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Poster - Global warming on Earth and Venus
- Title Poster - Global warming on Earth and Venus
- Released 03/01/2008 10:26 am
- Copyright ESA
At a time of global concern for our environment, Venus can provide valuable insights into the way climate catastrophes affect planets. When our solar system formed billions of years ago, it is almost certain that Venus and Earth had the same amount of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen in the atmosphere.
Today, the atmosphere of Venus is composed mostly of carbon dioxide, one of the so-called greenhouse gases that allow visible light from the Sun to pass through the atmosphere and heat up the surface. The infrared light emitted by the surface is trapped by the extremely dense atmosphere, raising the surface temperature of Venus to an incandescent 470°C.
Now planetary scientists want to use data being collected by Venus Express to turn the clock back to understand why and how the conditions on Venus changed from being similar to those on Earth to the raging inferno of today.
Understanding what initially triggered this extreme greenhouse effect and at what point the effect became irreversible, may be the key in forecasting the onset of catastrophic greenhouse processes on Earth.