Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Climate Bistability Of Earth-like Exoplanets

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
December 11, 2019
Filed under
Climate Bistability Of Earth-like Exoplanets
Snowball Earth

Before about 500 million years ago, most probably our planet experienced temporary snowball conditions, with continental and sea ices covering a large fraction of its surface.

This points to a potential bistability of Earth’s climate, that can have at least two different (statistical) equilibrium states for the same external forcing (i.e., solar radiation). Here we explore the probability of finding bistable climates in earth-like exoplanets, and consider the properties of planetary climates obtained by varying the semi-major orbital axis (thus, received stellar radiation), eccentricity and obliquity, and atmospheric pressure.

To this goal, we use the Earth-like planet surface temperature model (ESTM), an extension of 1D Energy Balance Models developed to provide a numerically efficient climate estimator for parameter sensitivity studies and long climatic simulations. After verifying that the ESTM is able to reproduce Earth climate bistability, we identify the range of parameter space where climate bistability is detected.

An intriguing result of the present work is that the planetary conditions that support climate bistability are remarkably similar to those required for the sustainance of complex, multicellular life on the planetary surface. The interpretation of this result deserves further investigation, given its relevance for the potential distribution of life in exoplanetary systems.

Murante G., Provenzale A., Vladilo G., Taffoni G., Silv L., Palazzi E., Hardenberg J., Maris M., Londero E., Knapic C., Zorba S
(Submitted on 11 Dec 2019)
Comments: 14 pages, 7 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1912.05392 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1912.05392v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Giuseppe Murante
[v1] Wed, 11 Dec 2019 15:36:21 UTC (1,224 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻