Thursday, March 26, 2015

No SUVs on Mars, and no warming either

After reading recently that pits in the Mars polar CO2 ice caps were determined to be cyclical and not evidence of Martian climate change, I thought I'd do a cleanup post.


Time was that denialists relied on rather thinly-sourced evidence of potential warming on Mars to say it's proved, proved I tell you, that the warming that Earth has not even experienced came from the Sun. You saw and heard stuff like this:



I could've sworn that the SUV reference came from Michael Crichton originally, but digging around didn't confirm it.  Inhofe was into it, though. Here's the 'scientific' source of the claim:

Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at 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.

So much for that.

To be sure, we don't necessarily know what's happening on Mars, we haven't studied it as long and as closely as Earth. Solar irradiance is well studied though and not the cause of the warming we're seeing on EArth. 

23 comments:

Fernando Leanme said...

Here's a link you will love

http://www.e-reading.club/bookreader.php/135101/Bell_-_The_Martian_Surface.pdf

The heat capacity and heat transfer capacity of the Martian surface are very different. Mars is highly sensitive to solar flux variation. Earth is buffered by a thicker denser atmosphere and a lot of water. It is a highly unusual planet.

BBD said...

Fernando

Let's try again:

There is no evidence that there is a general warming of the Martian climate forced by increased solar activity.

The claim to the contrary was just another evidence-free skeptikoid lie.

Tom Gray said...

Haha, I took a quick Google also, just for fun, and one of the first things that turned up was a debate including Crichton and Lindzen. Says Lindzen, His Eminence, in his final statement (addressed to scientists in the debate): "You don't explain why there's global warming on Mars, Jupiter, Triton and Pluto."

Lars Karlsson said...

Lindzen said there was climate change on Pluto? Pluto has an orbital period of 247.68 years, and it was only discovered 85 years ago, so how could he tell?

Russell Seitz said...

Lars, you can aim a radiometer at, and take the temperature of , any celestial object you can point to, Pluto and Kuiper belt objects included.

Fernando Leanme said...

BBD, a colleague told me in 2005 he thought there were hints it was slightly warmer. He was studying to go to Berkeley to work on a biofuels research project, I don't think he has an axe to grind, therefore i filed what he told me as an interesting subject.

Maybe what I wrote escaped you, given that system's nature I would be expecting it to warm in the second half of the 20th century. That system lacks heat capacity and the feedbacks are positive.

Why don't you read the book? It has a lot of really neat material.

Fernando Leanme said...

Pluto warmed over the last century. It was at perihelion in 1989. Right now it should be cooling.

BBD said...

Anecdotes are worthless, Fernando. Evidence is what counts and well, there is none.



Russell Seitz said...

It is a known blog fact that SUV's were the indirect cause of the loss of Mars ancient oceans, as the war between the red Martians and the Green Marials escalated from 400 thargpower Helium Escalades, to driveway envy among the black and yellow Martians

Soon Martian yuppies were installing and blacktopping driveways that stretched from Olympus Mons to the equator, forming a web of dark lines earthly astronomers mistook for canals.

As the red planet's albedo plunged , its temperature rose, and the oceans boiled away leading to mass extinction and the sterile dustbowl our instruments and robots survey today.

Lars Karlsson said...

But what we see at Pluto is basically seasonal change.

Fernando Leanme said...

Lars, indeed it's a seasonal change. BBD: I guess I could write up "interview with a Martian" in my blog, and post the solar flux variations over the last 500 years, the nature of martian soil and the atmosphere, and show conclusively Mars must have warmed simply because the surface can't hide the heat.

Mal Adapted said...

Lars Karlsson: "Lindzen said there was climate change on Pluto?"

Well, according to Tom Gray he said "You don't explain why there's global warming on Mars, Jupiter, Triton and Pluto." That might have been a clever (if dishonest) debating tactic similar to the Gish Gallop. Tangle your opponents up in obscure details, whether they're real or not, leaving the audience thinking your opponents are confused or not as well informed as you are.

Tom Gray said...

"Well, according to Tom Gray he said 'You don't explain why there's global warming on Mars, Jupiter, Triton and Pluto.'"

Sorry, here is the link to the transcript. Comment appears at the top of p. 75 (just Ctl-F for pluto).
http://www.michaelcrichton.com/pdfs/GlobalWarmingDebate.pdf . I agree that it might have been a debating tactic, but it's an odd tactic for someone who has always seemed to me to be very huffy and sensitive about his image.

Russell Seitz, I look forward with interest to seeing your account circulated among the deniers.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Man, am I sick of those "no SUVs on Mars!" arguments from the anti-science types.

According to Young et al. 1981, Uranus is cooling. Venus may be slowly cooling too (and not for Velikovskian reasons). Meanwhile, worlds without atmospheres, like Mercury, Luna, and Ceres, show no trend.

I'd like to understand how an increase in sunlight could warm some planets, cool others, and leave the rest the same.

BBD said...

Fernando

I guess I could write up "interview with a Martian" in my blog, and post the solar flux variations over the last 500 years, the nature of martian soil and the atmosphere, and show conclusively Mars must have warmed simply because the surface can't hide the heat.

The Martian surface cannot *store* the heat either. It's not clear therefore that tiny variations in solar flux would cause sustained warming throughout the entire Martian year. Why? Because Mars has a notably eccentric orbit.

As for your spouting about solar flux, well, SSN is a proxy for solar flux, not the thing itself. Nor are the long-term SSN records considered entirely reliable and a re-think is currently underway (Clette et al. 2014).

What proxies from the Martian surface to you propose to use to reconstruct incident solar radiation at the Martian surface over the last 500y?

Or are you just full of hot air?

afeman said...

If only there were some way to measure the output of the sun directly instead of inferring it from a remote and poorly characterized object....

snarkrates said...

I remember quite well when Dick Lindzen said that. It was during the wrap-up of the Intelligence-squared debate that had Gavin Schmidt on the opposing side. Lindzen clearly knew he was bullshitting, because he only pulled out the argument about warming planets and moons when the scientists had no opportunity to call him on it. That moment right there was when I realized Dick Lindzen was no longer a scientist. He has since proved it many times over in editorials for the likes of the Wall Street Uninal.

Anyone who looks to other planets and moons to try and refute warming on Earth is either an imbecile or a bullshitter. The climates on other planetoids in the solar system have utterly different dynamics than those of Earth. Mars is mainly driven by dust storms that prevent solar radiation from reaching the ground. Anything beyond Mars gets so little sunlight that it won't be particularly sensitive to small changes in TSI. Indeed, Jupiter generates much of its heat gravitationally, and many of the moons in the Jovian and Saturnian systems are tidally warmed. The minute I hear an argument like this from someone, I know I am justified in ignoring anything they ever say about anything.

Lars Karlsson said...

PBL: "Uranus is cooling."

Maybe I should wear warmer underwear...

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Okay, Georgium Sidus is cooling.

Fernando Leanme said...

BBd, im afraid you don't get it. Did you notice I referred to a period lasting several hundred years? Please don't refer to seasonal variations when I'm discussing a long term trend. I assume you realize the sun is like a very bright light bulb and Mars is like a tiny lump of rock circling the light bulb. If the light bulb gets a teensy itty bitty weensy bit brighter then the little lump of rock will get a teensy itty bitty weensy bit warmer. Whether you can measure it or not isn't that important. I can predict it based on regular folk physics. No need to use a climate model or send a paper to the UN. It's just simple common sense.

BBD said...

Of course I get it, you clown.

RTF comment above, with your brain switched on. And RTF links.

BBD said...

This is why we RTFRs, Ferdnando. To spare ourselves the embarrassment of looking like a clown:

Clette et al. (2014) Revisiting the Sunspot Number

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11214-014-0074-2

Our knowledge of the long-term evolution of solar activity and of its primary modulation, the 11-year cycle, largely depends on a single direct observational record: the visual sunspot counts that retrace the last 4 centuries, since the invention of the astronomical telescope. Currently, this activity index is available in two main forms: the International Sunspot Number initiated by R. Wolf in 1849 and the Group Number constructed more recently by Hoyt and Schatten (Sol. Phys. 179:189–219, 1998a, 181:491–512, 1998b). Unfortunately, those two series do not match by various aspects, inducing confusions and contradictions when used in crucial contemporary studies of the solar dynamo or of the solar forcing on the Earth climate. Recently, new efforts have been undertaken to diagnose and correct flaws and biases affecting both sunspot series, in the framework of a series of dedicated Sunspot Number Workshops. Here, we present a global overview of our current understanding of the sunspot number calibration.

After retracing the construction of those two composite series, we present the new concepts and methods used to self-consistently re-calibrate the original sunspot series. While the early part of the sunspot record before 1800 is still characterized by large uncertainties due to poorly observed periods, the more recent sunspot numbers are mainly affected by three main inhomogeneities: in 1880–1915 for the Group Number and in 1947 and 1980–2014 for the Sunspot Number.

After establishing those new corrections, we then consider the implications on our knowledge of solar activity over the last 400 years. The newly corrected series clearly indicates a progressive decline of solar activity before the onset of the Maunder Minimum, while the slowly rising trend of the activity after the Maunder Minimum is strongly reduced, suggesting that by the mid 18th century, solar activity had already returned to levels equivalent to those observed in recent solar cycles in the 20th century. We finally conclude with future prospects opened by this epochal revision of the Sunspot Number, the first one since Wolf himself, and its reconciliation with the Group Number, a long-awaited modernization that will feed solar cycle research into the 21st century.

Hank Roberts said...

Another needed cleanup post here worth not losing track of:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2015/03/30/setting-the-record-straight-the-real-story-of-a-pivotal-climate-change-hearing/