Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's the Dust, stupid!

As I've reported here before, Mars is getting warmer. But now an MSM paper has discovered it! Woo!
Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.

The mechanism at work on Mars appears, however, to be different from that on Earth. One of the researchers, Lori Fenton, believes variations in radiation and temperature across the surface of the Red Planet are generating strong winds.

In a paper published in the journal Nature, she suggests that such winds can stir up giant dust storms, trapping heat and raising the planet’s temperature.

Yeah, dust. Right. Or it could be that the sun is having a 1000 year sunspot maximum and there's more sunlight shining on Mars, which is making for more wind and more dust as well as heating things up.

Naw, it must be my truck doing it.


Anonymous said...

Hahah, saw you got banned from Paladeia's socialist utopia.

Can't handle criticism or debate, then use the ban button.

Much easier than trying to understand that logic stuff!

Cheers Phantom.

The Phantom said...

Thanks dude. Poor ol' Paladiea has a pretty low tolerance for contrary evidence, and she's been pretty cranky lately. Shame really, I liked those discussions.

Anonymous said...

Phantom: The problem is that we have been able to measure output of the sun quite accurately over the past 25 years. There is just no such increase observable.

John Cross

The Phantom said...

John, you missed the part where we are having a 1000 year sunspot maximum. Solar flux is up dude. Really.

Anonymous said...

Phantom: If you read the paper in question you will see a couple of things. The claim they make is that the current period is seeing the most solar activity in the last 1000 years. This period is called the Modern Period which they define as between 1900 and 1999.

If you look at their Figure 4, you can see a plot for the Rz number and it is showing a maximum at around 1950.

Now, in regards to my point. The above is based on observations but filled in with models (they actually only use data going back to 1700 and estimate the rest). However we do have good measurements of the solar output for the last 25 years. These are direct observations of output measured above the earth's atmosphere and are the best solar data we have.

I can pass along some good papers if you have access to scientific journals, but here is a good website:

John Cross

The Phantom said...

John, just read the article you sent. What I get from it is A) there is no one instrument measuring solar input and B) the results are "controversial".

Which I knew already. Which makes the ice melting on Mars a very interesting additional data point, in my book. We also see increases in storm activity on gas giants which have been stable for a very long time, increases which may very well be solar powered.

I'm not claiming a conclusive proof debunking anthropogenic global warming, I'm just saying where there's smoke there's probably fire.

Anonymous said...

Phanton: Thanks for reading the link. My main point in the last post was that the 1000 year maximum was not evidence of current climate patterns. It showed the maximum solar activity in the 50's which as we know is when we underwent global cooling. SO I think that idea is pretty well shot.

In regards to the solar output. We do have dedicated instruments now which should give us much better answers in another 10 years. However if you note that the article I linked to was published in 2003 and since then the observations seem to confirm Judith Lean's work over Wilson's.

But more important is a point that this makes very well. While there is "controversy" over the values of the output, for what we are discussing it does not really matter since which ever one you take does not support the idea of the sun causing the warming.


The Phantom said...

I don't pretend to be up on the science John, so I can't say one way or the other.

What I am up on is the political atmosphere in which this science is taking place, and that's my point with this post.

There's a whole lot of people with a whole lot of pull in the climatology biz who have a vested interest in solar heating NOT being the cause of warming. The article you sent mentions that explicitly as part of the controversy.

In that kind of poisonous environment objective science takes a back seat to careerism and ass covering.

So, is Mars melting due to increased solar input? I don't know, and I'm pretty sure I can't trust the data out there measuring solar radiance. At this point in the game I'm reduced to either measuring it myself or waiting for posterity to decide.

Upon this foundation we are attempting to make public policy. Complete insanity.

Anonymous said...

Phantom, there are a number of things that you said that I don't agree with.

First, I have re-read the article I linked to and I can not see how you could intreperet it to mean that there are people in the climate biz who are supressing results. In fact, there is nothing to support this point of view. If it was true, how would Lindzen get published, or Spencer and Christy, or Michaels, or McIntyre or any of a host of others. These people all get funding (to a greater ot lesser extent).

Second, again I emphasize that there is still a great deal of debate about the issue of global warming, but the debate is not what you think it is. While we are looking at aspects where there is uncertainity, the fundamental principles remain the same. In order to cast doubt on global warming you must cast doubt on either one of these points:

1) CO2 absorbs longwave radiation

2) We are responsible for the current CO2 rise.

3) There is a disconnect between your last and second last paragraph. While you may feel that you can't trust the data, it has been reviewed in great detail by both skeptics and non-skeptics alike. If there was a real argument that solar output was increasing enough to cause global warming, it would be front page news.

While you may feel that the science is currently going against your political beliefs, I would encourage you not to shut your mind to it completly.


Anonymous said...

Third paragraph in states:

"Not surprisingly, the subject is controversial. After all, the energy from the Sun is the fundamental driving force of climate. As people around the world struggle to make difficult decisions in the face of climate change, any evidence that the Sun could have something to do with global warming might encourage us to scale back our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Then again, in the face of something we can’t control, controlling what we can might become more important. With so many social, environmental, and economic decisions depending on climate change research, it’s no wonder that interpreting the satellite observations of the Sun’s brightness has become so controversial."

People don't have to supress results John. They can design experiments and meta-analysis to show the results they want. Even chosing what phenomena to look at can do that.

Example, why did it take until 2003 to get a dedicated space instrument on the solar input issue? There could have been one on the Apollo missions or any time thereafter. Could be the money guys didn't want to confuse the issue with inconvenient facts? Didn't want to take a chance on the results not supporting their pet conclusion? Dunno, but I've seen that kind of thing before.

Peer review is very susceptible to political influence. People don't like to piss off their buddies. My experience with the medical literature on gun control showed me that. In the current raving atmosphere with billions of dollars in play, truth is not a major concern. If it ever was.

Thus when I see Mars melting, I think maybe some controversial, fudge-able satellite results are less convincing than my Mark One eyeball.

My political leanings, such as they are, pretty much follow from who is lying to me the most this week. This week its Canadian Liberals and American Democrats. Global Warming as a political force is right about where gun control was a few years ago, with all the same suspects pushing it.

Algore killed gun control dead when he lost to Bush. With any luck he'll kill this issue too in 2008 and we'll be done with it.

The Phantom

Anonymous said...

Phanton: I guess we read different things into the paragraph you quoted. I see it as saying that if there was even a shred of evidence that the sun was the primary cause of the current warming then it would be siezed upon by many different interested parties.

Regarding your criteria for political leanings, I would tend to accept that it is a good plan. I know that the Sponsorship issue caused me to not vote Liberal in the last provincial election.

Fortunately, science must still have data and logic in order to work. Thus I am not sure that it is a good criteria for assesing global warming. Again, the fundamental points about global warming are:

1) CO2 absorbs longwave radiation

2) We are causing the CO2 to rise.

However I am just repeating myself. Thanks for the discussion.