Study Shows Oceans are Vital For Alien Life
By Sarah Thomas | July 22, 2014 12:07 PM EST
A new study by the researchers at the University of East Anglia has found that for life to evolve on other planets, oceans are extremely essential. The research paper, The Importance of Planetary Rotation Period for Ocean Heat Transport, was published in the journal Astrobiology. It looked into the ocean's role in making the planet's climate stable and favourable, moderating climate in Earth-like planets.
REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reut
A Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from NASA's Terra satellite shows Typhoon Neoguri in the Pacific Ocean, approaching Japan on its northward journey July 6, 2014. Japan's weather agency on Monday issued emergency warnings to urge people in the country's southern islands to take maximum precautions as a super typhoon described as a "once in decades storm" is set to rake the Okinawa island chain with heavy rain and powerful winds. Picture taken July 6, 2014. REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reuters (JAPAN - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Previously, scientists looked into the atmosphere on Earth-like planets to determine if life existed or could exist. But recent research discovered that the presence of oceans is vital for optimal climate stability and habitability.
The team from UEA's schools of Mathematics and Environmental Sciences created on a hypothetical ocean-covered Earth-like planet, a computer simulated pattern of ocean circulation. Taking into account the ocean, they looked at how the planet's rotation would impact heat transport.
Prof David Stevens from UEA's School of Maths said that there were a large number of planets outside our solar system, and the rate of the discovery of new planets is only increasing. This research, he said, would help answer the most important question of whether these planets could sustain alien life.
He explained that some planets are farther away from the sun and some are extremely close; such planets cannot sustain life. "A planet's habitable zone is based on its distance from the sun and temperatures at which it is possible for the planet to have liquid water," said Stevens. But to date, the impact of oceans on the planet's climate was never taken into account.
Oceans have an immense capacity to control climate. "They are beneficial because they cause the surface temperature to respond very slowly to seasonal changes in solar heating. And they help ensure that temperature swings across a planet are kept to tolerable levels," he added.
They also found that oceans transport heat which influences the temperature distribution across a planet and would allow a greater area of a planet to be habitable. He takes the example of Mars, stating that the planets temperature rises above 1,000 degrees Celsius, although it is in the sun's habitable zone because it does not have oceans. Oceans play a major role in making a planet's climate more stable. This makes it essential to factor them into climate models for knowing whether the planet could develop and sustain life.
"This new model will help us to understand what the climates of other planets might be like with more accurate detail than ever before."
The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Slow-Moving Yet Unrelenting Hawaii Lava Now Only Inches Away From Pahoa Homes
- 2014 MLB World Series Game 6: Kansas City Royals 10, San Francisco Giants 0 [PHOTOS]
- San Francisco Giants Beat Kansas City Royals, 3-2 In Game 7, Wins 2014 MLB World Series [PHOTOS]
- Cavaliers, LeBron James Flop In First Game Back In Cleveland; New York Knicks, Melo Pull Off Road Upset, 95-90 [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Yuka, A Woolly Mammoth, Is Just 39,000 Years Young, And Wears A Reddish Coat
- Army Of Moonwalkers May Soon Be Ready As Michael Jackson Reportedly Cloned Himself Before Death
- Social Media Conspiracy Fires Up Due To Ancient Engraving On Mars [Watch Video]
- Virgin Atlantic Space Tourism Rocket Crashes At Test Flight, 1 Dead
- Nanoplug Invisible Hearing Aid Comes With High-Tech Features And Nano-Battery That Recharges Instantaneously
- NATO: Russia's Been Conducting Too Many Military Flights Over Europe
- Moto X 2014 vs. Motorola DROID Turbo - Specifications, Features And Price Showdown
- Dismantling Of Fukushima Reactor 1 Faces Delays, US Judge Gives Sailor Go Signal To Push Through Lawsuit Against TEPCO Over Radiation
- Samsung Galaxy Note Edge To Be Available Through T-Mobile In The US
- Five Extreme Drop Tests On BlackBerry Passport Reveals Its Endurance [Watch Video]
- Updated iOS 8 Pangu Untethered Jailbreak Now Fully Works with Cydia: Key Fixes & Mods to Expect
- Ex-Ohio Trooper Pleads Guilty To Issuing Sex as Penalty To Women Motorists