. Earth Science News .




.
WATER WORLD
The Blue Planet's new water budget
by Staff Writers
Copenhagen, Denmark (SPX) Mar 15, 2012

The results demonstrate that the young planet's oceans, in relation to those of today, had proportionately more "normal water" than "heavy water" in them. We can explain this difference by the fact that Earth has lost less than of its water budget over the last roughly 4 billion years," says Pope. It may sound like a lot of liquid, but it's a surprise for researchers that the Earth's water budget has been so relatively stable for so many years. The new findings concerning the historical development of oceans also support new theories and suggested solutions to "the faint young Sun paradox". Theories challenging the paradox were propounded by a number of researchers from the Natural History Museum of Denmark and Stanford in 2010.

Investigating the history of water on Earth is critical to understanding the planet's climate. One central question is whether Earth has always had the same amount of water on and surrounding it, the same so-called "water budget". Has Earth gained or lost water from comets and meteorites? Has water been lost into space?

New research into the Earth's primordial oceans conducted by researchers at the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen and Stanford University revisits Earth's historical water budget. The results have just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.

Water accounts for about half of a thousandth of the Earth's total mass, despite the fact that roughly 70% of the planet's surface is covered by this substance so vital to survival. Indeed, water is a relatively "rare substance" on our "Blue Planet".

Where does water come from?
"One of the absolutely most intriguing things about Earth is that there are oceans of water and that the presence of liquid water has enabled the existence of life on Earth.

Therefore, questions concerning how Earth got its oceans, where the water came from and - whether we are losing or gaining water from space - are fundamental questions in the understanding of the Earth's history," says Emily Pope of the Nordic Center for Earth Evolution at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen.

Earth's "little bit" of water is divided among a variety of reservoirs. Therefore, a fairly accurate assessment of how much water currently exists on Earth can be made.

But now, Emily Pope and her colleagues at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and Stanford University have also been able to determine that liquid water was also in existence upon the young Earth, billions of years ago. And, more consequentially, they have been able to approximate the ancient water budget.

The researchers have done this by examining 3.8 billion year old minerals from Greenland which are derived from the Earth's primordial oceans.

A "minor" loss
"We have managed to reconstruct the isotopic composition of 3.8 billion-year-old seawater using mineral samples from the Isua-rocks in Greenland.

The results demonstrate that the young planet's oceans, in relation to those of today, had proportionately more "normal water" than "heavy water" in them. We can explain this difference by the fact that Earth has lost less than quarter of its water budget over the last roughly 4 billion years," says Pope.

It may sound like a lot of liquid, but it's a surprise for researchers that the Earth's water budget has been so relatively stable for so many years. The new findings concerning the historical development of oceans also support new theories and suggested solutions to "the faint young Sun paradox". Theories challenging the paradox were propounded by a number of researchers from the Natural History Museum of Denmark and Stanford in 2010.

About the faint early Sun paradox
In 1972, the late, world renowned astronomer and his colleague, George Mullen, formulated "the faint early Sun paradox." The paradox addressed the relative stability of the earth's climate over the 4.5 billion years of its existence in relation to the fact that during the same period, solar radiation has increased by 25-30 percent.

The paradoxical question that arose from the scientists was why the earth's surface, during the planet's infancy, was not covered by ice, when the sun's rays were much weaker than they are today. One possible solution to the paradox, among others, was proposed by the American atmospheric researcher Jim Kasting in 1993.

He performed theoretical calculations which showed that 4 billion-years-ago, 30 percent of the Earths atmosphere was composed of CO2. The theory was that the impact of this large amount of greenhouse gas insulated the planet and prevented the oceans from freezing over.

An abundance of atmospheric CO2 however, was not the ice-limiting factor. Instead, a much thinner layer of cloud played a major role in keeping ice at bay. Furthermore, the Earth was covered by ocean.

This meant that the Sun's relatively unimpeded rays could warm the massive ocean which in turn could store heat and prevent the freezing of its surface, according to the research group from University of Copenhagen and Stanford. This is their current answer to the long-standing riddle.

Related Links
University of Copenhagen
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics




.
.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
...
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries






.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle



WATER WORLD
Israel says it backs Gaza Strip desalination plant
Marseille, France (AFP) March 13, 2012
Israel said Tuesday it backed Palestinian plans to build a desalination plant in the Gaza Strip and was willing if requested to provide its skills for the project. Asked by AFP on the sidelines of the World Water Forum if Israel supported the scheme, Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau said, "By all means." "We have been waiting for such projects for many, many years. It is high time, a ... read more


WATER WORLD
Butterfly molecule may aid quest for nuclear clean-up technology

Japan's nuclear disaster: a timeline

Japan strives to win back tourists

Meltdown intel emerges ahead of Japan anniversary

WATER WORLD
Apple looks to tighten tablet market grip with new iPad

AU Optronics to appeal US price-fixing verdict

PayPal lets shops take payments on smartphones

Russia to build space warning system

WATER WORLD
China to invest in water projects

The Blue Planet's new water budget

Mauritius, Seychelles to jointly manage Indian Ocean shelf

Oceans Acidifying Faster today Than in Past 300 Million Years

WATER WORLD
China to conduct Arctic expedition

S. Korean, Russian scientists bid to clone mammoth

NASA Finds Thickest Parts of Arctic Ice Cap Melting Faster

Greenland icesheet more vulnerable than thought to warming

WATER WORLD
Commonly used herbicides seen as threat to endangered butterflies

Auchan supermarkets reports profit rise on action in China

Myanmar soldiers shot dead China farmer: Beijing

World breakthrough on salt-tolerant wheat

WATER WORLD
Tropical Storm Irina kills three in Mozambique:official

Greek volcanic island shows activity

Small tsunami hits Japan after 6.9 quake

Effects of flooding on Cairo

WATER WORLD
Algeria conflict shapes US military strategy

Ethiopia says it has attacked Eritrean military base

G.Bissau security forces vote in presidential poll

Bloodhounds deployed to fight elephant poaching in DR Congo

WATER WORLD
Strong scientific evidence that eating berries benefits the brain

What have we got in common with a gorilla?

Knowledge gap widens gulf between South Asian nations

Human-like fossils in China caves puzzle scientists


Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

.

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement