Martian climate change.

Global climate change has warmed up Mars by 0.5°C in the past three decades though, interestingly, for completely different reasons that Earth has warmed by the same amount in the same period. Fierce winds on the red planet’s surface have filled the atmosphere with dust, creating a greenhouse effect.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

8 replies on “Martian climate change.”

  1. “Earth has warmed by the same amount in the same period…” Are you kidding me? It’s just a coincidence? As Elaine said on Seinfeld, “It’s a pretty big coincidence.”

  2. No, it’s called science. We don’t have to guess at what the causes are, and we don’t have to assume that because things happen at the same time in the same solar system, they must have the same cause.

  3. Well, if you want to find common threads, it’s for the same reason — the greenhouse effect. But the two greenhouse effects have entirely different causes. In that regard, sure, we can say it’s no coincidence. Also, it’s altogether possible that Mars routinely goes through cycles of warming and cooling, as many planets may well as a result of virtuous / vicious cycles created by feedback loops, meaning that the only coincidence is that Earth‘s warming period has aligned. But if Mars’ warming cycles are on, say, 30-year patterns, that means the coincidence is only that it didn’t happen on Earth 15 years earlier or 15 years later. As coincidences go, that’s not a particularly interesting one.

  4. While your certainty as to what the causes of the Martian warming are and resultant rigidity of thought are mildly compelling, I’d just as soon keep an open mind about it. Minds and parachutes and whatnot.

  5. FWIW, this “it can’t be a mere coincidence” is the same logic employed by those who long advocated that the face on Mars was man-made. They figured, hey, humans build enormous images of humans, and the odds of one being created naturally fall right into that watch-on-the-beach fallacy — it’s just not possible, or so these folks figured. Ergo, there is or was at one time intelligent life on Mars that physically resembled humans.

    Of course, photos since taken from other perspectives show that, yes, it’s just a coincidence. It’s an enormous universe. Sometimes a nebulae just look like horse heads because, hey, they’ve got to be shaped like something.

  6. Perhaps the same solar cycles that affect Earth also affect Mars. That seems to fit the data much more easily than trying to explain the global drop in temperatures during the middle third of the last century. At any rate, this is an interesting development, however inconvenient it may be for Mr. Gore.

  7. Were either Earth or Mars’ temperature swings due to Schwabe-Wolf cycles, that would fit the data more easily. But since there isn’t significant data to demonstrate that the cause of warming on either planet is due to changes in the sun what really fits the data are the existing explanations offered by, y’know, the data. :)

  8. I’d also just like to point out that the respective atmospheres (which determine how heat reach the surface) of both planets are very different, so pointing to this similarity as proof that man-made global warming is not the culprit is foolish, unless you can back your claims with concurrent degrees in both Terran as well as Martian atmospheric science.

    Regardless, if we can agree that climate change is occurring, and that to do nothing will displace billions of people, why not attempt to act? We will always want perfect information about a situation, but the deadline to act will always come before that moment arrives. Let us at least begin to move in the direction the consensus currently takes us. If we discover later that everything is fine, all we will have gained is a little efficiency.

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