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Is Global Warming Solar Induced? Not According to the Planets
Posted on Wednesday, May 02, 2007 @ 20:37:39 EDT by vlad

General Overtone writes: by Phil Plaitmarsonfire.jpg

There's a meme going around the internets and in the MSM that Earth is not alone in global warming: other planets, according to this story, are experiencing it too.

The usual crowd, along with many others, are taking this idea and running with it, saying that if other planets are warming up, obviously the warming on Earth is not man-made. But there's a small problem with this: it's wrong (for a more detailed analysis of this, see my blog post at Bad Astronomy).

The idea is that evidence shows that Mars, Jupiter, Neptune's moon Triton, and even tiny, distant Pluto are warming up. The only thing these objects have in common is the Sun-- so therefore the Sun must be the culprit, and we -- the polluting, self-absorbed humans -- are off the hook.

However, as an astronomer and a skeptic, I did something most ditto-heads don't do: I actually did some research. What I found is that first of all, the evidence that Mars is warming up is tentative; basically, the southern ice cap appears to be shrinking, and along with other evidence this indicates that there is some sort of climate change going on. However, the change may very well be local, confined to the southern region. Plus, we already know that other factors, like the shape of the orbit of Mars, contribute to climate change there. Looking to the Sun as the source of this is unwarranted.

The claim about Jupiter warming is simply wrong. There are localized places where gas from deep in the atmosphere (where it's warmer) is bubbling up, but this is again a localized effect, and not an indication of global change. Jupiter's atmosphere is a very weird, turbulent place, and honestly we don't understand it all that well. Calling this jovian global warming is premature at best.

Triton is entering its summer season, and due to the peculiar orbit it has, this summer will be a particularly extreme one. If it's warming there, it's a seasonal change, and expected.

And as for far, wee Pluto, it's so far out that if any warming there were from the Sun warming up, the Earth, which is much closer to the Sun, would be roasted. Since the effects of GW here on Earth are subtle, it's safe to ignore Pluto.

My blog post about this on my site has generated a lot of ire, of course. No one likes having huge, gaping holes pointed out in their claims! But science and skepticism aren't about denying, they're about being rational. And that means looking at evidence, weighing it fairly, applying critical thinking, and then discussing it clearly.

Wow, no wonder those guys are ticked at me!

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/phil-plait/



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"Is Global Warming Solar Induced? Not According to the Planets" | Login/Create an Account | 3 comments | Search Discussion
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Re: Is Global Warming Solar Induced? Not According to the Planets (Score: 1)
by malc on Thursday, May 03, 2007 @ 01:57:26 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) http://web.ukonline.co.uk/mripley
Those guys "driving 4x4's" are ticked at you. They need an excuse to carry on with their present way of life. God forbid they need to change.......come to to think of it, God. Hmmmm I wonder if that will be the next excuse. First global warming was denied but can't anymore, currenty it's man made warming that's denied but becoming ever more difficult without looking totally ignorant. So I guess the next step in the denial process may be : "It's God's way so we should do nothing and let him/her decide our fate. If I'm not supposed to drive a 4x4 he/she would let me know".

Being an atheist I don't need a mythical being to tell me what's right and wrong.

Re: Is Global Warming Solar Induced? Not According to the Planets (Score: 1)
by techmac on Thursday, May 03, 2007 @ 23:21:30 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.geocities.com/mgmlab04
The Sun's temperature is much easier for us to measure than the planets or the Earth. Evidence from many sources tell us it has been hotter recently, but it can vary, and weather predicters say it will be cooling in a few years. Then if you still have the urge to pay carbon credits there may still be someone who will take your money.
In the past it has been both cooler and hotter than it is at present on the Sun and on Earth.

You're jumping to conclusions! (Score: 1)
by Arlen on Thursday, May 10, 2007 @ 11:27:56 EDT
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Your points about Jupiter, Triton, and Pluto appear reasonable. I will grant them as stipulated, unless somebody with greater knowledge comes along and says otherwise. That leaves Mars as a truly interesting case. Your rebuttals are worth studying, since they could be right. But I ask you to suspend judgment until more evidence is in.

After all, you say that the evidence for Mars warming is only tentative.
Fine. Tentative does not mean "definitely untrue". It only means "maybe". That is, the tentative hypothesis that the sun is the warming agent may turn out to be right on target. I cannot reasonably say that Mars warming is a fact that proves that man is not the culprit on earth. But you can't say that Mars is definitely not warming, so man definitely is the culprit, either. More study is necessary. The issue has NOT been conclusively settled yet.



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