September 22, 2019

Venusian Delusion

Timothy Birdnow

Bill H. Draws our attention to this asinine article from CNN.

From the Complete Nuts Network:

However, a recent study compared five climate simulations of Venus' past and every scenario suggested that the planet could support liquid water and a temperate climate on its surface for at least three billion years. Like the other planets in our solar system, Venus formed 4.5 billion years ago.
Those temperatures could have included a maximum of 122 degrees Fahrenheit and a minimum of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
But between 700 and 750 million years ago, something triggered the release of carbon dioxide from rocks on the planet, transforming its climate.

"Our hypothesis is that Venus may have had a stable climate for billions of years. It is possible that the near-global resurfacing event is responsible for its transformation from an Earth-like climate to the hellish hothouse we see today," said Michael Way, study author at The Goddard Institute of Space Science. Way presented his study this week at the European Planetary Science Congress - Division for Planetary Sciences Joint Meeting 2019 in Geneva.

No, Venus was much warmer, and it was changes in solar irradiance that triggered the planetary warming. But let us continue:

Out of the five simulations, three of them included Venus' current topography and added a deep 1,017-foot ocean, a shallow 32-foot ocean and trace amounts of water in the soil. Researchers compared this to two other simulations, one using Earth's topography with a deep ocean and an ocean world.

To recreate likely conditions on Venus that happened 4.2 billion years ago and changed over time, they gradually increased solar radiation to reflect the sun as it warmed. This also shifted atmospheric conditions over time.

What happened to Venus is pretty clear. Venus had a surface temperature around two hundred degrees F (real habitable, that!) but then the Sun got warmer and it boiled away the Venusian oceans (which still show in large basins on the planet.) All that water vapor in the air heated the planet before breaking up and dissipating into space due to the solar wind and no magnetic field to block it - and the extra solar irradiance heated the planet.  Then too, Venus has a very thin crust (probably due to its ridiculously slow and retrograde rotation) and so massive volcanic activity ensued, eventually making the atmosphere one ninety times as dense as the Earth's. It is that density that matters - far more than the carbon dioxide levels. If it were all nitrogen the planet would still be far too hot.

The article proves my point:

But something happened around 700 million years ago that remains a mystery, although the researchers think its connected to volcanic activity. Magma would have released carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and as the magma cooled, the gas couldn't be reabsorbed in the surface.

This amount of co2 would not have been "reabsorbed into the surface"; there was far too much of it. This is a ridiculous statement. This stuff came from deep in the interior of the planet, not from the surface.

Venus is a very different world from Earth. It has a year that is shorter than its' day, and the planet rotates in reverse (if you could see the sun at all it would rise in the west.) Scientists think something probably smacked into it in the distant past.

Venus also has no plate tectonics, and so there is no change in her surface structure for millions of years - followed by a period of spasmodic seismic activity which leads to a complete "resurfacing". During this period massive amounts of internal gas are likely released - mainly carbon dioxide. The stuff won't blow out into space and has no water to absorb into, so it just sits there looking ugly (sort of like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who is about as old). This means the air pressure keeps rising and more heat is trapped. It has little to do with the composition of the atmosphere and everything to do with it's density.

If carbon dioxide were the primary reason for this, Mars would be habitable, a planetary Riviera. It's not; Mars is very cold, colder than it should be. The atmosphere actually freezes out in winter, forming huge dry ice caps.

BTW this research was done at the Goddard Institute, James Hansen's weaponized stomping ground. I would check the clock if they said good morning to me there.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:16 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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1 Why don't we ask that eminent climate scholar, AOC, what really happened? She'll tell us it was due to all those Venusians driving SUVs that caused all the CO2; and of course back then there were no hybrid SUVs.

Seriously; there was a scientist and author named Emanuel (sometimes spelled Imanuel) Velikovsky, who postulated a number of ideas about planetary science. He was considered a crackpot by "normal" scientists but has never, to my knowledge, been disproven on any of his theories. In one of his books, "Ages in Chaos," which I used to have but most likely have lost, he establishes that Venus violently "joined" our solar system, flying in from outside, within Biblical times (which book I cannot remember) and points out biblical passages that support the idea, even saying that it passed close enough to Earth to knock us basically upside-down in our rotation. And we stayed there until Mars came in almost as violently (during the time of the Book of Isaiah) and knocked us back.
If any of this is true, especially about Venus, there's no wonder that it is considerably different in makeup from the rest of the Solar System planets.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at September 22, 2019 02:01 PM (jexFU)

2 Yeah; AOC probably thinks Venus had dinosaurs on it or something.  She really is a kook.

Interesting theory, Dana. SOMETHING seriously disturbed Venus at some point. I rather doubt it was in historical times (Bodes law, for example, makes it unlikely as Venus is right where it should be - double as far from Earth as it is from Mercury) but it at least attempts to explain what happened.

Actually, Mars is way too small, too; it should be a "super Earth" from what we have seen of other solar systems. Something screwed that planet up, kept it from forming properly or (more interesting) smashed into it and broke a big chunk off. It shouldn't be the puny kid brother it turned out to be.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at September 23, 2019 07:48 AM (pR6Fl)

3 Not to mention that our Moon is way too big. Too big by several orders of magnitude. It is so big, in fact, that it alters Earth's orbit around the Sun and results in Earth and Moon rotating each other around a common point which is between the centers of the two bodies, making the pair actually a double planet.
Earth and Moon have enormous tidal effects on each other, and will eventually (if the Sun doesn't burn them up first) cause both to break up into fragments.
I mention this because the biggest atmospheric problem for Venus is that it doesn't have the Moon.

Posted by: Bill H at September 23, 2019 08:19 AM (vMiSr)

4 The moon may in fact be "too big." However, I read in a fairly scholarly magazine article years ago (it seems like almost anything worthwhile that I read was "years ago," doesn't it?) that the gravitational pull of the moon, along with the sun, has in fact over eons made Earth actually habitable. Without its effects we would have less overall temperate climates.
Something to think about.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at September 23, 2019 10:24 AM (gbxHu)

5 It may be the Moon also has stripped away much of our atmosphere over the eons, making Earth's atmosphere comfortable. Quite possibly Venus is the normal fate of Earthlike bodies.

It certainly does have a number of important benefits - like tidal forces churning up chemicals  we need on the surface. And it moves the oceans, keeping them oxygenated.

Great points, Bill and Dana!

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at September 23, 2019 11:21 AM (pR6Fl)

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