ABOUT THIS EPISODE
The Great 415ppm CO2 Event
All planets, as far as we know, have atmospheres. We can see alien atmospheres by looking at the light from their own sun passing through them.
When looking for new life, a target atmosphere must be able to protect life on the surface. Although the sun gives life, without the right kind of atmosphere, the Sun's rays can break apart the chemical bonds of life’s essential organic molecules.
An atmosphere also has to be thick enough not to let water evaporate into space. Water boils at a lower temperature in a thinner atmosphere, thus evaporates quicker.
Our atmosphere is like a blanket around the Earth. There has to be enough to help regulate the transfer of heat to and from space. Otherwise it’s more boiling hot days, ice cold nights, and less beach weather.
Of course what’s in the atmosphere matters too. The air on Earth itself wasn’t always as hospitable as it is today. There was a time when bacteria lived in a world with no oxygen in the air, until one day 2.5 billion years ago the cyanobacteria arrived, exhaling oxygen. The new comers were so successful they would kick-start the great oxygenation event, recalculating who and what could live in this world.
Today, we are kick-starting another great event. This time it’s not bacteria though, It’s us making carbon dioxide. How much? We just set another record, 415ppm, and are showing little signs of slowing down. More gasses like Co2 in the air means a warmer planet, more ecological malfunctions, and warmer, expanding, rising water levels.
But, don’t worry, most farmland, industry, and the world’s population live near the ocean. So, if we sit around and don’t do enough, Mother Nature herself is going to clean up this whole mess.
Then Earth will be ready for the next great event.