BOULDER, Colo., June 8 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say early Earth was most likely shielded from ultraviolet radiation by a thick, organic haze like that now seen over Saturn’s moon Titan.
University of Colorado-Boulder scientists said the early Earth haze likely consisted of methane and nitrogen chemical byproducts created by reactions with light. Doctoral student Eric Wolf, the study’s lead author, said not only would the haze have shielded Earth from UV light, it would have allowed gases such as ammonia to accumulate, causing greenhouse warming and perhaps helping to prevent the planet from freezing.
A paper on the NASA-funded research by Wolf and Professor Brian Toon appears in Science magazine.
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