Imagine for a moment that Earth’s atmosphere is made of liquid carbon. It would be super-heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius in just 5 seconds. It could happen due to volcanoes releasing carbon monoxide (CO), which warms the atmosphere, or because an atomic bomb detonates high in the atmosphere.
That’s the question we’ll answer by looking at what would happen if Earth’s atmosphere became super-heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius for 5 seconds. Given that this is a hypothetical question, you can use it to help you imagine how your home, office, or place of work might feel during an extreme heat wave or lightning storm.
What Would Happen to Earth’s Atmosphere?
The short answer is that it would be boiling on the surface and very cold in the air. The average temperature on Earth would be 1,000 degrees Celsius for around 5 seconds, and then the air would cool down to around 0 degrees Celsius for around 15 seconds.
It would be very uncomfortable for people on the ground and dangerous for aircraft and other high-speed vehicles. If a lightning storm hits at the same time as this, it could result in substantial flash floods that could destroy large areas of the earth’s surface.
What Would the World Feel Like at That Temperature?
At 1,000 degrees Celsius, the air would be pretty hot on the surface and pretty cold in the air. The average temperature on earth would be 1,000 degrees Celcius for around 5 seconds, and then the air would cool down to around 0 degrees Celcius for around 15 seconds.
Since the air is comparatively colder on the surface and hotter in the air, this would be very uncomfortable for people on the ground and hazardous for aircraft and other high-speed vehicles.
What Would We See or Experience During a Heat Wave or a Thunderstorm?
If this happened during a heat wave, the air would become very hot on the surface and cold in the air. People living in tropical areas would probably experience heatstroke or heat exhaustion. The humidity would be very high, so that the air would be very dense and hot. It would cause sweat to form on the skin, and the skin cells would begin to break down. You would start to feel very hot, and your skin would become red and hot.
Your eyes would water, your skin would turn yellow, your heart rate would be very high, and your breathing would become laboured. You would feel very ill, and you would likely lose consciousness.
How Long Would It Take to Heat Up?
The amount of time it would take to heat up to 1,000 degrees C is directly related to the atmospheric pressure at that location. It would take around 4 minutes for air pressure at the earth’s surface to equal that of the earth’s centre. At this point, the air would be hot, and the temperature at the surface of the earth would be about 1,000 degrees C.
The air above this temperature would be much denser than the air below it. This atmospheric pressure is what’s called critical pressure. If this pressure drops just the right way, it could reverse the temperature difference between the air above and below, allowing the temperature at the earth’s surface to increase.
Would You Be able to Stay in Your Home or Office Safely?
Most buildings have electric heaters but don’t reach 1,000 degrees C very quickly. It would take a few hours for them to reach this temperature. So, you would have to stay in the room where the heater is set to maintain a comfortable temperature. Outdoors, staying in a house or an office with electric heaters would probably be better.
At What Altitude Would This Happen?
High altitudes are more likely to have cold air prevailing, so it’s more likely that this phenomenon would occur there. Most volcanic areas have cold air prevailing, so it’s also likely that this would happen there.
How Would It Feel?
At 1,000 degrees C, the atmosphere would feel like silk. The air would be dehydrated, and there would be very little wind. The temperature would be so low that the skin would feel very cold. This environment would be very uncomfortable for people not used to it, such as astronauts or people who work in the extreme cold.
Would We Have Enough Time to Save Our Species?
Using your imagination is the best way to stay below the 1,000-degree mark. While we cannot say how long such changes would last, it is safe to say that we would have a few generations at most before something like this happened.
Are 1,000 Degrees Enough to Turn Us into Venus?
At the other extreme, if you wanted to turn our planet into something like Venus, you’d need a temperature rise of 720 degrees Celsius. Again, this is a very, very long time. And our atmosphere is cooler than that. There is a 50-50 chance that 1,000 degrees would be enough to turn our atmosphere like Venus.
It is almost a certainty as 1/4th of our atmosphere is made of water.
What if We Could Somehow Cool the Atmosphere?
Cooling the air by lowering the amount of infrared radiation from the stratosphere, where it is heated by the sun, could help mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases. It has been tried in a laboratory and shown to be possible. It is one of the more exciting ideas to come out of the super-temperature study.
However, cooling the atmosphere by lowering the amount of infrared radiation from the stratosphere would also cool the lower atmosphere, alarming weather patterns. Some of this would make its way back into the sky, adding to our already high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
What Would Happen to Our Climate?
If the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rose by only 1%, global temperatures would increase by about 0.8 degrees C. Fortunately, this is a minimal increase and would take a very long time to manifest itself in our climate. Global temperatures are about 0.8 degrees C higher than they would be if there were no greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
If our atmosphere suddenly became less dense, which would take about 100 million years, this would cause our climate to change very quickly. For example, coral reefs would bleach away as the water turned brackish, leading to the mass extinction of species.
How Would It Affect Life on Earth?
If our climate became so hot that the species that call it home turned into the affected zone, it would significantly affect the environment and life on Earth. We are, after all, the only land-based species in the world with a skin temperature of 1 degree C or higher.
Our skin keeps us from getting too cold when the air temperature dips below freezing, and it does this for a reason – to keep us from falling hypothermic and losing consciousness. However, with no protection from the sun’s rays, we would lose consciousness if the air temperature rose by 1 degree C or more.
What if This Happened Over Our Entire Planet?
Even though we would feel the increased temperature most keenly in certain areas, the global temperature rise would still be only a fraction of what it would be if our entire planet experienced a 1,000-degree temperature rise.
If the entire Earth became 1,000 degrees, the atmosphere would become so hot that it would be impossible to live. Would you like to live in a world where 1,000 degrees is the new normal? If you answered no, you should probably start looking into ways to protect our planet from this kind of catastrophe.
Is There Anything We Can Do?
All of this being said, we can do nothing to stop a future world government from enacting a 1,000-degree rise in a final effort to solve global warming. Even if we had the power to stop them, it would take time to cool the atmosphere and restore the Earth to its former state.
In the meantime, we can mitigate the effects of a 1,000-degree temperature rise by decreasing our carbon footprint, using energy-efficient appliances, and purchasing carbon-neutral products.
How Could We Help Mitigate the Problem?
One way we could help mitigate the effects of a 1,000-degree temperature rise would be to lower our carbon footprint. It could be done through energy-efficient appliances, using an energy shield for your home, and purchasing carbon-neutral products.
Another way that we could help mitigate the effects of a 1,000-degree temperature rise is by lowering our average temperature. While increasing the amount of CO2 in the air would help slow down the rate at which the Earth is warming, having our climate stay the same would have even less of an effect on global warming.
What Are Some of the Consequences?
The average temperature on Earth is currently about, and it has risen only slightly over the past century. A 1,000-degree temperature rise would be catastrophic. It would cause the Earth to cool back down to the point that it was before humans had affected it.
If we were to raise our average temperature by 1,000 degrees, we would go from being comfortable to being in an environment that is as hot as a desert. Because of this, 1,000-degree temperatures could cause significant problems for life on Earth.
How Does Rising Temperatures Affect Life on Earth?
When temperatures rise rapidly enough, the Earth’s climate changes. The results of these changes can be devastating for certain types of life. For example, a 1,000-degree temperature rise would cause the global average temperature to drop from its current level, bringing the Earth back to where it was before humans began affecting it.
The warming would also cause ice caps in Antarctica and Greenland to melt. As a result, our oceans would rise by several feet, and many coastal cities would become submerged by rising sea levels. It means that, once again, we would see all four seasons simultaneously.
These changes would significantly impact human society, with millions of people displaced by the rising seas.
How Does Rising Temperatures Affect Humans?
As mentioned earlier, 1,000-degree temperatures could make life as we know it impossible on Earth. For example, 1,000 degrees is enough to melt almost all existing plastics. In this case, we would not be able to sustain our current level of technology or technology that is even remotely similar to it.
The melting point of most metals is also around 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It will likely reach the melting point of metals and many plastics within a few hundred years of a 1,000-degree temperature rise. Many metals would reach their melting points in less than 20 years.
The oceans currently absorb more than a third of our greenhouse gas emissions. It is because they are vast and have such an enormous capacity to store heat. If the oceans suddenly became much less able to absorb carbon dioxide, our climate would rapidly change. The oceans would become much less hospitable to life.
What Would Happen to Our Weather?
The atmosphere also acts as a giant heat pump, which pumps energy from the ground into the air at night and then redistributes it during the day back down onto Earth’s surface by radiating infrared radiation back into space.
If this process stopped, our climate would change quickly, with dramatic consequences for agriculture and human health. Weather patterns across the globe would become more erratic and unpredictable, resulting in extreme weather events such as hurricanes, floods or droughts, or great fires or floods.
What Would Happen to Our Oceans?
The oceans are a vital part of the global climate system. As is the case for our atmosphere, the ocean acts as a giant heat pump. The oceans absorb more than half of all human-caused carbon dioxide emissions and are currently absorbing about half of all excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases. Our climate is changing, and our oceans are changing with it.
The ocean is already warming at around twice the rate of the atmosphere. This warming impacts marine life, including coral reefs which will bleach away as water becomes more acidic or polluted.
When the Earth’s atmosphere becomes too hot to sustain human life, a series of reactions occur. First, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. This carbon dioxide harms humans because we can’t breathe it in its natural environment. Then, water vapour is released into the atmosphere.
This water vapour is also very harmful to humans because it can’t be exhaled and gets into the lungs, which causes breathing problems. Finally, nitrogen oxides are released into the atmosphere as a by-product of the carbon dioxide release.
These substances are much less harmful to humans than carbon dioxide, so that the atmosphere would return to normal quickly after a short-term heating event.
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