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On GaiaA Critical Investigation of the Relationship between Life and Earth$
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Toby Tyrrell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691121581

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691121581.001.0001

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A Stable or an Unstable World?

A Stable or an Unstable World?

Chapter:
(p.145) Chapter 8 A Stable or an Unstable World?
Source:
On Gaia
Author(s):

Toby Tyrrell

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691121581.003.0008

This chapter examines the claim of Earth's stability by looking at data pertaining to past variability of the Earth environment. The Gaia hypothesis proposes that life has had a hand on the tiller of Earth climate, ensuring stable equable climates throughout Earth history. The chapter argues differently. The data do not point to a constant environment, or to a cozy and hospitable one. In addition to the overall trend toward ever-icier climates over the last 100 million years, there is also compelling evidence that the tiller has on other occasions allowed climate to drift into dangerous states threatening to completely extinguish all life on Earth.

Keywords:   stability, Earth environment, Gaia hypothesis, Earth climate, Earth history, icy climates

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