Monday, March 05, 2007

The sun's to blame. Regulate it.

Last month I linked to an article in Corriere della Sera according to which all the planets in the solar system are globally warming due to the sun, which evidently is hotter now than it has been for 1,000 years.

Well, someone is saying it in English too. Well, Russian actually. In what the National Geographic called a "controversial" theory (as opposed to an hysterical one), a Russian scientist has found rising temperatures on Mars, too.

In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.

Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun...

"The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," he said.
By studying fluctuations in the warmth of the sun, Abdussamatov believes he can see a pattern that fits with the ups and downs in climate we see on Earth and Mars.

Abdussamatov's work, however, has not been well received by other climate scientists.
Now, I wonder why not.

(via Dinocrat)


Ian said...

'The conventional theory is that climate changes on Mars can be explained primarily by small alterations in the planet's orbit and tilt, not by changes in the sun.

"Wobbles in the orbit of Mars are the main cause of its climate change in the current era,"'

That would be why not, or were you trying to insinuate something else?

The planetary wobble is an interesting effect and probably does more harm to the sun activity theory of global warming than the human effects one. The fact remains that millions of hours of research have gone into studying the climate and the only model that has stood up consistently under all that scrutiny is climate change caused by increasing levels of carbon dioxide.

Stephen Newton said...

If you follow the link to page 2 of the National Geographic article you link to, you find the answer to your question: ‘[his ideas] contradict the extensive evidence presented in the most recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report … the idea just isn’t supported by the theory or by the observations … Mars has no [large] moon, which makes its wobbles much larger, and hence the swings in climate are greater too … without the greenhouse effect [which Abdussamatov denies] there would be very little, if any, life on Earth, since our planet would pretty much be a big ball of ice.’

For Abdussamatov’s science to be credible, he needs to base his work on observations that others can make as easily as he does. He needs to explain the phenomenon that every one else has observed. If he’s going to dismiss the science upon which all current meteorology is based (as he does), his new theory needs to explain all that the old did and should be supported by verifiable observation and experimentation.

In any case, as Ian points out on his own blog, reducing CO2 emissions remains a desirable thing to do as it’s better to use resources efficiently. Why would anyone want you to burn two litres of petrol, if you could get away with burning just one?

NoolaBeulah said...

Ian and Stephen
I hold my hands up. It was frivolous of me to put that up without the objections. The thesis came up today on Home Planet and the three experts criticised it on the terms you've mentioned and on others.

However, one of them also said something to the effect of, "We know very little about 80% of the climate system of our own planet and next to nothing about 95% of other systems."

As I have said before, I know next to nothing about climatology and related areas. However, I do know a little about history and mass popular delusions. The moment I hear someone talking about apocolypse due to certainty based on predictions concerning a complex system, I solemnly repeat, 'Vade retro, mate'.

I agree that many of the results of this new hysteria will be entirely positive. Our technology is wasteful and inefficient and it's about time we did something clever with it. Mostly what worries me is the prospect of years of self-righteous drivel and pointing fingers, not to mention the centralised control that will be justified by the emergency.

Ian said...

I can foresee ways that the reduction of CO2 production can lead to decentralisation of power, of the energy and political varieties. When every household is producing a significant amount of its energy, or communities are running microgeneration, then the utility companies become less important. When they're walking to the local shops, supermarkets lose business or start operating on fairer tems. When they're not wasting money on a car they have greater financial stability.

The opportunities exist to solve this problem on our terms, not those of the politicians. Particularly not the ones who'd waste time and money building nuclear power stations.

Hysteria about the millennium bug meant that key systems were fixed and there were no disasters. Now people look back on it and wonder what all the fuss was about. If future generations can laugh at my fears because they're living in a solar powered, net-zero-carbon world it'll be a good thing.

NoolaBeulah said...

I share your enthusiasm for the micro-generation of power and I really think that it will happen. I want a wind turbine on my roof and even solar panels.

I'm not so sure about your other prognostications (if that's how they were intended). Supermarkets will not suffer too much; they provide what people want and have always wanted - cheap food guaranteed. They'll just find other ways to do it.

And the car? The symbol of freedom - the most liberating object in history. If tomorrow, cars were to become a rarity, it would undoubtedly be of great benefit to the environment in almost every sense of the word. But it would also become the Great Wall that divided the rich from the rest.