Early Earth Had Periodic Organic Haze
The early Earth flipped back and forth between a hydrocarbon-free atmosphere and a hydrocarbon-rich one similar to that of Saturn’s moon, Titan. This ‘see-sawing’ atmosphere over 2.5 billion years ago was the result of intense microbial activity, say Newcastle University scientists, and would have had a profound effect on the climate of the Earth system.
“What is most surprising about this study is that our data seems to indicate the atmospheric events were discrete in nature, flip-flopping between one stable state into another,” explained co-author Dr James Farquhar. “This type of response is not all that different from the way scientists think climate operates today, and reminds us how delicate the balance between states can be.”