Earth is our only home… and the only place we can live… anywhere.
Earth is situated perfectly within the Goldilocks Zone of the Sun… this gives Earth the right
temperatures to allow liquid water to exist. Like the fairy tale goes, it’s not too close to the Sun and it’s not too far… it’s just right. Because of this, it is the only planet we know of that can sustain and nurture life as we know it. It is our total and sole resource for life which depends on many indelibly interlinked life systems.
Even though thousands of other planets have been found within and beyond our own galaxy that could sustain life as we know it, not one has been confirmed to have that capability. The reason is that there are many, many other conditions which have to exist in order for the life we know to be possible. It’s a very delicate and intricate balance of conditions that must be achieved and sustained constantly, against which the odds are extraordinarily astronomical (no pun intended!).
Only Earth is capable of providing an abundance of life and life-giving provisions in this solar
system… or anywhere else we can ascertain with our limited knowledge.
Such is the very nature of Earth. It is perfectly unique… so far as we know.
Ecology Prime™ Pulse of the Planet shows Earth’s current vital signs that directly indicate the state of current conditions impacting all life today. Simply stated, Earth’s lifespan is billions of years into the future… but the endurance of all the planet’s life, including humans,
unequivocally and directly depends on Earth sustaining its fragile life systems. And that is a
Following are the essential indicators of life on Earth and its capacities for sustaining life today. This is the real time checkup on the heartbeat of Earth’s life systems. This is Pulse of the Planet on Ecology Prime™!
Proviso: The statistics and figures in Ecology Prime™ Pulse of the Planet are derived from accredited resources and verified with multiple authoritative sources; however, there can be slight variations due to various methods of examination as well as rounding and averages. Also, information and data representing earlier history and prehistory are carefully based on multiple authoritative archeological and historical research and the findings of these sources. In all cases, the data is reliable and authoritative. Data is tabulated, interpreted, assembled and presented by Ecology Prime™ Data Resources.
Earth’s Age: ~4,540,000,000 years.
World Human Population
Total Population (2022 Projection): 8,031,800,429
Earth’s Prognosis: In about five billion years, the Sun will become a Red Giant which will engulf the inner planets – Mercury, Venus and Earth. While not obliterating the planet, it will incinerate all Earth’s life operations including vaporizing its remaining atmosphere and all its water rendering the planet incapable of holding any life.
Life Sustainability Prognosis
Assuming there are no natural or human-induced life-annihilating catastrophes beforehand, Earth can sustain life for about another 1.75
to 3.25 billion years as natural forces eventually corrupt the environment of the planet’s habitable zone. As the Sun ages, it gets hotter and brighter… and that energy
directly hits Earth. Today, the Sun is about 20% hotter and brighter than it was when Earth first formed; its luminosity and heat generation are increasing ~6 – 8% every billion years. This increase will eventually make Earth uninhabitable when it is 6.3 – 7.8 billion years old.
Distance from the Sun (average distance):
149,597,871 km | 92,955,807 miles
Moon Influences: Relatively Stable (Cyclical tides, weather, water cycles, glacial conditions)
Outlook: Although the Moon is moving away from Earth at the rate of 3.8 cm | 1.5 inches per year, its fate will be the same as Earth’s when both are consumed together by the Sun in about five billion years.
Earth’s Total Surface Area: 510.072 million km2 | 196.94 million mi2
29.1% is Land Surface Area: 148.94 million km2 | 57.5 million mi2.
70.9% is Water Surface Area: 361.9 million km2 | 139.7 million mi2.
Cryosphere: 12% of Earth’s total surface is permanently covered by ice and snow, about
75% of which is contained in the Arctic and the Antarctic polar regions.
Earth’s Total Water Volume:
1.386 billion cubic km3 | 332.540 million mi3 (About 366 quintillion gallons).
Average Annual Surface Temperature: 13.9°C | 57.02°F
Since 1981, warming has occurred at over twice this rate: 0.18°C | 0.32°F per decade.
Average increase of 0.08°C | 0.14°F per decade since 1880.
- An increase of 1.01°C | 1.82°F since 1880.
- Poles are 0.55°C | 0.99°F warmer during full moons.
Earth’s Inner Core Temperature: 5,403°C | 9,006°F (about the same temperature as the Sun’s surface)
Hottest Temperature on Record (Current Era): 58.0°C |136.4°F – September 13, 1922, in El Aziziya, Libya.
Coldest Temperature on Record (Current Era): -89.2°C |-128.6°F – July 21, 1983, at Vostok Station, Antarctica. (Vostok Station is a Russian research post located about 1,301
kilometers (808.4 miles) from the Geographic South Pole in Antarctica.)
Validation: There is some controversy leading certain observers to discount the El Aziziya heat record of 58.0°C (136.4°F) and claiming the record of 56.7 °C (134.1 °F) on July 10, 1913, in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, CA, USA, as the record holder instead; however, the methods in both are unresolved. In any case, both temperature recordings are intensely, if not lethally, hot!
Air Volume: 4.2 billion km3 | 1.1 billion mi3.
Air pollution is now considered to be the world’s largest environmental health threat, accounting for seven million deaths around the world every year. (World Health Organization – WHO)
(The effective air volume is contained within the troposphere, up to about 8 – 14.5 kilometers | 4.97 – 9.01 miles above Earth’s surface.)
Dry Air Composition: Nitrogen – 78.08% | Oxygen – 20.95 % | Argon – 0.93% | Carbon Dioxide – 0.04%. Trace gases include neon, helium, methane, krypton, ozone and hydrogen.
(Percentages are rounded to nearest decimal point. Does not account for pollutants and other unnatural air additives.)
State of Earth’s Air Composition: Very Stable.
This is largely due to the presence of a naturally occurring “detergent” compound called hydroxyl radical that generates the process of cleansing the air of pollutants and other elements that can affect the air’s composition. This process has been at work since Earth began… its nature’s own air purification system.
Air Quality Index – AQI (Average for 2021): 45 – Good
(Average of 96 Regionally Diverse Major Cities – 2nd Quarter 2022)
Primary Outdoor Air Pollutants: Carbon monoxide | lead | nitrogen dioxide | ozone | particulate matter (all sizes) | sulfur dioxide.
Most polluted regions (2021 average air quality index)
Most polluted countries (2021 average air quality index)
Least polluted regions (2021 average air quality index)
Least polluted countries
Current State: 99% of the global population is exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution, directly accounting for over seven million deaths each year (WHO) primary in highly urbanized regions. It is increasing at a rate of 1.6% per year, primarily due to industrial and transportation fossil fuel combustion. Trends towards use of renewable energy and increased use of mass transportation is helping reduce harmful manmade pollutants introduced into ambient outdoor air.
Nine in 10 people today live in areas where outdoor air pollution levels are unhealthy, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Annual Total Energy Usage (Estimated for 2022)
624.9 million terajoules | 592.3 quadrillion BTU | 14,925.5 MTOE – megatonnes of oil equivalent | 173.6 trillion kWh – kilowatt hours) (Based on 5% increased energy consumption over 2021. Consumption increased 5.8 percent in 2021 over 2020.)
Total Energy Sources (in order of most consumed)
Largest Energy Consumption:
- China – 23.8%,
- United States – 16.8%,
- Russia – 5.6%,
- India – 5.2%.
All four countries collectively consume over half – 51.4% – of the world’s energy production.
Renewable Energy Sources – 13.4% of Total Energy Sources (in order of most consumed):
Least Energy Consumption: Kiribati and Falkland Islands – each with 0.00001% global energy consumption.
Largest Annual Per Capita Consumption: Gibraltar – 5.7 million Btu; Qatar – 0.793 million Btu; Iceland – 0.662 million Btu.
Smallest Annual Per Capita Consumption: Chad – 325 Btu; Kiribati – 404 Btu.
Note: Total world energy consumption is defined as the total energy used to power civilization, principally for residential and commercial electricity, industry such as construction, agriculture, mining), communications and transportation.
Renewable energy will be on the rise, more than doubling by 2050 and will meet 27% of global energy consumption needs. Fossil fuel consumption will increase at a lower rate with its share of total energy decreasing by 3.5% over 2022 projections to 68.8% of the total energy provided. Coal consumption, today’s largest source of all electricity produced globally (37%), will produce 22% of the world’s electricity by 2040; it will still be the largest provider of the world’s electricity needs.
Outlook: Though total fossil fuel supply percentages are decreasing and renewable energy is increasing, global energy demand continues to and will continue to increase. Total global energy consumption is expected to increase 50% by 2050 over 2020 levels, largely due to increased populations – particularly in Asia.
Total Number of Living Species (estimated): 8.743 Million
(Includes all living things – animals, plants, fungi and other lifeforms, except for bacteria and certain microbes. Scientists consider this estimate as one of the most accurate based on data about known species to determine total numbers that exist but not yet discovered. (Announced in 2011 in the journal PLOS Biology.) Scientists agree, however, that inestimable species are still to be discovered, especially in the oceans, and many will become extinct before they can be identified. Numbers are rounded.)
Total Number of Identified Living Species: 2,129,393
(This number is based on multiple sources which vary based on determination of species groupings and methods of identification. These are only identified species; scientists agree that millions more species have yet to be identified.)
Vertebrates (Have backbones)
Invertebrates (no backbones)
Fauna (Animals): 1,565,269
Total Threatened – Fauna: 16,479 –
(Important Note on Trees: Most trees are included in flowering plants and conifers. There are over 60,000 species of trees in the natural world, according to Botanic Gardens Conservation International – BGCI).
Flora (Plants): 422,743
Total Threatened – Flora: 23,335
Total Species Threatened: 40,084 – 8.6% of all species are classified as critically endangered
Earth’s Space Environment
The Galactic Neighborhood
Solar Energy Hitting Earth: 430 Quintillion Joules per hour. (Annual global energy consumption is about 410 quintillion joules.)
Radiation Types and Percentage of Solar Radiation
- Infrared radiation (heat): 49%
- Visible radiation (light): 43%
- Ultraviolet radiation: 7% (All types – causes burns, source of vitamin D, helps sterilize, assists tanning)
- Other – Gamma, X-ray radiation and others: 1%
Earth’s Radiation Protection
Magnetic Field – fully encases the planet | extends to about 60,000 km (37,282 miles) above Earth’s surface – variable. Generated primarily by the Earth’s molten outer core. *link to ep article about earth’s shield of life*
Atmospheric Ozone Layer (like a sunscreen): ~15-40 km (9-25 miles) above Earth’s surface | about 0.00006% of the atmosphere.
Space Junk: Over 27,000 Trackable Pieces in Earth’s Orbit (does not include inestimable smaller pieces, active satellites and the International Space Station). (This is debris left by humans in space.)
- Mass of Debris Orbiting Earth: 9,900 tonnes (10,913 tons).
- Sources: Primarily spent rocket stages, decommissioned satellites, small asteroids, and various small items.
Analysis: Life on Earth is possible because of the protections provided primarily by Earth’s magnetic shield and its atmospheric ozone layer which prevent the Sun’s harmful radiation from razing the planet’s atmosphere and preventing harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV radiation) from roasting all living things.
The strength of the magnetic field is less than that of a common magnet; it is enough to protect Earth’s atmosphere from most harmful radiation, but it cannot fully deflect a massive bombardment of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun or other cosmic source.
The ozone layer has been thinning for years because of human-induced ozone depleting substances (ODS); however, these gases that threaten ozone have been declining in recent years.
Space debris is especially dangerous if not lethal for travelers where the debris orbit the planet, including space vehicles and functioning satellites. This currently has no effect on the health of the planet itself.
Outlook: Continued declines in ODS will lead to a full recovery of Earth’s ozone layer by 2050; however, the ozone layer has significantly thinned before starting its recover and will remain the thinnest at the North and South Poles.
Earth’s magnetic field is on shakier ground. It has been decaying for the past 3,000 years. The magnetic North and South Poles, which have flipped upwards of 100 times over the last 20 million years according to scientists, is showing signs of doing so which would have dramatic negative effects on human civilization’s support systems; however, recent scientific research indicates that will not happen for another few thousand years.
In the meantime, should Earth be hit full-on with an extraordinary blast of energy from the Sun, such as a coronal mass ejection (CME), *link to ep article about earths greatest threat* it would likely fry Earth’s satellites and all communications systems as well as knock out power grids worldwide.
This probability is very low, but still possible at any time, according to heliophysics scientists at NASA. The amount of pace debris continues to grow – including depleted rocket sections, decommissioned satellites, and small asteroids – which will burn should they fall back to Earth, but they stay in their orbits.
While scientists are seeking ways to clean up this space junk, including successful implementation of a space sail by China, it will be a long time before this problem is solved and the dangers will continue.
Pulse Facts: Did You Know…?
95% of the planet’s human population inhabits only 10% of Earth’s land surface.
Disappearing Arctic Ice… The Arctic region is projected to be ice free by the summer of 2050, the time of year when Arctic ice reaches it smallest extent because of the warmer summer waters and air temperatures.
Despite Antarctica’s gains in ice cover, the planet as a whole has been losing sea ice at an average annual rate of 34,965 km2 (13,500 mi2) since 1979. This is because the Antarctic’s ice gains have been far less than the Arctic’s escalating ice losses.
Global annual energy consumption today is roughly equal to the energy released from the World War II atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima every four seconds, which as equivalent to the energy from 13,000 tons of TNT.
Europe and Asia form one continent, covering over 55 million square kilometers (about 21.24 million square miles). It is Earth’s largest continental land mass, accounting for about 36.2% of the planet’s land surface.
Asia is the most populated region on Earth where over 58%, 4.64 billion people live. Combined with Europe’s 743.2 million people, Eurasia contains over 67.7% of the world’s human population, or about 5.39 billion people. (Based on year-end 2022 data)
Africa’s population is projected to reach about 2.5 billion people by the year 2050, accounting for over 25.1% of the global population then.
Australia-Oceania is the least populated region on Earth with 43.5 million people, or .55% of the global human population. Oceania spans both the eastern and western hemispheres with 23 countries and territories, including Australia, New Zealand multiple smaller islands and island groups. (Based on year-end 2022 data)
Sometimes called a young continent, Oceania is technically not a continent in geological terms, but it is rather a region consisting of over 10,000 islands not connected by a single land mass. Australia, one of the six true continents, is part of Oceania. The 2022 estimated population of Oceania is 43.52 million people (including Australia).