Monday, January 30, 2017

Do planetary seasons play a fundamental role in attaining habitable climates?


Olsen et al


A simple phenomenological account for planetary climate instabilities is presented. The description is based on the standard model where the balance of incoming stellar radiation and outward thermal radiation is described by the effective planet temperature. Often, it is found to have three different points, or temperatures, where the influx of radiation is balanced with the out-flux, even with conserved boundary conditions. Two of these points are relatively long-term stable, namely the point corresponding to a frozen-climate and the point corresponding to a hot-climate. The hypothesis promoted in this paper is the possibility that it is the intermediate third point which is the basis for habitable-climates. I.e. that this initially unstable point is made relatively stable over a long period by the presence of seasonal climate variations. This points to the axial inclination, and perhaps the presence of orbital eccentricity, as the origin of the stability of the habitable point. An analysis involving the inclination, the size of the ice caps, and the length of the year shows that within the currently accepted value of the heat capacity of the Earth, the otherwise unstable habitable point is stabilized.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.