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Thread: Effects of Boiling the Earth's Oceans

  1. #1 Effects of Boiling the Earth's Oceans 
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    Hypothetically, if the technology existed and we didn't need to worry about the environment or living things for that matter, what would happen if we boiled off the Earth's oceans?

    Having considered that, what would happen if (again hypothetically) the Earth's oceans were fresh water and they were boiled?


    The effects on humanity and nature would be fairly obvious, but I'm curious about what would happen with cloud cover, rain and snow storms, increased (or decreased?) heat due to a thickened atmosphere, etc... Earth science is not my area of expertise by any means, I'm simply curious.

    Thanks


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  3. #2  
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    So you want to discuss the future of Earth....in one to two billion years from now. Complete cloud cover, a thickening atmosphere from steam, and even more lower atmospheric heating. That steam will rise in the upper atmosphere as well, the water photodissociate and hydrogen escape thereby loosing water. Eventually it becomes a drier and very different world. For more, look up run away greenhouse effects and articles about the distance future of our little marble.


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  4. #3  
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    Ah I see, thanks for that!

    Alright, let's change the question a bit. What would happen if, tomorrow let's say, all of the Earth's fresh water lakes were boiled off. So the process happens in a 24 hour period (or maybe happens over a few years to be a little less extreme) instead of millions to billions of years. In the next few thousand years, what would the state of the Earth be? Does a huge increase in cloud cover mean constant torrential rains? What about temperature? Would there be a significant enough increase of water vapour in the atmosphere to create uninhabitable surface conditions due to heat in the next millennium or so? What about wind currents? Natural disasters (like flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes)?

    Thanks again.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDuncster View Post
    Hypothetically, if the technology existed and we didn't need to worry about the environment or living things for that matter, what would happen if we boiled off the Earth's oceans?
    Immediately the greenhouse effect would increase dramatically due to water vapor.

    The water vapor would rise and start to condense due to adiabatic and radiative cooling; it would then fall as rain. This would continue until most of the water vapor was cleared. The remaining vapor would take a long time to clear due to the much stronger greenhouse effect.
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  6. #5  
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    Oh my, would the Earth then, become like...Venus?
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  7. #6  
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    Initially, you'd wind up with a far more dense atmosphere. Interestingly, Earth's atmosphere was very heavily laden with water from its inception until about a billion years of age. Almost certainly before life appeared.
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