A group of Finnish scientists suggests a new climate-biosphere interaction mechanism for the underlying processes in a new study, which will be published on February 14, 2007 in PLoS ONE, the international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication from the Public Library of Science (PLoS).
The theory invokes cold, ice-containing climates as a key precursor for multicellular life. If the model turns out to be correct, one can assume that complex life might exist also around stars which are more massive and short-lived than the Sun. Since remote sensing of highly reflecting glaciers should be possible, this may help designing future astronomical observation programmes for earthlike extrasolar planets.
Multicellular life was preceded by the cold Neoproterozoic climate 600-800 million years ago which at times produced widespread glaciations. According to the new theory, the coldness was due to low carbon dioxide concentration brought about by strong algal growth in the oceans. The algal growth was maintained by the lack of grazing animals and the ability of cold seawater to mix and transport nutrients efficiently. A moderately high seawater oxygen concentration developed as a byproduct of the algal growth. This enabled diffusive breathing of primitive multicellulars which were larger than their unicellular counterparts. The ability of cold water to contain more dissolved oxygen also helped the multicellulars to thrive.
The diversification of the marine food webs introduced by multicellular predators as well as the moving and burrowing activity of animals on the seafloor contributed to a more efficient decomposition of the algae-produced organic carbon, which slowed the rate of organic carbon sequestration. This in turn increased the atmospheric carbon dioxide level and ended the severe glaciations and the reign of unicellular algae, initiating the development of a modern-type climate.
Andrew Hyde | alfa
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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