A Few Things Ill Considered

There’s Global Warming on Mars Too

This is just one of dozens of responses to common climate change denial arguments, which can all be found at How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.


Objection:

Global warming is happening on Mars and Pluto as well. Since there are no SUV’s on Mars, CO2 can’t be causing Global Warming.

Answer:

Warming on another planet would be an interesting coincidence, but even if it were the case it does not necessarily have to have the same cause. The only relevant factor the Earth and Mars share is the sun, so if the warming were real and related it would logically be due to the sun. Well the sun is being watched and measured very carefully back here on earth and it is not the primary cause of the current climate change.

As for this alleged extraterrestrial warming, there is very little evidence to go on when it comes to discerning a global climate change on Mars. The only evidence out there that I am aware of is a series of photographs of a single icy region in the southern hemisphere that shows melting over a 6 year period (about 3 Martian years). Here on earth we have direct measurements from all over the globe, widespread glacial retreat, reduction of sea ice and satellite measurements of the lower troposphere up to the stratosphere. To compare this mountain of data to a few photographs of a single region strains credulity. And in fact, the scientists studying Mars believe the observation described above is the result of a regional change caused by Mars’ own orbital cycles, like what happened during the earth’s glacial cycles

See Global Warming on Mars? from Real Climate for much more detail about this issue.

Turning to the outer reaches of the solar system, what was observed way out there in the ice cold and lonely Kuiper Belt was a difference in Pluto’s atmospheric thickness inferred from two occultation observations 14 years apart. But a cursory glance at Pluto’s orbit and atmosphere reveals how ridiculous it is to draw any conclusions about climate, much less climate change, from any observations spanning much less than even a single season, let alone enough years to even establish what the climate is.

I think anyone trying to draw conclusions about what is happening here on earth from all this might as well be from another planet.

Back to Mars for a quick summary:

On Earth, we have poles melting, surface temperature rising, tropospheric temperatures rising, permafrost melting, glaciers world wide melting, CO2 concentrations increasing, borehole analysis showing warming, sea ice receding, proxy reconstructions showing warming, sea level rising, sea surface temperatures rising, energy imbalance, ice sheets melting and stratosphere cooling which leads us to believe we have global warming driven by an enhanced greenhouse effect.

One Mars we have one spot melting which leads us to believe…one spot is melting.

Forgive me for not being reassured!


This is just one of dozens of responses to common climate change denial arguments, which can all be found at How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.


“There’s Global Warming on Mars Too” was first published here, where you can still find the original comment thread. This updated version is also posted on the Grist website, where additional comments can be found, though the author, Coby Beck, does not monitor or respond there.

Comments

  1. #1 noone
    September 1, 2008

    Lets hope that its not nemesis (failed star) with a planet (niburu) orbiting it. But, I agree with you, the data set is very ugly and in no way is it possible to come to a creditable conclusion from it. In both cases, especially pluto, its like watching our planet between summer and winter cycles only watching northern or souther hemisphere at a time.

  2. #2 Phineas Sgrague Jr
    February 16, 2009

    I am a skeptic on the impact of anthropogenic CO2 on climate change. That doesn not mean that I am not looking for factual information to improve my understanding so I read information from people who edisagree with me in the hope I will learn something. Let me get this straight, you are referencing RealClimate.Org as THE source of expert scientific analysis. Lets get together and vote to keep the tide out! How would you feel if I revealed that Al Gore’s press secretary formed a lobbying firm called Environmental Media Services in Washington and started RealClimate.org to promote his particular point of view? Now retired Arlie Schardt.
    http://whois.domaintools.com/realclimate.org http://www.activistcash.com/biography.cfm/bid/2808

    It would make it much esier to chew through this stuff if those people with ideologies to protect with spin and disinformatioin were radioactive.

    Where is your discussioin of the Milankovitch Cycle?

  3. #3 coby
    February 16, 2009

    Hi Phineas,

    If you are indeed conserned about factual information, then you are probably familiar with the ad hominum fallacy, of which your comment is a fine example. WRT EMS hosting RealClimate, I agree it is an unfortunate thing. However:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/02/a-disclaimer/

    It is not a hidden thing, nor does it mean the factual content and reasoning in their articles is wrong.

    There are a couple of articles in my guide that reference the Milankovic cycles, check for the CO2 lags, not leads article in particular.

    Thanks for the visit and good luck improving your understanding, a goal I share with you.

  4. #4 coby
    February 16, 2009

    Oh, and btw, there are 20 links in this article and only 1 is to Real Climate. So two questions: 1, what is incorrect in the linked RealClimate article, and 2, how did you arrive at the conclusion that I am using RC “as THE source of expert scientific analysis”?

    Cheers.

  5. #5 Crakar14
    February 16, 2009

    I think it is silly debating the weather on another planet, (just checking to see if have been blocked from all threads or just one.

    Cheers

  6. #6 Anders
    May 28, 2009

    There is a theory about the greenhouse effect that I have not been able to dismiss. It is essentially about the contribution of the entire atmosphere to the greenhouse effect, defined as the difference between the surface temperature and the blackbody temperature of the earth as seen from outer space. The earth as a whole will always try to equally distribute energy between its constituents, and since the gravitational potential energy is lower at the surface, the kinetic energy (temperature) of the particles should be greater there. I guess the tricky question is whether the Stefan-Bolzmann radiation law is applicable to solids which are not in vacuum. We can consider the following thought experiment. Suppose we place a hot object in outer space, then it will radiate at a magnitude proportional to T^4. Now let it be surrounded by a cloud of only nitrogen and oxygen which is at a lower temperature than the body. Will the body now loose energy at a faster or slower pace? Supposing that blackbody radiation and heat loss through convection are additive the answer is faster. However, I had the following thought, since the atmosphere has a lower temperature than the body, a temperature gradient is formed which makes the body surface to be at a temperature somewhere in between. Since radiation scales as T^4 this results in substatially reduced radiation, which makes the energy loss slower. Could you help me clear my mind?

  7. #7 coby
    October 8, 2009

    Comments on this topic should be placed here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2009/10/mars_attacks.php

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