Habitable Zones & Global Climate

A Gaian Habitable Zone

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
January 9, 2023
Filed under , , , , , , ,
A Gaian Habitable Zone
Model snapshot at 𝑡 = 7000 generations for the runs (a) and (b) from Figure 8. (a) The core has an overall cooling effect (b) the core has a heating effect. — astro-ph.EP

When searching for inhabited exoplanets, understanding the boundaries of the habitable zone around the parent star is key.

If life can strongly influence its global environment, then we would expect the boundaries of the habitable zone to be influenced by the presence of life. Here using a simple abstract model of `tangled-ecology’ where life can influence a global parameter, labelled as temperature, we investigate the boundaries of the habitable zone of our model system.

As with other models of life-climate interactions, the species act to regulate the temperature. However, the system can also experience `punctuations’, where the system’s state jumps between different equilibria. Despite this, an ensemble of systems still tends to sustain or even improve conditions for life on average, a feature we call Entropic Gaia. The mechanism behind this is sequential selection with memory which is discussed in detail.

With this modelling framework we investigate questions about how Gaia can affect and ultimately extend the habitable zone to what we call the Gaian habitable zone. This generates concrete predictions for the size of the habitable zone around stars, suggests directions for future work on the simulation of exoplanets and provides insight into the Gaian bottleneck hypothesis and the habitability/inhabitance paradox.

Rudy Arthur, Arwen Nicholson

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Populations and Evolution (q-bio.PE)
Cite as: arXiv:2301.02150 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2301.02150v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Rudy Arthur
[v1] Thu, 5 Jan 2023 16:52:18 UTC (1,657 KB)

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) 🖖🏻