometry of the earth and recognize that the earth is a solid body surrounded by a translucent atmosphere of finite thickness that attenuates solar radiation differently at different heights. As a result, in order to account for all of the reflected solar and emitted thermal radiation from the planet by direct integration of satellite-measured radiances, the measurement viewing geometry must be defined at a reference level well above the earth s surface (e.g., 100 km). This ensures that all radiation contributions, including radiation escaping the planet along slant paths above the earth s tangent point, are accounted for. By using a field-of- view (FOV) reference level that is too low (such as the surface reference level), TOA fluxes for most scene types are systematically underestimated by 1-2 W/sq m. In addition, since TOA flux represents a flow of radiant energy per unit area, and varies with distance from the earth according to the inverse-square law, a reference level is also needed to define satellite-based TOA fluxes. From theoretical radiative transfer calculations using a model that accounts for spherical geometry, the optimal reference level for defining TOA fluxes in radiation budget studies for the earth is estimated to be approximately 20 km. At this reference level, there is no need to explicitly account for horizontal transmission of solar radiation through the atmosphere in the earth radiation budget calculation. In this context, therefore, the 20-km reference level corresponds to the effective radiative top of atmosphere for the planet. Although the optimal flux reference level depends slightly on scene type due to differences in effective transmission of solar radiation with cloud height, the difference in flux caused by neglecting the scene-type dependence is less than 0.1%. If an inappropriate

  20. Connecting the dots: a versatile model for the atmospheres of tidally locked Super-Earths

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carone, L.; Keppens, R.; Decin, L.

    2014-11-01

    Radiative equilibrium temperatures are calculated for the troposphere of a tidally locked Super-Earth based on a simple greenhouse model, using Solar system data as a guideline. These temperatures provide in combination with a Newtonian relaxation scheme thermal forcing for a 3D atmosphere model using the dynamical core of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology global circulation model. Our model is of the same conceptional simplicity than the model of Held & Suarez and is thus computationally fast. Furthermore, because of the coherent, general derivation of radiative equilibrium temperatures, our model is easily adaptable for different planets and atmospheric scenarios. As a case study relevant for Super-Earths, we investigate a Gl581g-like planet with Earth-like atmosphere and irradiation and present results for two representative rotation periods of Prot = 10 d and Prot = 36.5 d. Our results provide proof of concept and highlight interesting dynamical features for the rotating regime 3 < Prot < 100 d, which was shown by Edson et al. to be an intermediate regime between equatorial superrotation and divergence. We confirm that the Prot = 10 d case is more dominated by equatorial superrotation dynamics than the Prot = 36.5 d case, which shows diminishing influence of standing Rossby-Kelvin waves and increasing influence of divergence at the top of the atmosphere. We argue that this dynamical regime change relates to the increase in Rossby deformation radius, in agreement with previous studies. However, we also pay attention to other features that are not or only in partial agreement with other studies, like, e.g. the number of circulation cells and their strength, the role and extent of thermal inversion layers, and the details of heat transport.

  1. Aura Atmospheric Data Products and Their Availability from NASA Goddard Earth Sciences DAAC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ahmad, S.; Johnson, J.; Gopalan, A.; Smith, P.; Leptoukh, G.; Kempler, S.

    2004-01-01

    NASA's EOS-Aura spacecraft was launched successfully on July 15, 2004. The four instruments onboard the spacecraft are the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS), the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES), and the High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HBDLS). The Aura instruments are designed to gather earth sciences measurements across the ultraviolet, visible, infra-red, thermal and microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Aura will provide over 70 distinct standard atmospheric data products for use in ozone layer and surface UV-B monitoring, air quality forecast, and atmospheric chemistry and climate change studies (http://eosaura.gsfc.nasa.gov/). These products include earth-atmosphere radiances and solar spectral irradiances; total column, tropospheric, and profiles of ozone and other trace gases, surface W-B flux; clouds and aerosol characteristics; and temperature, geopotential height, and water vapor profiles. The MLS, OMI, and HIRDLS data products will be archived at the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences (GES) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC), while data from TES will be archived at NASA Langley Research Center DAAC. Some of the standard products which have gone through quick preliminary checks are already archived at the GES DAAC (http://daac.nsfc.nasa.gov/) and are available to the Aura science team and data validation team members for data validation; and to the application and visualization software developers, for testing their application modules. Once data are corrected for obvious calibration problems and partially validated using in-situ observations, they would be made available to the broader user community. This presentation will provide details of the whole suite of Aura atmospheric data products, and the time line of the availability of the rest of the preliminary products and of the partially validated provisional products. Software and took available for data access, visualization, and data

  2. The Early Years: The Earth-Sun System

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ashbrook, Peggy

    2015-01-01

    We all experience firsthand many of the phenomena caused by Earth's Place in the Universe (Next Generation Science Standard 5-ESS1; NGSS Lead States 2013) and the relative motion of the Earth, Sun, and Moon. Young children can investigate phenomena such as changes in times of sunrise and sunset (number of daylight hours), Moon phases, seasonal…

  3. A Concept for Differential Absorption Lidar and Radar Remote Sensing of the Earth's Atmosphere and Ocean from NRHO Orbit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Y.; Marshak, A.; Omar, A.; Lin, B.; Baize, R.

    2018-02-01

    We propose a concept that will put microwave and laser transmitters on the Deep Space Gateway platform for measurements of the Earth's atmosphere and ocean. Receivers will be placed on the ground, buoys, Argo floats, and cube satellites.

  4. About the Influence of the initial Atmosphere on the Earth's Temperature Distribution during it's Accumulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khachay, Y.; Anfilogov, V.; Antipin, A.

    2012-04-01

    We suggested a new model for accumulation of planets of the Earth's group [1], which is based on the contemporary results of geochemical analyses, which allow to obtain the concentrations of short living radioactive isotopes of 26Al in the matter of the pre planet cloud [2]. With use of that data new estimations of temperature distribution into the growing planetary pre planetary bodies into the Earth's nebular zone had been obtained. For the further Earth's temperature evolution, as it had been showed by the results of numerical modeling, the main role belongs to the temperature distribution in the forming Earth's core and the existence of a dense and transparent atmosphere. The shadow influence of the initial atmosphere had been researched in the paper [3]. We shall give the main consideration to these problems in that paper. It had been shown in [1], that on the earliest accumulation stage the heat release by the decay of 26Al it is sufficient for forming a central melted area and solid relatively thin mainly silicate upper envelope in the pre planetary body, with dimensions, larger than (50-100) km. The impact velocities on that stage are yet not large, therefore by the bodies impact with these or near dimensions liquid and mainly iron their parts merge, but the masses of the pre planetary bodies are not sufficient to gravitational keeping of silicate parts of the cold solid envelope. On that stage they remain into the nebular zone of the proto planet and the mechanism of matter differentiation for the future core and mantle reservoirs realizes. The process takes place yet in small bodies and is in time to finish during less than 10 million years. The next forming of the core and mantle structure continues according to all known estimations about 100 million years. Because of the merging of inner liquid parts of impacting bodies occur due to inelastic impact, the main part of potential energy transforms into heat. That continues up to that time when the iron

  5. Plasma density enhancements created by the ionization of the Earth's upper atmosphere by artificial electron beams

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neubert, Torsten; Banks, Peter M.

    1990-01-01

    Analytical calculations and experimental observations relating to the interaction with the Earth's upper atmosphere of electron beams emitted from low altitude spacecraft are presented. The problem is described by two coupled nonlinear differential equations in the up-going (along a magnetic field line) and down-going differential energy flux. The equations are solved numerically, using the MSIS atmospheric model and the IRI ionospheric model. The results form the model compare well with recent observations from the CHARGE 2 sounding rocket experiment. Two aspects of the beam-neutral atmosphere interaction are discussed. First, the limits on the electron beam current that can be emitted from a spacecraft without substantial spacecraft charging are investigated. This is important because the charging of the spacecraft to positive potentials limits the current and the escape energy of the beam electrons and thereby limits the ionization of the neutral atmosphere. As an example, we find from CHARGE 2 observations and from the model calculations that below about 180 km, secondary electrons generated through the ionization of the neutral atmosphere by 1 to 10 keV electron beams from sounding rockets, completely balance the beam current, thereby allowing the emission of very high beam currents. Second, the amount of plasma production in the beam-streak is discussed. Results are shown for selected values of the beam energy, spacecraft velocity, and spacecraft altitude.

  6. Modeling the Entry of Micrometeoroids into the Atmospheres of Earth-like Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pevyhouse, A. R.; Kress, M. E.

    2011-01-01

    The temperature profiles of micrometeors entering the atmospheres of Earth-like planets are calculated to determine the altitude at which exogenous organic compounds may be released. Previous experiments have shown that flash-heated micrometeorite analogs release organic compounds at temperatures from roughly 500 to 1000 K [1]. The altitude of release is of great importance because it determines the fate of the compound. Organic compounds that are released deeper in the atmosphere are more likely to rapidly mix to lower altitudes where they can accumulate to higher abundances or form more complex molecules and/or aerosols. Variables that are explored here are particle size, entry angle, atmospheric density profiles, spectral type of the parent star, and planet mass. The problem reduces to these questions: (1) How much atmosphere does the particle pass through by the time it is heated to 500 K? (2) Is the atmosphere above sufficient to attenuate stellar UV such that the mixing timescale is shorter than the photochemical timescale for a particular compound? We present preliminary results that the effect of the planetary and particle parameters have on the altitude of organic release.

  7. The early Earth Observing System reference handbook: Earth Science and Applications Division missions, 1990-1997

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    Prior to the launch of the Earth Observing System (EOS) series, NASA will launch and operate a wide variety of new earth science satellites and instruments, as well as undertake several efforts collecting and using the data from existing and planned satellites from other agencies and nations. These initiatives will augment the knowledge base gained from ongoing Earth Science and Applications Division (ESAD) programs. This volume describes three sets of ESAD activities -- ongoing exploitation of operational satellite data, research missions with upcoming launches between now and the first launch of EOS, and candidate earth probes.

  8. Calculations of cosmogenic nuclide production rates in the Earth's atmosphere and their inventories

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Obrien, K.

    1986-01-01

    The production rates of cosmogenic isotopes in the Earth's atmosphere and their resulting terrestrial abundances have been calculated, taking into account both geomagnetic and solar-modulatory effects. The local interstellar flux was assumed to be that of Garcia-Munoz, et al. Solar modulation was accounted for using the heliocentric potential model and expressed in terms of the Deep River neutron monitor count rates. The geomagnetic field was presented by vertical cutoffs calculated by Shea and Smart and the non-vertical cutoffs calculated using ANGRI. The local interstellar particle flux was first modulated using the heliocentric potential field. The modulated cosmic-ray fluxes reaching the earth's orbit then interacted with the geomagnetic field as though it were a high-pass filter. The interaction of the cosmic radiation with the Earth's atmosphere was calculated utilizing the Bolztmann transport equation. Spallation cross sections for isotope production were calculated using the formalism of Silberberg and Tsao and other cross sections were taken from standard sources. Inventories were calculated by accounting from the variation in solar modulation and geomagnetic field strength with time. Results for many isotope, including C-14, Be-7 and Be-10 are in generally good agreement with existing data. The C-14 inventory, for instance, amounts to 1.75/sq cm(e)/s, in excellent agreement with direct estimates.

  9. Displacements of the earth's surface due to atmospheric loading - Effects of gravity and baseline measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Van Dam, T. M.; Wahr, J. M.

    1987-01-01

    Atmospheric mass loads and deforms the earth's crust. By performing a convolution sum between daily, global barometric pressure data and mass loading Green's functions, the time dependent effects of atmospheric loading, including those associated with short-term synoptic storms, on surface point positioning measurements and surface gravity observations are estimated. The response for both an oceanless earth and an earth with an inverted barometer ocean is calculated. Load responses for near-coastal stations are significantly affected by the inclusion of an inverted barometer ocean. Peak-to-peak vertical displacements are frequently 15-20 mm with accompanying gravity perturbations of 3-6 micro Gal. Baseline changes can be as large as 20 mm or more. The perturbations are largest at higher latitudes and during winter months. These amplitudes are consistent with the results of Rabbel and Zschau (1985), who modeled synoptic pressure disturbances as Gaussian functions of radius around a central point. Deformation can be adequately computed using real pressure data from points within about 1000 km of the station. Knowledge of local pressure, alone, is not sufficient. Rabbel and Zschau's hypothesized corrections for these displacements, which use local pressure and the regionally averaged pressure, prove accurate at points well inland but are, in general, inadequate within a few hundred kilometers of the coast.

  10. Simultaneous Precipitation of Solar Protons and Relativistic Electrons as a New Factor Affecting the Earth's Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shirochkov, A. V.; Sokolov, S. N.

    In the field of solar - terrestrial physics during the last decade there has been renewed interest in the effects produced in the Earth atmosphere and ionosphere by fluxes of precipitated highly relativistic electrons. A series of investigation on the subject (preferably by means of satellite measurements) was performed recently, which discussed different aspects of these phenomena called HRE events. More careful study of the HRE events revealed previously unnoticed geophysical phenomenon: a great majority of the solar proton events (SPE) were accompanied by simultaneous precipitation of relativistic electron fluxes. The studies of previous SPE events attributed their atmospheric and ionospheric effects entirely to the solar proton fluxes. It turned out that such an assumption is wrong. Therefore we have actually a new class of geophysical phenomena when the Earth's atmosphere and ionosphere experience combined impact of simultaneously precipitating fluxes of solar protons and relativistic electrons. If one takes into accounts effect of enhanced density of the solar wind during the SPEs (i.e. its dynamic pressure) the real situation during these combined events became more complicated. In this paper the effects during the storm of May 1992 are analyzed as an example of such unusual combination. The methods of separation of the effects produced by different precipitation particles are presented. Other similar events are considered to demonstrate that such complex events are not unique geophysical phenomena.

  11. The interaction of the cretaceous-tertiary extinction bolide with the atmosphere, ocean, and solid earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Okeefe, J. D.; Ahrens, T. J.

    1981-01-01

    A number of investigations, including those reported by Orth et al. (1981), have provided physical evidence for the impact of an extraterrestrial object on earth 65 million years ago. This time corresponds to the end of the cretaceous period. This impact could, therefore, be responsible for the observed extinction of biological species at the end of the Mesozoic era. Among the species becoming extinct are found also flying and walking dinosaurs, which include all land animals that had masses greater than 25 kg. The present investigation is concerned with a study of the possibilities for the collision of earth with 10 km-size object, and the consequences produced by such a collision. It is found that the penetration of the atmosphere by the bolide creates a temporary hole in the atmosphere. The resulting flow fields can inject melt droplets and finely commuted solid particles into the atmosphere. Short-term effects of heating, followed by dust induced worldwide cooling, may provide several mechanisms for the observed extinction of the species.

  12. Evolution of the Solar Activity Over Time and Effects on Planetary Atmospheres. II. κ1 Ceti, an Analog of the Sun when Life Arose on Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ribas, I.; Porto de Mello, G. F.; Ferreira, L. D.; Hébrard, E.; Selsis, F.; Catalán, S.; Garcés, A.; do Nascimento, J. D., Jr.; de Medeiros, J. R.

    2010-05-01

    The early evolution of Earth's atmosphere and the origin of life took place at a time when physical conditions at the Earth were radically different from its present state. The radiative input from the Sun was much enhanced in the high-energy spectral domain, and in order to model early planetary atmospheres in detail, a knowledge of the solar radiative input is needed. We present an investigation of the atmospheric parameters, state of evolution, and high-energy fluxes of the nearby star κ1 Cet, previously thought to have properties resembling those of the early Sun. Atmospheric parameters were derived from the excitation/ionization equilibrium of Fe I and Fe II, profile fitting of Hα, and the spectral energy distribution. The UV irradiance was derived from Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer and Hubble Space Telescope data, and the absolute chromospheric flux from the Hα line core. From careful spectral analysis and the comparison of different methods, we propose for κ1 Cet the following atmospheric parameters: T eff = 5665 ± 30 K (Hα profile and energy distribution), log g = 4.49 ± 0.05 dex (evolutionary and spectroscopic), and [Fe/H] = +0.10 ± 0.05 (Fe II lines). The UV radiative properties of κ1 Cet indicate that its flux is some 35% lower than the current Sun's between 210 and 300 nm, it matches the Sun's at 170 nm, and increases to at least 2-7 times higher than the Sun's between 110 and 140 nm. The use of several indicators ascribes an age to κ1 Cet in the interval ~0.4-0.8 Gyr and the analysis of the theoretical Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (H-R) suggests a mass ~1.04 M sun. This star is thus a very close analog of the Sun when life arose on Earth and Mars is thought to have lost its surface bodies of liquid water. Photochemical models indicate that the enhanced UV emission leads to a significant increase in photodissociation rates compared with those commonly assumed of the early Earth. Our results show that reliable calculations of the

  13. Ocean Fertilization from Giant Icebergs on Earth and Early Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uceda, E. R.; Fairen, A. G.; Rodriguez, J. A. P.; Woodworth-Lynas, C.

    2016-05-01

    Assuming that life existed on Mars coeval to glacial activity, enhanced concentrations of organic carbon could be anticipated near iceberg trails, analogous to what is observed in polar oceans on Earth.

  14. The Afternoon Constellation: A Formation of Earth Observing Systems for the Atmosphere and Hydrosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schoeberl, Mark R.

    2002-01-01

    Two of the large EOS observatories, Aqua (formerly EOS-PM) and Aura (formerly EOS-CHEM) will fly is nearly the same inclination with 1:30 PM -15 min ascending node equatorial crossing times. Between Aura and Aqua a series of smaller satellites will be stationed: Cloudsat, CALYPSO (formerly PICASSO-CENA), and PARASOL. This constellation of low earth orbit satellites will provide an unprecedented opportunity to make near simultaneous atmospheric cloud and aerosol observations. This paper will provide details of the science opportunity and describe the sensor types for the afternoon constellation. This constellation by accretion provides a prototype for the Earth Science Vision sensor web and represent the building books for a future web structure.

  15. Dust storms and their impact on ocean and human health: dust in Earth's atmosphere

    Griffin, Dale W.; Kellog, Christina A.

    2004-01-01

    Satellite imagery has greatly influenced our understanding of dust activity on a global scale. A number of different satellites such as NASA's Earth-Probe Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) and Se-viewing Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) acquire daily global-scale data used to produce imagery for monitoring dust storm formation and movement. This global-scale imagery has documented the frequent transmission of dust storm-derived soils through Earth's atmosphere and the magnitude of many of these events. While various research projects have been undertaken to understand this normal planetary process, little has been done to address its impact on ocean and human health. This review will address the ability of dust storms to influence marine microbial population densities and transport of soil-associated toxins and pathogenic microorganisms to marine environments. The implications of dust on ocean and human health in this emerging scientific field will be discussed.

  16. On meteor-generated infrasound. [propagation characteristics during entry into earth atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Revelle, D. O.

    1976-01-01

    The characteristics of generation and propagation of infrasonic pressure waves excited during meteor entry into the earth's atmosphere are studied. Existing line source blast wave theory is applied to infrasonic airwave data from four bright fire-balls. It is shown that the strong shock behavior of the blast wave is confined to a cylinderical region with a radius proportional to the product of the meteor Mach number and its diameter. A description of the wave form far from the source is provided. Infrasonic data reported elsewhere are analyzed. All the results should be considered as preliminary, and additional work is under way to refine the estimates obtained.

  17. Effect of atmospheric anisoplanatism on earth-to-satellite time transfer over laser communication links.

    PubMed

    Belmonte, Aniceto; Taylor, Michael T; Hollberg, Leo; Kahn, Joseph M

    2017-07-10

    The need for an accurate time reference on orbiting platforms motivates study of time transfer via free-space optical communication links. The impact of atmospheric turbulence on earth-to-satellite optical time transfer has not been fully characterized, however. We analyze limits to two-way laser time transfer accuracy posed by anisoplanatic non-reciprocity between uplink and downlink. We show that despite limited reciprocity, two-way time transfer can still achieve sub-picosecond accuracy in realistic propagation scenarios over a single satellite visibility period.

  18. Early Evolution of Earth's Geochemical Cycle and Biosphere: Implications for Mars Exobiology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DesMarais, David J.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1997-01-01

    Carbon (C) has played multiple key roles for life and its environment. C has formed organics, greenhouse gases, aquatic pH buffers, redox buffers, and magmatic constituents affecting plutonism and volcanism. These roles interacted across a network of reservoirs and processes known as the biogeochemical C cycle. Changes in the cycle over geologic time were driven by increasing solar luminosity, declining planetary heat flow, and continental and biological evolution. The early Archean C cycle was dominated by hydrothermal alteration of crustal rocks and by thermal emanations of CO2 and reduced species (eg., H2, Fe(2+) and sulfides). Bioorganic synthesis was achieved by nonphotosynthetic CO2-fixing bacteria (chemoautotrophs) and, possibly, bacteria (organotrophs) utilizing any available nonbiological organic C. Responding both to abundant solar energy and to a longterm decline in thermal sources of chemical energy and reducing power, the blaspheme first developed anoxygenic photosynthesis, then, ultimately, oxygenic photosynthesis. O2-photosynthesis played a central role in transforming the ancient environment and blaspheme to the modem world. The geochemical C cycles of early Earth and Mars were quite similar. The principal differences between the modem C cycles of these planets arose during the later evolution of their heat flows, crusts, atmospheres and, perhaps, their blasphemes.

  19. Biogenesis and early life on Earth and Europa: favored by an alkaline ocean?

    PubMed

    Kempe, Stephan; Kazmierczak, Jozef

    2002-01-01

    Recent discoveries about Europa--the probable existence of a sizeable ocean below its ice crust; the detection of hydrated sodium carbonates, among other salts; and the calculation of a net loss of sodium from the subsurface--suggest the existence of an alkaline ocean. Alkaline oceans (nicknamed "soda oceans" in analogy to terrestrial soda lakes) have been hypothesized also for early Earth and Mars on the basis of mass balance considerations involving total amounts of acids available for weathering and the composition of the early crust. Such an environment could be favorable to biogenesis since it may have provided for very low Ca2+ concentrations mandatory for the biochemical function of proteins. A rapid loss of CO2 from Europa's atmosphere may have led to freezing oceans. Alkaline brine bubbles embedded in ice in freezing and impact-thawing oceans could have provided a suitable environment for protocell formation and the large number of trials needed for biogenesis. Understanding these processes could be central to assessing the probability of life on Europa.

  20. The effects of atmospheric chemistry on radiation budget in the Community Earth Systems Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choi, Y.; Czader, B.; Diao, L.; Rodriguez, J.; Jeong, G.

    2013-12-01

    The Community Earth Systems Model (CESM)-Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) simulations were performed to study the impact of atmospheric chemistry on the radiation budget over the surface within a weather prediction time scale. The secondary goal is to get a simplified and optimized chemistry module for the short time period. Three different chemistry modules were utilized to represent tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry, which differ in how their reactions and species are represented: (1) simplified tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry (approximately 30 species), (2) simplified tropospheric chemistry and comprehensive stratospheric chemistry from the Model of Ozone and Related Chemical Tracers, version 3 (MOZART-3, approximately 60 species), and (3) comprehensive tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry (MOZART-4, approximately 120 species). Our results indicate the different details in chemistry treatment from these model components affect the surface temperature and impact the radiation budget.

  1. Earth-atmosphere system and surface reflectivities in arid regions from Landsat MSS data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Otterman, J.; Fraser, R. S.

    1976-01-01

    Previously developed programs for computing atmospheric transmission and scattering of the solar radiation are used to compute the ratios of the earth-atmosphere system (space) directional reflectivities in the nadir direction to the surface Lambertian reflectivity, for the four bands of the Landsat multispectral scanner (MSS). These ratios are presented as graphs for two water vapor levels, as a function of the surface reflectivity, for various sun elevation angles. Space directional reflectivities in the vertical direction are reported for selected arid regions in Asia, Africa, and Central America from the spectral radiance levels measured by the Landsat MSS. From these space reflectivities, surface reflectivities are computed applying the pertinent graphs. These surface reflectivities are used to estimate the surface albedo for the entire solar spectrum. The estimated albedos are in the range 0.34-0.52, higher than the values reported by most previous researchers from space measurements, but are consistent with laboratory and in situ measurements.

  2. DETECTING INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION IN THE ATMOSPHERES OF EARTH-LIKE EXOPLANETS

    SciT

    Lin, Henry W.; Abad, Gonzalo Gonzalez; Loeb, Abraham, E-mail: henrylin@college.harvard.edu, E-mail: ggonzalezabad@cfa.harvard.edu, E-mail: aloeb@cfa.harvard.edu

    Detecting biosignatures, such as molecular oxygen in combination with a reducing gas, in the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets has been a major focus in the search for alien life. We point out that in addition to these generic indicators, anthropogenic pollution could be used as a novel biosignature for intelligent life. To this end, we identify pollutants in the Earth's atmosphere that have significant absorption features in the spectral range covered by the James Webb Space Telescope. We focus on tetrafluoromethane (CF{sub 4}) and trichlorofluoromethane (CCl{sub 3}F), which are the easiest to detect chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) produced by anthropogenic activity. Wemore » estimate that ∼1.2 days (∼1.7 days) of total integration time will be sufficient to detect or constrain the concentration of CCl{sub 3}F (CF{sub 4}) to ∼10 times the current terrestrial level.« less

  3. Detecting Industrial Pollution in the Atmospheres of Earth-like Exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Henry W.; Gonzalez Abad, Gonzalo; Loeb, Abraham

    2014-09-01

    Detecting biosignatures, such as molecular oxygen in combination with a reducing gas, in the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets has been a major focus in the search for alien life. We point out that in addition to these generic indicators, anthropogenic pollution could be used as a novel biosignature for intelligent life. To this end, we identify pollutants in the Earth's atmosphere that have significant absorption features in the spectral range covered by the James Webb Space Telescope. We focus on tetrafluoromethane (CF4) and trichlorofluoromethane (CCl3F), which are the easiest to detect chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) produced by anthropogenic activity. We estimate that ~1.2 days (~1.7 days) of total integration time will be sufficient to detect or constrain the concentration of CCl3F (CF4) to ~10 times the current terrestrial level.

  4. Earth-atmosphere system and surface reflectivities in arid regions from LANDSAT multispectral scanner measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Otterman, J.; Fraser, R. S.

    1976-01-01

    Programs for computing atmospheric transmission and scattering solar radiation were used to compute the ratios of the Earth-atmosphere system (space) directional reflectivities in the vertical direction to the surface reflectivity, for the four bands of the LANDSAT multispectral scanner (MSS). These ratios are presented as graphs for two water vapor levels, as a function of the surface reflectivity, for various sun elevation angles. Space directional reflectivities in the vertical direction are reported for selected arid regions in Asia, Africa and Central America from the spectral radiance levels measured by the LANDSAT MSS. From these space reflectivities, surface vertical reflectivities were computed applying the pertinent graphs. These surface reflectivities were used to estimate the surface albedo for the entire solar spectrum. The estimated albedos are in the range 0.34-0.52, higher than the values reported by most previous researchers from space measurements, but are consistent with laboratory measurements.

  5. Haze production in the atmospheres of super-Earths and mini-Neptunes: Insight from PHAZER lab

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horst, Sarah; He, Chao; Kempton, Eliza; Moses, Julianne I.; Vuitton, Veronique; Lewis, Nikole

    2017-10-01

    Super-Earths and mini-Neptunes (~1.2-3 Earth radii) comprise a large fraction of planets in the universe and TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) will increase the number that are amenable to atmospheric characterization with observatories like JWST (James Webb Space Telescope). These atmospheres should span a large range of temperature and atmospheric composition phase space, with no solar system analogues. Interpretation of current and future atmospheric observations of super-Earths and mini-Neptunes requires additional knowledge about atmospheric chemistry and photochemical haze production. We have experimentally investigated haze formation for H2, H2O, and CO2 dominated atmospheres (100x, 1000x, and 10000x solar metallicity) for a range of temperatures (300 K, 400 K, and 600 K) using the PHAZER (Planetary Haze Research) experiment at Johns Hopkins University. This is a necessary step in understanding which, if any, super-Earths and mini-Neptunes possess the conditions required for efficient production of photochemical haze in their atmospheres. We find that the production rates vary over a few orders of magnitudes with some higher than our nominal Titan experiments. We therefore expect that planets in this temperature and atmospheric composition phase space will exhibit a range of particle concentrations and some may be as hazy as Titan.

  6. Nanophase Iron Oxides as an Ultraviolet Sunscreen for Ancient Photosynthetic Microbes: A Possible Link Between Early Organisms, Banded-Iron Formations, and the Oxygenation of the Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Rothschild, Lynn J.; Rothschild, Lynn J.; Rogoff, Dana A.

    2006-01-01

    We propose that nanophase iron oxide-bearing materials provided important niches for ancient photosynthetic microbes on the early Earth that ultimately led to the oxygenation of the Earth s atmosphere and the formation of iron oxide deposits. Atmospheric oxygen and ozone attenuate UV radiation on the Earth today providing substantial protection for photosynthetic organisms. With ultraviolet radiation fluxes likely to have been even higher on the early Earth than today, accessing solar radiation was particularly risky for early organisms. Yet, we know that photosynthesis arose then and played a critical role in subsequent evolution. Of primary importance was protection at approx.250-290 nm, where peak nucleic acid (approx.260 nm) and protein (approx.280 nm) absorptions occur. Nanophase ferric oxide/oxyhydroxide minerals absorb, and thus block, the lethal UV radiation, while transmitting light through much of the visible and near-infrared regions of interest to photosynthesis (400 to 1100 nm). Further, they were available in early environments, and are synthesized by many organisms. Based on ferric oxide/oxyhydroxide spectral properties, likely geologic processes, and the results of experiments with the photosynthetic organisms, Euglena sp. and Chlumydomonus reinhardtii, we propose a scenario where photosynthesis, and ultimately the oxygenation of the atmosphere, depended on the protection of early microbes by nanophase ferric oxides/oxyhydroxides. The results of this study are also applicable to other potentially habitable iron-bearing planetary bodies because of the evolutionary pressure to utilize solar radiation when available as an energy source.

  7. The Role of Remote Sensing Displays in Earth Climate and Planetary Atmospheric Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DelGenio, Anthony D.; Hansen, James E. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    The communities of scientists who study the Earth's climate and the atmospheres of the other planets barely overlap, but the types of questions they pose and the resulting implications for the use and interpretation of remote sensing data sets have much in common. Both seek to determine the characteristic behavior of three-dimensional fluids that also evolve in time. Climate researchers want to know how and why the general patterns that define our climate today might be different in the next century. Planetary scientists try to understand why circulation patterns and clouds on Mars, Venus, or Jupiter are different from those on Earth. Both disciplines must aggregate large amounts of data covering long time periods and several altitudes to have a representative picture of the rapidly changing atmosphere they are studying. This emphasis separates climate scientists from weather forecasters, who focus at any one time on a limited number of images. Likewise, it separates planetary atmosphere researchers from planetary geologists, who rely primarily on single images (or mosaics of images covering the globe) to study two-dimensional planetary surfaces that are mostly static over the duration of a spacecraft mission yet reveal dynamic processes acting over thousands to millions of years. Remote sensing displays are usually two-dimensional projections that capture an atmosphere at an instant in time. How scientists manipulate and display such data, how they interpret what they see, and how they thereby understand the physical processes that cause what they see, are the challenges I discuss in this chapter. I begin by discussing differences in how novices and experts in the field relate displays of data to the real world. This leads to a discussion of the use and abuse of image enhancement and color in remote sensing displays. I then show some examples of techniques used by scientists in climate and planetary research to both convey information and design research

  8. New Data for Modeling Hypersonic Entry into Earth's Atmosphere: Electron-impact Ionization of Atomic Nitrogen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savin, Daniel Wolf; Ciccarino, Christopher

    2017-06-01

    Meteors passing through Earth’s atmosphere and space vehicles returning to Earth from beyond orbit enter the atmosphere at hypersonic velocities (greater than Mach 5). The resulting shock front generates a high temperature reactive plasma around the meteor or vehicle (with temperatures greater than 10,000 K). This intense heat is transferred to the entering object by radiative and convective processes. Modeling the processes a meteor undergoes as it passes through the atmosphere and designing vehicles to withstand these conditions requires an accurate understanding of the underlying non-equilibrium high temperature chemistry. Nitrogen chemistry is particularly important given the abundance of nitrogen in Earth's atmosphere. Line emission by atomic nitrogen is a major source of radiative heating during atomspheric entry. Our ability to accurately calculate this heating is hindered by uncertainties in the electron-impact ionization (EII) rate coefficient for atomic nitrogen.Here we present new EII calculations for atomic nitrogen. The atom is treated as a 69 level system, incorporating Rydberg values up to n=20. Level-specific cross sections are from published B-Spline R-Matrix-with-Pseudostates results for the first three levels and binary-encounter Bethe (BEB) calculations that we have carried out for the remaining 59 levels. These cross section data have been convolved into level-specific rate coefficients and fit with the commonly-used Arrhenius-Kooij formula for ease of use in hypersonic chemical models. The rate coefficient data can be readily scaled by the relevant atomic nitrogen partition function which varies in time and space around the meteor or reentry vehicle. Providing data up to n=20 also enables modelers to account for the density-dependent lowering of the continuum.

  9. An objective frequency domain method for subsurface characterisation using Earth and atmospheric tides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cuthbert, M. O.; Acworth, I. R.; Halloran, L. J. S.; Rau, G. C.; Bernadi, T. L.

    2017-12-01

    It has long been recognised that hydraulic properties can be derived from the response of piezometric heads to tidal loadings. However, there is a degree of subjectivity in existing graphical approaches most commonly used to calculate barometric efficiency leading to uncertainties in derived values of compressible storage. Here we demonstrate a novel approach to remove these uncertainties by objectively deriving the barometric efficiency from groundwater hydraulic head responses using a frequency domain method. We take advantage of the presence of worldwide and ubiquitous atmospheric tide fluctuations which occur at 2 cycles per day (cpd). First we use a Fourier transform to calculate the amplitudes of the 2 cpd signals from co-located atmospheric pressure and hydraulic head time series measurements. Next we show how the Earth tide response at the same frequency can be quantified and removed so that this effect does not interfere with the calculation of the barometric efficiency. Finally, the ratio of the amplitude of the response at 2 cpd of hydraulic head to atmospheric pressure is used to quantify the barometric efficiency. This new method allows an objective quantification using `passive' in situ monitoring rather than resorting to aquifer pumping or laboratory tests. The minimum data requirements are 15 days duration of 6-hourly hydraulic head and atmospheric pressure measurements, and modelled Earth tide records which are readily conducted using freely available software. The new approach allows for a rapid and cost-effective alternative to traditional methods of estimating aquifer compressible storage properties without the subjectivity of existing approaches, and will be of importance to improving the spatial coverage of subsurface characterisation for groundwater resource evaluation and land subsidence assessment.

  10. Comets as Messengers from the Early Solar System - Emerging Insights on Delivery of Water, Nitriles, and Organics to Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mumma, Michael J.; Charnley, Steven B.

    2012-01-01

    The question of exogenous delivery of water and organics to Earth and other young planets is of critical importance for understanding the origin of Earth's volatiles, and for assessing the possible existence of exo-planets similar to Earth. Viewed from a cosmic perspective, Earth is a dry planet, yet its oceans are enriched in deuterium by a large factor relative to nebular hydrogen and analogous isotopic enrichments in atmospheric nitrogen and noble gases are also seen. Why is this so? What are the implications for Mars? For icy Worlds in our Planetary System? For the existence of Earth-like exoplanets? An exogenous (vs. outgassed) origin for Earth's atmosphere is implied, and intense debate on the relative contributions of comets and asteroids continues - renewed by fresh models for dynamical transport in the protoplanetary disk, by revelations on the nature and diversity of volatile and rocky material within comets, and by the discovery of ocean-like water in a comet from the Kuiper Belt (cf., Mumma & Charnley 2011). Assessing the creation of conditions favorable to the emergence and sustenance of life depends critically on knowledge of the nature of the impacting bodies. Active comets have long been grouped according to their orbital properties, and this has proven useful for identifying the reservoir from which a given comet emerged (OC, KB) (Levison 1996). However, it is now clear that icy bodies were scattered into each reservoir from a range of nebular distances, and the comet populations in today's reservoirs thus share origins that are (in part) common. Comets from the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Disk reservoirs should have diverse composition, resulting from strong gradients in temperature and chemistry in the proto-planetary disk, coupled with dynamical models of early radial transport and mixing with later dispersion of the final cometary nuclei into the long-term storage reservoirs. The inclusion of material from the natal interstellar cloud is probable

  11. The Case for Scientific Drilling of Precambrian Sedimentary Sequences: A Mission to Early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buick, R.; Anbar, A. D.; Mojzsis, S. J.; Kaufman, A. J.; Kieft, T. L.; Lyons, T. W.; Humayun, M.

    2001-12-01

    Research into the emergence and early evolution of life, particularly in relation to environmental conditions, has intensified in the past decade. The field is energized by controversy (e.g., over the history of atmospheric composition, ocean redox, climate and biochemical pathways) and by the application of new biogeochemical tools (e.g., ion probe in situ stable isotope studies; improved geochronological techniques; non-mass-dependent stable isotope effects; stable metal isotope systematics; advances in organic geochemistry/biomarkers). The past decade has also seen improved understanding of old tools (notably, S isotopes), and new perspectives on evolution and on microbial interaction with the environment borne of the genomics revolution. Recent papers demonstrate the potential for innovative research when such developments are integrated, as well as the limitations of present knowledge. The chief limiting factor is not lack of scientists or advanced techniques, but availability of fresh samples from suitable successions. Where classic Precambrian stratigraphy exists, suitable rocks are rarely exposed due to interaction with the oxidizing atmosphere, occurrence of flat-lying strata or sedimentary cover. Available drill-cores are concentrated around ore bodies, and hence are inherently altered or not environmentally representative. Stratigraphic drilling using clean diamond drilling techniques, targeted in accord with scientific priorities, could provide samples of unmatched quality across the most interesting stratigraphic intervals. Diamond drilling is a proven, inexpensive technology for accessing subsurface material. The time is ripe to use this technology to secure the materials needed for further advances. The Mission to Early Earth (MtEE) Focus Group of the NASA Astrobiology Institute is developing a case for the acquisition, curation and distribution of suitable samples, with a special focus on diamond drilling. A communal activity is envisioned, modeled

  12. MECA Workshop on Atmospheric H2O Observations of Earth and Mars. Physical Processes, Measurements and Interpretations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clifford, Stephen M. (Editor); Haberle, Robert M. (Editor)

    1988-01-01

    The workshop was held to discuss a variety of questions related to the detection and cycling of atmospheric water. Among the questions addressed were: what factors govern the storage and exchange of water between planetary surfaces and atmospheres; what instruments are best suited for the measurement and mapping of atmospheric water; do regolith sources and sinks of water have uniquely identifiable column abundance signatures; what degree of time and spatial resolution in column abundance data is necessary to determine dynamic behavior. Of special importance is the question, does the understanding of how atmospheric water is cycled on Earth provide any insights for the interpretation of Mars atmospheric data.

  13. Workshop on the Early Earth: The Interval from Accretion to the Older Archean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burke, K. (Editor); Ashwal, L. D. (Editor)

    1985-01-01

    Presentation abstracts are compiled which address various issues in Earth developmental processes in the first one hundred million years. The session topics included: accretion of the Earth (processes accompanying immediately following the accretion, including core formation); impact records and other information from planets and the Moon relevant to early Earth history; isotopic patterns of the oldest rocks; and igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic petrology of the oldest rocks.

  14. Entry-probe studies of the atmospheres of earth, Mars, and Venus - A review (Von Karman Lecture)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Seiff, Alvin

    1990-01-01

    This paper overviews the history (since 1963) of the exploration of planetary atmospheres by use of entry probes. The techniques used to measure the compositions of the atmospheres of the earth, Mars, and Venus are described together with the key results obtained. Attention is also given to the atmosphere-structure experiment aboard the Galileo Mission, launched on October 17, 1989 and now under way on its 6-yr trip to Jupiter, and to future experiments.

  15. What Would It Take for an Atmospheric Neutrino Detector to Constrain the Hydrogen Content of the Earth's Core ?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bourret, S.; Coelho, J. A. B.; Kaminski, E. C.; Van Elewyck, V.

    2017-12-01

    The difference between PREM density and seismic profiles in the Earth's core and the values for pure iron and iron-nickel alloys inferred from high pressure/high temperature experiments and ab initio calculations requires the presence of a few wt% of light elements. The nature and amount of these light elements (O, Si, S, H, C...) remains controversial. Recent studies have renewed the interest in H. It is the most abundant element in the nebula and can be easily dissolved in iron in the early stages of Earth's evolution. 1 to 2 wt% of H could explain the difference between PREM and pure iron. However, current geophysical methods alone cannot settle the debate between H and the other candidate elements. Neutrino oscillation tomography using atmospheric neutrinos opens an avenue to collect independent data on Earth's core composition. This method exploits the quantum phenomenon of neutrino flavour oscillations, which depends on the electron density along the path of the neutrino through the Earth. The combination of a neutrino-based measurement of the electron density with the PREM mass density profile constrains the average proton-to-nucleon ratio of the medium (Z/A). Since this parameter varies among chemical elements, e.g. 0.466 for Fe and 1 for H, this technique has the potential to provide unprecedented insights into the chemical composition of the core, and in particular its hydrogen content. Performing such a measurement requires large-size detectors with good efficiency in the relevant energy range and precise determination of the neutrino energy, arrival direction, and flavour. Considering a generic but realistic model of detector response, we quantify the influence of various detector performance indicators on the sensitivity to the average Z/A in the core. We further evaluate the impact of systematic uncertainties, such as those related to the physical model for neutrino oscillations and the incoming flux of atmospheric neutrinos. We consider specific

  16. Formation and Evolution of the Atmosphere on Early Titan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marounina, N.; Tobie, G.; Carpy, S.; Monteux, J.; Charnay, B.; Grasset, O.

    2014-12-01

    The mass and composition of Titan's massive atmosphere, which is dominated by N2 and CH4 at present, have probably varied all along its history owing to a combination of exogenous and endogenous processes. In a recent study, we investigated its fate during the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) by modeling the competitive loss and supply of volatiles by cometary impacts and their consequences on the atmospheric balance. We examine the emergence of an atmosphere as well as the evolution of a primitive atmosphere of various sizes and compositions. By considering an impactor population characteristic of the LHB, we showed that an atmosphere with a mass equivalent to the present-day one cannot be formed during the LHB era. Our calculations indicated that the high-velocity impacts during the LHB led to a strong atmospheric erosion, so that the pre-LHB atmosphere should be 5 to 7 times more massive than at present (depending mostly on the albedo), in order to sustain an atmosphere equivalent to the present-day one. This implies that either a massive atmosphere was formed on Titan during its accretion or that the nitrogen-rich atmosphere was generated after the LHB.To investigate the primitive atmosphere of the satellite, we consider chemical exchanges of volatils between a global water ocean at Titan's surface, generated by impact heating during the accretion and an atmosphere. We are currently developing a liquid-vapor equilibrium model for various initial oceanic composition to investigate how a massive atmosphere may be generated during the satellite growth and how it may evolve toward a composition dominated by N2. More generally, our model address how atmosphere may be generated in water-rich objects, which may be common around other stars.

  17. [Study on the modeling of earth-atmosphere coupling over rugged scenes for hyperspectral remote sensing].

    PubMed

    Zhao, Hui-Jie; Jiang, Cheng; Jia, Guo-Rui

    2014-01-01

    Adjacency effects may introduce errors in the quantitative applications of hyperspectral remote sensing, of which the significant item is the earth-atmosphere coupling radiance. However, the surrounding relief and shadow induce strong changes in hyperspectral images acquired from rugged terrain, which is not accurate to describe the spectral characteristics. Furthermore, the radiative coupling process between the earth and the atmosphere is more complex over the rugged scenes. In order to meet the requirements of real-time processing in data simulation, an equivalent reflectance of background was developed by taking into account the topography and the geometry between surroundings and targets based on the radiative transfer process. The contributions of the coupling to the signal at sensor level were then evaluated. This approach was integrated to the sensor-level radiance simulation model and then validated through simulating a set of actual radiance data. The results show that the visual effect of simulated images is consistent with that of observed images. It was also shown that the spectral similarity is improved over rugged scenes. In addition, the model precision is maintained at the same level over flat scenes.

  18. Rise of Earth's atmospheric oxygen controlled by efficient subduction of organic carbon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duncan, Megan S.; Dasgupta, Rajdeep

    2017-04-01

    The net flux of carbon between the Earth's interior and exterior, which is critical for redox evolution and planetary habitability, relies heavily on the extent of carbon subduction. While the fate of carbonates during subduction has been studied, little is known about how organic carbon is transferred from the Earth's surface to the interior, although organic carbon sequestration is related to sources of oxygen in the surface environment. Here we use high pressure-temperature experiments to determine the capacity of rhyolitic melts to carry carbon under graphite-saturated conditions in a subducting slab, and thus to constrain the subduction efficiency of organic carbon, the remnants of life, through time. We use our experimental data and a thermodynamic model of CO2 dissolution in slab melts to quantify organic carbon mobility as a function of slab parameters. We show that the subduction of graphitized organic carbon, and the graphite and diamond formed by reduction of carbonates with depth, remained efficient even in ancient, hotter subduction zones where oxidized carbon subduction probably remained limited. We suggest that immobilization of organic carbon in subduction zones and deep sequestration in the mantle facilitated the rise (~103-5 fold) and maintenance of atmospheric oxygen since the Palaeoproterozoic and is causally linked to the Great Oxidation Event. Our modelling shows that episodic recycling of organic carbon before the Great Oxidation Event may also explain occasional whiffs of atmospheric oxygen observed in the Archaean.

  19. Response of the Water Level in a Well to Earth Tides and Atmospheric Loading Under Unconfined Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rojstaczer, Stuart; Riley, Francis S.

    1990-08-01

    The response of the water level in a well to Earth tides and atmospheric loading under unconfined conditions can be explained if the water level is controlled by the aquifer response averaged over the saturated depth of the well. Because vertical averaging tends to diminish the influence of the water table, the response is qualitatively similar to the response of a well under partially confined conditions. When the influence of well bore storage can be ignored, the response to Earth tides is strongly governed by a dimensionless aquifer frequency Q'u. The response to atmospheric loading is strongly governed by two dimensionless vertical fluid flow parameters: a dimensionless unsaturated zone frequency, R, and a dimensionless aquifer frequency Qu. The differences between Q'u and Qu are generally small for aquifers which are highly sensitive to Earth tides. When Q'u and Qu are large, the response of the well to Earth tides and atmospheric loading approaches the static response of the aquifer under confined conditions. At small values of Q'u and Qu, well response to Earth tides and atmospheric loading is strongly influenced by water table drainage. When R is large relative to Qu, the response to atmospheric loading is strongly influenced by attenuation and phase shift of the pneumatic pressure signal in the unsaturated zone. The presence of partial penetration retards phase advance in well response to Earth tides and atmospheric loading. When the theoretical response of a phreatic well to Earth tides and atmospheric loading is fit to the well response inferred from cross-spectral estimation, it is possible to obtain estimates of the pneumatic diffusivity of the unsaturated zone and the vertical hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer.

  20. Response of the water level in a well to Earth tides and atmospheric loading under unconfined conditions

    Rojstaczer, Stuart; Riley, Francis S.

    1990-01-01

    The response of the water level in a well to Earth tides and atmospheric loading under unconfined conditions can be explained if the water level is controlled by the aquifer response averaged over the saturated depth of the well. Because vertical averaging tends to diminish the influence of the water table, the response is qualitatively similar to the response of a well under partially confined conditions. When the influence of well bore storage can be ignored, the response to Earth tides is strongly governed by a dimensionless aquifer frequency Q′u. The response to atmospheric loading is strongly governed by two dimensionless vertical fluid flow parameters: a dimensionless unsaturated zone frequency, R, and a dimensionless aquifer frequency Qu. The differences between Q′u and Qu are generally small for aquifers which are highly sensitive to Earth tides. When Q′u and Qu are large, the response of the well to Earth tides and atmospheric loading approaches the static response of the aquifer under confined conditions. At small values of Q′u and Qu, well response to Earth tides and atmospheric loading is strongly influenced by water table drainage. When R is large relative to Qu, the response to atmospheric loading is strongly influenced by attenuation and phase shift of the pneumatic pressure signal in the unsaturated zone. The presence of partial penetration retards phase advance in well response to Earth tides and atmospheric loading. When the theoretical response of a phreatic well to Earth tides and atmospheric loading is fit to the well response inferred from cross-spectral estimation, it is possible to obtain estimates of the pneumatic diffusivity of the unsaturated zone and the vertical hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer.

  1. Gamma-Ray Bursts and the Earth: Exploration of Atmospheric, Biological, Climatic, and Biogeochemical Effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, Brian C.; Melott, Adrian L.; Jackman, Charles H.; Laird, Claude M.; Medvedev, Mikhail V.; Stolarski, Richard S.; Gehrels, Neil; Cannizzo, John K.; Hogan, Daniel P.; Ejzak, Larissa M.

    2005-11-01

    Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are likely to have made a number of significant impacts on the Earth during the last billion years. The gamma radiation from a burst within a few kiloparsecs would quickly deplete much of the Earth's protective ozone layer, allowing an increase in solar UVB radiation reaching the surface. This radiation is harmful to life, damaging DNA and causing sunburn. In addition, NO2 produced in the atmosphere would cause a decrease in visible sunlight reaching the surface and could cause global cooling. Nitric acid rain could stress portions of the biosphere, but the increased nitrate deposition could be helpful to land plants. We have used a two-dimensional atmospheric model to investigate the effects on the Earth's atmosphere of GRBs delivering a range of fluences, at various latitudes, at the equinoxes and solstices, and at different times of day. We have estimated DNA damage levels caused by increased solar UVB radiation, reduction in solar visible light due to NO2 opacity, and deposition of nitrates through rainout of HNO3. For the ``typical'' nearest burst in the last billion years, we find globally averaged ozone depletion up to 38%. Localized depletion reaches as much as 74%. Significant global depletion (at least 10%) persists up to about 7 yr after the burst. Our results depend strongly on time of year and latitude over which the burst occurs. The impact scales with the total fluence of the GRB at the Earth but is insensitive to the time of day of the burst and its duration (1-1000 s). We find DNA damage of up to 16 times the normal annual global average, well above lethal levels for simple life forms such as phytoplankton. The greatest damage occurs at mid- to low latitudes. We find reductions in visible sunlight of a few percent, primarily in the polar regions. Nitrate deposition similar to or slightly greater than that currently caused by lightning is also observed, lasting several years. We discuss how these results support the

  2. False Negatives for Remote Life Detection on Ocean-Bearing Planets: Lessons from the Early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reinhard, Christopher T.; Olson, Stephanie L.; Schwieterman, Edward W.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2017-04-01

    Ocean-atmosphere chemistry on Earth has undergone dramatic evolutionary changes throughout its long history, with potentially significant ramifications for the emergence and long-term stability of atmospheric biosignatures. Though a great deal of work has centered on refining our understanding of false positives for remote life detection, much less attention has been paid to the possibility of false negatives, that is, cryptic biospheres that are widespread and active on a planet's surface but are ultimately undetectable or difficult to detect in the composition of a planet's atmosphere. Here, we summarize recent developments from geochemical proxy records and Earth system models that provide insight into the long-term evolution of the most readily detectable potential biosignature gases on Earth - oxygen (O2), ozone (O3), and methane (CH4). We suggest that the canonical O2-CH4 disequilibrium biosignature would perhaps have been challenging to detect remotely during Earth's ˜4.5-billion-year history and that in general atmospheric O2/O3 levels have been a poor proxy for the presence of Earth's biosphere for all but the last ˜500 million years. We further suggest that detecting atmospheric CH4 would have been problematic for most of the last ˜2.5 billion years of Earth's history. More broadly, we stress that internal oceanic recycling of biosignature gases will often render surface biospheres on ocean-bearing silicate worlds cryptic, with the implication that the planets most conducive to the development and maintenance of a pervasive biosphere will often be challenging to characterize via conventional atmospheric biosignatures.

  3. False Negatives for Remote Life Detection on Ocean-Bearing Planets: Lessons from the Early Earth.

    PubMed

    Reinhard, Christopher T; Olson, Stephanie L; Schwieterman, Edward W; Lyons, Timothy W

    2017-04-01

    Ocean-atmosphere chemistry on Earth has undergone dramatic evolutionary changes throughout its long history, with potentially significant ramifications for the emergence and long-term stability of atmospheric biosignatures. Though a great deal of work has centered on refining our understanding of false positives for remote life detection, much less attention has been paid to the possibility of false negatives, that is, cryptic biospheres that are widespread and active on a planet's surface but are ultimately undetectable or difficult to detect in the composition of a planet's atmosphere. Here, we summarize recent developments from geochemical proxy records and Earth system models that provide insight into the long-term evolution of the most readily detectable potential biosignature gases on Earth-oxygen (O 2 ), ozone (O 3 ), and methane (CH 4 ). We suggest that the canonical O 2 -CH 4 disequilibrium biosignature would perhaps have been challenging to detect remotely during Earth's ∼4.5-billion-year history and that in general atmospheric O 2 /O 3 levels have been a poor proxy for the presence of Earth's biosphere for all but the last ∼500 million years. We further suggest that detecting atmospheric CH 4 would have been problematic for most of the last ∼2.5 billion years of Earth's history. More broadly, we stress that internal oceanic recycling of biosignature gases will often render surface biospheres on ocean-bearing silicate worlds cryptic, with the implication that the planets most conducive to the development and maintenance of a pervasive biosphere will often be challenging to characterize via conventional atmospheric biosignatures. Key Words: Biosignatures-Oxygen-Methane-Ozone-Exoplanets-Planetary habitability. Astrobiology 17, 287-297.

  4. How large is the cosmic dust flux into the Earth's atmosphere?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Plane, John; Janches, Diego; Gomez-Martin, Juan Carlos; Bones, David; Diego Carrillo-Sanchez, Juan; James, Sandy; Nesvorny, David; Pokorny, Petr

    2016-07-01

    Cosmic dust particles are produced in the solar system from the sublimation of comets as they orbit close to the sun, and also from collisions between asteroids in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. Current estimates of the magnitude of the cosmic dust input rate into the Earth's atmosphere range from 2 to well over 100 tons per day, depending on whether the measurements are made in space, in the middle atmosphere, or at the surface in polar ice cores. This nearly 2 order-of-magnitude discrepancy indicates that there are serious flaws in the interpretation of observations that have been used to make the estimates. Dust particles enter the atmosphere at hyperthermal velocities (11 - 72 km s ^{-1}), and mostly ablate at heights between 80 and 120 km in a region of the atmosphere known as the mesosphere/lower thermosphere (MLT). The resulting metal vapours (Fe, Mg, Si and Na etc.) then oxidize and recondense to form nm-size particles, termed "meteoric smoke". These particles are too small to sediment downwards. Instead, they are transported by the general circulation of the atmosphere, taking roughly 5 years to reach the surface. There is great interest in the role smoke particles play as condensation nuclei of noctilucent ice clouds in the mesosphere, and polar stratospheric clouds in the lower stratosphere. Various new estimates of the dust input will be discussed. The first is from a zodiacal dust cloud model which predicts that more than 90% of the dust entering the atmosphere comes from Jupiter Family Comets; this model is constrained by observations of the zodiacal cloud using the IRAS, COBE and Planck satellites. The cometary dust is predicted to mostly be in a near-prograde orbit, entering the atmosphere with an average velocity around 14 km s ^{-1}. The total dust input should then be about 40 t d ^{-1}. However, relatively few of these particles are observed, even by the powerful Arecibo 430 MHz radar. Coupled models of meteoroid differential ablation

  5. The early Earth -- A perspective on the Archean

    SciT

    Hamilton, W.B.

    1993-04-01

    Dominant models of Archean tectonics and magmatism involve plate-tectonic mechanisms. Common tenets of geochemistry (e.g., model ages) and petrology visualize a cold-accreted Earth in which primitive mantle gradually fractionated to produce crust during and since Archean time. These popular assumptions appear to be incompatible with cosmologic and planetologic evidence and with Archean geology. All current quantitative and semiquantitative theories agree that the Earth was largely or entirely melted (likely superheated) by giant impacts, including the Mars-size impact which splashed out the Moon, and by separation of the core. The Earth at [approximately]4.5 Ga was a violently convecting anhydrous molten ball.more » Both this history and solar-system position indicate the bulk Earth to be more refractory than chondrite. The outer part of whatever sold shell developed was repeatedly recycled by impacts before 3.9 Ga. Water and CO[sub 2] were added by impactors after the Moon-forming event; the mantle is not a source of primordial volatiles, but rather is a sink that has depleted the hydrosphere. Voluminous liquidus ultramafic lava (komatiite) indicates that much Archean upper mantle was above its solidus. Only komatiitic and basaltic magma entered Archean crust from the mantle. Variably hydrous contamination, secondary melting, and fractionation in the crust produced intermediate and felsic melts. Magmatism was concurrent over vast tracts. Within at least the small sample of Archean crust that has not been recycled into the mantle, heat loss was primarily by voluminous, dispersed magmatism, not, as in the modern Earth, primarily through spreading windows through the crust. Only in Proterozoic time did plate-tectonic mechanisms become prevalent.« less

  6. Implications of solar irradiance variability upon long-term changes in the Earth's atmospheric temperatures

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Robert B., III

    1992-01-01

    From 1979 through 1987, it is believed that variability in the incoming solar energy played a significant role in changing the Earth's climate. Using high-precision spacecraft radiometric measurements, the incoming total solar irradiance (total amount of solar power per unit area) and the Earth's mean, global atmospheric temperatures were found to vary in phase with each other. The observed irradiance and temperature changes appeared to be correlated with the 11-year cycle of solar magnetic activity. During the period from 1979 through 1985, both the irradiance and temperature decreased. From 1985 to 1987, they increased. The irradiance changed approximately 0.1 percent, while the temperature varied as much as 0.6 C. During the 1979-1987 period, the temperatures were forecasted to rise linearly because of the anthropogenic build-up of carbon dioxide and the hypothesized 'global warming', 'greenhouse effect', scenarios. Contrary to these scenarios, the temperatures were found to vary in a periodic manner in phase with the solar irradiance changes. The observed correlations between irradiance and temperature variabilily suggest that the mean, global temperature of the Earth may decline between 1990 and 1997 as solar magnetic activity decreases.

  7. Evaluating atmospheric blocking in the global climate model EC-Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hartung, Kerstin; Hense, Andreas; Kjellström, Erik

    2013-04-01

    Atmospheric blocking is a phenomenon of the midlatitudal troposphere, which plays an important role in climate variability. Therefore a correct representation of blocking in climate models is necessary, especially for evaluating the results of climate projections. In my master's thesis a validation of blocking in the coupled climate model EC-Earth is performed. Blocking events are detected based on the Tibaldi-Molteni Index. At first, a comparison with the reanalysis dataset ERA-Interim is conducted. The blocking frequency depending on longitude shows a small general underestimation of blocking in the model - a well known problem. Scaife et al. (2011) proposed the correction of model bias as a way to solve this problem. However, applying the correction to the higher resolution EC-Earth model does not yield any improvement. Composite maps show a link between blocking events and surface variables. One example is the formation of a positive surface temperature anomaly north and a negative anomaly south of the blocking anticyclone. In winter the surface temperature in EC-Earth can be reproduced quite well, but in summer a cold bias over the inner-European ocean is present. Using generalized linear models (GLMs) I want to study the connection between regional blocking and global atmospheric variables further. GLMs have the advantage of being applicable to non-Gaussian variables. Therefore the blocking index at each longitude, which is Bernoulli distributed, can be analysed statistically with GLMs. I applied a logistic regression between the blocking index and the geopotential height at 500 hPa to study the teleconnection of blocking events at midlatitudes with global geopotential height. GLMs also offer the possibility of quantifying the connections shown in composite maps. The implementation of the logistic regression can even be expanded to a search for trends in blocking frequency, for example in the scenario simulations.

  8. Higher Flux from the Young Sun as an Explanation for Warm Temperatures for Early Earth and Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sackmann, I.-Juliana

    2001-01-01

    Observations indicate that the Earth was at least warm enough for liquid water to exist as far back as 4 Gyr ago, namely, as early as half a billion years after the formation of the Earth; in fact, there is evidence suggesting that Earth may have been even warmer then than it is now. These relatively warm temperatures required on early Earth are in apparent contradiction to the dimness of the early Sun predicted by the standard solar models. This problem has generally been explained by assuming that Earth's early atmosphere contained huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), resulting in a large enough greenhouse effect to counteract the effect of a dimmer Sun. However, recent work places an upper limit of 0.04 bar on the partial pressure of CO2 in the period from 2.75 to 2.2 Gyr ago, based on the absence of siderite in paleosols; this casts doubt on the viability of a strong CO2 greenhouse effect on early Earth. The existence of liquid water on early Mars has been even more of a puzzle; even the maximum possible CO2 greenhouse effect cannot yield warm enough Martian surface temperatures. These problems can be resolved simultaneously for both Earth and Mars, if the early Sun was brighter than predicted by the standard solar models. This could be accomplished if the early Sun was slightly more massive than it is now, i.e., if the solar wind was considerably stronger in the past than at present. A slightly more massive young Sun would have left fingerprints on the internal structure of the present Sun. Today, helioseismic observations exist that can measure the internal structure of the Sun with very high precision. The task undertaken here was to compute solar models with the highest precision possible at this time, starting with slightly greater initial masses. These were evolved to the present solar age, where comparisons with the helioseismic observations could be made. Our computations also yielded the time evolution of the solar flux at the planets - a key input to

  9. 21st century early mission concepts for Mars delivery and earth return

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cruz, Manuel I.; Ilgen, Marc R.

    1990-01-01

    In the 21st century, the early missions to Mars will entail unmanned Rover and Sample Return reconnaissance missions to be followed by manned exploration missions. High performance leverage technologies will be required to reach Mars and return to earth. This paper describes the mission concepts currently identified for these early Mars missions. These concepts include requirements and capabilities for Mars and earth aerocapture, Mars surface operations and ascent, and Mars and earth rendezvous. Although the focus is on the unmanned missions, synergism with the manned missions is also discussed.

  10. The production of trace gases by photochemistry and lightning in the early atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levine, J. S.; Tennille, G. M.; Towe, K. M.; Khanna, R. K.

    1986-01-01

    Recent atmospheric calculation suggest that the prebiological atmosphere was most probably composed of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor, resulting from volatile outgassing, as opposed to the older view of a strongly reducing early atmosphere composed of methane, ammonia, and hydrogen. Photochemical calculations indicate that methane would have been readily destroyed via reaction with the hydroxyl radical produced from water vapor and that ammonia would have been readily lost via photolysis and rainout. The rapid loss of methane and ammonia, coupled with the absence of a significant source of these gases, suggest that atmospheric methane and ammonia were very short lived, if they were present at all. An early atmosphere of N2, CO2, and H2O is stable and leads to the chemical production of a number of atmospheric species of biological significance, including oxygen, ozone, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide. Using a photochemical model of the early atmosphere, the chemical productionof these species over a wide range of atmospheric parameters were investigated. These calculations indicate that early atmospheric levels of O3 were significantly below the levels needed to provide UV shielding. The fate of volcanically emitted sulfur species, e.g., sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, was investigated in the early atmosphere to assess their UV shielding properties. The photochemical calculations show that these species were of insufficient levels, due in part to their short photochemical lifetimes, to provide UV shielding.

  11. Degree and Direction of Polarization of Multiple Scattered Light. 2: Earth's Atmosphere with Aerosols.

    PubMed

    Plass, G N; Kattawar, G W

    1972-12-01

    The degree of polarization as well as the direction of the polarization are calculated by a Monte Carlo method for the reflected and transmitted photons from the earth's atmosphere. The solar photons are followed through multiple collisions with the aerosols and the Rayleigh scattering centers in the atmosphere. The aerosol number density as well as the ratio of aerosol to Rayleigh scattering vary with height. The aerosol index of refraction is assumed to be 1.55. The proportion of aerosol to Rayleigh scattering is appropriately chosen at each wavelength (lambda = 0.4 micro and 0.7 micro); ozone absorption is included where appropriate. Three different aerosol number densities are used to study the effects of aerosol variations. Results are given for a solar zenith angle of 81.37 degrees and various surface albedos. The radiance and polarization of the reflected and transmitted photons is particularly sensitive to the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere at certain angles of observation. The direction of pola ization shows little dependence on the surface albedo.

  12. Helium escape from the Earth's atmosphere - The charge exchange mechanism revisited

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lie-Svendsen, O.; Rees, M. H.; Stamnes, K.

    1992-01-01

    We have studied the escape of neutral helium from the terrestrial atmosphere through exothermic charge exchange reactions between He(+) ions and the major atmospheric constituents N2, O2 and O. Elastic collisions with the neutral background particles were treated quantitatively using a recently developed kinetic theory approach. An interhemispheric plasma transport model was employed to provide a global distribution of He(+) ions as a function of altitude, latitude and local solar time and for different levels of solar ionization. Combining these ion densities with neutral densities from an MSIS model and best estimates for the reaction rate coefficients of the charge exchange reactions, we computed the global distribution of the neutral He escape flux. The escape rates show large diurnal and latitudinal variations, while the global average does not vary by more than a factor of three over a solar cycle. We find that this escape mechanism is potentially important for the overall balance of helium in the Earth's atmosphere. However, more accurate values for the reaction rate coefficients of the charge exchange reactions are required to make a definitive assessment of its importance.

  13. The atmosphere of the primitive earth and the prebiotic synthesis of organic compounds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, S. L.; Schlesinger, G.

    1983-01-01

    The prebiotic synthesis of organic compounds is investigated using a spark discharge on various simulated prebiotic atmospheres at 25 C. It is found that glycine is almost the only amino acid produced from the model atmospheres containing CO and CO2. These results show that the maximum yield is about the same for the three carbon sources (CO, CO2, and CH4) at high H2/carbon ratios, but that CH4 is superior at low H2/carbon ratios. CH4 is found to yield a much greater variety of amino acids than either CO or CO2. If it is assumed that amino acids more complex than glycine were required for the origin of life, then these findings indicate the need for CH4 in the primitive atmosphere. The yields of cyanide and formaldehyde are shown to parallel the amino acid results, with yields of HCN and H2CO as high as 13 percent based on carbon. Ammonia is also found to be produced from N2 in experiments with no added NH3 in yields as high as 4.9 percent. These results indicate that large amounts of NH3 would have been synthesized on the primitive earth by electric discharges.

  14. Prebiotic materials from on and off the early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bernstein, Max

    2006-01-01

    One of the great puzzles of all time is how did life arise? It has been universally presumed that life arose in a soup rich in compounds made mostly of carbon, the kind of which we are currently composed. Where did these organic molecules come from? In this talk I will review proposed contributions to pre-biotic organic chemistry from both terrestrial processes (i.e., hydrothermal vents, Miller-Urey syntheses) and also from space. While the former is perhaps better known and more commonly taught in school, we now know that comet and asteroid dust deliver tons of organics to the Earth every day, and there is a growing consensus among scientists that molecules from space played an important role in making the Earth habitable, and perhaps even provided specific compounds that were directly related to the origin of life.

  15. Magma Ocean Depth and Oxygen Fugacity in the Early Earth--Implications for Biochemistry.

    PubMed

    Righter, Kevin

    2015-09-01

    A large class of elements, referred to as the siderophile (iron-loving) elements, in the Earth's mantle can be explained by an early deep magma ocean on the early Earth in which the mantle equilibrated with metallic liquid (core liquid). This stage would have affected the distribution of some of the classic volatile elements that are also essential ingredients for life and biochemistry - H, C, S, and N. Estimates are made of the H, C, S, and N contents of Earth's early mantle after core formation, considering the effects of variable temperature, pressure, oxygen fugacity, and composition on their partitioning. Assessment is made of whether additional, exogenous, sources are required to explain the observed mantle concentrations, and areas are identified where additional data and experimentation would lead to an improved understanding of this phase of Earth's history.

  16. Causes and Implications of Persistent Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Biases in Earth System Models

    SciT

    Hoffman, Forrest M; Randerson, James T.; Arora, Vivek K.

    The strength of feedbacks between a changing climate and future CO2 concentrations are uncertain and difficult to predict using Earth System Models (ESMs). We analyzed emission-driven simulations--in which atmospheric CO2 levels were computed prognostically--for historical (1850-2005) and future periods (RCP 8.5 for 2006-2100) produced by 15 ESMs for the Fifth Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Comparison of ESM prognostic atmospheric CO2 over the historical period with observations indicated that ESMs, on average, had a small positive bias in predictions of contemporary atmospheric CO2. Weak ocean carbon uptake in many ESMs contributed to this bias, based on comparisonsmore » with observations of ocean and atmospheric anthropogenic carbon inventories. We found a significant linear relationship between contemporary atmospheric CO2 biases and future CO2 levels for the multi-model ensemble. We used this relationship to create a contemporary CO2 tuned model (CCTM) estimate of the atmospheric CO2 trajectory for the 21st century. The CCTM yielded CO2 estimates of 600 {plus minus} 14 ppm at 2060 and 947 {plus minus} 35 ppm at 2100, which were 21 ppm and 32 ppm below the multi-model mean during these two time periods. Using this emergent constraint approach, the likely ranges of future atmospheric CO2, CO2-induced radiative forcing, and CO2-induced temperature increases for the RCP 8.5 scenario were considerably narrowed compared to estimates from the full ESM ensemble. Our analysis provided evidence that much of the model-to-model variation in projected CO2 during the 21st century was tied to biases that existed during the observational era, and that model differences in the representation of concentration-carbon feedbacks and other slowly changing carbon cycle processes appear to be the primary driver of this variability. By improving models to more closely match the long-term time series of CO2 from Mauna Loa, our analysis suggests

  17. Causes and implications of persistent atmospheric carbon dioxide biases in Earth System Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoffman, F. M.; Randerson, J. T.; Arora, V. K.; Bao, Q.; Cadule, P.; Ji, D.; Jones, C. D.; Kawamiya, M.; Khatiwala, S.; Lindsay, K.; Obata, A.; Shevliakova, E.; Six, K. D.; Tjiputra, J. F.; Volodin, E. M.; Wu, T.

    2014-02-01

    The strength of feedbacks between a changing climate and future CO2 concentrations is uncertain and difficult to predict using Earth System Models (ESMs). We analyzed emission-driven simulations—in which atmospheric CO2levels were computed prognostically—for historical (1850-2005) and future periods (Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 for 2006-2100) produced by 15 ESMs for the Fifth Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Comparison of ESM prognostic atmospheric CO2 over the historical period with observations indicated that ESMs, on average, had a small positive bias in predictions of contemporary atmospheric CO2. Weak ocean carbon uptake in many ESMs contributed to this bias, based on comparisons with observations of ocean and atmospheric anthropogenic carbon inventories. We found a significant linear relationship between contemporary atmospheric CO2 biases and future CO2levels for the multimodel ensemble. We used this relationship to create a contemporary CO2 tuned model (CCTM) estimate of the atmospheric CO2 trajectory for the 21st century. The CCTM yielded CO2estimates of 600±14 ppm at 2060 and 947±35 ppm at 2100, which were 21 ppm and 32 ppm below the multimodel mean during these two time periods. Using this emergent constraint approach, the likely ranges of future atmospheric CO2, CO2-induced radiative forcing, and CO2-induced temperature increases for the RCP 8.5 scenario were considerably narrowed compared to estimates from the full ESM ensemble. Our analysis provided evidence that much of the model-to-model variation in projected CO2 during the 21st century was tied to biases that existed during the observational era and that model differences in the representation of concentration-carbon feedbacks and other slowly changing carbon cycle processes appear to be the primary driver of this variability. By improving models to more closely match the long-term time series of CO2from Mauna Loa, our analysis suggests that

  18. The primary solar-type atmosphere surrounding the accreting Earth: H2O-induced high surface temperature.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sasaki, S.

    In the solar nebula, a growing planet attracts ambient gas to form a solar-type atmosphere. The structure of this H2-He atmosphere is calculated assuming the Earth was formed in the nebula. The blanketing effect of the atmosphere renders the planetary surface molten when the planetary mass exceeds 0.2 ME (ME being the present Earth's mass). Reduction of the surface melt by atmospheric H2 should add a large amount of H2O to the atmosphere: under the quartz-iron-fayalite oxygen buffer, partial pressure ratio P(H2O)/P(H2) becomes higher than 0.1. Enhancing opacity and gas mean molecular weight, the excess H2O raises the temperature and renders the atmosphere in convective equilibrium, while the dissociation of H2 suppresses the adiabatic temperature gradient. The surface temperature of the proto-Earth can be as high as 4700K when its mass is 1 ME. Such a high temperature may accelerate the evaporation of surface materials. A deep totally-molten magma ocean should exist in the accretion Earth.

  19. Earth Science. Developing an Early Interest in Science: A Preschool Science Curriculum. (4-Year-Olds).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Summer, Gail L.; Giovannini, Kathleen

    This teaching guide on earth sciences for 4-year-olds is based on a modification of the "Plan, Do, Review" approach to education devised by High Scope in Ypsilanti, Michigan. First implemented as an outreach early childhood program in North Carolina, the science activities described in this guide can be adapted to various early childhood…

  20. Earth Science. Developing an Early Interest in Science: A Preschool Science Curriculum. (3-Year-Olds).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Summer, Gail L.; Giovannini, Kathleen

    This teaching guide on earth sciences for 3-year-old children is based on a modification of the "Plan, Do, Review" approach to education devised by High Scope in Ypsilanti, Michigan. First implemented as an outreach early childhood program in North Carolina, the science activities described in this guide can be adapted to various early childhood…

  1. False Negatives for Remote Life Detection on Ocean-Bearing Planets: Lessons from the Early Earth

    PubMed Central

    Olson, Stephanie L.; Schwieterman, Edward W.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Ocean-atmosphere chemistry on Earth has undergone dramatic evolutionary changes throughout its long history, with potentially significant ramifications for the emergence and long-term stability of atmospheric biosignatures. Though a great deal of work has centered on refining our understanding of false positives for remote life detection, much less attention has been paid to the possibility of false negatives, that is, cryptic biospheres that are widespread and active on a planet's surface but are ultimately undetectable or difficult to detect in the composition of a planet's atmosphere. Here, we summarize recent developments from geochemical proxy records and Earth system models that provide insight into the long-term evolution of the most readily detectable potential biosignature gases on Earth—oxygen (O2), ozone (O3), and methane (CH4). We suggest that the canonical O2-CH4 disequilibrium biosignature would perhaps have been challenging to detect remotely during Earth's ∼4.5-billion-year history and that in general atmospheric O2/O3 levels have been a poor proxy for the presence of Earth's biosphere for all but the last ∼500 million years. We further suggest that detecting atmospheric CH4 would have been problematic for most of the last ∼2.5 billion years of Earth's history. More broadly, we stress that internal oceanic recycling of biosignature gases will often render surface biospheres on ocean-bearing silicate worlds cryptic, with the implication that the planets most conducive to the development and maintenance of a pervasive biosphere will often be challenging to characterize via conventional atmospheric biosignatures. Key Words: Biosignatures—Oxygen—Methane—Ozone—Exoplanets—Planetary habitability. Astrobiology 17, 287–297. PMID:28418704

  2. The Rise of Oxygen in the Earth's Atmosphere Controlled by the Efficient Subduction of Organic Carbon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duncan, M. S.; Dasgupta, R.

    2017-12-01

    Carbon cycling between the Earth's surface environment, i.e., the ocean-atmosphere system, and the Earth's interior is critical for differentiation, redox evolution, and long-term habitability of the planet. This carbon cycle is influenced heavily by the extent of carbon subduction. While the fate of carbonates during subduction has been discussed in numerous studies [e.g., 1], little is known how organic carbon is quantitatively transferred from the Earth's surface to the interior. Efficient subduction of organic carbon would remove reduced carbon from the surface environment over the long-term (≥100s Myrs) while release at subduction zone arc volcanoes would result in degassing of CO2. Here we conducted high pressure-temperature experiments to determine the carbon carrying capacity of slab derived, rhyolitic melts under graphite-saturated conditions over a range of P (1.5-3.0 GPa) and T (1100-1400 °C) at a fixed melt H2O content (2 wt.%) [2]. Based on our experimental data, we developed a thermodynamic model of CO2 dissolution in C-saturated slab melts, that allows us to quantify the extent of organic carbon mobility as a function of slab P, T, and fO2 during subduction through time. Our experimental data and thermodynamic model suggest that the subduction of graphitized organic C, and graphite/diamond formed by reduction of carbonates with depth [e.g., 3], remained efficient even in ancient, hotter subduction zones - conditions at which subduction of carbonates likely remained limited [1]. Considering the efficiency the subduction of organic C and potential conditions for ancient subduction, we suggest that the lack of remobilization in subduction zones and deep sequestration of organic C in the mantle facilitated the rise and maintenance atmospheric oxygen in the Paleoproterozoic and is causally linked to the Great Oxidation Event (GOE). Our modeling shows that episodic subduction and organic C sequestration pre-GOE may also explain occasional whiffs of

  3. Radiative transfer in the earth's atmosphere and ocean: influence of ocean waves.

    PubMed

    Plass, G N; Kattawar, G W; Guinn, J A

    1975-08-01

    The radiance in the earth's atmosphere and ocean is calculated for a realistic model including an ocean surface with waves. Individual photons are followed in a Monte Carlo calculation. In the atmosphere, both Rayleigh scattering by the molecules and Mie scattering by the aerosols as well as molecular and aerosol absorption are taken into account. Similarly, in the ocean, both Rayleigh scattering by the water molecules and Mie scattering by the hydrosols as well as absorption by the water molecules and hydrosols are considered. Separate single-scattering functions are used which are calculated separately for the aerosols and the hydrosols from the Mie theory with appropriate and different size distributions in each case. The scattering angles are determined from the appropriate scattering function including the strong forwardscattering peak when there is aerosol or hydrosol scattering. Both the reflected and refracted rays, as well as the rays that undergo total internal reflection, are followed at the oceanc surface. The wave slope is chosen from the Cox-Munk distribution. Graphs show the influence of the waves on the upward radiance at the top of the atmosphere and just above the ocean surface and on the downward radiance just below the ocean surface as well as deeper within the ocean. The radiance changes are sufficient at the top of the atmosphere to determine the sea state from satellite measurements. Within the ocean the waves smooth out the abrupt transition that occurs at the edge of the allowed cone for radiation entering a calm ocean. The influence of the waves on the contrast between the sky and sea at the horizon is discussed. It is shown that the downward flux just below the surface increases with wind speed at all solar angles.

  4. Carbon Observations from Geostationary Earth Orbit as Part of an Integrated Observing System for Atmospheric Composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwards, D. P.

    2015-12-01

    This presentation describes proposed satellite carbon measurements from the CHRONOS mission. The primary goal of this experiment is to measure the atmospheric pollutants carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4) from geostationary orbit, with hourly observations of North America at high spatial resolution. CHRONOS observations would provide measurements not currently available or planned as part of a surface, suborbital and satellite integrated observing system for atmospheric composition over North America. Carbon monoxide is produced by combustion processes such as urban activity and wildfires, and serves as a proxy for other combustion pollutants that are not easily measured. Methane has diverse anthropogenic sources ranging from fossil fuel production, animal husbandry, agriculture and waste management. The impact of gas exploration in the Western States of the USA and oil extraction from the Canadian tar sands will be particular foci of the mission, as will the poorly-quantified natural CH4 emissions from wetlands and thawing permafrost. In addition to characterizing pollutant sources, improved understanding of the domestic CH4 budget is a priority for policy decisions related to short-lived climate forcers. A primary motivation for targeting CO is its value as a tracer of atmospheric pollution, and CHRONOS measurements will provide insight into local and long-range transport across the North American continent, as well as the processes governing the entrainment and venting of pollution in and out of the planetary boundary layer. As a result of significantly improved characterization of diurnal changes in atmospheric composition, CHRONOS observations will find direct societal applications for air quality regulation and forecasting. We present a quantification of this expected improvement in the prediction of near-surface concentrations when CHRONOS measurements are used in Observation System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs). If CHRONOS and the planned NASA Earth

  5. Meteorite Impact-Induced Rapid NH3 Production on Early Earth: Ab Initio Molecular Dynamics Simulation.

    PubMed

    Shimamura, Kohei; Shimojo, Fuyuki; Nakano, Aiichiro; Tanaka, Shigenori

    2016-12-14

    NH 3 is an essential molecule as a nitrogen source for prebiotic amino acid syntheses such as the Strecker reaction. Previous shock experiments demonstrated that meteorite impacts on ancient oceans would have provided a considerable amount of NH 3 from atmospheric N 2 and oceanic H 2 O through reduction by meteoritic iron. However, specific production mechanisms remain unclear, and impact velocities employed in the experiments were substantially lower than typical impact velocities of meteorites on the early Earth. Here, to investigate the issues from the atomistic viewpoint, we performed multi-scale shock technique-based ab initio molecular dynamics simulations. The results revealed a rapid production of NH 3 within several picoseconds after the shock, indicating that shocks with greater impact velocities would provide further increase in the yield of NH 3 . Meanwhile, the picosecond-order production makes one expect that the important nitrogen source precursors of amino acids were obtained immediately after the impact. It was also observed that the reduction of N 2 proceeded according to an associative mechanism, rather than a dissociative mechanism as in the Haber-Bosch process.

  6. Coupled 182W-142Nd constraint for early Earth differentiation

    PubMed Central

    Moynier, Frederic; Yin, Qing-Zhu; Irisawa, Keita; Boyet, Maud; Jacobsen, Benjamin; Rosing, Minik T.

    2010-01-01

    Recent high precision 142Nd isotope measurements showed that global silicate differentiation may have occurred as early as 30–75 Myr after the Solar System formation [Bennett V, et al. (2007) Science 318:1907–1910]. This time scale is almost contemporaneous with Earth’s core formation at ∼30 Myr [Yin Q, et al. (2002) Nature 418:949–952]. The 182Hf-182W system provides a powerful complement to the 142Nd results for early silicate differentiation, because both core formation and silicate differentiation fractionate Hf from W. Here we show that eleven terrestrial samples from diverse tectonic settings, including five early Archean samples from Isua, Greenland, of which three have been previously shown with 142Nd anomalies, all have a homogeneous W isotopic composition, which is ∼2ε-unit more radiogenic than the chondritic value. By using a 3-stage model calculation that describes the isotopic evolution in chondritic reservoir and core segregation, as well as silicate differentiation, we show that the W isotopic composition of terrestrial samples provides the most stringent time constraint for early core formation (27.5–38 Myr) followed by early terrestrial silicate differentiation (38–75 Myr) that is consistent with the terrestrial 142Nd anomalies. PMID:20534492

  7. Atmospheric Torques on the Solid Earth and Oceans Based on the GEOS-1 General Circulation Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sanchez, Braulio V.; Au, Andrew Y.

    1998-01-01

    The GEOS-1 general circulation model has been used to compute atmospheric torques on the oceans and solid Earth for the period 1980-1995. The time series for the various torque components have been analyzed by means of Fourier transform techniques. It was determined that the wind stress torque over land is more powerful than the wind stress torque over water by 55%, 42%, and 80% for the x, y, and z components respectively. This is mainly the result of power in the high frequency range. The pressure torques due to polar flattening, equatorial ellipticity, marine geoid, and continental orography were computed. The orographic or "mountain torque" components are more powerful than their wind stress counterparts (land plus ocean) by 231% (x), 191% (y), and 77% (z). The marine pressure torques due to geoidal undulations are much smaller than the orographic ones, as expected. They are only 3% (x), 4% (y), and 5% (z) of the corresponding mountain torques. The geoidal pressure torques are approximately equal in magnitude to those produced by the equatorial ellipticity of the Earth. The pressure torque due to polar flattening makes the largest contributions to the atmospheric torque budget. It has no zonal component, only equatorial ones. Most of the power of the latter, between 68% and 69%, is found in modes with periods under 15 days. The single most powerful mode has a period of 361 days. The gravitational torque ranks second in power only to the polar flattening pressure torque. Unlike the former, it does produce a zonal component, albeit much smaller (1%) than the equatorial ones. The gravitational and pressure torques have opposite signs, therefore, the gravitational torque nullifies 42% of the total pressure torque. Zonally, however, the gravitational torque amounts to only 6% of the total pressure torque. The power budget for the total atmospheric torque yields 7595 and 7120 Hadleys for the equatorial components and 966 Hadleys for the zonal. The x-component exhibits

  8. Atmospheric Torques on the Solid Earth and Oceans Based on the GEOS-1 General Circulation Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sanchez, Braulio

    1999-01-01

    The GEOS-1 general circulation model has been used to compute atmospheric torques on the oceans and solid Earth for the period 1980-1995. The time series for the various torque components have been analyzed by means of Fourier transform techniques. It was determined that the wind stress torque over land is more powerful than the wind stress torque over water by 55\\%, 42\\%, and 80\\t for the x, y, and z components respectively. This is mainly the result of power in the high frequency range. The pressure torques due to polar flattening, equatorial ellipticity, marine geoid, and continental orography were computed. The orographic or "mountain torque" components are more powerful than their wind stress counterparts (land plus ocean) by 231\\% (x), 191\\% (y), and 77\\% (z). The marine pressure torques due to geoidal undulations are much smaller than the orographic ones, as expected. They are only 3\\% (x), 4\\% (y), and 5\\% (z) of the corresponding mountain torques. The geoidal pressure torques are approximately equal in magnitude to those produced by the equatorial ellipticity of the Earth. The pressure torque due to polar flattening makes the largest contributions to the atmospheric'torque budget. It has no zonal component, only equatorial ones. Most of the power of the latter, between 68\\% and 69 %, is found in modes with periods under 15 days. The single most powerful mode has a period of 361 days. The gravitational torque ranks second in power only to the polar flattening pressure torque. Unlike the former, it does produce a zonal component, albeit much smaller (1\\ ) than the equatorial ones. The gravitational and pressure torques have opposite signs, therefore, the gravitational torque nullifies 42\\% of the total pressure torque. Zonally, however, the gravitational torque amounts to only 6\\% of the total pressure torque. The power budget for the total atmospheric torque yields 7595 and 7120 Hadleys for the equatorial components and 966 Hadleys for the

  9. Bayesian analysis of the astrobiological implications of life's early emergence on Earth.

    PubMed

    Spiegel, David S; Turner, Edwin L

    2012-01-10

    Life arose on Earth sometime in the first few hundred million years after the young planet had cooled to the point that it could support water-based organisms on its surface. The early emergence of life on Earth has been taken as evidence that the probability of abiogenesis is high, if starting from young Earth-like conditions. We revisit this argument quantitatively in a bayesian statistical framework. By constructing a simple model of the probability of abiogenesis, we calculate a bayesian estimate of its posterior probability, given the data that life emerged fairly early in Earth's history and that, billions of years later, curious creatures noted this fact and considered its implications. We find that, given only this very limited empirical information, the choice of bayesian prior for the abiogenesis probability parameter has a dominant influence on the computed posterior probability. Although terrestrial life's early emergence provides evidence that life might be abundant in the universe if early-Earth-like conditions are common, the evidence is inconclusive and indeed is consistent with an arbitrarily low intrinsic probability of abiogenesis for plausible uninformative priors. Finding a single case of life arising independently of our lineage (on Earth, elsewhere in the solar system, or on an extrasolar planet) would provide much stronger evidence that abiogenesis is not extremely rare in the universe.

  10. A New Code SORD for Simulation of Polarized Light Scattering in the Earth Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Korkin, Sergey; Lyapustin, Alexei; Sinyuk, Aliaksandr; Holben, Brent

    2016-01-01

    We report a new publicly available radiative transfer (RT) code for numerical simulation of polarized light scattering in plane-parallel atmosphere of the Earth. Using 44 benchmark tests, we prove high accuracy of the new RT code, SORD (Successive ORDers of scattering). We describe capabilities of SORD and show run time for each test on two different machines. At present, SORD is supposed to work as part of the Aerosol Robotic NETwork (AERONET) inversion algorithm. For natural integration with the AERONET software, SORD is coded in Fortran 90/95. The code is available by email request from the corresponding (first) author or from ftp://climate1.gsfc.nasa.gov/skorkin/SORD/.

  11. Aerodynamic Evidence Pertaining to the Entry of Tektites into the Earth's Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chapman, Dean R.; Larson, Howard K.; Anderson, Lewis A.

    1962-01-01

    Evidence is presented which shows that the Australian and Java tektites entered the earth's atmosphere and experienced ablation by severe aerodynamic heating in hypervelocity flight. The laboratory experiments on hypervelocity ablation have reproduced ring-wave flow ridges and coiled circumferential flanges like those found on certain of these tektites. Systematic striae distortions exhibited in a thin layer beneath the front surface of australites also are reproduced in the laboratory ablation experiments, and are shown to correspond to the calculated distortions for aerodynamic ablation of a glass. About 98 percent of Australian tektites represent aerodynamically stable configurations during the ablative portion of an entry trajectory. Certain meteorites exhibit surface features similar to those on tektites.

  12. Ammonia photolysis and the greenhouse effect in the primordial atmosphere of the earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuhn, W. R.; Atreya, S. K.

    1979-01-01

    Photochemical calculations indicate that in the prebiotic atmosphere of earth ammonia would have been irreversibly converted to N2 in less than 40 years if the ammonia surface mixing ratio were no more than 0.0001. However, if a continuous outgassing of ammonia were maintained, radiative-equilibrium calculations indicate that a surface mixing ratio of ammonia of 0.0001 or greater would provide a sufficient greenhouse effect to keep the surface temperature above freezing. With a 0.0001 mixing ratio of ammonia, 60% to 70% of the present-day solar luminosity would be adequate to maintain surface temperatures above freezing. A lower limit to the time constant for accumulation of an amount of nitrogen equivalent to the present day value is 10 my if the outgassing were such as to provide a continuous surface mixing ratio of ammonia of at least 0.00001.

  13. A new code SORD for simulation of polarized light scattering in the Earth atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korkin, Sergey; Lyapustin, Alexei; Sinyuk, Aliaksandr; Holben, Brent

    2016-05-01

    We report a new publicly available radiative transfer (RT) code for numerical simulation of polarized light scattering in plane-parallel Earth atmosphere. Using 44 benchmark tests, we prove high accuracy of the new RT code, SORD (Successive ORDers of scattering1, 2). We describe capabilities of SORD and show run time for each test on two different machines. At present, SORD is supposed to work as part of the Aerosol Robotic NETwork3 (AERONET) inversion algorithm. For natural integration with the AERONET software, SORD is coded in Fortran 90/95. The code is available by email request from the corresponding (first) author or from ftp://climate1.gsfc.nasa.gov/skorkin/SORD/ or ftp://maiac.gsfc.nasa.gov/pub/SORD.zip

  14. Terrestrial microorganisms at an altitude of 20,000 m in Earth's atmosphere

    Griffin, Dale W.

    2004-01-01

    A joint effort between the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Global Desert Dust and NASA's Stratospheric and Cosmic Dust Programs identified culturable microbes from an air sample collected at an altitude of 20,000 m. A total of 4 fungal (Penicillium sp.) and 71 bacteria colonyforming units (70 colonies of Bacillus luciferensis believed to have originated from a single cell collected at altitude and one colony of Bacillus sphaericus) were enumerated, isolated and identified using a morphological key and 16S rDNA sequencing respectively. All of the isolates identified were sporeforming pigmented fungi or bacteria of terrestrial origin and demonstrate that the presence of viable microorganisms in Earth's upper atmosphere may not be uncommon.

  15. Photochemical reactions of water and carbon monoxide in earth's primitive atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bar-Nun, A.; Chang, S.

    1983-01-01

    The gas-phase photolysis of H2O at 1849 A in the presence of CO yields mainly CO2 and H2 and a variety of organic compounds, including C1-C3 hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, acetone, and acetic acid. The overall quantum yield for conversion of CO to organic compounds varies between 0.23 and 0.03 as a function of the CO abundance. These results indicate that even if primitive earth's atmosphere initially contained no molecular hydrogen and contained carbon only in the form of CO or a mixture of CO and CO2, the prebiotic environment would have become enriched with a variety of organic compounds produced by photochemical processes.

  16. Our contaminated atmosphere: The danger of climate change, phases 1 and 2. [effect of atmospheric particulate matter on surface temperature and earth's radiation budget

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cimorelli, A. J.; House, F. B.

    1974-01-01

    The effects of increased concentrations of atmospheric particulate matter on average surface temperature and on the components of the earth's radiation budget are studied. An atmospheric model which couples particulate loading to surface temperature and to changes in the earth's radiation budget was used. A determination of the feasibility of using satellites to monitor the effect of increased atmospheric particulate concentrations is performed. It was found that: (1) a change in man-made particulate loading of a factor of 4 is sufficient to initiate an ice age; (2) variations in the global and hemispheric weighted averages of surface temperature, reflected radiant fluz and emitted radiant flux are nonlinear functions of particulate loading; and (3) a black satellite sphere meets the requirement of night time measurement sensitivity, but not the required day time sensitivity. A nonblack, spherical radiometer whose external optical properties are sensitive to either the reflected radiant fluz or the emitted radiant flux meets the observational sensitivity requirements.

  17. Polarisation of the auroral red line in the Earth's upper atmosphere: a review (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lamy, H.; Barthelemy, M.; Lilensten, J.; Bommier, V.; Simon Wedlund, C.

    2013-12-01

    Polarisation of light is a key observable to provide information about asymmetry or anisotropy within a radiative source. Polarimetry of auroral emission lines in the Earth's upper atmosphere has been overlooked for decades. However, the bright red auroral line (6300Å) produced by collisional impact with electrons precipitating along magnetic field lines is a good candidate to search for polarisation. This problem was investigated recently with observations obtained by Lilensten et al (2008), Barthélemy et al (2011) and Lilensten et al (2013) with a photopolarimeter. Analysis of the data indicates that the red auroral emission line is polarised at a level of a few percent. The results are compared to theoretical predictions of Bommier et al (2011) that were obtained for a collimated beam. The comparison suggests the existence of depolarization processes whose origin will be discussed. A new dedicated spectropolarimeter currently under development will also be presented. This instrument will cover the optical spectrum from approximately 400 to 700 nm providing simultaneously the polarisation of the red line and of other interesting auroral emission lines such as N2+ 1NG (4278Å), other N2 bands, etc... The importance of these polarisation measurements in the context of upper atmosphere modelling and geomagnetic activity will be discussed. Lilensten, J. et al, Polarization in aurorae: A new dimension for space environments studies, Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 269, 2008 Barthélemy M. et al, Polarisation in the auroral red line during coordinated EISCAT Svalbard Radar/optical experiments, Annales Geophysicae, Volume 29, Issue 6, 2011, 1101-1112, 2011. Bommier V. et al, The Theoretical Impact Polarization of the O I 6300 Å Red Line of Earth Auroræ, Annales Geophysicae, Volume 29, Issue 1, 2011, 71-79, 2011 Lilensten, J. et al, The thermospheric auroral red line polarization: confirmation of detection and first quantitative analysis, Journal of Space Weather and Space

  18. The radiation balance of the earth-atmosphere system from Nimbus 3 radiation measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raschke, E.; Vonderhaar, T. H.; Pasternak, M.; Bandeen, W. R.

    1973-01-01

    The radiation balance of the earth-atmosphere system and its components was computed from global measurements of radiation reflected and emitted from the earth to space. These measurements were made from the meteorological satellite Nimbus 3 during the periods from April 16 to August 15, 1969; October 3 to 17, 1969; and January 21 to February 3, 1970. Primarily the method of evaluation, its inherent assumptions, and possible error sources were discussed. Results are presented by various methods: (1) global, hemispherical, and zonal averages obtained from measurements in all semimonthly periods and (2) global maps of the absorbed solar radiation, the albedo, the outgoing longwave radiation, and the radiation balance obtained from measurements during semimonthly periods in each season (May 1 to 15, July 16 to 31, and October 3 to 17, 1969, and January 21 to February 3, 1970). Annual global averages of the albedo and of the outgoing longwave radiation were determined. These values balance to within 1 percent the annual global energy input by solar radiation that was computed for a solar constant.

  19. Atmosphere Kits: Hands-On Learning Activities with a Foundation in NASA Earth Science Missions.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Teige, V.; McCrea, S.; Damadeo, K.; Taylor, J.; Lewis, P. M., Jr.; Chambers, L. H.

    2016-12-01

    The Science Directorate (SD) at NASA Langley Research Center provides many opportunities to involve students, faculty, researchers, and the citizen science community in real world science. The SD Education Team collaborates with the education community to bring authentic Earth science practices and real-world data into the classroom, provide the public with unique NASA experiences, engaging activities, and advanced technology, and provide products developed and reviewed by science and education experts. Our goals include inspiring the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals and improving STEM literacy by providing innovative participation pathways for educators, students, and the public. The SD Education Team has developed Atmosphere activity kits featuring cloud and aerosol learning activities with a foundation in NASA Earth Science Missions, the Next Generation Science Standards, and The GLOBE Program's Elementary Storybooks. Through cloud kit activities, students will learn how to make estimates from observations and how to categorize and classify specific cloud properties, including cloud height, cloud cover, and basic cloud types. The purpose of the aerosol kit is to introduce students to aerosols and how they can affect the colors we see in the sky. Students will engage in active observation and reporting, explore properties of light, and model the effects of changing amounts/sizes or aerosols on sky color and visibility. Learning activity extensions include participation in ground data collection of environmental conditions and comparison and analysis to related NASA data sets, including but not limited to CERES, CALIPSO, CloudSat, and SAGE III on ISS. This presentation will provide an overview of multiple K-6 NASA Earth Science hands-on activities and free resources will be available.

  20. A Supernova at 50 pc: Effects on the Earth's Atmosphere and Biota

    SciT

    Melott, A. L; Thomas, B. C.; Kachelrieß, M.

    Recent {sup 60}Fe results have suggested that the estimated distances of supernovae in the last few million years should be reduced from ∼100 to ∼50 pc. Two events or series of events are suggested, one about 2.7 million years to 1.7 million years ago, and another about 6.5–8.7 million years ago. We ask what effects such supernovae are expected to have on the terrestrial atmosphere and biota. Assuming that the Local Bubble was formed before the event being considered, and that the supernova and the Earth were both inside a weak, disordered magnetic field at that time, TeV–PeV cosmic raysmore » (CRs) at Earth will increase by a factor of a few hundred. Tropospheric ionization will increase proportionately, and the overall muon radiation load on terrestrial organisms will increase by a factor of ∼150. All return to pre-burst levels within 10 kyr. In the case of an ordered magnetic field, effects depend strongly on the field orientation. The upper bound in this case is with a largely coherent field aligned along the line of sight to the supernova, in which case, TeV–PeV CR flux increases are ∼10{sup 4}; in the case of a transverse field they are below current levels. We suggest a substantial increase in the extended effects of supernovae on Earth and in the “lethal distance” estimate; though more work is needed. This paper is an explicit follow-up to Thomas et al. We also provide more detail on the computational procedures used in both works.« less

  1. Subduction on Venus and Implications for Volatile Cycling, Early Earth and Exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smrekar, S. E.; Davaille, A.; Mueller, N. T.; Dyar, M. D.; Helbert, J.; Barnes, H.

    2017-12-01

    Plate tectonics plays a key role in long-term climate evolution by cycling volatiles between the interior, surface and atmosphere. Subduction is a critical process. It is the first step in transitioning between a stagnant and a mobile lid, a means for conveying volatiles into the mantle, and a mechanism for creating felsic crust. Laboratory experiments using realistic rheology illuminate the deformation produced by plume-induced subduction (Davaille abstract). Characteristics include internal rifting and volcanism, external rift branches, with a partial arc of subduction creating a trench on the margins of the plume head, and an exterior flexural bulge with small strain extension perpendicular to the trench. These characteristics, along with a consistent gravity signature, occur at the two largest coronae (quasi-circular volcano-tectonic features) on Venus (Davaille et al. Nature Geos. 2017). This interpretation resolves a long-standing debate about the dual plume and subduction characteristics of these features. Numerous coronae also show signs of plume-induced subduction. At Astkhik Planum, subduction appears to have migrated beyond the margins of Selu Corona to create a 1600 km-long, linear subduction zone, along Vaidilute Rupes. The fractures that define Selu Corona merge with the trench to the north and a rift zone to the east, consistent with plume-induced subduction migrating outward from the corona. The lithosphere and crust are much thinner here than in other potential subduction zones. Subduction appears to have generated massive volcanism which could explain the 400 m elevation of the plateau. Within the plateau there are low-viscosity flow sets nearly 1000 km that may be associated with near infrared low emissivity in VIRTIS data. Unusual lava compositions might be indicative of recycling of CO2 or other volatiles into the lithosphere. Little evidence exists to illustrate how plate tectonics initiated on Earth, but Venus' high surface temperature makes

  2. Early Earth Science Activities in the Sanford Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory at Homestake

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, J. S.; Glaser, S. D.; Moore, J. R.; Hart, K.; King, G.; Regan, T.; Bang, S. S.; Sani, R. K.; Roggenthen, W. M.

    2007-12-01

    On July 10, 2007, the former Homestake Mine, Lead, South Dakota, was selected as the development site for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, to become the Sanford Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory at Homestake. Work on refurbishment and certification of the Ross Shaft began in August 2007 to effect pumping of water that had reached the 5000 level in late July. Completion of this work will allow a physics and geosciences laboratory to be constructed on the 4,850 ft level (1,478 m from the surface). Concurrent with reentry operations, several earth science research activities have been initiated. These early activities are as follows: (1) Seismic monitoring system: Accelerometers will be installed in surface boreholes and underground drifts as they become available as a result of the reentry work. (2) Evaluation of the 300 level (91 m), which has multiple locations for horizontal access, is ongoing. This near- surface level, with varying overburden thicknesses, offers excellent opportunities to investigate the "critical zone" in terms of hydrology, ecology, and geochemistry, yielding measurements of both moisture and carbon fluxes to evaluate fluid exchanges with the atmosphere. (3) Water and soil samples were collected in the Ross Shaft as part of the first reentry work. Molecular survey of microbial diversity showed the presence of mesophilic and thermophilic cellulose-degrading microorganisms. (4) Supercritical carbon dioxide injection experiments are being planned that will take advantage of three pairs of existing, nearly vertical, open 8-inch (0.2 m) boreholes that are easily accessible from the Ross Shaft. The candidate holes are located between the 1550 and the 2900 levels and are between 90 to 180 m in length (5) Monitoring of the response of the water during the dewatering operations will be facilitated by the use of existing boreholes. Ultimately, the dewatering operation provide access to the 8000 level (depth of 2,438 m

  3. Improving estimations of greenhouse gas transfer velocities by atmosphere-ocean couplers in Earth-System and regional models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vieira, V. M. N. C. S.; Sahlée, E.; Jurus, P.; Clementi, E.; Pettersson, H.; Mateus, M.

    2015-09-01

    Earth-System and regional models, forecasting climate change and its impacts, simulate atmosphere-ocean gas exchanges using classical yet too simple generalizations relying on wind speed as the sole mediator while neglecting factors as sea-surface agitation, atmospheric stability, current drag with the bottom, rain and surfactants. These were proved fundamental for accurate estimates, particularly in the coastal ocean, where a significant part of the atmosphere-ocean greenhouse gas exchanges occurs. We include several of these factors in a customizable algorithm proposed for the basis of novel couplers of the atmospheric and oceanographic model components. We tested performances with measured and simulated data from the European coastal ocean, having found our algorithm to forecast greenhouse gas exchanges largely different from the forecasted by the generalization currently in use. Our algorithm allows calculus vectorization and parallel processing, improving computational speed roughly 12× in a single cpu core, an essential feature for Earth-System models applications.

  4. Searching for Life: Early Earth, Mars and Beyond

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DesMarais, David J.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1996-01-01

    We might be entering a golden age for exploring life throughout time and space. Rapid gene sequencing will better define our most distant ancestors. The earliest geologic evidence of life is now 3.8 billion years old. Organic matter and submicron-sized morphologies have been preserved in the martian crust for billions of years. Several new missions to Mars are planned, with a high priority on the search for life, past or present. The recent discovery of large extrasolar planets has heightened interest in spacecraft to detect small, earth-like planets. A recent workshop discussed strategies for life detection on such planets. There is much to anticipate in the near future.

  5. Large impacts and climatic catastrophes on the early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Melosh, H. J.

    1991-01-01

    Radiometric data of cratered lunar surfaces suggest that the cratering rate on the ancient Moon was substantially larger than the present rate before about 3.2 Gyr. Since the cratering rate was higher than present on the Moon, it seems likely that is was similarly higher on the Earth. Recently the occurrence of beds of spherules up to 2m thick was reported in 3.2 to 3.5 Gyr old Archean rocks. These spherule beds closely resemble the 3 mm thick spherule beds associated with the K/T boundary (including elevated iridium abundances), widely believed to have been deposited in association of a 10 km diameter comet or asteroid.

  6. Archean microfossils: a reappraisal of early life on Earth.

    PubMed

    Altermann, Wladyslaw; Kazmierczak, Józef

    2003-11-01

    The oldest fossils found thus far on Earth are c. 3.49- and 3.46-billion-year-old filamentous and coccoidal microbial remains in rocks of the Pilbara craton, Western Australia, and c. 3.4-billion-year-old rocks from the Barberton region, South Africa. Their biogenicity was recently questioned and they were reinterpreted as contaminants, mineral artefacts or inorganic carbon aggregates. Morphological, geochemical and isotopic data imply, however, that life was relatively widespread and advanced in the Archean, between 3.5 and 2.5 billion years ago, with metabolic pathways analogous to those of recent prokaryotic organisms, including cyanobacteria, and probably even eukaryotes at the terminal Archean.

  7. The earth radiation budget experiment: Early validation results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, G. Louis; Barkstrom, Bruce R.; Harrison, Edwin F.

    The Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) consists of radiometers on a dedicated spacecraft in a 57° inclination orbit, which has a precessional period of 2 months, and on two NOAA operational meteorological spacecraft in near polar orbits. The radiometers include scanning narrow field-of-view (FOV) and nadir-looking wide and medium FOV radiometers covering the ranges 0.2 to 5 μm and 5 to 50 μm and a solar monitoring channel. This paper describes the validation procedures and preliminary results. Each of the radiometer channels underwent extensive ground calibration, and the instrument packages include in-flight calibration facilities which, to date, show negligible changes of the instruments in orbit, except for gradual degradation of the suprasil dome of the shortwave wide FOV (about 4% per year). Measurements of the solar constant by the solar monitors, wide FOV, and medium FOV radiometers of two spacecraft agree to a fraction of a percent. Intercomparisons of the wide and medium FOV radiometers with the scanning radiometers show agreement of 1 to 4%. The multiple ERBE satellites are acquiring the first global measurements of regional scale diurnal variations in the Earth's radiation budget. These diurnal variations are verified by comparison with high temporal resolution geostationary satellite data. Other principal investigators of the ERBE Science Team are: R. Cess, SUNY, Stoneybrook; J. Coakley, NCAR; C. Duncan, M. King and A Mecherikunnel, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA; A. Gruber and A.J. Miller, NOAA; D. Hartmann, U. Washington; F.B. House, Drexel U.; F.O. Huck, Langley Research Center, NASA; G. Hunt, Imperial College, London U.; R. Kandel and A. Berroir, Laboratory of Dynamic Meteorology, Ecole Polytechique; V. Ramanathan, U. Chicago; E. Raschke, U. of Cologne; W.L. Smith, U. of Wisconsin and T.H. Vonder Haar, Colorado State U.

  8. Effect of Aerosol Variation on Radiance in the Earth's Atmosphere-Ocean System.

    PubMed

    Plass, G N; Kattawar, G W

    1972-07-01

    The reflected and transmitted radiance is calculated for a realistic model of the atmosphere-ocean system. Multiple scattering to all orders as well as anisotropic scattering from aerosols are taken into account by a Monte Carlo technique. The probability for reflection or refraction at the ocean surface is calculated for each photon. Scattering and absorption by water molecules (Rayleigh) and by hydrosols (Mie) are taken into account within the ocean. The radiance is calculated for a normal aerosol distribution as well as for a three and ten times normal distribution. Calculations are also made for an aerosol layer near the earth as well as for one in the stratosphere. The upward radiance at the top of the atmosphere depends strongly on the total number of aerosols but not on their spatial distribution. Variations in the ozone amount also have little effect on the upward radiance. The calculations are made at the following wavelengths: 0.7 micro, 0.9 micro, 1.67 micro. The radiance above and below the ocean surface as well as the flux at various levels are also discussed.

  9. Polarisation of auroral emission lines in the Earth's upper atmosphere : first results and perspectives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lamy, H.; Barthelemy, M.; Simon Wedlund, C.; Lilensten, J.; Bommier, V.

    2011-12-01

    Polarisation of light is a key observable to provide information about asymmetry or anisotropy within a radiative source. Following the pioneering and controversial work of Duncan in 1959, the polarisation of auroral emission lines in the Earth's upper atmosphere has been overlooked for a long time, even though the red intense auroral line (6300Å) produced by collisional impacts with electrons precipitating along magnetic field lines is a good candidate to search for polarisation. This problem was investigated again by Lilensten et al (2006) and observations were obtained by Lilensten et al (2008) confirming that the red auroral emission line is polarised. More recent measurements obtained by Barthélemy et al (2011) are presented and discussed. The results are compared to predictions of the theoretical work of Bommier et al (2011) and are in good agreement. Following these encouraging results, a new dedicated spectropolarimeter is currently under construction between BIRA-IASB and IPAG to provide simultaneously the polarisation of the red line and of other interesting auroral emission lines such as N2+ 1NG (4278Å), other N2 bands, etc... Perspectives regarding the theoretical polarisation of some of these lines will be presented. The importance of these polarisation measurements in the framework of atmospheric modeling and geomagnetic activity will be discussed.

  10. The budget of biologically active ultraviolet radiation in the earth-atmosphere system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frederick, John E.; Lubin, Dan

    1988-01-01

    This study applies the concept of a budget to describe the interaction of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation with the earth-atmosphere system. The wavelength ranges of interest are the biologically relevant UV-B between 280 and 320 nm and the UV-A from 32000 to 400 nm. The Nimbus 7 solar backscattered ultraviolet (SBUV) instrument provides measurements of total column ozone and information concerning cloud cover which, in combination with a simple model of radiation transfer, define the fractions of incident solar irradiance absorbed in the atmosphere, reflected to space, and absorbed at the ground. Results for the month of July quantify the contribution of fractional cloud cover and cloud optical thickness to the radiation budget's three components. Scattering within a thick cloud layer makes the downward radiation field at the cloud base more isotropic than is the case for clear skies. For small solar zenith angles, typical of summer midday conditions, the effective pathlength of this diffuse irradiance through tropospheric ozone is greater than that under clear-sky conditions. The result is an enhanced absorption of UV-B radiation in the troposphere during cloud-covered conditions. Major changes in global cloud cover or cloud optical thicknesses could alter the ultraviolet radiation received by the biosphere by an amount comparable to that predicted for long-term trends in ozone.

  11. Crustal evolution of the early earth: The role of major impacts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frey, H.

    1979-01-01

    The role of major impact basins (such as those which formed on the moon before 4 billion years ago) is examined to determine the effects of such impacts on the early crustal evolution of the earth. Specifically addressed is the fundamental problem of what is the origin of the earth's fundamental crustal dichotomy of low density continental and high density oceanic crust and its relationship to the superficially similar highlands/maria crustal dichotomies of the moon, Mercury and Mars.

  12. Land and Atmosphere Near-Real-Time Capability for Earth Observing System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murphy, Kevin J.

    2011-01-01

    The past decade has seen a rapid increase in availability and usage of near-real-time data from satellite sensors. The EOSDIS (Earth Observing System Data and Information System) was not originally designed to provide data with sufficiently low latency to satisfy the requirements for near-real-time users. The EOS (Earth Observing System) instruments aboard the Terra, Aqua and Aura satellites make global measurements daily, which are processed into higher-level 'standard' products within 8-40 hours of observation and then made available to users, primarily earth science researchers. However, applications users, operational agencies, and even researchers desire EOS products in near-real-time to support research and applications, including numerical weather and climate prediction and forecasting, monitoring of natural hazards, ecological/invasive species, agriculture, air quality, disaster relief and homeland security. These users often need data much sooner than routine science processing allows, usually within 3 hours, and are willing to trade science product quality for timely access. While Direct Broadcast provides more timely access to data, it does not provide global coverage. In 2002, a joint initiative between NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and the DOD (Department of Defense) was undertaken to provide data from EOS instruments in near-real-time. The NRTPE (Near Real Time Processing Effort) provided products within 3 hours of observation on a best-effort basis. As the popularity of these near-real-time products and applications grew, multiple near-real-time systems began to spring up such as the Rapid Response System. In recognizing the dependence of customers on this data and the need for highly reliable and timely data access, NASA's Earth Science Division sponsored the Earth Science Data and Information System Project (ESDIS)-led development of a new near-real-time system called

  13. The Significance of Land-Atmosphere Processes in the Earth System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suni, T.; Kulmala, M. T.; Guenther, A. B.

    2012-12-01

    The land-atmosphere interface is where humans primarily operate. Humans modify the land surface in many ways that influence the fluxes of energy and trace gases between land and atmosphere. Their emissions change the chemical composition of the atmosphere and anthropogenic aerosols change the radiative balance of the globe directly by scattering sunlight back to space and indirectly by changing the properties of clouds. Feedback loops among all these processes, land, the atmosphere, and biogeochemical cycles of nutrients and trace gases extend the human influence even further. Over the last decade, the importance of land-atmosphere processes and feedbacks in the Earth System has been shown on many levels and with multiple approaches, and a number of publications have shown the crucial role of the terrestrial ecosystems as regulators of climate [1-6]. Modellers have clearly shown the effect of missing land cover changes and other feedback processes and regional characteristics in current climate models and recommended actions to improve them [7-11]. Unprecedented insights of the long-term net impacts of aerosols on clouds and precipitation have also been provided [12-14]. Land-cover change has been emphasized with model intercomparison projects that showed that realistic land-use representation was essential in land surface modelling [11, 15]. Crucially important tools in this research have been the networks of long-term flux stations and large-scale land-atmosphere observation platforms that are also beginning to combine remote sensing techniques with ground observations [16-20]. Human influence has always been an important part of land-atmosphere science but in order to respond to the new challenges of global sustainability, closer ties with social science and economics groups will be necessary to produce realistic estimates of land use and anthropogenic emissions by analysing future population increase, migration patterns, food production allocation, land

  14. A Coupled Ice-Atmosphere-Dust Model for a Neoproterozoic "Mudball Earth"

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodman, J. C.; Strom, D.

    2010-12-01

    The Neoproterozoic "Snowball Earth" glaciations remain a subject of intense debate. While many have used field data to argue for either a totally or partially ice-covered Earth, fewer efforts have been made to establish the basic physical climate state and internal dynamics of these alternatives. Description of feedbacks is especially important: how does a globally ice-covered Earth reinforce itself as a stable climate system, and/or sow the seeds for its own destruction? In previous work, we investigated the flow properties of thick floating global ice sheets, and found that flow from pole to equator tends to eliminate regions of thin ice in the tropics. We briefly mentioned that ice flow and sublimation could lead to a "lag deposit" of dust on top of the tropical ice. The consequences of this were explored in detail by Dorian Abbott and others, who found that the accumulation of dust atop tropical ice causes a strong warming effect, which strongly promotes deglaciation of a Snowball climate. However, Abbott et al specified a dust layer ab initio in their GCM simulations, leaving aside the processes which produce it. Here, we present the results of our efforts to add dust processes to an earlier coupled atmosphere/ocean/ice model originally developed by David Pollard and Jim Kasting. Their model includes energy balance equations for the atmosphere and an ice mechanics model for glacial flow. To this we have added variables tracking the fraction of dust incorporated into snow and ice; the transport and accumulation of this dust through ice flow; the effects of dust on albedo and penetration of sunlight into the ice; restriction of evaporation from dust-covered surfaces; and density and buoyancy effects of dusty ice. Dust is added to the surface globally at a fixed rate, and is removed by meltwater runoff. We find that ice in tropical regions of net evaporation quickly develops a surface dust layer which drastically lowers its albedo. This dust layer develops

  15. Viking 1: early results. [Mars atmosphere and surface examinations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1976-01-01

    A brief outline of the Viking 1 mission to Mars is followed by descriptions of the Martian landing site and the scientific instrumentation aboard Viking 1 orbiter and lander. Measurements of the Martian atmosphere provided data on its molecular composition, temperature and pressure. The detection of nitrogen in the Martian atmosphere indicates the existence of life. Panoramic photographs of the Martian surface were also obtained and are shown. Preliminary chemical and biological investigations on samples of Martian soil indicated the presence of the elements iron, calcium, silicon, titanium and aluminum as major constituents. Observed biochemical reactions were judged conducive of biological activity.

  16. Organic Haze as a Biosignature in Anoxic Earth-like Atmospheres

    PubMed Central

    Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D.; Meadows, Victoria S.

    2018-01-01

    Abstract Early Earth may have hosted a biologically mediated global organic haze during the Archean eon (3.8–2.5 billion years ago). This haze would have significantly impacted multiple aspects of our planet, including its potential for habitability and its spectral appearance. Here, we model worlds with Archean-like levels of carbon dioxide orbiting the ancient Sun and an M4V dwarf (GJ 876) and show that organic haze formation requires methane fluxes consistent with estimated Earth-like biological production rates. On planets with high fluxes of biogenic organic sulfur gases (CS2, OCS, CH3SH, and CH3SCH3), photochemistry involving these gases can drive haze formation at lower CH4/CO2 ratios than methane photochemistry alone. For a planet orbiting the Sun, at 30× the modern organic sulfur gas flux, haze forms at a CH4/CO2 ratio 20% lower than at 1× the modern organic sulfur flux. For a planet orbiting the M4V star, the impact of organic sulfur gases is more pronounced: at 1× the modern Earth organic sulfur flux, a substantial haze forms at CH4/CO2 ∼ 0.2, but at 30× the organic sulfur flux, the CH4/CO2 ratio needed to form haze decreases by a full order of magnitude. Detection of haze at an anomalously low CH4/CO2 ratio could suggest the influence of these biogenic sulfur gases and therefore imply biological activity on an exoplanet. When these organic sulfur gases are not readily detectable in the spectrum of an Earth-like exoplanet, the thick organic haze they can help produce creates a very strong absorption feature at UV-blue wavelengths detectable in reflected light at a spectral resolution as low as 10. In direct imaging, constraining CH4 and CO2 concentrations will require higher spectral resolution, and R > 170 is needed to accurately resolve the structure of the CO2 feature at 1.57 μm, likely the most accessible CO2 feature on an Archean-like exoplanet. Key Words: Organic haze—Organic sulfur gases—Biosignatures—Archean Earth

  17. Organic Haze as a Biosignature in Anoxic Earth-like Atmospheres.

    PubMed

    Arney, Giada; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D; Meadows, Victoria S

    2018-03-01

    Early Earth may have hosted a biologically mediated global organic haze during the Archean eon (3.8-2.5 billion years ago). This haze would have significantly impacted multiple aspects of our planet, including its potential for habitability and its spectral appearance. Here, we model worlds with Archean-like levels of carbon dioxide orbiting the ancient Sun and an M4V dwarf (GJ 876) and show that organic haze formation requires methane fluxes consistent with estimated Earth-like biological production rates. On planets with high fluxes of biogenic organic sulfur gases (CS 2 , OCS, CH 3 SH, and CH 3 SCH 3 ), photochemistry involving these gases can drive haze formation at lower CH 4 /CO 2 ratios than methane photochemistry alone. For a planet orbiting the Sun, at 30× the modern organic sulfur gas flux, haze forms at a CH 4 /CO 2 ratio 20% lower than at 1× the modern organic sulfur flux. For a planet orbiting the M4V star, the impact of organic sulfur gases is more pronounced: at 1× the modern Earth organic sulfur flux, a substantial haze forms at CH 4 /CO 2 ∼ 0.2, but at 30× the organic sulfur flux, the CH 4 /CO 2 ratio needed to form haze decreases by a full order of magnitude. Detection of haze at an anomalously low CH 4 /CO 2 ratio could suggest the influence of these biogenic sulfur gases and therefore imply biological activity on an exoplanet. When these organic sulfur gases are not readily detectable in the spectrum of an Earth-like exoplanet, the thick organic haze they can help produce creates a very strong absorption feature at UV-blue wavelengths detectable in reflected light at a spectral resolution as low as 10. In direct imaging, constraining CH 4 and CO 2 concentrations will require higher spectral resolution, and R > 170 is needed to accurately resolve the structure of the CO 2 feature at 1.57 μm, likely the most accessible CO 2 feature on an Archean-like exoplanet. Key Words: Organic haze-Organic sulfur gases-Biosignatures-Archean Earth

  18. Evidence for early life in Earth's oldest hydrothermal vent precipitates.

    PubMed

    Dodd, Matthew S; Papineau, Dominic; Grenne, Tor; Slack, John F; Rittner, Martin; Pirajno, Franco; O'Neil, Jonathan; Little, Crispin T S

    2017-03-01

    Although it is not known when or where life on Earth began, some of the earliest habitable environments may have been submarine-hydrothermal vents. Here we describe putative fossilized microorganisms that are at least 3,770 million and possibly 4,280 million years old in ferruginous sedimentary rocks, interpreted as seafloor-hydrothermal vent-related precipitates, from the Nuvvuagittuq belt in Quebec, Canada. These structures occur as micrometre-scale haematite tubes and filaments with morphologies and mineral assemblages similar to those of filamentous microorganisms from modern hydrothermal vent precipitates and analogous microfossils in younger rocks. The Nuvvuagittuq rocks contain isotopically light carbon in carbonate and carbonaceous material, which occurs as graphitic inclusions in diagenetic carbonate rosettes, apatite blades intergrown among carbonate rosettes and magnetite-haematite granules, and is associated with carbonate in direct contact with the putative microfossils. Collectively, these observations are consistent with an oxidized biomass and provide evidence for biological activity in submarine-hydrothermal environments more than 3,770 million years ago.

  19. Bayesian analysis of the astrobiological implications of life’s early emergence on Earth

    PubMed Central

    Spiegel, David S.; Turner, Edwin L.

    2012-01-01

    Life arose on Earth sometime in the first few hundred million years after the young planet had cooled to the point that it could support water-based organisms on its surface. The early emergence of life on Earth has been taken as evidence that the probability of abiogenesis is high, if starting from young Earth-like conditions. We revisit this argument quantitatively in a Bayesian statistical framework. By constructing a simple model of the probability of abiogenesis, we calculate a Bayesian estimate of its posterior probability, given the data that life emerged fairly early in Earth’s history and that, billions of years later, curious creatures noted this fact and considered its implications. We find that, given only this very limited empirical information, the choice of Bayesian prior for the abiogenesis probability parameter has a dominant influence on the computed posterior probability. Although terrestrial life's early emergence provides evidence that life might be abundant in the universe if early-Earth-like conditions are common, the evidence is inconclusive and indeed is consistent with an arbitrarily low intrinsic probability of abiogenesis for plausible uninformative priors. Finding a single case of life arising independently of our lineage (on Earth, elsewhere in the solar system, or on an extrasolar planet) would provide much stronger evidence that abiogenesis is not extremely rare in the universe. PMID:22198766

  20. Exploring Earth's Atmospheric Biology using a Platform-Extensible Sampling Payload

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gentry, D.; Rothschild, L.

    2012-12-01

    The interactions between Earth's atmosphere and its biosphere, or aerobiology, remain a significant unknown. What few studies have been done conclusively show that Earth's atmosphere has a rich and dynamic microbial presence[Bowers et al., 2010]; that microbes suspended in air survive over long times (1-2 weeks)[Smith et al., 2010] and travel great distances (>5000 km)[Kellogg and Griffin, 2006]; that some airborne bacteria actively nucleate ice crystals, affecting meteorology[Delort et al., 2010]; and that the presence of microbes in the atmosphere has other planetary-scale effects[Delort et al., 2010]. Basic questions, however, such as the number of microbes present, their activity level and state, the different species present and their variance over time and space, remain largely unquantified. Compounding the significant physical and environmental challenges of reliable aerobiological sampling, collection and analysis of biological samples at altitudes above ~10-20 km has traditionally used ad hoc instrumentation and techniques, yielding primarily qualitative analytical results that lack a common basis for comparison[Bowers et al., 2010]. There is a strong need for broad-basis, repeatable, reliably comparable data about aerobiological basics. We describe here a high-altitude environmental and biological sampling project designed specifically to address these issues. The goal is a robust, reliable, re-usable sampling system, with open reproducibility and adaptability for multiple low-cost flight platforms (including ground-tethered systems, high-altitude balloons, and suborbital sounding rockets); by establishing a common modular payload structure for high-altitude sampling with appeal to a broad user base, we hope to encourage widespread collection of comparable aerobiological data. We are on our third prototype iteration, with demonstrated function of two sample capture modules, a support backbone (tracking, data logging, event response, etc.), a simple ground