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NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory Set For Launch Tomorrow

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the door-to-door-to-get-the-gas dept.

NASA 183

bughunter writes "The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) is slated for launch tomorrow, February 24, 2009. OCO is the first earth science observatory that will create a detailed map of atmospheric carbon dioxide sources and sinks around the globe. And not a moment too soon. Popular Mechanics has a concise article on the science that this mission will perform, and how it fits in with the existing 'A-train' of polar-orbiting earth observatories. JPL's page goes into more detail. And NASA's OCO Launch Blog will have continuous updates as liftoff approaches and the spacecraft reports in and checks out from 700km up."

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Lots of Methane from the White House. (-1, Troll)

zymano (581466) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962119)

All taxes from our socialist friends.

Re:Lots of Methane from the White House. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962199)

I agree and FLOSS software sucks too. Get the facts [getthefacts.com] folks.

Smoking hole in the ground (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962977)

The current administration (Oh Bomb Us) won't be happy until there is a smoking hole where the U.S.A. currently resides.

Re:Smoking hole in the ground (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26963819)

The rest of the world wouldn't mind that either.

What Are They Gonna Say? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962213)

When this probe starts returning data that disagrees with the earth based CO2 measurements.

Re:What Are They Gonna Say? (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962297)

I presume by "they", you mean atmospheric scientists? Presumably, they'd follow the scientific method and adjust their theories to fit the new data.

If by "they" you mean career warming deniers, then they will use it as "evidence" when they go on talk shows and sell their newest book to the ignorant on the internet.

If you fall into the latter camp, I wouldn't get your hopes up.

Re:What Are They Gonna Say? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962613)

I guess the question is, since Al Gore and his acolytes claim the science is settled, why is money being poured into more research? Because those who study this "settled science" like to keep getting paid.

Re:What Are They Gonna Say? (2, Insightful)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962833)

Because the models can be made better?? When the models can predict sea level rise to the nearest mm in each region of the globe, the exact quantity of ice during the winter of 2094, or the new ocean currents after a 3 degree rise in average temperature, there will still be improvements that can be made.

Re:What Are They Gonna Say? (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26963845)

Because as more and more evidence piles up, the point on the IQ bell curve at which people are able to deny the facts moves to the left.

Don't worry, we'll get to you eventually.

Deniers will use any discrepancy. (2, Interesting)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962665)

If there is any discrepancy between data sets, those folks are going to use it as proof that Global Warming is a hoax. Like this businessman [foxnews.com] , well he is in the business of climate, I guess that makes him an "expert" to some people and qualifying him to call Global Warming a hoax.

Everyone follows the scientific method. (2, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962717)

presume by "they", you mean atmospheric scientists? Presumably, they'd follow the scientific method and adjust their theories to fit the new data.

Or, they would have just been wrong. Hansen, Gore, etc, wrong. Just like everyone else who gets up on the soap box, makes a statement about the universe, and comes back down smacked down by reality. Wrong.

If you fall into the latter camp, I wouldn't get your hopes up.

Hey, I'm hanging onto my lack of sunspots. 2008 came in cooler, and we'll see how 2009 does.

Re:Everyone follows the scientific method. (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964327)

If you follow the scientific method the best you can do is go where the evidence takes you. If you get caught up in the right/wrong nonsense then you pollute the process with emotion and ego.

Being an armchair scientist can be fun, but why in the world do you think that all the scientists have missed something so simple as the effect of the sun on global warming? Do you really think that almost every scientist is hopelessly corrupt? Can you imagine something similar in any other occupation?

I would also encourage you to look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_systems [wikipedia.org]

Re:What Are They Gonna Say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962813)

In the past, it was the people who said "the sky is falling", "the world is going to end tomorrow" "etc" that were considered the nuts... Now, those who say, "the sky is NOT falling and the world is NOT coming to an end" are considered the nuts...

Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

Re:What Are They Gonna Say? (1, Insightful)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962981)

Seeing everything as a dichotomy = your problem. A lot of others suffer from the same disease.

Re:What Are They Gonna Say? (2)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963607)

Presumably, they'd follow the scientific method and adjust their theories to fit the new data.

Just like Mann et al did when it turned out some of their tree ring proxies were problematic, and it only took them a decade to replace them with better ones, which produced a conclusion that was similar to but far less sound-bite-worthy than the original.

This is the way science actually works: people generally defend their favoured belief kicking and screaming until they are absolutely forced to give it up. To suggest that people who find the popular press reports of impending doom from anthropogenic global warming less than compelling are in any way anti-scientific is a nice ad hominem that doesn't really belong in a scientific debate.

There are plenty of reasons to be sceptical about climate science: our inability to figure out what is happening to 30% of the CO2 we're polluting the atmosphere with is one of them, and this satellite will hopefully help figure that out.

Re:What Are They Gonna Say? (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962321)

Stop and figure out which one is right, just like when the satellite troposphere temperature data disagreed with everything else. But the main point of this mission is to gather new data that can't readily be collected from the ground.

Re:What Are They Gonna Say? (2, Interesting)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962445)

I dunno. What will the climate change critics do when it shows that the theories are spot on?

Am i the only one... (5, Funny)

ProfMobius (1313701) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962295)

Am i the only one to read Orbital Canon in the title ? I freaked out just before realizing... No more C&C for me.

Re:Am i the only one... (0)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962391)

It's okay, this is only the Orbital Cannon Observatory that the GDI will watch the destruction from. This observatory can't hurt us at all.

Re:Am i the only one... (0)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962475)

Actually I read "Orbital Cartoon Observatory".

Re:Am i the only one... (0)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962673)

So did I, and my initial reaction was "Cool! I want to work on that project!" Imaging my disappointment upon re-reading the headline and discovering they wanted to observe carbon, not cartoons!

Re:Am i the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963075)

And I read your post as "Orbital Carton Observatory". I was greatly stumped as to what an Orbital Carton was or why they needed to be observed.

Re:Am i the only one... (1)

Jeff Carr (684298) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963447)

I read Orbital Cartoon Observatory... I'm not exactly sure what I was picturing...

Re:Am i the only one... (1)

mdrplg (680070) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963547)

Caught my eye it did. Did a double take.

It will be all fine (4, Funny)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962325)

As long as it doesn't collide with another satellite. :)

War of the Deniers (4, Insightful)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962499)

Who will win the battle: the pro-troleum anti-AGW crowd, the creationists who believe that man cannot corrupt the Earth since it was created by a loving God, or the Flat-Earthers who think all satellites are a conspiracy from Big Spheroid?

Whoever wins, we lose.

Broad brush (5, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962553)

Very classy there. Oh, sure, go ahead -- lump us in with those two groups of anti-scientific, peer-reviewed-research-denying kooks. But I can assure you, we'll be getting the last laugh when you sail off the edge of the Earth.

Re:War of the Deniers (3, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962643)

the creationists who believe that man cannot corrupt the Earth since it was created by a loving God

Automatic -5 Flamebait (or something) for me, but being a creationist, I can say that I have never heard of the position you just laid out. Incidentally, as a creationist, I think I actually have more of a reason to care about the earth, as most Christians that believe the book of Genesis will also believe that man was put on the earth as a caretaker of it. That definitely implies using it wisely and not destroying it.

On the other hand, I don't exactly know what obligation I have to do anything for the earth if there is no God and I'm a product of evolution.

This is a partial indictment against Christians, by the way, for not developing a better (for lack of a better phrase) environmental worldview. But I haven't actually heard of the position you mentioned. :)

Re:War of the Deniers (4, Informative)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962733)

On the other hand, I don't exactly know what obligation I have to do anything for the earth if there is no God and I'm a product of evolution.

The earth will be fine. Life will go on, probably with a small loss of diversity (probably won't even register compared to some of the mass extinctions in the past). The motivation is that our actions on this matter may have drastic effects on the living conditions of our children and grandchildren.

Re:War of the Deniers (4, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962969)

As George Carlin [youtube.com] would say, the planet will be fine. The people are fucked.

Why exactly is that a motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963659)

Just to play devil's advocate, why would a thoughtful atheist consider "drastic effects on living conditions of [progeny]" as relevant desiderata? We ought to make life better for posterity, um, why exactly?

Re:Why exactly is that a motivation? (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26963921)

Some of us love our kids, not because some divine entity told us we must, but simply because we love our kids. Anyone that says loving one's children is conditional on a belief in God is a fool or a lier.

Re:War of the Deniers (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963063)

On the other hand, I don't exactly know what obligation I have to do anything for the earth if there is no God and I'm a product of evolution.

Your obligation according to evolution is to maximize the survival of your descendants.
Ruined planet = no descendants, or no descendants of descendants, etc.
No descendants equals evolutionary failure.
So, your obligation is not to screw it up.

Seems obvious?

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963205)

But why do I care if my genes are evolutionarily successful?

Re:War of the Deniers (2, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963293)

"But why do I care if my genes are evolutionarily successful?"

As a farther of tow adult childeren and soon to be one grandkid I say you won't know the answer to that until your genes ARE evolutionarily successful.

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963421)

Instinct man. If you lack that instinct, oh well, guess your genes are evolutionary failures and won't be carried on.

Re:War of the Deniers (2, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963491)

That is presuming a fundamental and rather unfounded proposition: that I have a [moral?] obligation to do my best to let my descendants live. Why should I personally care if "evolutionary failure" occurs? I live, I die, and I'm gone from the world. If my descendants die and evolutionary failure occurs... well, that would imply a few things, at least to my mind/amount of education in evolutionary thinking. (1) I and my descendants were not fit to survive, and thus evolution didn't "fail" but rather succeeded in letting other humans, who were fit, survive. (2) If the entire human race, or even the entire planet has an evolutionary failure (I'm not entirely sure what that "really" means, as evolution is presumably a natural force/process and thus can't "fail," right?), what difference does it make? In the course of the X billion of years, it seems that many planets should have come and gone. So what if earth goes?

My obligation is to not screw it up - obligation to whom? My not-yet-born descendants? Their not-yet-born descendants? Well, not being born, and presuming there is no God and no overarching plan of some sort, they don't care and it doesn't matter if they aren't ever born. Obligation to humanity in general? Well, I don't see why I should worry myself about humanity, unless they're going to kill me if I don't (and that seems to be a rather akin to forcing morality, or ethics, or standards, or whatever, on individuals..)

Here's my bottom line again. I actually don't see any real obligation, if I were an atheistic evolutionist, to do anything about the earth. Or, for that matter, to do anything for humanity. Unless I see a distinct benefit in it for me AND I have a desire to reap said benefit. On the other hand, as a Theistic (not Deistic) Creationist, I would argue that I have actually more of an obligation to the earth/world, because I claim to serve its Creator.

(this is weird, I'm arguing for higher responsibility/obligation on slashdot. what am I thinking?!)

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

wish bot (265150) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964719)

If it talks like a Nihilist, smells like a Nihilist and quacks like a Nihilist then it IS a Nihilist.

You're not the first or the last to feel this way. However let's put it like this: estimates are that the changes we are making are so drastic, that YOU, not your children will begin to feel the impacts.

Case in point: current bushfires in Melbourne, Australia. Record heat and drought, predicted by climate models, due to weather pattern changes (man-made or not is irrelevant), has created the worst fire conditions ever recorded, and led to the most destructive fires ever experienced in the country.

Outcome: If you lack empathy so much that you struggle with the idea of global and future obligations, then just think of yourself because the future is already here!

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964853)

Yes, the universe is meaningless until you ascribe some meaning to it.

If you want to believe there is a "higher authority" that has already done that for you then fine but please refrain from critizing others who find meaning without serving said authority, for that is the sin of arrogance.

An excellent book on the subject is "Unweaving the rainbow" by R. Dawkins. The book quite clearly demonstrates that like most humans, the current king of the Atheists also experiences the feeling that you might describe as "religious awe".

Re:War of the Deniers (3, Insightful)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963087)

I don't exactly know what obligation I have to do anything for the earth if there is no God and I'm a product of evolution.

Well then you should give that one some thought, since at least the latter half of your statement is undeniably true.

Re:War of the Deniers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963175)

On the other hand, I don't exactly know what obligation I have to do anything for the earth if there is no God and I'm a product of evolution.

So if there was no God you would not feel any obligation to preserve the planet? You feel no compulsion to leave your children a world better than the one that you grew up in?

Please, continue to believe in God, if that's the only thing that makes you care about your fellow humans.

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963601)

Well, let's see here. Seems most parents get divorced these days, most kids pretty much hate their parents for ~20 years...

Hmmm. I'm not seeing much of a reason to leave the world a better place than I found it.

Realize, though, that I am arguing from an attempt at looking at the world without presuppositions. I have them. You have them. In fact, I would venture to say that most of American's presuppositions about morality, ethics, etc., actually come more from my worldview than their claimed worldview. In other words, from an atheistic evolutionary worldview, I don't see any particular reason for caring for my fellow human being. Rather, doing like the monkey in 2001: A Space Odyssey seems more natural - chase off the other monkeys and claim better land! Now, an atheistic evolutionary worldview that continues in ethics/morals that are more easily attributed to cultural roots that have their own roots in a Judaic/Christian morality and ethic? That's different. And that's where I think most of today's morality/ethics ends up finding its traces to. Yes, it's breaking down, but I think that's where it came from to begin with. Even according to philosophers like Freud, our actions are traceable to self-centered drives. So, if preserving the planet doesn't particularly perk my self-centered drive, then who cares?

And, I think this is starting to come out. People who live for money and sex probably aren't going to care too much about the environment, unless it directly affects their personal gain - e.g., more money and more sex.

Re:War of the Deniers (4, Informative)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963215)

I have never heard quite that argument either, but I have heard the argument that the earth's resources were put here by God for our use and so, well...we'd better get to it! I know I've heard Mitt Romney say that, and I think (without much evidence) it is actually a relatively mainstream Mormon position.

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963545)

Well, to expound a bit on the Biblical principle there... the actual idea is that yes, the earth's resources were put here by God for our use but we were put here to care for it... or, in Christian lingo, to be stewards of it. And, obviously, the idea is to be a good steward, not a bad steward.

It's not so much a mainstream Mormon position as a literal-Genesis position, whether that's in a mainstream Christian church, Mormon group, Catholic church, conservative church, evangelical Christian church, etc.

Actually, even non-literal-Genesis Christian groups hold to the idea, as long as they attribute some amount of weight/importance to the Adam and Eve account, story, or myth, whichever they believe.

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964083)

Interesting. Thanks. (I'd mod you as such if I could)

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964257)

Meh, "nice" conversations are better than mods :)

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

mdrplg (680070) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963527)

People who think they are nice because God is watching really scare me. If for some reason their faith falters, does that mean they are going to rampage through the streets. I know, off topic, off topic. Bad robot. As far as being a care taker for the earth--that is the rub. Creationist put themselves (at God's command no less) at the head of the pyramid of life and land. Evolutionist understand that (or most of them I think) ((at least I understand)) we are in a fragile dance with the environment and that no matter how important we think we might be, there is no guarantee that we won't be expunged from the life-play of the planet. No seven trumpets--no falling stars or heavens rolled up, no final judgment and everlasting joy. Just no humans.

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963665)

I'm cool with offtopic conversations... :D

Does it mean that if their faith falters, they will go on a rampage. No more than anyone else who has a breakdown in their worldview. And no more of a rampage than those who don't believe that God is watching or that they are accountable to God for what they do, right? If they suddenly decide they aren't accountable to God (that is not to say they actually are or aren't, they have just decided it in their own minds) and go on a rampage, then they will only be held back by what holds back all the other non-God-fearing people.

One distinct difference, though, is that most of western civilization's morality/ethics, or what's left of it, appears to come from religion (specifically, the cultural Judaic/Christian morality/ethics). It's a serious worldview-crash indeed that will cause someone to completely turn on everything they have been taught culturally AND everything they've been taught religiously AND everything they've been taught parentally/in their families. That's more than "faith faltering." That's more like a "normal nextdoor neighbor" turning into a serial killer. I've known plenty of poeple that have walked away from "the whole religion thing" or "Christianity" or "God" and they didn't go into a rampage. They turned into what you would likely consider "normal" and what I would consider, to use a Biblical term, "worldly."

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

mdrplg (680070) | more than 5 years ago | (#26963903)

I was engaging in a bit of irony (is that what it was?) I think that most people are nice because they are hard-wired that way and they only become mean when they perceive the target as outside of the moral bond that they belong to. So yes, loosing ones faith DOESN'T mean that one goes rampaging, though I think that a lot of Theists are afraid that is what it means. You follow?

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964121)

Ah, did not catch the irony... but I still disagree that I don't think that's what a lot of Theists believe. I suppose some do. I can't speak for everyone, obviously, that believes in God. As far as what I think would happen, though... I already explained the rampage thing. I think a lot of 'religious' people do believe that morality and ethics will slowly degrade into very base and behavior. From a Biblical standpoint, this is essentially prophesied. From a more philosophical standpoint, when the only accountability is to yourself, the moral implications should be somewhat obvious.

What I can say, though, from a more conservative Christian viewpoint, is that those in evangelical Christianity are afraid for the - shall we say, eternal welfare - of the person... which is philosophically a more important question. Obviously, many worldviews answer the question rather shortly. And I personally think that many people have never really thought that part of their worldview out. It's not one of the more pleasant things in life...

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

PineHall (206441) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963765)

People who think they are nice because God is watching really scare me.

It scares me too, because that is not Christianity is all about though many people think so. As a Christian, I love because God first loved me. God loves each of us even though we have messed up our lives and this world we live in. It is out of gratitude for what Jesus did for all of us I try to live a life worthy of him. I am not better than anybody else. I am not perfect. I am just thankful for what God through Jesus has done for me.

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

mdrplg (680070) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964007)

Yet you believe that EVERYONE has SCREWED UP and deserves ETERNAL DAMNATION. That's why you love Jesus, because he has saved you from HELL. Sorry, my CAPS LOCK is broken. Ha ha? Seriously, unless you are a member of a different sect, you believe that I and my family are doomed to eternal pain and suffering because we are not Christians. Don't you? I am not damned. You are not damned. When you die you are re-absorbed into the universe just like every living thing. We don't know exactly what that means but it's not damnation. Damnation is so tribal. Ah, what am I wasting my fingers for. I very much doubt that I can change your mind.

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26963927)

We're not using "creationists" in terms of people that believe the book of Genesis because that even includes Charles Darwin. We're using it to describe those people that think the world is 4000 years old which is some rubbish that came in from elsewhere.

The "intelligent design" advocates are a related problem, since their argument is "it's all too hard to understand, the God ate my homework". Unfortunately people that take a very simplistic veiw of faith object strongly to those that want to find out how things work and do not realise that science has nothing whatsoever to do with religeon.

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964205)

You don't have any obligation.

Of course, you can still be a steward of the earth for the same reasons that you don't eat shit for breakfast (stupid things like self interest, joy, aesthetics, etc.).

What bothers me about the way you frame it is the day you decide that you no longer have the obligation (I don't insist on needing an exterior motivator, so I don't need to feel obligated...).

Re:War of the Deniers (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964655)

I dont know how you can be creationist, but not take the revelations seriously. You are one of the cherry-pickers . You dont have to care abut Carbon Dioxide if Armageddon will come soon. Or are you one of these cherry-picker-types when it comes to the bible?

It's All Magic Anyhow! (4, Interesting)

loose electron (699583) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962683)

Its interesting that no matter how much knowledge, data, statistics, etc, are gathered, there will always be those that are never convinced. Be the subject, evolution, global warming, or that the earth is round.

I can find people that will vehemently deny the validity of all three of the above. Sometimes you just want to throw your hands up in the air and quit trying.

My favorite one in the right here and now is "Clean Coal" - Well, if you want to convince us that coal is clean energy, then why don't you build a clean coal plant, and let people come in and measure and analyze your work? If they can demonstrate just one "Clean Coal" plant, then that would be worth more than the tens of millions of dollars put into advertising for clean coal. Sorry, but when this OCO gets running its going to be interesting to see the patterns and observations received on the coal plants spewing CO2, NOx, trace Mercury, Sulfur, and other goodies into the air.

But that doesn't mean it will convince some people...

Re:It's All Magic Anyhow! (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963003)

The invention of the term "junk science" was the rhetorical equivalent to the Manhattan Project. There is now a verbal nuclear device to use when cornered.

Can we add a new corollary to Godwin's Law?

Ignorance Really Is Bliss (1, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963111)

Its interesting that no matter how much knowledge, data, statistics, etc, are gathered, there will always be those that are never convinced. Be the subject, evolution, global warming, or that the earth is round.

What you don't understand, as you triumph evolution or the round earth, is how many times scientists have been WRONG. Before the earth was round, it was flat, it's been shaped like a disk. It's been hollow, filled with magma, it's had a liquid core, a solid core, and now it might have two cores orbiting each other.

First we heard that mega-disasters could not happen and the dinosaurs died of disease because mega-disasters are bible thumping things, and then we find a comet smashed into the earth, and then it is possible that not only did a comet smash into the earth, but the siberian traps exploded at the same time and then maybe there was a big disease after all or maybe just rats ate all the damn dino eggs.

And don't even get me started on diseases... first you bleed people and then you got some guy sticking his finger into Lincoln's brain and then you got a cure for all bacteria and soon viruses and cancer then woops we're nowhere on cancer and viruses and bacteria are going to win after all.

Hot damn.

But, before you go on about how science progresses and is never wrong, let's apply that same standard of excellence to our former President? I mean, George Bush wasn't wrong when he invaded Iraq. He merely learned that Saddam did not have WMD, and the original plans for the invasion needed to be revised to consider an increased number of soldiers. He wasn't wrong... he just learned!

Now, my point is really this. The ratio of right to wrong in science will most definitely approach 0, but, the consequences of each step will also approach 0. Basically, the big stuff smart people figured out long time ago, fire, food, water, and that had big consequences. Then lesser consequences as more was learned, different kinds of fire, food, water... the air... and we keep drilling down and also learn about things that don't matter as much... the earth is flat / round. really, if you are a 10th century farmer, why care? Doesn't matter. Same thing today... the Higgs is X ev or Y ev, is that going to make my dick bigger? It might, down the road, but the dirty secret of science is that the more we know, the less it matters, and, since we know so much, and invalidate so much, scientists are pretty increasing the probability of being wrong.

So, rather than worry about whether or not there's global warming, I'd build a fire, have a drink and a cigar, and don't sweat it. Science has given you enough to have a pretty darned good life, anything else it gives you is nice to know but probably obsolete as soon as you hear it, so why bother with it?

I mean, seriously. You rail on the ignorant, but, look at what science says : the ignorant are everywhere, so obviously, they must be better than you... that's what Darwin says.

Re:Ignorance Really Is Bliss (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 5 years ago | (#26963909)

"Before the earth was round, it was flat, it's been shaped like a disk."

The idea that 'people in the past thought the Earth was flat' is an invention of the 20th century. Stephen Jay Gould has an excellent article discussing this fact. The Egyptians, Greeks, Incas, etc all had a very good idea about the shape of the earth. Using it as an ad-hominem is ironic.

I think as far as the scientific method goes, it is almost always better to be a denier then a cheerleader.

Re:Ignorance Really Is Bliss (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26963997)

The thing that Gould missed was that yeah, some smart people, were clued into the Earth being round, but by and large most people were pretty stupid. I mean, before we go and bestow great piles of brains on our middle ages ancestors, we do need to be reminded that even some of the kings could not read. Like some Vikings, they were going to sail off the edge of the planet...

Re:It's All Magic Anyhow! (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963117)

Its interesting that no matter how much knowledge, data, statistics, etc, are gathered, there will always be those that are never convinced.

Considering how often knowledge, data, and statistics have changed fundamentally the way we understand various subjects over the millenia why is it that you think now we have all of it correct? Not that I think the earth is flat, cool, and 10,000 years old, but get some perspective.

Re:It's All Magic Anyhow! (4, Insightful)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963307)

Of course there will always be people like the ones you describe. People on Slashdot throwing around the word "denialist" is starting to annoy me now though. What, was heretic too strong of a word for you? I mean seriously, how do you deal with someone who believes the Earth is flat? Personally if they believe the Earth is flat then there's no reason for me to talk to them, their mind is made up. Scientific reasoning will never reach them. Lately Slashdot commenters, for whatever reason, have moved away from scientific reasoning onto name calling and petty bickering though. Apparently global climate change is serious enough to warrant discussion, but not well thought out discussion, just ad hominem attacks. Not to mention half the people who are called "denialists" are just people arguing about the extent of anthropogenic climate change, but agree the average temperature of the Earth is rising faster than current models predict it should.

I'm usually too disgusted by these threads on Slashdot to post anymore. This time I'm posting rather early in hopes that at least a few people will read this.

Re:It's All Magic Anyhow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963459)

I can understand skepticism about "clean coal". I'm a skeptic myself.

However, in Germany they have a test plant where we'll get to measure the effectiveness, see what is released, etc.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3628912,00.html

The article details complaints about plant efficiency, but if it works and provides less expensive energy than sunlight or wind it might be worth considering. We have more than enough coal around the world for the time being, and it will allow us to improve sun and wind power or, better yet, get nuclear power up and running.

It's only magic if you don't ask about the tricks (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964107)

coal plants spewing CO2, NOx, trace Mercury, Sulfur, and other goodies into the air

The other bits have been removed for decades with things like bag filters, scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators etc - they even do this in China, Brazil etc. Carbon dioxide is a different story, and that's what people are talking about with new "clean coal" technology which is just a shorthand for "carbon capture and storage". It doesn't appear to be an easy thing to do, unlike the much simpler process of just using a lot of water (scrubbers) to remove NOx, SOx and all the fly ash.

The large amount of advertising is IMHO due to the example of the nuclear industry which effectively stopped R&D and instead spent a lot on advertising and has now convinced everyone that their 1960s white elephant designs are a good idea. Perhaps after a lot of advertising and a few years "clean coal" will be exactly what we have now apart from planting a couple of dozen trees somewhere.

Re:It's All Magic Anyhow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26964635)

"Clean Coal" is pretty close to an oxymoron in most of the systems that are currently implemented. It sort of depends on what you consider "clean". The ones fired up now are definitely cleaner than the plants historically in terms of NOx, SO2, etc. It's one of the main reasons that acid rain isn't the utter disaster it used to be, but is now somewhat mitigated in many parts of the world. Before dealing with these emissions it was really awful downwind from major industrial centres (and in some parts of the world without stringent NOx/SO2 emissions standards it still is).

But CO2? Other than improving general efficiency, most coal plants do nothing to try to diminish those emissions. CO2 is pretty harmless as an emission with the exception that it contributes to global warming, and per gigajoule of energy (or whatever unit you want to use), it produces far more than other fossil fuels such as natural gas or oil. Unfortunately it is also much harder to get CO2 out of the exhaust efficiently.

But there are experiments underway. The Schwarze Pumpe [wikipedia.org] coal-fired station in Germany is an example. Can these still be economical? Dunno.

But, yeah, instead of pouring millions of dollars into advertising "clean coal", while still doing business pretty much as usual, they should be building these things and trying to get them to work -- not merely as token, small experimental plants, but getting the technology implemented on a bigger scale. And if that isn't possible, then they really shouldn't be calling it "clean coal", but "somewhat cleaner coal that the really awful crap we used to put out". Substantial and genuine improvement still doesn't make it "clean" compared to other options such as oil or natural gas, and the mining operations are far messier too in most cases.

Why waste money (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962691)

I am not sure why they dont invest money right, in education and medicare for the citizens .. rather than investing in useless stuff

Carbon footprint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962719)

What is the carbon footprint of this sensor?

I find it hard to estimate since the launch is probably only a tiny fraction of the total amount that went into its construction....

I know.... (0)

wpiman (739077) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962771)

I know where it went; it is called the carbon cycle. All that CO2 is either in the oceans, in plants/animals and in the air as CO2. I just saved you $273 million dollars, and I take a 10% cut. Check please.

We've probably made the world a better place for our friends who breathe the stuff.

Can someone please answer this: If we are burning fossil fuels; presumably all this carbon we are burning was part of the carbon cycle 100s of millions of years ago. All this carbon was then free to go from life -> CO2 and back. Assuming all the free carbon in the cycle now was available then; wouldn't the amount of CO2 in the air 100's of millions of years ago been far greater than it is today? Fossilization removed carbon from the cycle VERY slowly. We are adding it back quickly; but bringing it to levels where it previously has been. An we went through ice ages AND heat spells then. Are we really changing anything?

Re:I know.... (2, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962997)

Most of the life on earth today is evolved for the current conditions, not the conditions that existed when that carbon as sequestered from the environment. At a minimum going back to those levels of CO2 would be uncomfortable. Studies have shown that when the CO2 level in a room is 1000 ppm then over 20% of people feel discomfort from it. With business as usual we could reach that level around 2100.

Re:I know.... (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963023)

Whoa, dude, you just freed my mind.

We could totally turn the oceans back into primordial soup, man. It'll still be all the same, right? Better maybe - we could all be trippin on our oceans of carbonic acid, and snorting ammonia. Transcendental Peace, brother.

Re:I know.... (1)

wpiman (739077) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963375)

Oceans of soup? Sweet... That would solve the hunger crisis.

Re:I know.... (2, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963143)

I know where it went; it is called the carbon cycle. All that CO2 is either in the oceans, in plants/animals and in the air as CO2. I just saved you $273 million dollars, and I take a 10% cut. Check please.

The point is to know precisely where it's going, to know how much its future capacity to soak carbon will be. For example, here's a known case: the oceans. Since we know that a lot of it is going to the oceans, and how much, we can determine what it's carbon soaking capacity will be in the future as it gets more and more saturated. But, to pick some random possibility... carbonates formed from exposed surface rock. If we don't how much CO2 is going into forming additional carbonates naturally, we have no ability to model how much that ability will fade off in the future.

The current models, which generally assume that unknown carbon sinks will remain equally able to keep sinking an unlimited amount of carbon into the future, are likely very overly optimistic on this front on this front.

We've probably made the world a better place for our friends who breathe the stuff.

Most of the world's oceans (2/3rds of the world's available area for photosynthesis) are not CO2-limited, but nutrient-limited. In particular, iron.

Can someone please answer this: If we are burning fossil fuels; presumably all this carbon we are burning was part of the carbon cycle 100s of millions of years ago.

Not necessarily. Oil, and even natural gas and coal deposits are just a fraction of all entombed carbon. There's also shales and all sorts of carbonate minerals. Carbon levels are constantly in flux. Back during the Cambrian, they hit as high as 7,000 ppm. By the mid-Carboniferous, they were down to around 350 ppm. But that took place over the course of 250 million years, an average change of 1ppm every 40,000 years. Some periods were steeper than others, of course; the mid Devonian dropped a ppm every few thousand years, and there are probably more dramatic spikes that we just don't have the resolution to see (more like what we see in the Holocene record). But nothing in the historical record even approaches a relentless 1 1/2 ppm/year.

It's not *that* the Earth is changing. The Earth always changes. The problem is how fast it's changing. I don't know about yours, but my species certainly can't rapidly evolve over the course of a few dozen generations. And much of our infrastructure is fixed in place, unable to adapt at all; you can't just pack people up from areas that are drying out and move them to new Canadian/Siberian farmland without huge expense and hardship.

Re:I know.... (2, Informative)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963169)

Assuming all the free carbon in the cycle now was available then; wouldn't the amount of CO2 in the air 100's of millions of years ago been far greater than it is today?

An answer to that question can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_the_Earth's_atmosphere [wikipedia.org]

Changes in carbon dioxide during the Phanerozoic (the last 542 million years). The recent period is located on the left-hand side of the plot, and it appears that much of the last 550 million years has experienced carbon dioxide concentrations significantly higher than the present day.

We are adding it back quickly; but bringing it to levels where it previously has been. An we went through ice ages AND heat spells then. Are we really changing anything?

I am going to paraphrase your question:
It gets warm in the summer and cold in the winter. But then it gets warm again. So does anything really change?

not a moment too...? (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962911)

from the summary: "And not a moment too late". Am I missing some hidden meaning, or did they mean not a moment too _soon_?

CO2 not a killer gas (0)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962927)

It seems impossible to have any reasoned discussion about carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased from 290 ppm in pre-industrial times to 365 ppm today and that increase is NOT having a significant effect on climate. In the 'global warming' scenario, short wavelength radiation from the sun passes through the atmosphere and warms the earth. The warmed earth then re-radiates long-wavelength infra-red radiation back into space, or at least tries to but is allegedly stopped by carbon dioxide. So...what's wrong with this? CO2 absorbs infra-red radiation in only a narrow wavelength band and it will not absorb any infra-red radiation with a wavelength outside of its absorption band. There is already far more CO2 in the atmosphere than is needed to effectively absorb ALL infra-red radiation in the CO2 absorption band. (A much bigger absorber of infra-red radiation in the atmosphere is...water vapor...but that's another movie.)

The effect of increasing CO2 concentration is therefore only to cause absorption to occur at a slightly lower altitude in the atmosphere and after carbon dioxide absorbs infra-red radiation, it quickly collides with nearby, and far more abundant, oxygen and nitrogen molecules, transferring heat to them. These then re-radiate heat out into space. So...does increasing carbon dioxide concentration increase temperatures at all? Yes, but only to a relatively small extent because a linear increase in temperature requires an exponential increase in carbon dioxide concentration due to the basic physics of absorption. The best estimate is that a doubling of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration from the pre-industrial value (290 to 580 ppm) would increase global temperatures by 1.2C. Based on our current CO2 output it will take us another 100 years to reach 580 ppm, by which time we will have probably exhausted our fossil fuels anyway, if we believe the gloomy forecasts about petroleum reserves.

So...if carbon dioxide is not changing our climate, what is? Look to the Sun [ibdeditorial.com] . Based on current information [noaa.gov] , the sun activity is declining and we can expect cooler weather in the future.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963011)

I hope you're right. If the climate in the future is cooler, I would admit that global warming does not seem to be caused by greenhouse gasses. I wonder if you will admit you're wrong if the climate does keep warming. If there's less Arctic ice in twenty years than there is today, will you admit it?

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963179)

I hope you're right. If the climate in the future is cooler, I would admit that global warming does not seem to be caused by greenhouse gasses. I wonder if you will admit you're wrong if the climate does keep warming. If there's less Arctic ice in twenty years than there is today, will you admit it?

That depends, What is the state of the sun... High or low number of spots... In other words, if you want a response about a result then you need to provide a complete set of conditions. YOU CAN'T NEGLECT THE SOURCE TERM and expect to make credible predictions.

Ein = Eout + Estored

The polar ice caps represent a measure of the stored energy and YOU are ASSUMING that Ein is a constant for all time... IT IS NOT!!!

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963247)

I'm not assuming anything. One person made a prediction that the Earth will get cooler, based on the natural cycle global warming hypothesis. I asked if that didn't happen, would he admit he was wrong. I predict that the Earth will get warmer, based on the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. If the Earth gets colder, I will freely admit I was wrong.

It's called the scientific method. You know, use hypotheses to make predictions, then see which prediction matches our observations.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963457)

You are making assumptions... Maybe you should re-read your original post... You ASSUMED that the climate model (CO2) would cause warming... In case you can't figure it out, the planet can get HOTER if you TURN UP THE HEAT from the SUN!!! NOTE, this can be completely decoupled from the atmospheric CO2 concentration... So yes, you did make an assumption... A BAD ASSUMPTION!!! My Ph.D. is in physics... I am aware of the scientific method... I like to examine all parts of a system before drawing conclusions... That helps you reject things like personal bias, systematic errors... Never cut corners and only consider part of the system... You will get the wrong results (as you have) every time.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963573)

No, I did not assume the climate model would cause warming. How can a model cause warming anyway? I used the hypothesis that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will cause warming, which is the consensus among climatologists. If the predicted warming is not observed, I will admit that the hypothesis does not seem to be accurate.

My question is simply if the cooling predicted by the OP is not observed, is he willing to admit that his hypothesis might be wrong. It's very simple. Two predictions from the hypotheses. Let's see which prediction is correct.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963789)

I hope you're right. If the climate in the future is cooler, I would admit that global warming does not seem to be caused by greenhouse gasses. I wonder if you will admit you're wrong if the climate does keep warming. If there's less Arctic ice in twenty years than there is today, will you admit it?

The earth may get cooler but that would NOT be evidence that greenhouse gases had no warming effect, just as a warming earth is not evidence of a greenhouse gas warming effect. The temperature change, by itself, whatever it is, is not evidence of anything. As far as the physics of infra-red absorption, there is nothing to admit either way. The absorption spectra of CO2 are fairly well known as are the atmospheric dimensions and composition. There might be less arctic ice in 20 years, there might be more, or it might be about the same. Whatever the case, it says nothing about the cause of any underlying global temperature change.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (0, Troll)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963153)

290 ppm in pre-industrial times to 365 ppm today and that increase is NOT having a significant effect on climate.

Hmm. Lets think polar ice cap. 365 ppm / 290 ppm * 273 Celsius gives us 343 Celsius.

So, shouldn't the polar bears currently be living in lukewarm tea?

Another way to look at global warming is by time. During an ice age temperature warms or cools at a rate of X degrees per century. Some shriekers claim over a century global warming will make the temperature rise by Y degrees. What are X, Y, and X/Y. I'm unimpressed. The land I live on has been under a warm tropical sea giving nice limestone deposits and also more recently under two miles of ice giving crazy terrain. The future is not going to be any less inconsistent.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (1)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963289)

Hmm. Lets think polar ice cap. 365 ppm / 290 ppm * 273 Celsius gives us 343 Celsius.

The unstated assumption being that temperature is a linear function of CO2 concentration. Any particular reason why that should be true ?

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963693)

It's true because it's in slashdot discussion and is used to prove a point.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963335)

Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased from 290 ppm in pre-industrial times to 365 ppm today and that increase is NOT having a significant effect on climate.

Day length has increased from 9.2 hours on the Solstice to 12.5 hours today and that increase is NOT having a significant effect on weather. February tends to be colder than December even though the days are longer. Is this evidence that the seasons are not caused by the Earth's position with respect to the Sun?

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963401)

It seems impossible to have any reasoned discussion about carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased from 290 ppm in pre-industrial times to 365 ppm today and that increase is NOT having a significant effect on climate.

Oh really? [duke.edu]

In the 'global warming' scenario, short wavelength radiation from the sun passes through the atmosphere and warms the earth. The warmed earth then re-radiates long-wavelength infra-red radiation back into space, or at least tries to but is allegedly stopped by carbon dioxide. So...what's wrong with this? CO2 absorbs infra-red radiation in only a narrow wavelength band and it will not absorb any infra-red radiation with a wavelength outside of its absorption band. There is already far more CO2 in the atmosphere than is needed to effectively absorb ALL infra-red radiation in the CO2 absorption band. (A much bigger absorber of infra-red radiation in the atmosphere is...water vapor...but that's another movie.)

Sorry, but you should really start reading peer-reviewed research and stop listening to viscounts. First off, for something to be a greenhouse gas, it *needs* to be selective on what it blocks. An optimal greenhouse gas is *transparent* to light in the visible and near-IR spectrum, and *opaque* to far-IR. You need to let the sun's energy in (mostly visible and near-IR) while making it harder for what the Earth radiates (mostly far-IR) out. A gas that blocks everything evenly is not a greenhouse gas.

Secondly, your argument is akin to saying that if a reflective blanket keeps 95% of your heat in, putting another reflective blanket around you won't help much. Earth is not a simple physics problem with a surface, a single one-pass medium, and an energy input. Light is constantly absorbed and re-radiated all throughout the atmosphere. The upper layers are colder than the upper layers. The higher the absorption of far-IR, the slower energy can transfer from the lower layers to the upper layers; the lower the absorption of near-IR and visible, the faster energy can transfer from the upper layers to the surface (or even straight to the surface). In short, until a 10-meter or so column of atmosphere can absorb 95%, increasing CO2 levels is a *major* impactor on surface temperature.

Lastly, water vapor is 100% feedback, not forcing. Water vapor has a tiny residency in the atmosphere (days), while CO2 has a long residency (hundreds of years). Any disequilibrium in water vapor is rapidly remedied. Now, on *geological time scales*, CO2 is feedback, mostly to Milankovitch cycles. But that's on the scale of tens of thousands of years.

The effect of increasing CO2 concentration is therefore only to cause absorption to occur at a slightly lower altitude in the atmosphere and after carbon dioxide absorbs infra-red radiation, it quickly collides with nearby, and far more abundant, oxygen and nitrogen molecules, transferring heat to them. These then re-radiate heat out into space.

Wow, was the person you read that from a comedian or just an idiot? CO2 is perfectly capable of radiating IR. *All* objects in the universe are. It doesn't matter whether it's CO2, O2, N2, or what. There are different spectral lines (rather than a perfect blackbody), but it's not a practical distinction. The energy can be radiated in any direction -- up or down. It's almost invariably reabsorbed unless it's in the outermost fringes of the atmosphere. As mentioned before, the more transparent the atmosphere is to "incoming" radiation types, the faster solar energy can migrate to the surface. The less transparent it is to "outgoing" types, the slower far-IR energy can migrate away from the surface. I can make you a drawing or a rudimentary python script to illustrate this concept if you're still having trouble with it.

So...if carbon dioxide is not changing our climate, what is? Look to the Sun [ibdeditorial.com]. Based on current information [noaa.gov], the sun activity is declining and we can expect cooler weather in the future.

I continually find it amusing that people like you just assume that the sun is completely ignored in climate models. ;) There are about thirty papers on solar output in the last IPCC report. The net result: solar input is a relevant but proportionally very small forcing.

Corrections (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963511)

The upper layers are colder than the upper layers.

Erm, colder than the *lower* layers.

the lower the absorption of near-IR and visible, the faster energy can transfer from the upper layers to the surface or even straight to the surface

Poorly phrased; most visible and IR energy makes it direct to the surface (~1400W/m^2 arrives, ~1000W/m^2 hits a perpendicular plane on the surface on a clear day). And it's not such a simple correlation of altitude and temperature as I presented it for simplicity. That relationship holds in the troposphere, reverses in the stratosphere, reverses again in the mesosphere, then rises very high in the thermosphere. But that's all beside the point; the fact is that for energy to escape from Earth's surface, it has to be absorbed and reradiated many times. Increasing the CO2 concentration significantly increases the expected number of times to be re-radiated.

Re:Corrections (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 5 years ago | (#26963873)

Poorly phrased; most visible and IR energy makes it direct to the surface

Most of the radiation with a wavelength in the visible portion of the spectrum makes it to the surface. However, the CO2 in the atomosphere would absorb infra-red radiation in its absorption spectrum regardless of whether it is coming from the sun or the earth. However, the sun is not a source of infra-red radiation, for obvious reasons.

Re:Corrections (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 5 years ago | (#26963977)

But that's all beside the point; the fact is that for energy to escape from Earth's surface, it has to be absorbed and reradiated many times. Increasing the CO2 concentration significantly increases the expected number of times to be re-radiated.

No, it doesn't. The only 'energy' that would be absorbed would be that which had a wavelength lying within the absorption spectra of a 'greenhouse' gas such as H2O, CO2, CH4, or O3. The re-radiated infra-red radiation would mostly be outside of those spectra and would either radiate out into space or radiate into the earth. Your conceptual model about radiation bouncing around between CO2 molecules in the atmosphere does not agree with the physics of absorption.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963645)

Oh really?

Pointing to temperature change as evidence of a CO2 effect is circular reasoning.

An optimal greenhouse gas is *transparent* to light in the visible and near-IR spectrum, and *opaque* to far-IR. You need to let the sun's energy in (mostly visible and near-IR) while making it harder for what the Earth radiates (mostly far-IR) out. A gas that blocks everything evenly is not a greenhouse gas.

Water vapor is a greenhouse gas and a much stronger one than CO2.

In short, until a 10-meter or so column of atmosphere can absorb 95%, increasing CO2 levels is a *major* impactor on surface temperature.

A '10-meter' column of atmosphere is an insignificant height.

Water vapor has a tiny residency in the atmosphere (days), while CO2 has a long residency (hundreds of years).

Water is ALWAYS present in the atmosphere. We even have a special term for it. We call it 'humidity' and it is caused by the presence of oceans of water that are in constant contact with the atmosphere. Similarly, CO2 is always present in the atmosphere. Of course, the same specific molecule of H2O or CO2 is not perpetually present in the atmosphere but, when it comes to those molecules, one is as good as another.

CO2 is perfectly capable of radiating IR.

Yes, but there is so little of it present in the atmosphere compared with other molecules such as oxygen and nitrogen.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963813)

Pointing to temperature change as evidence of a CO2 effect is circular reasoning.

No, it's a direct counter to your claims of there not being any effect.

Water vapor is a greenhouse gas and a much stronger one than CO2

Did you even read my post? Water vapor has such a short atmospheric residency that it can only act as feedback, not forcing. And water vapor's net results are actually mixed, depending on where it is in the atmosphere, as clouds reflect sunlight.

A '10-meter' column of atmosphere is an insignificant height.

Apparently you're 15 meters tall. The rest of us here live near the surface, and it's the surface temperature that matters to us. The atmosphere's ability to absorb far-IR on the scale of the very bottom of the troposphere is tiny. And that's what matters when it comes to surface temperature.

Water is ALWAYS present in the atmosphere.

Any more non-sequiteurs you'd like to mention? I point out that water vapor has a tiny residency, on the matter of days, and you point out that it's always there? Duh! And a given molecule of water vapor still only remains in the atmosphere for a matter of days on average. Water is constantly cycling in and out. You could take every last molecule of moisture out of our atmosphere and (neglecting that the plants would die), things would be back to normal in a matter of months. Water vapor cannot force climate change for this reason. It can only react to other types of forcing (say, more water vapor because of hotter seas, or less because of more aerosols increasing cloud formation) because it lasts for such a short period. Hence, it can *amplify or suppress* other types of forcing, but it cannot *be* forcing on its own.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964181)

Pointing to temperature change as evidence of a CO2 effect is circular reasoning because the assumptions in that conclusion are that the CO2 effect would manifest itself as a temperature change and that the only cause of such a temperature would be the CO2 effect. Google on 'circular reasoning' for more information.

Water vapor has such a short atmospheric residency...

Water does not have a 'short' atmospheric residency. It is ALWAYS present in the atmosphere. And no, that is not a non-sequitur but is apparently central to your argument.

I point out that water vapor has a tiny residency, on the matter of days, and you point out that it's always there? Duh! And a given molecule of water vapor still only remains in the atmosphere for a matter of days on average. Water is constantly cycling in and out. You could take every last molecule of moisture out of our atmosphere and (neglecting that the plants would die), things would be back to normal in a matter of months. Water vapor cannot force climate change for this reason. It can only react to other types of forcing (say, more water vapor because of hotter seas, or less because of more aerosols increasing cloud formation) because it lasts for such a short period. Hence, it can *amplify or suppress* other types of forcing, but it cannot *be* forcing on its own

Both water and carbon dioxide are constantly cycling in and out of the atmosphere, including from your body. That has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged effect of a longterm change in their average atmospheric concentration on the global climate unless you're trying to build a strawman.

Re:CO2 not a killer gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26964269)

"Apparently you're 15 meters tall. The rest of us here live near the surface, and it's the surface temperature that matters to us. The atmosphere's ability to absorb far-IR on the scale of the very bottom of the troposphere is tiny. And that's what matters when it comes to surface temperature."

Apparently you, sir, are either an idiot or you're attempting to advance an odd theory of atmospheric stratification in 10m layers which would be...gone with the wind.

Payment = Bullets (-1, Flamebait)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962995)

fuck everyone.
never pay a carbon tax.

First observation (2, Insightful)

EZLeeAmused (869996) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963171)

A huge plume of CO2 located off the eastern coast of Florida.

OCO being the rough shape of CO2 :) (4, Insightful)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963237)

Particularly apt name.

Time to Fire Up the Barbeque (2, Funny)

ghbpiper (701001) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963313)

Tasty pig parts smoked w/pecan and applewood. low and sloooooooow. The plume should be visible from space. Now will just have to see if anyone from NASA shows up for dinner...

Not a moment too late? (1)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963337)

And not a moment too late.

Actually, some are saying it may already be too late to do anything about global [climate change|warming].

Maybe OP meant to say, not a moment too soon?

Anthropogenic CO2 maps (2, Interesting)

simonff (632498) | more than 5 years ago | (#26964031)

Meanwhile, you can browse interactive maps [purdue.edu] of US antropogenic fossil fuel CO2 emissions based on the data produced by Project Vulcan at Purdue. Google Earth browser plugin is needed, or you can load all data in a KML file in Google Earth directly. There is also a flythrough video [youtube.com] explaining the different data views. Full disclosure - I'm the programmer who created the maps. Yes, the page is slow to load, but once a layer is accessed, it'll stay cached.
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