Monday, July 8, 2013

Are the Polar Caps on Mars Receding? And, If So...

... Does That Mean Our Planet's Climate Change is Just Part of Some Natural Cycle, Not Anthropogenic, So We Can Stop Worrying About It and Keep On Using Fossil Fuels, Etc.?

Dear Madame Elle,

Thank you for your answer on the Martian sky. 

Another question about the Red Planet:  Is it still true that the polar caps on Mars are receding?  And (as the nice lady on CNN asked) does this have anything to do with global warming?

And if, as I assume is the case, the answer is that the melting of the polar caps on Mars is caused by neither Exxon-Mobil nor flatulent sheep in China, to what extent can we be sure Terra's climate change is anthropogenic?

Thank you,

Not a Martian

Dear Fellow Earthling,

Thanks for raising this issue again, as it gives Madame L a chance to remind her Dear Readers yet again of some of the many untruths, some of them downright malicious and motivated only by political and financial greed, that surround the issue of global warming on Earth.

It's very true, as you know, that the polar ice caps on Mars go through seasonal changes. This means that, if you were trying to "prove" that Earth's global warming is just part of nature, and if you took some photos of the Martian polar ice caps at different times of the year, you might be able to convince some people that those changes could be applied to Earth's loss of polar and glacial ice mass. One problem with that presumed explanation is that Earth's diminishing ice masses are continuing, year-round.

Another problem is that climate scientists throughout the world have shown that the changes to Earth's climate are anthropogenic. Their arguments have convinced even some politicians in the U.S., no minor feat.

Still, many politicians are bashing those very scientists for their resistance to political pressure. What Galileo faced those many years ago was comparable, a fact noted with some humor by climate scientist Michael Mann. Madame L hopes you'll watch the video, in which Michael Mann makes the points more knowledgeably, succinctly, and humorously than Madame L could ever hope to.


Madame L


AskTheGeologist said...

Hmmm. I know who Michael Mann is, but can't find the video here.


Linda said...

I haven't watched the video yet because I don't have the time. But I have wondered if the global warming isn't, in part, due to a more vast climatic cyle. What I mean is that, ages ago there was the Ice Age. Maybe we're approaching another "Age" for the earth. And I certainly agree that we need to be responsible stewards of the earth--cleaning up the waste we spread forth, not over-consuming, companies being responsible, individuals being responsible. So, my question isn't about the seasonal changes, but possible broader changes over centuries, millennia. Like I said, I haven't yet watched that video, so maybe that answers my question, but I'd be interested in what you have to say about it.

AskTheGeologist said...

Yes, there have been slow climate changes in the past - the Pliocene Warm Period, for instance. But nothing in Earth's geologic record suggests climate change occurring as fast as is going on today - with one exception: the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction, brought on by the Chicxulub asteroid impact.

This whole issue caused me to finally lay out what I know about climate change. It's over at: