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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  08 Jun 2020

08 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

Technical Note: Estimation of global loss of freshwater based on sea level changes over geological time

Gaspar Banfalvi Gaspar Banfalvi
  • Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Microbiology, University of Debrecen, 1 Egyetem Square, Debrecen 4010, Hungary

Abstract. Water vapour at the upper layer of the atmosphere undergoes light-dependent photolysis generating reactive hydrogen ions in statu nascendi that escape to space by different mechanisms. Besides hydrogen, other volatile gases such as methane molecules and helium atoms also escape to space in smaller quantities or traces such as oxygen. The escape of hydrogen through the planetary air leak cannot be reliably judged. Our estimation of global freshwater loss used another approach based on the sea-level changes that continuously fluctuated over geological time. The most reliable evidence for eustatic sea-level changes was provided by geologists estimating the shifts of shorelines generating sedimentary deposits. The sea-level changes turned to volumetric used data of a) radii of the Earth (r1) to calculate the volume of the geoid Earth (V1) comparing and validating them with available estimations, b) average sea depth (r2) comparing volumetric values of the sea with best-fitting values (V2). c) showing the correlation between geological changes (r3) and corresponding sea volumes (V3). These data, along with the sea volume of the infant Earth, allowed to plot a calibration curve to calculate the sea level belonging to the volume and vice versa. Geologic data indicate the shrinkage of freshwater pools during interglacial dilution periods and the remarkable long-term salination of the ocean.

Gaspar Banfalvi

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Gaspar Banfalvi

Gaspar Banfalvi


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
From the global escape of light gases (H, ammonia, water vapour) to space, the global water loss could not be estimated. Therefore the ancient and recent sea levels and volumes were used to estimate the disappearance of water from the Earth. Earlier high sea levels with decreasing fluctuations indicate water loss long before man existed. Highest sea level was referred to as the Infant Sea with an estimated volume that could have been by 26 % more voluminous than it is today.
From the global escape of light gases (H, ammonia, water vapour) to space, the global water loss...