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Title: A warm or a cold early Earth? New insights from a 3-D climate-carbon model
Author: Benjamin Charnay, Guillaume Le Hir, Frédéric Fluteau, François Forget, David C. Catling

Oxygen isotopes in marine cherts have been used to infer hot oceans during the Archean with temperatures between 60°C (333 K) and 80°C (353 K). Such climates are challenging for the early Earth warmed by the faint young Sun. The interpretation of the data has therefore been controversial. 1D climate modelling inferred that such hot climates would require very high levels of CO2 (2-6 bars). Previous carbon cycle modelling concluded that such stable hot climates were impossible and that the carbon cycle should lead to cold climates during the Hadean and the Archean. Here, we revisit the climate and carbon cycle of the early Earth at 3.8 Ga using a 3D climate-carbon model. We find that CO2 partial pressures of around 1 bar could have produced hot climates given a low land fraction and cloud feedback effects. However, such high CO2 partial pressures should not have been stable because of the weathering of terrestrial and oceanic basalts, producing an efficient stabilizing feedback. Moreover, the weathering of impact ejecta during the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) would have strongly reduced the CO2 partial pressure leading to cold climates and potentially snowball Earth events after large impacts. Our results therefore favor cold or temperate climates with global mean temperatures between around 8°C (281 K) and 30°C (303 K) and with 0.1-0.36 bar of CO2 for the late Hadean and early Archean. Finally, our model suggests that the carbon cycle was efficient for preserving clement conditions on the early Earth without necessarily requiring any other greenhouse gas or warming process.

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Title: The Pale Orange Dot: The Spectrum and Habitability of Hazy Archean Earth
Author: Giada Arney, Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman, Victoria S. Meadows, Eric T. Wolf, Edward Schwieterman, Benjamin Charnay, Mark Claire, Eric Hébrard, Melissa G. Trainer

Recognising whether a planet can support life is a primary goal of future exoplanet spectral characterisation missions, but past research on habitability assessment has largely ignored the vastly different conditions that have existed in our planet's long habitable history. This study presents simulations of a habitable yet dramatically different phase of Earth's history, when the atmosphere contained a Titan-like organic-rich haze. Prior work has claimed a haze-rich Archean Earth (3.8-2.5 billion years ago) would be frozen due to the haze's cooling effects. However, no previous studies have self-consistently taken into account climate, photochemistry, and fractal hazes. Here, we demonstrate using coupled climate-photochemical-microphysical simulations that hazes can cool the planet's surface by about 20 K, but habitable conditions with liquid surface water could be maintained with a relatively thick haze layer (tau ~ 5 at 200 nm) even with the fainter young sun. We find that optically thicker hazes are self-limiting due to their self-shielding properties, preventing catastrophic cooling of the planet. Hazes may even enhance planetary habitability through UV shielding, reducing surface UV flux by about 97% compared to a haze-free planet, and potentially allowing survival of land-based organisms 2.6.2.7 billion years ago. The broad UV absorption signature produced by this haze may be visible across interstellar distances, allowing characterisation of similar hazy exoplanets. The haze in Archean Earth's atmosphere was strongly dependent on biologically-produced methane, and we propose hydrocarbon haze may be a novel type of spectral biosignature on planets with substantial levels of CO2. Hazy Archean Earth is the most alien world for which we have geochemical constraints on environmental conditions, providing a useful analogue for similar habitable, anoxic exoplanets.

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New study supports theory that Earth's earliest crust was folded back into its mantle and returned to the surface in volcanoes

An international team of researchers, including Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, geochemist James Day, has found new evidence that material contained in oceanic lava flows originated in Earth's ancient Archean crust. These findings support the theory that much of the Earth's original crust has been recycled by the process of subduction, helping to explain how the Earth has formed and changed over time.
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Title: The Cosmic Ray Intensity Near the Archean Earth
Authors: O. Cohen, J. J. Drake, J. Kota

We employ three-dimensional state of the art magnetohydrodynamic models of the early solar wind and heliosphere and a two-dimensional model for cosmic ray transport to investigate the cosmic ray spectrum and flux near the Archean Earth. We assess how sensitive the cosmic ray spectrum is to changes in the sunspot placement and magnetic field strength, the large scale dipole magnetic field strength, the wind ram pressure, and the Sun's rotation period. Overall, our results confirm earlier work that suggested the Archean Earth would have experienced a greatly reduced cosmic ray flux than is the case today. The cosmic ray reduction for the early Sun is mainly due to the shorter solar rotation period and tighter winding of the Parker spiral, and to the different surface distribution of the more active solar magnetic field. These effects lead to a global reduction of the cosmic ray flux at 1AU by up to two orders of magnitude or more. Variations in the sunspot magnetic field have more effect on the flux than variations in the dipole field component. The wind ram pressure affects the cosmic ray flux through its influence on the size of the heliosphere via the pressure balance with the ambient interstellar medium. Variations in the interstellar medium pressure experienced by the solar system in orbit through Galaxy could lead to order of magnitude changes in the cosmic ray flux at Earth on timescales of a few million years.

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