Earth's Center Is 1,000 Degrees Hotter Than Previously Thought, Synchrotron X-Ray Experiment Shows
Scientists have determined the temperature near the Earth’s center to be 6000 degrees Celsius, 1000 degrees hotter than in a previous experiment run 20 years ago. These measurements confirm geophysical models that the temperature difference between the solid core and the mantle above, must be at least 1500 degrees to explain why the Earth has a magnetic field.
For more information about this study, see the press release from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.
Ocean Volcanic Rocks Contain Samples of Recycled Crust
Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth’s crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie’s Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.
Oceanic crust sinks into the Earth’s mantle at so-called subduction zones, where two plates come together. Much of what happens to the crust during this journey is unknown. Model-dependent studies for how long subducted material can exist in the mantle are uncertain and evidence of very old crust returning to Earth’s surface via upwellings of magma has not been found until now.
For more information about these results, see the press release from the Carnegie Institution.
What would happen if we released more or less carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere? Find out with the Very, Very Simple Climate Model. This model will calculate the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the average global temperature based on CO2 emissions.
First decide how much CO2 will be released into the atmosphere each year and set the CO2 emissions rate. In the year 2000, we released 6 Gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Do you think we will be releasing more or less in the future?
Then set the Timestep depending on how far you want the model to jump ahead into the future.
Click the Step Forward button to see how temperature and CO2 change. Click Step Forward several times until you’ve filled the graph to the year 2100.
What does this graph mean?
Blue dots (and blue y-axis scale) show how much carbon dioxide we add to the atmosphere each year. This is measured in Gigtatons of CO2 (GtC) per year. That’s how much CO2 you decided humans would release.
Black dots (and black y-axis scale) show how much carbon dioxide has built up in the atmosphere over time. This is measured in parts per million by volume (ppmv). The actual amount was around 368 ppmv in the year 2000.
Red dots (and red y-axis scale) shows average global temperature in degree Celsius. For reference, this value was around 14.3° C in the year 2000. In this simple model, temperature is based entirely on the atmospheric CO2 concentration via greenhouse warming.
Carbon dioxide is a colorless and non-flammable gas at normal temperature and pressure. Although much less abundant than nitrogen and oxygen in Earth's atmosphere, carbon dioxide is an important constituent...more
Energy from the Sun can enter the atmosphere, but not all of it can easily find its way out again. This is a natural process called the greenhouse effect. Without any greenhouse effect, Earth’s temperature...more
Predicting how our climate will change in the next century or beyond requires tools for assessing how planet responds to change. Global climate models, which are run on some of the world's fastest supercomputers,...more
Leaders from 192 nations of the world are trying to make an agreement about how to limit emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, mitigate climate change, and adapt to changing environmental conditions....more
Climate in your place on the globe is called regional climate. It is the average weather pattern in a place over more than thirty years, including the variations in seasons. To describe the regional climate...more
Less than 1% of the gases in Earth's atmosphere are called greenhouse gases. Even though they are not very abundant, these greenhouse gases have a major effect. Carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor (H2O),...more
Television weather forecasts in the space age routinely feature satellite views of cloud cover. Cameras and other instruments on spacecraft provide many types of valuable data about Earth's atmosphere...more
Shop Windows to the Universe
We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.