Intelligent planet: The Earth itself can regulate the global climate

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have proven that our planet has geological mechanisms that protect its climate from catastrophic events. In other words, the Earth seems to be able to think.

The Earth has experienced many turbulent times: on our planet there were periods of global volcanism, epochs of glaciation, sharp increases and decreases in solar radiation fluxes. And yet, over the past 3.8 billion years, life on our planet has continued to evolve.

Scientists suspected that the Earth has some kind of “fuse” that keeps the climate in a habitable range. But until recently, researchers could not prove its existence.

What is this “tool” and how it works, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found out. They confirmed that the planet has a so-called “stabilizing feedback” mechanism.

This mechanism has been working for hundreds of thousands of years, slowly but surely moving the Earth’s climate away from the edge of the abyss, in which life can no longer appear again.

Scientists believe this feedback is based on a geological phenomenon called silicate weathering. This is a slow but constant process involving a series of chemical reactions that take place in silicate rocks.

They “pull” carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, “burying” it in sedimentary rocks at the bottom of the ocean.

Scientists have long noted the important role of silicate weathering in regulating the Earth’s carbon cycle.

This mechanism may be the geologically constant force that keeps the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at a level acceptable for the existence of life. As a consequence, global temperatures are “under control” of Mother Earth.

Let us clarify that this idea has existed for many years, but so far there has been no direct evidence that such feedback operates continuously over millions of years.

Now MIT researchers have applied mathematical analysis to uncover patterns in paleoclimate records over the past 66 million years.

The research team searched the dataset for any recurring phenomena that could keep the global temperature in a habitable range throughout this time.

And now scientists have found that a constant pattern really exists. The temperature on Earth can fluctuate for some time, critically rising or falling, but then inevitably stabilizes.

As if someone is keeping an eye on the balance (scientists are not inclined to believe in the supernatural, attributing everything to natural processes).

True, the process of temperature stabilization is very slow: it takes hundreds of thousands of years. This duration coincides with how long, according to the researchers, the weathering of silicates lasts.

This is the first work in which the existence of such a stabilizing feedback has been proven.

The results from MIT scientists may explain how the Earth remained habitable despite a geological past filled with dramatic climate events, many of which could lead to the apocalypse.


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