Papers like 1, 2, etc. and the work of Axel Kleidon (e.g. 3) suggest that the the biosphere increases the production of entropy of Earth but I'd like to know if we could quantify this in a simple way. What would the entropy production be without life? If we knew that then the difference between what it is estimated to be would be easy to calculate.

  1. Ulanowicz, R.E. and Hannon, B.M., 1987. Life and the production of entropy. Proceedings of the Royal society of London. Series B. Biological sciences, 232(1267), pp.181-192.
  2. Schneider, E.D. and Kay, J.J., 1994. Life as a manifestation of the second law of thermodynamics. Mathematical and computer modelling, 19(6-8), pp.25-48.
  3. Kleidon, A., 2010. Life, hierarchy, and the thermodynamic machinery of planet Earth. Physics of life reviews, 7(4), pp.424-460.
  • $\begingroup$ This sounds like a better fit to the biology stack. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 29, 2021 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ I suggest going to the biology stack and asking a much simpler question that will give you the same answer. "how much energy is consumed by all life on earth combined" $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 30, 2021 at 1:31
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I think that the thermodynamics and entropy of Earth's entire biosphere is of more interest to today's Earth Scientists than today's Biologists. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Apr 30, 2021 at 7:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MooseSmart can you link to something in the help center or meta that says that Earth Science SE questions must "mention something geographical (Like Volcanism, etc)"? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 6, 2021 at 2:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Imo this a good question, a very complex one. Maybe one day someone comes along who has a better understanding and gives an answer, if that exists. $\endgroup$
    – user22279
    May 6, 2021 at 14:50


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.