A proposal for climate stability on H2-greenhouse planets

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Dorian S Abbot, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, United States
A terrestrial planet in an orbit far outside of the standard habitable zone could maintain surface liquid water as a result of H2-H2 collision-induced absorption by a thick H2 atmosphere. Without a stabilizing climate feedback, however, habitability would be accidental and likely brief. We propose a stabilizing climate feedback for such a planet that requires only biological production of H2 to balance net loss to space that has some optimal temperature, and operates less efficiently at higher temperatures. A stable feedback is possible on such a planet through which a perturbation increasing temperature decreases H2 production, which decreases H2 greenhouse warming and therefore temperature. The potential of such a feedback makes H2-warmed planets more attractive astrobiological targets.