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Where’s All The CO2 ?

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Earth’s Spin Is Slowing Down – Because Of Oxygen

Callum Hoare

Ever since its formation around 4.5 billion years ago, the Earth’s rotation has been gradually slowing down, and its days have progressively become longer as a result.

While unnoticeable to humans, it is apparently enough to work significant changes to our environment. New research suggests that the lengthening of days can be linked to increased oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere.

Specifically, the blue-green algae called cyanobacteria that emerged and proliferated about 2.4 billion years ago may have been able to produce more oxygen because Earth’s days grew longer.

Microbiologist Gregory Dick, of the University of Michigan, said: “An enduring question in Earth sciences has been how did Earth’s atmosphere get its oxygen, and what factors controlled when this oxygenation took place.

“Our research suggests that the rate at which Earth is spinning – in other words, its day length – may have had an important effect on the pattern and timing of Earth’s oxygenation.”

The reason the Earth’s spin is slowing down is because the Moon exerts a gravitational pull on the planet, which causes a rotational deceleration.

Scientists know, based on the fossil record, that days were just 18 hours long 1.4 billion years ago, and half an hour shorter than they are today 70 million years ago.

Evidence suggests that we’re gaining 1.8 milliseconds a century.

The second component is something known as the Great Oxidation Event – when cyanobacteria emerged in such great quantities that Earth’s atmosphere experienced a sharp, significant rise in oxygen

Experts even theory that life as we know it may not have emerged without this event.

Their study, which was published yesterday in Nature Geoscience, proposes and puts to the test the theory that longer, continuous daylight kick-started weird bacteria into producing lots of oxygen, making most of life as we know it possible.

They dredged up the gooey bacteria from a deep sinkhole in Lake Huron in North America and tinkered with how much light it got in lab experiments.

The more continuous light the smelly microbes got, the more oxygen they produced.

Researchers believe there may have been similar competitions between communities of microbes billions of years ago, with oxygen-producing bacteria’s sunlight exposure hampered by their microbial neighbours.

They concluded that Earth’s slowing rotation, which gradually lengthened days from six hours to the current 24 hours, was key for the cyanobacteria in making the planet more breathable.

Study lead Judith Klatt added: “We realised that there is a fundamental link between light dynamics and release of oxygen and that link is grounded in the physics of molecular diffusion.

“A shorter day would allow less oxygen to escape a mat, even if the same amount of oxygen is produced per hour.”

No mention of that Co2 stuff that’s supposed to be so bad for the world.

8 COMMENTS

  1. “They concluded that Earth’s slowing rotation, which gradually lengthened days from six hours to the current 24 hours, was key for the cyanobacteria in making the planet more breathable.”

    A couple of things are strange in this article
    – A planet cannot be breathable, but its atmosphere can be.
    – The atmosphere didn’t become “more breathable,” just “breathable.”
    – If a day was 18 hours, was the night somehow longer than it is now?

    I think this article was written by an Arts graduate with poor critical-thinking skills (Whoops! Tautology!)

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  2. What further complicates this is CO2 was 8000 ppm at about 540 Mil years ago. Then Green plant life emerged and sucked the majority of this out of the atmosphere. In the oceans foraminifera where creating shells which then sank to the ocean floors to eventually become locked away as limestone. There is nothing simple about atmospheric science and to try and argue that one molecule that nowadays makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere is ludicrous. As an aside if CO2 drops to 180 ppm green life dies, and life on earth becomes extinct. Very few alarmists are aware of this.

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    • We were taught in school science about symbiotic relationships. Human take in O2 and exhale CO2. Plants and plankton take in CO2 and exhale O2. One depends on the other. Same with dung. Animals and humans crap out dung which finds its way directly or indirectly into the soil as nutrients, which provides food for plants. Which provides food for humans directly, or indirectly through animals that eat the plants.

      Tidying up pollution I total agree with. Having a healthier planet I agree with. Which will require less chemicals, and getting back to nature. Which means more dung and more CO2 to feed the plants to create more food and more O2. Left wing zealots being obsessed with CO2 production is almost as bad as being obsessed with dung production. It’s a fact of life and a part of nature.

      The article makes a number of assumptions, one of which is: ““Our research suggests that the rate at which Earth is spinning – in other words, its day length – may have had an important effect on the pattern and timing of Earth’s oxygenation.””

      The length of a day is measured by one full rotation of the earth on it own axis. The speed at which a planet rotates on its own axis has no impact on the quantity of sunlight delivered, only the number of day / night changes in any given period. The days may be longer but then so are the nights. The ratio of day and night does not change.

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      • Add to that any shift in the earths axis, magnetic pole reversal, centuries or even milleniums of upset after large impact events, large eruption events- for example devan traps is thought to have occured over 30kyears and altered earths atmosphere, temps and solar penetration.

        With all of the above + 10,000 other contributing factors its safe to say that any hypothesis of the past beyond human written records is pure speculation and impossible to know with any certainty.
        The slowing rotation couldve happened from the begining of earths creation or it couldve started after one of the above events, reversal of magnetic field/poles would surely have influence and thats supposedly happened several times.

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        • “The slowing rotation couldve happened from the begining of earths creation or it couldve started after one of the above events, reversal of magnetic field/poles would surely have influence and thats supposedly happened several times.”

          This effect explains why the North of England was warm enough a few centuries ago to grow grapes. Or why at one time Antarctica was warm and inhabited. Or why the glacier on Mt Kilimanjaro is only 11,000 years old.

          On top of that we have the varying distance of the orbit of the earth around the sun. There are various cycles in hundreds of years, thousands of years, tens of thousands of years, and 100,00 years. The distance from the sun varies and this changes the mount of solar radiation the earth receives, which has a profound affect on the earth’s climate.

          https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2948/milankovitch-orbital-cycles-and-their-role-in-earths-climate/

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