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Well let's see...how might one destroy an atmosphere?

Let me think...

Well looking at the planet Venus, which is about the size of earth and not all much that more closer to the sun, I would guess that injecting greenhouse gases, at least in theory, can create positive feedback loops that cause the planet to inordinately heat.

Now of course, I don't know that this is what happened on Venus, but that is at least one explanation for whether or not it's atmosphere was "destroyed."    I am overlooking, of course, that Venus still has an atmosphere, but it has changed.   Thus effectively anything which depended on moderate temperatures that may have existing on Venus at one time, has effectively had Venus's atmosphere "destroyed."

One of the things that is sometimes suggested is that as Venus's temperature rose and the sun got hotter - yes the sun is getting hotter, though this does not account for climate change - much of the water on that planet boiled off, except for that portion bound to sulfur trioxide that made sulfuric acid.

I am opposed to a similar experiment being performed on earth on a finer scale, but apparently I'm in a minority.

My response may seem extreme - and maybe it is - but there do seem to be some feedback loops operating on this planet, and I suggest that their capacity to "destroy" our atmosphere represents a considerable risk, possibly not one worth taking.   We have somewhat less climatic liberty than the people of Venus may enjoy.

by NNadir on Tue Jan 9th, 2007 at 10:18:08 AM EST
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Venus had grossly different initial conditions -- starting with a different composition -- and never had an atmosphere resembling ours. It's geology today, to take a concrete example of the differences, lacks plate tectonics. The atmosphere of Venus is 90 times as massive as ours. It isn't at all a good model for terrestrial greenhouse warming.

I'm finding myself on a bit of a campaign to damp down exaggerated catastrophe scenarios. The leap from "huge negative change" to "End of the World" is taken far too easily in discussions in this end of the blogosphere. I propose that we regard climate changes that fall outside the range seen in the last 100 million years as not credible. Besides, cooling the Earth is cheap and easy (only limited guarantees on side-effects, though).

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Tue Jan 9th, 2007 at 03:19:48 PM EST
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