Earth could have lost anywhere between ten and 60 per cent of its atmosphere in the collision that is thought to have formed the Moon.
New research led by Durham University, UK, shows how the extent of atmospheric loss depends upon the type of giant impact with the Earth.
Researchers ran more than 300 supercomputer simulations to study the consequences that different huge collisions have on rocky planets with thin atmospheres.
Their findings have led to the development of a new way to predict the atmospheric loss from any collision across a wide range of rocky planet impacts that could be used by scientists who are investigating the Moon’s origins or other giant impacts.
They also found that slow giant impacts between young planets and massive objects could add significant atmosphere to a planet if the impactor also has a lot of atmosphere.
A 10-year effort by China to improve air quality and reduce pollution-related health risks has caused warming in areas across the northern hemisphere, according to new work published in Environmental Research Letters.
Aerosols are tiny particles that are spewed into the atmosphere by human activities, such as burning coal and wood, or by geological phenomena, like volcanos. Their negative effects on air quality can damage human health and agricultural productivity.
Similar to how the aerosols emitted in a volcanic eruption can cause global temperatures to drop, some aerosols from human activity also have a cooling effect on the climate. Unlike greenhouse gases, which induce global warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere, aerosol particles can cause sunlight to be reflected away from the planet either directly or by interacting with clouds.
“This means that some of the effects of global warming are being masked by aerosol pollution,” explained lead