Bacteria cooled the Earth


O.G. Sorokhtin, a Russian scientist from the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology RAS believes that the climate of our planet is determined to a great extent by bacteria that consume atmospheric nitrogen.

He believes that the average temperature of the surface of a planet with an atmosphere as thick as that of the Earth depends essentially on atmospheric pressure. Pressure rises when the atmosphere is saturated with gases from the Earth’s core and oxygen, which is synthesized by plants; here the temperature rises. This theory has coincided well with known geological data.

So, 4 billion years ago the Earth’s atmosphere was comprised mostly of nitrogen while the planet’s climate was such that water did not freeze at the very least on the Equator, as otherwise life in the ocean could not have formed. Atmospheric pressure was about 0.9 of what it is today. Studying the composition of oceanic sedimentation, the climatologists calculated that in this time 3.8 x 1015 tons of nitrogen were removed from the atmosphere. And this is all the work of a few nitrogen-consuming bacteria; no other being on the planet is able to assimilate atmospheric nitrogen. As a result of their activity atmospheric pressure came to fall and glaciation began.

Every epoch consists of individual periods, some warmer, others colder. Their sequence depends of the shift of continents, the angle of the Earth’s axis and on other factors. But the change in the long-term glacial eras is clearly explained by oscillations in atmospheric pressure that were brought about, in part, by the activity of nitrogen-consuming bacteria. Today’s nitrogen pressure is about 0.755 ATM and it continues to fall, albeit at a very low rate, just 5.3 x 10-9 ATM per year. The authors of the theory expect a significant cooling very soon, while in 600 million years there will be a considerable warming, linked with a new rise in atmospheric pressure. By this time oxygen, released during the formation of the matter of the Earth’s core from magnetite, starts to get into the atmosphere from the rift zone.