Latest climate models have discovered that the amount and location of the land on a planet’s surface can significantly influence its habitability. Astronomers have observed significant differences in surface temperature, sea ice, and water vapor throughout a planet’s surface for various land configurations. The outcome is supposed to be demonstrated on Monday,11th July, at the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2022) by Evelyn Macdonald, a graduate student at the University of Toronto, Canada.
A team of experimenters at the University of Toronto have referred to a 3-dimensional climate model to simulate Earth-like planets comprising two different dayside configurations. The first layout is a circular continent in the center of the dayside surrounded by the ocean. The second configuration is the opposite -a circular ocean in the center of the dayside with land everywhere else. In both cases, the size of the circle was different to illustrate how the planet’s climate relies on land fraction for each continent’s composition.
Macdonald explains: “Finding out whether life exists elsewhere in the universe is a key challenge of astronomy and science as a whole. Our work demonstrates that the distribution of land on an Earth-like planet has a big impact on its climate, and should help astronomers looking at planets with instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope to better interpret what they’re seeing.”