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The history of the UV radiation climate of the earth - Theoretical and space-based observations

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-451
Number of pages5
JournalPhotochemistry and photobiology
Volume73
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001

Abstract

In the Archean era (3.8-2.5 Ga ago) the Earth probably lacked a protective ozone column. Using data obtained in the Earth's orbit on the inactivation of Bacillus subtilis spores we quantitatively estimate the potential biological effects of such an environment. We combine this practical data with theoretical calculations to propose a history of the potential UV stress on the surface of the Earth over time. The data suggest that an effective ozone column was established at a pO(2) of similar to5 x 10(-3) present atmospheric level. The improvement in the UV environment on the early Proterozoic Earth might have been a much more rapid event than has previously been supposed, with DNA damage rates dropping by two orders of magnitude in the space of just a few tens of minions of years. We postulate that a coupling between reduced UV stress and increased pO(2) production could have contributed toward a positive feedback in the production of ozone in the early Proterozoic atmosphere. This would contribute to the apparent rapidity of the oxidation event. The data provide an evolutionary perspective on present-day Antarctic ozone depletion.

    Research areas

  • CARBON-DIOXIDE CONCENTRATIONS, BACILLUS-SUBTILIS SPORES, ULTRAVIOLET-RADIATION, ATMOSPHERIC OZONE, YOUNG SUN, EVOLUTION, OXYGEN, ENVIRONMENT, WAVELENGTHS, LUMINOSITY

ID: 25228828