Imagine the Earth contains 50% the water it currently contains. The oceans are still located in the same place, but they are much shallower. How would this affect the climate and the climate stability of the planet?

  • $\begingroup$ Many wild hypotheticals are shied away from on scientific sites as being fruitless daydreaming. Though a question like this might see a bit more attention because it is highlights how the factors in the actual effects compare. $\endgroup$ Jun 29, 2022 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ But just to clarify your question for everything... you're also not saying the moisture is somewhere else (atmosphere), but just simply the Earth is exactly the same as now, except the ocean's depth is shallower in the same locations (by balancing less water in the Earth system with smaller elevation decline in the oceans)? And also would think you're saying something like reduce it equally by cutting all depths in half? $\endgroup$ Jun 29, 2022 at 6:01
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    $\begingroup$ @JeopardyTempest I disagree. Running such estimates through models can be instructive, it can help to understand models and even the Earth System. It may have relevance for paleoclimatology. I'm not a paleoclimatoligist and could be widely wrong, but I vaguely seem to recall that the ancient ocean was much shallower than today's. The oceans take up a lot of CO₂ — does this scale with volume, with surface area, or is it more complicated? I don't think such questions constitute fruitless daydreaming. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Jun 29, 2022 at 7:44
  • $\begingroup$ The oceans would warm up and acidify twice as fast as before and thus lose their ability to act as a CO2 sink even faster. The climate is closely linked to the sea surface temperature. So overall I would assume a faster rise in GHG and Earth temperature. $\endgroup$
    – Rammstein
    Jun 29, 2022 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ what-if.xkcd.com/103 - not exactly what you're looking for, but the second half is a good indicator for possible effects. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Jul 1, 2022 at 7:35


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