Greenhouse and icehouse Earth

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2022-06-23 05:00:04

Throughout Earth's climate history (Paleoclimate) its climate has fluctuated between two primary states: greenhouse and icehouse Earth.[1] Both climate states last for millions of years and should not be confused with glacial and interglacial periods, which occur as alternate phases within an icehouse period and tend to last less than 1 million years.[2] There are five known Icehouse periods in Earth's climate history, which are known as the Huronian, Cryogenian, Andean-Saharan, Late Paleozoic, and Late Cenozoic glaciations.[1] The main factors involved in changes of the paleoclimate are believed to be the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), changes in Earth's orbit, long-term changes in the solar constant, and oceanic and orogenic changes from tectonic plate dynamics.[3] Greenhouse and icehouse periods have played key roles in the evolution of life on Earth by directly and indirectly forcing biotic adaptation and turnover at various spatial scales across time.[4][5]

A "greenhouse Earth" is a period during which no continental glaciers exist anywhere on the planet.[6] Additionally, the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (such as water vapor and methane) are high, and sea surface temperatures (SSTs) range from 28 °C (82.4 °F) in the tropics to 0 °C (32 °F) in the polar regions.[7] Earth has been in a greenhouse state for about 85% of its history.[6]

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