Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Visiting Venus

Bluey here,

Venus invited me over for movie night yesterday.

I was excited to see Venus, especially to talk with her about her own greenhouse effect and provide her with an update on my health. I was pleased then when she suggested we watch 'The World Set Free' episode of the human series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey together.




'The World Set Free'—presumably named after human H.G. Wells' novel—outlines in concise and scientific terms, some of the differences between mine and Venus's atmosphere.

Watching the full episode really brought Venus's predicament home to me. Without an ocean to absorb the CO2 emitted from Venus's volcanoes and store it in mineral form, Venus's atmospheric pressure is approximately 92 times mine, with an atmospheric density of CO2 around 96.5% and a surface temperature "hot enough to melt lead". Whilst Venus can't remember all the way back billions of years, some humans think Venus may once have had oceans, mainly by reference to the granitic terrain seemingly evident in her highlands and her apparent consistency with the principle of isostasy. Remarkably, humans managed to collect this data in spite of the pervasive clouds of sulphuric acid that engulf her.

With her oceans certainly gone today, one can only speculate whether Venus ever succumbed to a 'runaway' greenhouse effect. Venus assured me not to worry, but all this of course got me thinking.

What would it take to cause me to enter a runaway greenhouse effect? With all these 'positive feedback loops' I've learnt about recently, I'd be wise to be careful, only I'm not really in control these days, as I'm finding out via these specialists...

Remembering back to my meeting with Dr IPCC, just moving from an average of around 280ppm to 400ppm of CO2 over 200 years has made me considerably warmer. At the very least, movie night with Venus made me even more cognisant of how delicate our planet's atmospheres are, particularly when it comes to their CO2 counts.

Yours for awhile,
Bluey

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