Runaway Greenhouse Effect

A runaway greenhouse effect is a process in which a net positive feedback between surface temperature and atmospheric opacity increases the strength of the greenhouse effect on a planet until its oceans boil away. An example of this is believed to have happened in the early history of Venus. On the Earth, the IPCC states that "a 'runaway greenhouse effect'—analogous to Venus—appears to have virtually no chance of being induced by anthropogenic activities."

Other, less catastrophic events, that nonetheless can produce a large climate change sometimes are loosely called a "runaway greenhouse" although it is not an appropriate description. For example, it has been hypothesized that large releases of greenhouse gases may have occurred concurrently with the Permian-Triassic extinction event or Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Other terms, such as "abrupt climate change", or tipping points could be used when describing such scenarios.

On much longer timescales, such processes can potentially spell the end of life on Earth due to the gradual increase in brightness of the Sun as it expands into a red giant in about one billion years.

Read more about Runaway Greenhouse Effect:  History, Feedbacks, Venus, Earth, Physics of The Runaway Greenhouse, Connection To Habitability, Distant Future, See Also

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    Dixie Lee Ray (b. 1924)

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    I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active—not more happy—nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1845)