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Earth-Like Planets Oceans Could Make For More Habitable Conditions

The artistic concept compares Earth (left) to the new planet, called Kepler-452b, which is about 60 percent larger.  (Image:  NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)
The artistic concept compares Earth (left) to the new planet, called Kepler-452b, which is about 60 percent larger. (Image: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

We have been studying Earth-like planets for some time now, with many scientists believing that we are not alone in the universe. Now, according to new research, it has been found that the salt levels in the oceans on these planets may have a significant effect on their climates.

Researchers from the Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of East Anglia have revealed that the circulation of extremely salty or fresh water in these extra-terrestrial seas would influence their temperatures, adding that this could, in fact, make for more habitable conditions for alien life.

Computer simulations of Earth-like planets on their habitable climates have focused mainly on their atmospheres. However, the researchers believe that it is vital to study their oceans to gain a better understanding of its climate stability and habitability.

The artist's concept depicts Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone—a range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet's surface. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that Earth-size planets exist in the habitable zones of other stars and signals a significant step closer to finding a world similar to Earth. (Image: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

The artist’s concept depicts Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone — a range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet’s surface. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that Earth-size planets exist in the habitable zones of other stars and signals a significant step closer to finding a world similar to Earth. (Image: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

The scientists also mention that this is the first time researchers have considered that the seas on Earth-like planets may not be similar to ours, they could prove to be significantly more or less salty than the oceans here on Earth.

Prof. David Stevens from UEA’s School of Mathematics said in a statement:

The research team used computer models of ocean circulation on exoplanets to see what would happen when their oceans had different salinity levels to Earth. They considered oceans with very low salinity (similar to freshwater), salinity similar to the average value of Earth’s oceans, and high salinity (similar levels to the Dead Sea), according to University of East Anglia.

Dr. Manoj Joshi from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, said:

Jodie Cullum from UEA’s School of Mathematics, said:

A study titled: “Importance of ocean salinity for climate and habitability” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Learn more about Kepler-186f with NASA’s Ames Research Center:

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