The last clouds

In 2004, at the time of the release of the film "The Day After Tomorrow", there was a feeling that such a plot was a fantasy, an exaggeration, or just a horror story. Today we live in a world where Greta Thunberg's philippic has already turned into a recent history, where the Victoria Falls have shallowed to a record, and an outbreak of anthrax has been recorded in the Yamal Peninsula - the disease has survived in the corpse of a reindeer, which has lain for many years in the permafrost, which is now melting more and more. Literally at the time of this writing, we read about the unprecedented weakening of the Gulf Stream. The book "Uninhabited Land" in 2020 became a bestseller according to the "New York Times", and back in 2020 was published in Russian.

But such are the genres of science fiction and post-apocalyptic, and along with them - the environmental discourse - that the truly formidable consequences of global warming remain in the shadows, since they are not too spectacular, extended in time and at the moment are unlikely. Even less likely than the plot of The Day After Tomorrow in 2004. I was very surprised at how poorly the issues of the uncontrolled greenhouse effect and the humid stratosphere were disclosed in Runet and practically not disclosed on Habré - and today I want to dwell on them.

Troposphere and tropopause

The entire climate, all weather, as well as phenomena associated with global warming, occur in the troposphere, which is thickest at the equator (16-17 km), and thinnest at the poles. The border between the troposphere and the stratosphere is the tropopause, located at an altitude of 8-10 kilometers. The temperature of the atmosphere, which averages 15 ° C at sea level, gradually decreases with altitude and reaches the first minimum of -65 ° C precisely in the tropopause region. It was also possible to establish that, depending on the season, the upper limit of the troposphere fluctuates slightly - in warm seasons, this limit is slightly higher. In the troposphere, about 9/10 of the entire mass of the atmosphere is concentrated, greenhouse gases accumulate, cyclones are formed and air circulates. Also, it is in the troposphere that most types of clouds are formed:

Here we draw attention to the fact that the ozone layer, which protects the Earth's surface from harmful ultraviolet radiation, is located much higher than the tropopause, at an altitude of 22-25 kilometers.

Between the troposphere and the ozone layer is another important layer called the cold trap. This is exactly the layer in which the temperature of the troposphere reaches its minimum. Therefore, in the area of ​​the cold trap, water vapor condenses, turns into clouds and returns to the water cycle, and almost never gets above.

Those water molecules that penetrate above the tropopause and above the ozone layer undergo photolysis. Ionizing radiation splits a water molecule into oxygen and hydrogen, after which the hydrogen escapes into space. In this way, a terrestrial planet can lose all water and turn into an analogue of Venus.

It is appropriate to note here that the three terrestrial planets - Mars, Earth and Venus - for all the similarity of the geological structure, fundamentally differ in water reserves. If you distribute all the water of Mars in an even layer over the surface of the planet, its thickness will be 2-7 meters (depending on the exact volume of water on Mars). On Earth, the analogous figure would be 2.5 km, and on Venus - no more than 20 cm, moreover, all water on Venus exists in the form of trace amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere.

This difference indicates that the mechanisms of water loss on Mars and Venus were different. If on Mars desertification was likely due to the degradation of the magnetosphere, on Venus it was a catastrophic greenhouse effect.

Carbon dioxide and cold trap

The effect of carbon dioxide on the functioning and permeability of the cold trap deserves a detailed description, which I will give in this work, which is called “Water loss from terrestrial planets with CO2- rich atmospheres).

Interesting ideas for weaving various fruits from beads

In 2004, at the time of the release of The Day After Tomorrow, there was a feeling that such a plot was a fantasy, an exaggeration, or just a horror story. Today we live in a world where Greta Thunberg's philippic has already turned into a recent history, where the Victoria Falls have shallowed to a record, and an outbreak of anthrax has been recorded in Yamal - the disease has survived in the corpse of a reindeer, which has lain for many years in the permafrost, which is now melting more and more. Literally at the time of this writing, we read about the unprecedented weakening of the Gulf Stream. The book "Uninhabited Land" in 2020 became a bestseller according to the "New York Times", and back in 2020 was published in Russian.

But such are the genres of science fiction and post-apocalyptic, and along with them - the environmental discourse - that the truly formidable consequences of global warming remain in the shadows, since they are not too spectacular, extended in time and at the moment are unlikely. Even less likely than the plot of The Day After Tomorrow in 2004. I was very surprised at how poorly the issues of the uncontrolled greenhouse effect and the humid stratosphere were disclosed in Runet and practically not disclosed on Habré - and today I want to dwell on them.

Troposphere and tropopause

The entire climate, all weather, as well as phenomena associated with global warming, occur in the troposphere, which is thickest at the equator (16-17 km), and thinnest at the poles. The border between the troposphere and the stratosphere is the tropopause, located at an altitude of 8-10 kilometers. The temperature of the atmosphere, which averages 15 ° C at sea level, gradually decreases with altitude and reaches the first minimum of -65 ° C precisely in the tropopause region. It was also possible to establish that, depending on the season, the upper limit of the troposphere fluctuates slightly - in warm seasons, this limit is slightly higher. In the troposphere, about 9/10 of the entire mass of the atmosphere is concentrated, greenhouse gases accumulate, cyclones are formed and air circulates. Also, it is in the troposphere that most types of clouds are formed:

Here we draw attention to the fact that the ozone layer, which protects the Earth's surface from harmful ultraviolet radiation, is located much higher than the tropopause, at an altitude of 22-25 kilometers.

Between the troposphere and the ozone layer is another important layer called the cold trap. This is exactly the layer in which the temperature of the troposphere reaches its minimum. Therefore, in the area of ​​the cold trap, water vapor condenses, turns into clouds and returns to the water cycle, and almost never gets above.

Those water molecules that penetrate above the tropopause and above the ozone layer undergo photolysis. Ionizing radiation splits a water molecule into oxygen and hydrogen, after which the hydrogen escapes into space. In this way, a terrestrial planet can lose all water and turn into an analogue of Venus.

It is appropriate to note here that the three terrestrial planets - Mars, Earth and Venus - for all the similarity of the geological structure, fundamentally differ in water reserves. If you distribute all the water of Mars in an even layer over the surface of the planet, its thickness will be 2-7 meters (depending on the exact volume of water on Mars). On Earth, the analogous figure would be 2.5 km, and on Venus - no more than 20 cm, moreover, all water on Venus exists in the form of trace amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere.

This difference indicates that the mechanisms of water loss on Mars and Venus were different. If on Mars desertification was likely due to the degradation of the magnetosphere, on Venus it was a catastrophic greenhouse effect.

Carbon dioxide and cold trap

We use cookies
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using the website you agree to our use of cookies.
Allow cookies