Beyond Gaia: Thermodynamics of Life and Earth System Functioning

@article{Kleidon2004BeyondGT,
  title={Beyond Gaia: Thermodynamics of Life and Earth System Functioning},
  author={Axel Kleidon},
  journal={Climatic Change},
  year={2004},
  volume={66},
  pages={271-319}
}
  • A. Kleidon
  • Published 1 October 2004
  • Environmental Science
  • Climatic Change
Are there any general principles that govern the way in which life affects Earth system functioning? Most prominently, the Gaia hypothesis addresses this question by proposing that near-homeostatic conditions on Earth have been maintained “by and for the biosphere.” Here the role of the biota in the Earth system is described from a viewpoint of nonequilibrium thermodynamics, particularly with respect to the hypothesis of maximum entropy production (MEP). It is argued that the biota introduce… 

Gaia again

Understanding life from a thermodynamic Earth system perspective

Life relies on energy and resources from the Earth’s environment, and by converting these, it alters the Earth system. Biotic effects are, for instance, reflected in the drastically altered chemical

Nonequilibrium thermodynamics and maximum entropy production in the Earth system

  • A. Kleidon
  • Environmental Science
    Naturwissenschaften
  • 2009
TLDR
This nonequilibrium thermodynamic view of the Earth system shows great promise to establish a holistic description of the planet as one system, and is likely to allow us to better understand and predict its function as one entity, how it has evolved in the past, and how it is modified by human activities in the future.

Erratum to: Non-equilibrium thermodynamics and maximum entropy production in the earth system: Applications and implications

  • A. Kleidon
  • Environmental Science
    Naturwissenschaften
  • 2010
The Earth system is maintained in a unique state far from thermodynamic equilibrium, as, for in- stance, reflected in the high concentration of reactive oxygen in the atmosphere. The myriad of

Thermodynamics and environmental constraints make the biosphere predictable – a response to Volk

TLDR
I do not think that Volk makes convincing arguments that contradict MEP, although I certainly agree that there is a lot more work to be done to fully recognize the great importance that thermodynamics and MEP play in shaping the Earth’s biosphere and its evolutionary history.

How does the Earth system generate and maintain thermodynamic disequilibrium and what does it imply for the future of the planet?

  • A. Kleidon
  • Physics
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2012
TLDR
It is shown that the ability of abiotic processes to generate geochemical free energy that can be used to transform the surface–atmosphere environment is strongly limited to less than 1 TW, substantiating the notion that a geochemical composition far from equilibrium can be a sign for strong biotic activity.

Life, hierarchy, and the thermodynamic machinery of planet Earth.

14 Biotic Entropy Production and Global Atmosphere-Biosphere Interactions

Atmospheric conditions constrain biotic activity through incoming solar radiation, temperature, and soil water availability on land. At the same time atmospheric composition and the partitioning of

Non-equilibrium thermodynamics, maximum entropy production and Earth-system evolution

  • A. Kleidon
  • Physics
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2010
TLDR
Non-equilibrium thermodynamics and MEP have the potential to provide a simple and holistic theory of Earth- system functioning and can be used to derive overall evolutionary trends of the Earth’s past, identify the role that life plays in driving thermodynamic states far from equilibrium, identify habitability in other planetary environments and evaluate human impacts on Earth-system functioning.
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 118 REFERENCES

Life, Temperature, and the Earth: The Self-Organizing Biosphere

The idea that living things and the atmosphere, oceans, and soils comprise an interactive, self-regulating system-the Gaia concept-was first proposed nearly thirty years ago. Since then researchers

Testing the Effect of Life on Earth's Functioning: How Gaian Is the Earth System?

TLDR
It is concluded that life has indeed a strong tendency to affect Earth in a way which enhances the overall benefit (that is, carbon uptake), however, this does not imply that the biota regulates Earth's environment for its own benefit.

The Gaia hypothesis: Can it be tested?

The Gaia hypothesis' central theme is that biological processes homeostatically maintain, on a planetary scale, geochemical and climatic conditions favorable for life. A number of distinct hypotheses

Life span of the biosphere

There has been life on Earth for at least 3,500 Myr but the assumption that a comparable future lies ahead may not be justified. Main sequence stars appear to increase their burning rate as they age.

Biological homeostasis of the global environment: the parable of Daisyworld

TLDR
A model of animaginary planet having a very simple biosphere, consisting of just two species of daisy of different colours, sketches out the elements of a biological feedback system which might help regulate the temperature of the earth.

The Gaia Hypothesis: Conjectures and Refutations

TLDR
Gaia theory predicts that organisms alter their environment to their own benefit, but throughout most of the surface ocean, nutrient depletion by plankton has almost created a biological desert, and is kept in check only by the nutrient starvation of the plankton themselves.

Testing Gaia: The Effect of Life on Earth's Habitability and Regulation

The Gaia theory proposes that the Earth system self-regulates in a habitable state. Here the effect of life on the state of the Earth and its response to forcing and perturbation is considered. It is

Planets, life and the production of entropy

  • R. Lorenz
  • Physics, Geology
    International Journal of Astrobiology
  • 2002
Two thermodynamic principles offer considerable insight into the climatic and geological settings for life on other planets, namely (1) that natural systems tend to actually achieve the ideal

Atmospheric homeostasis by and for the biosphere: the gaia hypothesis

During the time, 3.2 × 10 9 years, that life has been present on Earth, the physical and chemical conditions of most of the planetary surface have never varied from those most favourable for life.

Geophysiology, the science of Gaia

The Gaia hypothesis postulates that the climate and chemical composition of the Earth's surface environment is, and has been, regulated at a state tolerable for the biota. This notion was introduced
...