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Planetary Perspectives on Terrestrial Climate Change

15 Nov 2017, 23:00 UTC
Planetary Perspectives on Terrestrial Climate Change
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

by William H. Waller – August 2017
In the Solar System, the poster child for excess warming by greenhouse gases is Venus. This twin of Earth in terms of size and mass orbits 30 percent closer to the Sun than the Earth does. The inverse-square law of solar irradiation vs. distance tells us that Venus must receive twice as much sunlight per square meter as does Earth. The Stefan-Boltzmann radiation law further predicts that Venus – in the absence of an atmosphere – should then have a surface temperature (in Kelvins) that is about 1.2 times greater than Earth would have without its atmosphere.1 That would amount to 306 Kelvins (+33 degrees Celsius or +91 degrees Fahrenheit). Any human in a spacesuit walking the atmosphere-free surface of Venus would find such a temperature pretty darn hot but certainly tolerable. In actuality, however, the temperature at the surface of Venus is a torrid 750 Kelvins (477 degrees Celsius or 890 degrees Fahrenheit) – a full 2.6 times greater than Earth’s current average temperature of 289 Kelvins (+16 degrees Celsius or +61 degrees Fahrenheit) and 2.9 times greater than Earth’s predicted temperature in the absence of an atmosphere (256 Kelvins).2 [2] This ...

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