…on Mars:

Global warming could be heating Mars four times faster than Earth due to a mutually reinforcing interplay of wind-swept dust and changes in reflected heat from the Sun, according to a study released Wednesday.

Scientists have long observed a correlation on Mars between its fluctuating temperatures — which range from -87 C to – 5 C (-125 F to 23 F) depending on the season and the location — and the darkening or lightening of swathes of the planet’s surface.

The explanation is in the dirt.

Glistening Martian dust lying on the ground reflects the Sun’s light — and its heat — back into space, a phenomenon called albedo.

But when this reddish dust is churned up by violent winds, the storm-ravaged surface loses its reflective qualities and more of the Sun’s heat is absorbed into the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise.

The study, published on Thursday by the British journal Nature, shows for the first time that these variations not only result from the storms but help cause them too.

It also suggests that short-term climate change is currently occurring on Mars and at a much faster rate than on Earth.

We’ve got it all – violent storms, rapid temperature change, receding polar ice. All we need is to pinpoint the source of all the martian CO2 emissions and send an emergency mission to start a carbon offset program, and we’re well on the way to saving the Red Planet as well as our own from the horrors of climate change!

Naturally, the article contains this caveat:

For Earth, global warming is mainly associated with human activities — notably the burning of fossil fuels — that release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, trapping more of the Sun’s heat.

Naturally.

I wonder if planets in the solar system have any common trait that might help to explain the variations in their climates… Yep. It’s a headscratcher…

Once again, I’m left with questions about this whole thing. We know that the average global temperature on Earth has been creeping upward over the last little bit. We also know that climate change seems to be occurring on other planetary bodies in the Solar System (Jupiter, Saturn’s moon Triton, Mars, and even Pluto, for example). We also know that average temperatures on Earth have been much higher (there’s a reason that Greenland is called Greenland) and much lower (there’s a reason that Greenland was abandoned by its inhabitants) over the course of recorded history. Given these facts, why is it that Earth seems to be the only planet about which scientists have reached the untouchable conclusion that the climate change process isn’t natural?


  • http://blog.acton.org/ Jordan

    Short answer to your last question: because it’s the only one that has humans living on it.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    Snarky! But only accurate if humans aren’t part of nature, which they are.

  • Joe Meyers

    (there’s a reason that Greenland is called Greenland)
    Are you kidding!!
    Read your history books as to why and when it started being called Greenland

  • Marc Vander Maas

    Some history:
    “Icelandic settlers led by Erik the Red found the land uninhabited when they arrived c. 982. Around 984 they established the Eastern and Western settlements in deep fjords near the very southwestern tip of the island, where they thrived for the next few centuries, and then disappeared after over 450 years of habitation.

    The fjords of the southern part of the island were lush and had a warmer climate at that time, possibly due to what was called the Medieval Warm Period. These remote communities thrived and lived off farming, hunting and trading with the motherland, and when the Norwegian kings converted their domains to Christianity, a bishop was installed in Greenland as well, subordinate to the archdiocese of Nidaros. The settlements seem to have coexisted relatively peacefully with the Inuit, who had migrated southwards from the Arctic islands of North America around 1200. In 1261, Greenland became part of the Kingdom of Norway.

    After almost five hundred years, the Scandinavian settlements simply vanished, possibly due to famine during the fifteenth century in the Little Ice Age, when climatic conditions deteriorated, and contact with Europe was lost.”

  • Corvidae

    At this point, if you still have to ask, you wouldn’t understand the answer.

  • Roger McKinney

    Climate change has nothing to do with science and everything to do with promoting socialism. I’ve followed the GW debate since the mid-1980’s. Back then it was about science. GW scientists didn’t rush to blame humans back then because discussion of several other periods in history when the earth was warmer than today were allowed.

    Then the USSR collapsed and revealed the horrors that socialism had created. American socialists lost their economic arguments to promote socialism. Then, in the mid-1990’s, socialists latched onto GW as the chief tool for promoting their cause. As usual, socialists use deceit to promote their cause. They’ve done all they can to eliminate previous warming periods in history. Now they’re blocking any discussion of warming on Mars. Nor will they allow any discussion of the fact that methane and water vapor contribute more to the greenhouse effect than does CO2, or that human produced CO2 is not the only CO2 being produced nor are humans the largest source of CO2. Lately, a few have grudgingly admitted that the sun may play a role, but they consider it minor.

    The blatant, unashamed dishonesty of the GW hysteria is amazing.

  • http://www.fromtheheartland.org Dane

    For the facts and scientists behind the global warming skeptics, check out http://www.globalwarmingheartland.org.

    Global warming alarmists are way too quick to close up debate on this potentially serious issue. I think we need more debate.

  • Dan VandeBunte

    This furthers my assertion that liberals are the “Emo” political party.

    Humans are to blame for all problems, regardless of whether there is any evidence to support such claims. This is analogous to the “I am worthless” motif in the Emo philosophy.

    Because we are to blame we should be punished. This can be done by not eliminating terrorism, but periodically allowing terrorist to strike at us just so we don’t forget our guilt. This may explain why liberals are so eager to appease terrorists and governments that support them. This is analogous to the disturbing Emo pass-time of cutting one’s self.

    If I am correct, liberals must be stopped at all costs. I’m not going to wear women’s blue jeans!

  • Dan VandeBunte
  • David Pendleton

    Where on the Internet, if at all, is this scientific report on Mars available? If an uninhabited planet is also experiencing global warming, as the comment suggests, scientists need to forthrightly address this fact. It calls into question the identification of human activity alone as the cause of global warming.

  • Philip Lundman

    The way to power is to convince many of an eminent danger real or imagined and then declare your self/group to have the only competency to deal with it. In the short term fantasy world of liberal politics, the desire for power trumps truth.

  • Tom Jablonski

    Marc,

    After reading your blog I am confused as to what the point is you are trying to get across. Are you trying to say that global warming (assuming you are agreeing that it is happening) is caused (like it is on mars) by natural dust and wind storms? (Your earth to mars comparison seems to be an apple to orange comparison.) What are the “facts” you are basing your conclusion that climate change is based on natural causes? Nobody is claiming that earth’s temperature does not naturally rise and fall, but the issue here is what is the current cause of the rise in temperature and why is it occurring over such a short time period. So is your argument that the increases in carbon dioxide emission in the past hundred years or so has no impact on the temperature? Or is it that because other objects in the solar system without humans are undergoing increases in temperature, so therefore temperature increases on earth aren’t related to humans? (This logic could be used to make the claim that since some people who do not smoke can get lung cancer, that smoking cigarettes should not be blamed for causing lung cancer.) Then what are the natural causes of temperature change (assuming your agreeing that there is a temperature change)? So Marc, what is your point?

    Tom Jablonski

  • Marc Vander Maas

    I’m having trouble understanding why you’re confused, but I’ll take your response point by point and see if I can’t shed some light on your questions.

    1) [i]Are you trying to say that global warming (assuming you are agreeing that it is happening) is caused (like it is on mars) by natural dust and wind storms?[/i]
    Reply – yeah, temperatures are up slightly. No, I’m not claiming that natural dust and wind storms are causing the warming.

    2) [i](Your earth to mars comparison seems to be an apple to orange comparison.)[/i]
    Reply – Earth and Mars (and Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, etc.) orbit the same sun. I don’t think it’s far-fetched to assume that the sun would have an impact on the climates of all of those planets. Because all of the planets are different, a change in the intensity of the sun may vary within the various planetary atmospheres. But at the most basic level: Earth and Mars are planets that orbit the same sun. Apples to apples.

    3) [i]What are the “facts” you are basing your conclusion that climate change is based on natural causes?[/i]
    Reply – Well, I’m not claiming that I’ve come to an unshakable conclusion on the issue. What I [i]am[/i] saying is that I believe that there is plenty of reason to be skeptical of the supposed scientific “consensus” that assumes that the slight warming that we’re seeing right now is a) catastrophic and b) totally the fault of human activity. Nice use of scare quotes there by the way, although it should be noted that I didn’t just make up stuff about other planets warming – check the links – and unless you want to dispute the historical record, the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age are both quite solid FACTS. (I’d argue that I have better reason to put scare quotes around “consensus” than you have to put them around “facts.”)

    4) [i]Nobody is claiming that earth’s temperature does not naturally rise and fall, but the issue here is what is the current cause of the rise in temperature and why is it occurring over such a short time period.[/i]
    Reply – OK.

    5)[i] So is your argument that the increases in carbon dioxide emission in the past hundred years or so has no impact on the temperature? [/i]
    Reply – No.

    6) [i]Or is it that because other objects in the solar system without humans are undergoing increases in temperature, so therefore temperature increases on earth aren’t related to humans?[/i]
    Reply – Nope, not that either.

    7) [i](This logic could be used to make the claim that since some people who do not smoke can get lung cancer, that smoking cigarettes should not be blamed for causing lung cancer.) [/i]
    Reply – sure, any logic taken to an extreme can be stupid.

    8) [i]Then what are the natural causes of temperature change (assuming your agreeing that there is a temperature change)?[/i]
    Reply – Sure there’s a temperature change, Tom. We know for a fact that Earth’s climate is always changing. We also know that there’s [url=http://blog.acton.org/index.html?/archives/1598-Is-Climate-Change-Really-About-the-Temperature.html]no such thing as a perfect climate[/url].

    Here’s the point, one more time: The climate change that we are experiencing is not unprecedented in the history of the planet. We’re still well within the average range of temperature for the planet, which has been both significantly warmer and significantly colder in recorded history and probably before. Additionally, there seems to be the same sort of warming trend on other planets and planetary bodies in our solar system, which might indicate that the sun – a massive star that plays a [i]huge[/i] role in dictating Earth’s climate – is playing a role in all of this on a solar-system wide basis.

    I could also mention the fact that during a period of very high carbon emissions following World War II, Earth’s climate actually [i]cooled[/i], which seems to run counter to the current claims of global warming alarmists.

    In sum: I think there’s plenty of reasons to be skeptical of the claims of global warming alarmists. Is that so unreasonable, Tom?

  • Tom Jablonski

    Marc,

    I appreciate your taking the time to respond to my comments. Skepticism is certainly not unreasonable. More often then not, I tend to be a skeptic myself. In this particular case (dealing with the symptom of global warming), I am skeptical that choosing the “do nothing” option when it comes to dealing with our current state of affairs is likely to have serious consequences for life on planet earth in the coming years.

    I suppose I could try to come up with facts and figures to try and back up my belief, but like your “facts” not changing my opinion, my “facts” would likely not change your opinion either. One of the concerns I have with your point on finding reasons to choose to ignore what is going on around us has been a pretty common trend of human beings throughout history. People have found logical reasons to dump wastes in the environment throughout history, often using the reason that doing so is not hurting anything. In the twenty years or so that I have worked as an environmental engineer I have heard reasons like the ones you have used in your recent blogs for excuses to be able to dump wastes in rivers, on the land, or in the air with the reason being that there is not any evidence that chemicals in our wastes will hurt anything or anybody, and it is actually for the good of people. We have looked at our air, water, and land as bottomless sinks to dump our waste products, especially if it means a profit for somebody. I have seen the consequences of this reasoning. Many times the people that base their actions on these reasons indeed don’t suffer the consequences and do profit, but somebody or something down stream, or down wind, or in another neighborhood does suffer the consequences. It is my opinion that we have come to the end of our free ride on so-called cheap energy that fuels our quest for endless products to keep us entertained. If we don’t face the consequences of our actions, our children, or our grandchildren will, or the people, animals, and plants that we share this planet with who do not have the resources to adapt to these changes will. So we can blame the “alarmists” for trying to scare us out of our precious lifestyle and simply go on living our life’s of luxury; or perhaps we can stop, and look around, and then ask ourselves, is this really what reasonable people aught to do?

    Tom Jablonski

  • Marc Vander Maas

    Once again, point by point:

    [i]In this particular case (dealing with the symptom of global warming), I am skeptical that choosing the “do nothing” option when it comes to dealing with our current state of affairs is likely to have serious consequences for life on planet earth in the coming years.[/i]

    Rest assured, Tom, that the preferred option of those who wish to “do something” will also have serious – and immediate – consequences for life on planet Earth as well. For example, were Turkey to implement the Kyoto protocol, it would [url=http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=70901]cause an economic disaster[/url]. Incidentally, the same is true [url=http://www.marshall.org/article.php?id=26]for the US[/url] and the rest of the world, which is why European nations that have signed on aren’t even coming close to hitting emissions targets and the US Senate – no matter which party is in control – won’t even take a vote on the treaty.

    [i]I suppose I could try to come up with facts and figures to try and back up my belief, but like your “facts” not changing my opinion, my “facts” would likely not change your opinion either.[/i]

    Again with the scare quotes, Tom. Look – I understand that you have some facts on your side here, and I’ve even said as much: the Earth [i]is[/i] getting warmer at the present time, and it is [i]possible[/i] that human activities are contributing to the warming to some extent. Where we seem to disagree is on the extent to which humans contribute to the warming, and on whether or not this is a surefire catastrophe in the making. From what I can tell from this exchange, you’re either:
    1) of the mindset that the [i]potential[/i] consequences of global warming are so dire as to require an immediate response [i]even if we can’t be certain that those worst-case scenarios will actually happen[/i] (which we most decidedly aren’t), and even though the response will require us to essentially destroy the international economy, or
    2) you haven’t really thought through the serious and immediate economic and social consequences that will result from implementing the policies of the global warming alarmists.

    [i]One of the concerns I have with your point on finding reasons to choose to ignore what is going on around us has been a pretty common trend of human beings throughout history….[/i]

    Well, I’m not saying we should ignore what’s going on around us, and I’m not saying that we should be able to use the environment as a dumping ground. I never implied it, never thought it, and would never support such an attitude. I am, however, acknowledging that our knowledge of climate science is very limited, that Earth’s atmosphere is wildly complex, that science and history show that climate change is in fact a constant feature of our planet, and that as such we should be very skeptical of these claims that what we’re experiencing now is unique and dangerous. At the very least, we shouldn’t be implementing potentially disastrous solutions to a problem that may or may not exist.

    [i]Many times the people that base their actions on these reasons indeed don’t suffer the consequences and do profit, but somebody or something down stream, or down wind, or in another neighborhood does suffer the consequences.[/i]

    Again, you need to understand that there are real and immediate consequences to cutting those dreaded carbon emissions, especially for the poor and the developing world. That’s why we need to think seriously about this issue before undertaking the drastic actions that are being called for.

    [i]It is my opinion that we have come to the end of our free ride on so-called cheap energy that fuels our quest for endless products to keep us entertained.[/i]

    hey, I’m right there with you on the whole materialism thing – it’s one of the biggest problems in our society.

    [i]If we don’t face the consequences of our actions, our children, or our grandchildren will, or the people, animals, and plants that we share this planet with who do not have the resources to adapt to these changes will. So we can blame the “alarmists” for trying to scare us out of our precious lifestyle and simply go on living our life’s of luxury; or perhaps we can stop, and look around, and then ask ourselves, is this really what reasonable people aught to do?[/i]

    I would say that reasonable people would not take actions that would guarantee immediate catastrophe to avert a potential catastrophe.