Thu May 21st, 2009 at 09:22:48 AM EST
Hardball - Chris Matthews May 19, 2009
Debating the Emission-Cap Bill - Clip
with Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, CA
playing the role of Talking Point Parrot -- Squawk!
This faux science appeal by Rohrabacher has little to do with real science, and everything to do with stalling and denial.
Chris Matthews smartly poked holes in Rohrabacher science-y ducking and weaving -- equated it, the stanch Denial by Tobacco Executives, when confronted with overwhelming scientific evidence linking Cancer to Cigarettes.
Still, Rohrabacher kept hiding behind the "supposed" Global Warming occurring on Mars -- apparently this "Talking Point" is their new "last retreat".
Dana just kept asking, someone explain to me "Why we see Temperatures Rising on Mars, when there are NO People there?"
So being the science geek, that I am,
I decided to look into the evidence, to try to separate out the facts from the spin ...
Mars Warming Sure to Heat Up Political Debate
By Luke O'Brien - April 4, 2007
Republican climate change skeptics in Congress are bound to delight in the news that Mars is experiencing its own warming trend. (emphasis added)
Because hotter temperatures create more dust storms, Mars will likely continue to warm up, which is dandy for Republicans like Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California). In a hearing last week, Rohrabacher lamented the "arrogant" and "anti-scientific" dismissal of global warming research funded by oil and gas companies. Rohrabacher then proceeded to dismiss the overwhelming majority of scientists who believe global warming is real and caused by humans. He managed to smuggle in a Mars warming reference to back up his point.
And he's not alone. Here's Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) in a hearing last month: "Apparently, Mars, too, is afflicted with global warming. Are humans responsible for that too?"
To GOP operatives who see science a means to muddy the political waters, not as a means to gain knowledge, the Ice Caps melting on Mars IS phenomena news!
Yet if they ever bothered to read beneath the headlines, or bothered to learn about Cause and Effect in that boring Physics Class, they might have taken a different tack toward that Mars Warming News?
Mars heating up: NASA
ABCNewsOnline - Reuters - April 5, 2007
Earth's dusty neighbour Mars is grappling with its own form of climate change as fluctuating solar radiation is kicking up dust and winds that may be melting the planet's southern polar ice cap, scientists have announced. (emphasis added)
NASA scientist Lori Fenton and colleagues, reporting this week in the journal Nature, now believe variations in radiation from the surface of Mars are fuelling strong winds that stir up giant dust storms, trapping heat and raising the planet's temperature.
By studying changes in light reflected from the surface of Mars, a measure known as an object's albedo, they predict the red planet has warmed by around 0.65 degree Celsius from the 1970s to the 1990s, which may in part have caused the recent retreat of the southern polar ice cap.
On earth, carbon dioxide traps infrared radiation which can affect global climate, this a phenomenon is known as the greenhouse effect, fossil fuel emissions add to the problem.
On Mars, it is the red-tinged dust.
Mars Warming Sure to Heat Up Political Debate
The scientists published their results in Nature this week and attributed the warming to dust storms that expose dark rock that absorbs more heat from the sun.
When in doubt, Go to the Source -- I always say.
What did the actual scientists have to say about their observations of Temperature changes on Mars. Did THEY Blame Solar Flares, like the GOP Parrots do, or what?
Nature 446, 646-649 (5 April 2007)
Lori K. Fenton, Paul E. Geissler & Robert M. Haberle
Global warming and climate forcing by recent albedo changes on Mars
For hundreds of years, scientists have tracked the changing appearance of Mars, first by hand drawings and later by photographs. Because of this historical record, many classical albedo patterns have long been known to shift in appearance over time. Decadal variations of the martian surface albedo are generally attributed to removal and deposition of small amounts of relatively bright dust on the surface. (emphasis added)
Here we present predictions from a Mars general circulation model, indicating that the observed interannual albedo alterations strongly influence the martian environment. Results indicate enhanced wind stress in recently darkened areas and decreased wind stress in brightened areas, producing a positive feedback system in which the albedo changes strengthen the winds that generate the changes.
The simulations also predict a net annual global warming of surface air temperatures by approx 0.65 K, enhancing dust lifting by increasing the likelihood of dust devil generation. The increase in global dust lifting by both wind stress and dust devils may affect the mechanisms that trigger large dust storm initiation, a poorly understood phenomenon, unique to Mars.
1. Carl Sagan Center,
2. Space Science Division, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035, USA
3. US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Arizona 86001, USA
So it's a complex positive feedback cycle, occurring between Light-colored Dust, Dark-colored Surface, Wind patterns, Dust devils, and massive Dust Storms -- which redistribute that all that Light-colored Dust all over again, causing the changes in those exposed dark surface areas, areas which warm faster than the lighter areas.
Think about similar "albedo patterns" feedback cycles on earth, at the poles -- the more the ice cap melts there, the more the "darker waters" are exposed to absorb solar radiation, and so, the more ice cap melts there ...
That's call a positive feedback loop -- cycles which are hard to break, once they build up so much momentum (aka. reach a Tipping Point.)
Funny, how the scientists who issued the Mars study -- did not blame the Sun, Solar Activity, nor those evil tax-happy environmentalists -- even though the GOP Climate Change Deniers will keep clinging to their Party of NO Ideas, and their faux Science stalking horses.
And I have to give Kudos to Matthews, for calling BS on Rohrabacher --
with this direct challenge:
"Tell me sir, Do you believe in the Scientific Method, as the means for finding Truth, or do you have some other Method by which you reach your Beliefs?"
Rohrabacher continued bobbing and weaving, but refused to answer the question, about the Role of Science in Society -- instead he'd rather we all go to Mars, and leave the world, to his party of Earth Exploiters, I guess.
Afterall plants breath in CO2, don't they, so it can't be that bad, can it? (My scinece teacher told me so!)