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Formerly Classified Global Warming Spy Photos Released

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the inconvenient-images dept.

Earth 791

An anonymous reader writes "The Obama administration has released more than a thousand intelligence images of Arctic ice, following a declassification request by the National Academy of Sciences. The images feature a 1m resolution, and scientists who have had to base climate models on 15m- or 30m-resolution photos are rejoicing. The photos, kept classified by the Bush administration, show the impact of global warming in the Arctic and the retreat of glaciers in Washington and Alaska."

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791 comments

The glaciers are retreating! (5, Funny)

Anonymous CowHardon (1605679) | about 5 years ago | (#28847245)

At least we're winning the battle against something!

Re:The glaciers are retreating! (5, Funny)

DrMrLordX (559371) | about 5 years ago | (#28847275)

I never liked them much anyway. So cold and impersonal . . .

Re:The glaciers are retreating! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847593)

They were a little big for their own good anyways

Re:The glaciers are retreating! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#28847801)

And sneaky too. They constantly move, and yet you never see them moving.

I wonder if they miss their son, Dick Cheney...

Re:The glaciers are retreating! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847687)

not retreating, but advancing in a new direction... like a good point-guard and not a dead fish.

Did we not already know this? (-1, Flamebait)

SigNuZX728 (635311) | about 5 years ago | (#28847271)

Glaciers are not permanent structures. So what?

Re:Did we not already know this? (5, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 5 years ago | (#28847305)

"Glaciers are not permanent structures. So what?"

Neither are humans, particularly when they have no fresh water.

Re:Did we not already know this? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847369)

Um, I think poor people not having excessively large families that the rest of us have to feed would go a lot further towards protecting the environment than me riding the bus everywhere. For crying out loud, do you niggers and spicks not know what a condom is?

Re:Did we not already know this? (2, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 5 years ago | (#28847517)

...not know what a condom is?

Does the average slashdot crowd?

Re:Did we not already know this? (1, Funny)

bertoelcon (1557907) | about 5 years ago | (#28847767)

...not know what a condom is?

Does the average slashdot crowd?

We know *of* them, maybe not in practice but from our knowledge of "sexual research medias".

Re:Did we not already know this? (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | about 5 years ago | (#28847637)

Man -- I was about to mod you up till you hit on the racist BS. Overbreeding is rampant everywhere.

The fact is, the single most polluting thing a person can do is have kids. I'm intentionally child free so in the balance of things, I could drive a hummer, alone, with extra lead weights in the back, 100 miles per day. I could leave my lights on 24/7, run AC to frigid temps in the summer, blast the heat in the winter, keep a propane flare burning ten feet tall day and night in the back yard, and still not come close to the devastation caused by parenthood.

I don't actually live my life that way, because I'm a bit frugal. What mystifies me is why words such as "conservation" and "conservative" have such differing application when both imply frugality to me -- frugality in how we use environmental resources, and frugality in how we use financial resources. I want to see the birth of the frugal party. Pun intended.

Re:Did we not already know this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847701)

Well if everyone thought that way the human race would cease to exist pretty quick. The problem is more with bad parents having lots of kids they can't financially or emotionally support. You are no burden on the environment raising intelligent, well-adjusted children. In fact the world will need more of these to become adults or I don't see things improving much. If on the other hand you have no parenting skills or purely dislike children then that is another matter.

Re:Did we not already know this? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847425)

"Glaciers are not permanent structures. So what?"

Neither are humans, particularly when they have no fresh water.

Are you trying to imply that those glaciers are part of our supposedly limited fresh water supply when in fact that comes from a continuous and never ending cycle of evaporation and rain ? Cause I'm sick and tired of hearing the cretinism of what a scarce resource water is when in fact it falls out of the sky and the more heat the more rain.

And for your coming objection the water that evaporates from the oceans doesn't all rain above those oceans and perhaps you'll have the sense to realize it loses the salt too and becomes freshwater.

Re:Did we not already know this? (5, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | about 5 years ago | (#28847675)

Glaciers are like batteries. With a battery, you can store up power when you are near an outlet, so you can continue to operate your device later when you aren't near an outlet. This allows continuous operation irrespective of your proximity to a receptacle.

Glaciers store up water in the form of ice during the winter. Then, in summer when precipitation is less frequent, they melt and release that water. This allows continuous access to water irrespective of the immediate level of precipitation.

Yes, we could build more reservoirs, but talk about expense. Plus they suffer silting issues and large areas have to be destroyed to build them. And if the rains stop falling anyway, then what? Build more?

Re:Did we not already know this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847433)

Neither are humans, particularly when they have no fresh water.

Yeah, and? It's all nature man... Life, death... Just be in it, man...

Re:Did we not already know this? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847511)

Also there's a lot of surface heating related to loss of ice. The change isn't slight either. The classic test is of coarse laying out black and white cards on a sunny day to see their temperature. The black is drastically hotter than the white. Ground and water are quite dark compared to ice so the increase is disproportionate to the ice loss. Loosing surface area of ice during the summer could equal or exceed warming from CO2 over the next century and it's often ignored in temperature projections. I would assume there was more than military secrecy behind suppressing the images. The goal of the oil lobbyist for some time has been to suppress data until it's too late to keep oil usage high and they've had a lot of influence for the last 8 years. Not that that influence has ended it's just no longer absolute.

Re:Did we not already know this? (3, Insightful)

j. andrew rogers (774820) | about 5 years ago | (#28847633)

The great irony of the glacier retreat being the harbinger of doom for humanity is that on most continents the glacial retreat is uncovering substantial quantities of archaeological evidence. I wonder what the people whose archaeological evidence we are finding thought about the glaciers when they encroached on their lives thousands of years ago. It is an interesting juxtaposition.

Re:Did we not already know this? (4, Interesting)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 5 years ago | (#28847761)

I don't know if you intended the strawman or not, but allow me to debunk it anyway.

Yes, humans have lived in warmer climates with less glaciers, and colder climates with more glaciers.

There were also a hell of a lot less of them.

The danger of global warming/climate change has never been a threat to the overall existence of humanity (aside from ranting hyperbolic morons). It is however a threat to the maintenance of modern civilization if it causes enough damage to agricultural yields (whether or not it will do this is debatable, and very very complicated).

Re:Did we not already know this? (2, Interesting)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 5 years ago | (#28847851)

There is also a big difference between glaciers or rising oceans encroaching on ancient human settlements and them encroaching on our relatively immobile modern cities.

Re:Did we not already know this? (3, Insightful)

Paua Fritter (448250) | about 5 years ago | (#28847315)

Glaciers are not permanent structures. So what?

Neither are planets.

Re:Did we not already know this? (2, Funny)

Duradin (1261418) | about 5 years ago | (#28847599)

Nor are universes.

Stupid industrial revolution, causing the heat death of the entire universe. What won't mankind destroy?

Re:Did we not already know this? (0)

SpeedyG5 (762403) | about 5 years ago | (#28847317)

Isn't it scientifically a fact that the earth will always remain the same, so we can be happy?

Re:Did we not already know this? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 5 years ago | (#28847323)

Generally speaking, there's supposed to be at least a few of them which aren't melting away to nothing.

Re:Did we not already know this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847351)

The polar caps have more ice on them then at any time in the past 30 years. Glaciers retreating is neither evidence for or against global warming.

Re:Did we not already know this? (1)

KevinKnSC (744603) | about 5 years ago | (#28847713)

Um, the National Snow and Ice Data Center disagrees [nsidc.org] .

Re:Did we not already know this? (2, Interesting)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 5 years ago | (#28847893)

Actually no it doesn't disagree with him at all. There is less surface area (extent) but considerably more volume which has more than compensated for the extent reduction. The total volume of the ice pack has increased not decreased

Re:Did we not already know this? (4, Informative)

tuxgeek (872962) | about 5 years ago | (#28847873)

Generally speaking, there's supposed to be at least a few of them which aren't melting away to nothing."
In who's reality? I live in the arctic, the glaciers are all receding with each passing year.

Anyone that says global warming isn't happening is ill informed. All you have to do is visit places like Alaska and see for yourself.

EXACTLY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847353)

Just listen to these IDIOTS rant and rave about melting ice. Jesus fucking christ, you lot of idiotic MORONS, how hard is it to understand that *ICE MELTS* when it's summer? Of course, next year when the ice doesn't melt, these al gore cock sucking, manbearpig worshipping imbeciles will be yelling and screaming that that proves global warming too.

That's right, sheep! Surrender your rights... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847309)

to your wealthy masters, Lord Messiah Obongo and Emperor ManBearPig...

Hey, wasn't a vast expanse of North America covered by a glacier at one point? Damn you cave men and your SUVs!

BTW, for those of you who didn't get the memo, the cover-your-ass term is now "climate change."

Re:That's right, sheep! Surrender your rights... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847459)

+10, fuck the leftist retards. I'd like to pour a nice carbon rich can of gas over their heads, light a cig, and flick it in their face.

So sick of hearing about this pathetic drivel.

How long has this been going on? (2, Insightful)

Geraden (15689) | about 5 years ago | (#28847319)

Oh, right...only since the last ice age.

Re:How long has this been going on? (5, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 5 years ago | (#28847401)

How long as it been accelerating?

Oh, right, only since the Industrial Revolution.

Re:How long has this been going on? (1, Interesting)

virmaior (1186271) | about 5 years ago | (#28847449)

How long have you believed this? Oh right, only since the hype machine got started.

Re:How long has this been going on? (4, Insightful)

Targen (844972) | about 5 years ago | (#28847509)

How long have been watching this debate repeat itself over and over and over again in the precise and exact same and identical manner?

Oh, right, only since we have Slashdot.

Re:How long has this been going on? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847455)

And there you have it folks - the linchpin of the religion known as environmentalism. Industrial revolution = sin, and a return to communal agrarianism = salvation. The parent poster and his kind all share the same view of humanity as a pulsating mass of maggots (themselves excluded, of course).

Re:How long has this been going on? (4, Insightful)

caerwyn (38056) | about 5 years ago | (#28847691)

And there you have it folks- a classical false argument by claiming that the other party said something they did not.

No one's saying the industrial revolution was a sin. Sin doesn't come into anything; this isn't religion.

The industrial revolution was the beginning of an upward swing in our carbon emissions. The emissions have had a warming effect. We can subsequently choose what we'd like to do about this, especially in light of technology available now which wasn't available at the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Earth doesn't particularly care if it gets warmer. We (and a number of other species) probably do. If we don't like the consequences of warming, we have the option to decide that they're bad enough for us to take action to change them.

But that's a little too logical, apparently, so you go on perverting arguments so that you can claim to "win" without actually standing on any remotely logical basis.

Re:How long has this been going on? (4, Informative)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 5 years ago | (#28847451)

Glaciers have retreated before, many times, and the Earth survives.

The problem this time round (according to 97% of climatologists [wikipedia.org] ) is that it's happening much faster than ever before thanks to human behaviour, and that much of the ecology won't be able to adapt quickly enough.

Us humans doubtless will be able to adapt, but in the short term the impact in terms of our economies and human suffering, will be considerable [wikipedia.org] .

Re:How long has this been going on? (-1, Flamebait)

Mashiki (184564) | about 5 years ago | (#28847483)

And people actually believe this shit still. I knew I joined the wrong cult.

Re:How long has this been going on? (-1, Flamebait)

Ekuryua (940558) | about 5 years ago | (#28847493)

Sadly it seems they do believe it. Let's not forget how evil man, and how he is the sole cause of global warming. Did I mention that man was evil?

Re:How long has this been going on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847579)

Did I mention that man was evil?

Yeah, but you didn't mention it enough.

Re:How long has this been going on? (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 5 years ago | (#28847661)

It isn't a matter of blaming man or anything: it is about pricing externalities.

Re:How long has this been going on? (-1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | about 5 years ago | (#28847521)

"it's happening much faster than ever before thanks to human behaviour"

that's the leap that you aren't being very convincing about. there seems to be this movement of "omgz everything humanz do is wrong!" which isn't science. global warming advocates can't remove the emotion from their arguments, which makes me suspicous.

the other inconsistency in their argument is that when we are talking about melting glaciers, your all happy to call it "global WARMING", but when someone pulls out data with a cooling trend you switch names to "CLIMATE CHANGE"

Re:How long has this been going on? (4, Insightful)

schon (31600) | about 5 years ago | (#28847555)

"it's happening much faster than ever before thanks to human behaviour"

that's the leap that you aren't being very convincing about. there seems to be this movement of "omgz everything humanz do is wrong!" which isn't science.

Perhaps if you stopped attacking straw men, you might realize that there is ample science [realclimate.org] to back up this point.

Re:How long has this been going on? (1, Insightful)

kmac06 (608921) | about 5 years ago | (#28847803)

What about stuff like this [sciencemag.org] (subscription required for full article)? It turns out an effect clouds have means all the models so far have been wrong by an average* of about 50% in terms of temperature increase. In this case, the study indicates the temperature will increase more because of this unknown effect, but the point is it just could have easily been the other way around. Either way, all the chicken littles running around saying "the science is settled, we're all doomed" were completely wrong.

*I say average because there is no one model that is right. All of the models are wrong and hugely variant, but we just take the middle and pretend the Earth's climate will do what we say. It's absurd to be basing multi-trillion dollar policy decisions on this garbage.

Re:How long has this been going on? (4, Insightful)

intx13 (808988) | about 5 years ago | (#28847655)

"it's happening much faster than ever before thanks to human behaviour" that's the leap that you aren't being very convincing about. there seems to be this movement of "omgz everything humanz do is wrong!" which isn't science. global warming advocates can't remove the emotion from their arguments, which makes me suspicous.

The great thing about science is that the OP doesn't need to be convincing. Anyone can look at the data and reach a conclusion.

In case you don't want to become an expert in the field, however, and are willing to accept an overwhelming majority of existing experts, you would find that "97.4% believe that human activity is a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures." (from the OP's link).

Perhaps if you didn't accept that poll, you might find that "Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming; and 84% believe global climate change poses a moderate to very great danger.". And so on.

Personally I don't get it. Why is it so hard to accept? Reliance on academic authories has its pitfalls of course, but a certain point you need the humility to accept that there is no debate over this particular point among experts.

It reminds me of the "debate" over whether or not 0.999... = 1. Non-mathematicians will swear up and down that it can't be. They'll pull out everything they've got, but at the end of the day, just because you don't understand it doesn't make it so. Read with a careful eye, but c'mon, the cause of the current change in global mean temperatures is no longer a debate.

Re:How long has this been going on? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847717)

Actually, the AGW movement's data only includes research up to about 3 years ago. More recent hard research evidence points to the sun's increase in solar radiation having a bigger impact on the planetary temp than man's effects. Also, there has been another poll since that "97.4%" poll and many climatologists have changed their opinions somewhat. The poll never asked if man was responsible for global warming, just if man is a *contributor* to it.

This reminds me of lemmings. Some media hype and a completely flawed "hockey stick" chart demo'd by Al Gore, and now no one will look past the so-called research that's been spoon-fed to them. Just like these pictures. If you look at the then-and-now pic in the referenced article, it only shows a few thousand feet of clear water, not an entire ocean, not even miles. In order to get a better understanding of this, all that data needs to be sifted thoroughly.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting in my home in Chicago, where we've the coldest summer in 100 years. 60-65 degrees avg through June and half of July, when the normal is 90's. And the depth of the ice in the Antarctic cap has been growing, according to research.

Re:How long has this been going on? (1, Troll)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 5 years ago | (#28847879)

Reliance on academic authories has its pitfalls of course, but a certain point you need the humility to accept that there is no debate over this particular point among experts.

We're talking about physical science here, not the humanities. Facts are facts, and it doesn't matter how much of a consensus you have if the facts don't support your conclusions. I've looked at the facts and, although I'm no expert on the matter, I'm not convinced. I'm also not convinced that AGW is a bunch of hogwash, but I'm coming closer to that conclusion every day. That doesn't mean that it is any more than your insistence that it's proven means that it's true. It means that to me, the question is still open.

Re:How long has this been going on? (4, Insightful)

SupremoMan (912191) | about 5 years ago | (#28847603)

Earth's survival was never in jeopardy. It's Human survival we worry about.

Re:How long has this been going on? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847611)

Us humans doubtless will be able to adapt, but in the short term the impact in terms of our economies and human suffering, will be considerable [wikipedia.org] .

One of the consequences listed by Wikipedia is the drop in GDP for many (all?) countries across the globe. I'm happy to say that for once we preempted Mother Nature by launching this financial crisis that caused GDPs to drop left and right. We are on track to beat global warming by posting even greater GDP drops in the future.

Re:How long has this been going on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847625)

The problem this time round (according to 97% of climatologists) is that it's happening much faster than ever before thanks to human behaviour

I read the linked portion of the wikipedia article. It does not say that.

Re:How long has this been going on? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 5 years ago | (#28847791)

Well, not anymore....

You can thank me for that any time now...

15 wasn't enough? (2, Interesting)

MC2000 (1246222) | about 5 years ago | (#28847325)

I'm surprised a resolution of 15m wasn't enough. At the supposedly alarming rate that they are receding, wouldn't you think there wouldn't be such a need for this kind of precision?

Re:15 wasn't enough? (1)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | about 5 years ago | (#28847365)

Well, they actually screwed up because of the lack of resolution once already. There was an article and a dupe about it, but I can't remember/I'm too lazy to look up any of the keywords to find it.

Re:15 wasn't enough? (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 years ago | (#28847475)

Just so you don't go through the whole evening in suspense, it's in TFA - there are numerous puddles of sizes in meters that are important to the reflectivity of the ice. The older pics didn't resolve the puddles well - the newer ones do. Just better data.

Re:15 wasn't enough? (2, Funny)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | about 5 years ago | (#28847819)

Wait, you read the articles? I just come here for the stellar conversations.

Re:15 wasn't enough? (2, Informative)

vbraga (228124) | about 5 years ago | (#28847481)

With a 15 m resolution, each pixel is 15^2 m^2 ->225 m^2 wide. Is pretty rough except for a few uses, such land uses analysis - since it's difficult or impossible to spot small areas in it. Anyway, it's not like 15 meters were not useful, just 1 meter is better.

Re:15 wasn't enough? (2, Informative)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 5 years ago | (#28847811)

With a 15 m resolution, each pixel is 15^2 m^2 ->225 m^2 wide

This sentence makes no sense. I think I might know what you mean, but you failed to construct an accurate linguistic expression of it.

With a 15m resolution each pixel is 15m wide (or 15(2)^1/2 if you want to use the diagonal), with an area of 225m^2.

Why exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847355)

Why were photos of ice classified in the first place?

Re:Why exactly? (1)

MC2000 (1246222) | about 5 years ago | (#28847381)

I think it is DoD policy to just classify any satellite imagery taken at that resolution.

Re:Why exactly? (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 5 years ago | (#28847883)

It's not even totally nonsensical. We don't want adversaries to know our capabilities regarding resolution of space imaging. So, we classify pretty much any good satellite imagery by default (at a fairly high level) and then decide later what to release or classify at a lower level. You can bet that our best imagery won't see the light of day until we've upgraded and have something better to keep secret.

I know, I know - Our tax $$ paid to take those pictures, blah, blah, blah. But classifying satellite data at least has some basis of thought behind it, as opposed to some of the other stuff we bury.

Re:Why exactly? (1)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | about 5 years ago | (#28847443)

To give them time to photoshop (NSA edition) out the A) Hole that shows the earth is really hollow, or B) the giant alien spacecraft with a military installation next to it. Your pick.

Is this basic /. bush-bashing, or is it legit? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847373)

Did the Bush administration actually deny requests to review these images, or did the request simply not get made until recently?

Re:Is this basic /. bush-bashing, or is it legit? (2, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 5 years ago | (#28847881)

Since when is bush-bashing not legit?

1m resolution = One Meter Per Pixel (5, Informative)

NoName Studios (917186) | about 5 years ago | (#28847375)

Since the summary and article do not mention it, 1m resolution = One Meter Per Pixel.

I had to research that to figure out why a one megapixel resolution was some how magically better than thirty megapixels.

Re:1m resolution = One Meter Per Pixel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847437)

Since the summary and article do not mention it,
1m resolution = One Meter Per Pixel.

That's also assuming that your monitor settings are set to 96DPI.

Re:1m resolution = One Meter Per Pixel (2, Insightful)

RudeIota (1131331) | about 5 years ago | (#28847769)

A pixel is a pixel, regardless of how many pixels reside within a particular space. That doesn't change that fact that 1m = 1 pixel.

Worse yet, the DPI setting on your OS doesn't effect the actual "DPI" of your screen.

Re:1m resolution = One Meter Per Pixel (4, Funny)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 5 years ago | (#28847821)

He already couldn't tell the difference between m and MP as units, so please don't confuse him further. I don't want to have to clean his exploded head off the internet.

Re:1m resolution = One Meter Per Pixel (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about 5 years ago | (#28847759)

Scientists use a different definition of resolution that is used in computer imagery. :-)

So uh... (5, Funny)

acehole (174372) | about 5 years ago | (#28847389)

Why was a spy satellite taking snaps of the ice classified? The ice launching an incursion into US territory? Are they afraid the terrible secret of ice will be revealed?

Re:So uh... (5, Informative)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | about 5 years ago | (#28847447)

My guess is some blanket policy against high resolution spy satellite photos of anything. Also, the arctic actually is currently a relatively hotly disputed area amongst the countries that border it due to the wealth of natural resources. Russia especially has made recent claims of more of a pie slice than what the other neighbors tended to agree with based on some underwater structures they explored.
I'm certainly no fan of Bush and did not vote for him but I'm doubtful that this was some kind of cover up against global warming.

Re:So uh... (1)

mevets (322601) | about 5 years ago | (#28847845)

It is a hilarious moment. All these governments, denying either the occurrence of warming, declining ice sheets, etc... simultaneously being mad to strike claims in an area that everyone has tried to ignore for a few hundred years.

Re:So uh... (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 years ago | (#28847535)

Why was a spy satellite taking snaps of the ice classified?

They'd tell you, but then they'd have to kill you.
     

Re:So uh... (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | about 5 years ago | (#28847619)

I'm trying to figure out how to make this into a joke about Sarah Palin claiming to have foreign policy experience based on being governor of Alaska[1], but I'm not coming up with anything ... help?

[1] In truth, she probably didn't believe that, but someone in the McCain campaign probably thought it was a line they could sell and so one day she was told she'd have to go with that message.

FTA: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847659)

To maximize the fullest potential of the LIDP dataset in scientific research, the committee recommended that the release include thumbnail copies of the images, exact information on the location of the images, calibration information, the time of acquisition, and the information on the pointing angle.

It takes time to scan an image at that resolution, so the "calibration information" probably gave info about the satellite's velocity. Combined with the "pointing angle," I'm pretty sure that means they just revealed the satellite's orbit, in agonizing detail.

(Presumably it is in a different orbit now.)

Re:So uh... (5, Funny)

WoodenTable (1434059) | about 5 years ago | (#28847725)

It has nothing to do with the ice, really. It's all about where much of the ice is; specifically, a great deal of it is located in a little-known nation just north of America. The American public is largely unaware of it, and knowledge of its existence could shock them to their very cores, should it come out. The only reasonable response is a blanket of secrecy.

This also explains a great deal about Alaskans. Since this "shadow nation" is located east of Alaska, not north, they have a different view of it compared to the other states. And it has changed them.

Name one reason this was classified (1)

pooberry (1278210) | about 5 years ago | (#28847409)

I can't think of a single reason that this information should have been classified. Pictures of ice!? Why would you keep helpful facts from your people? Of course there are a couple of conspiracy theories bouncing around in my head but I think they're too obvious to even mention.

Re:Name one reason this was classified (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | about 5 years ago | (#28847457)

I think the idea is that they classify everything by default as they don't want whoever to figure out how good the satellites are, though this is likely the result of bureaucratic inertia, as 1m doesn't seem that impressive.

Re:Name one reason this was classified (1)

BearRanger (945122) | about 5 years ago | (#28847467)

Because it shows the capability of US spy satellites. We may believe we know what their maximum resolution is. Revealing photographs removes some of the uncertainty.

Re:Name one reason this was classified (1)

schon (31600) | about 5 years ago | (#28847581)

We may believe we know what their maximum resolution is. Revealing photographs removes some of the uncertainty.

1m photos were widely available by civillian satellites by 1998. You think the fact that someone might say "OMG- the military gear might be as good as the stuff private companies used 5 years ago!" removes any "uncertainty"?!?!

Re:Name one reason this was classified (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 5 years ago | (#28847843)

You've obviously had to deal with a bureacracy. I wish I could live in that fantasy land.

Re:Name one reason this was classified (1)

virmaior (1186271) | about 5 years ago | (#28847477)

And the submarines beneath it ...

Re:Name one reason this was classified (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 years ago | (#28847573)

I guess the usual, it gives away too much about their capabilities, orbits and nobody had made sure there wasn't anything sensitive on that ice. Military intelligence is also a game of economics, even if other nations could find things out for themselves there's no reason giving them free information of any kind.

Re:Name one reason this was classified (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 5 years ago | (#28847609)

They had to airbrush out signs of the penguins' mounting assault to avoid global panic.

Re:Name one reason this was classified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847647)

give it up. we know you're a closet bush lover.

Sorry, I had to say it.

Re:Name one reason this was classified (4, Interesting)

Ruke (857276) | about 5 years ago | (#28847623)

The pictures aren't OF ice, ice just happens to be in them. The pictures are OF boats/subs/etc. The idea is that they're old enough that no one cares that we knew where that cruiser was 10 years ago.

obama was born on the north pole (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847419)

prove he wasnt

Re:obama was born on the north pole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847525)

Hey, he could have been born on the USA portion of the North Pole.

Admit it, you had to think about that one for a sec.

Re:obama was born on the north pole (1)

Jeff321 (695543) | about 5 years ago | (#28847571)

Re:obama was born on the north pole (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847793)

right, because that couldn't possibly have been done in photoshop. nice try though.

Not impressed... (3, Interesting)

supercell (1148577) | about 5 years ago | (#28847465)

I thought I was going to see a significant movement in the ice sheets, on the order of 10's or 100's of miles. From what I saw, the rate of decline was statistically meaningless, measured in mere feet. My guess is the previous administration was more concerned with releasing something that would show or capabilities of our spy satellites and not trying to conceal this.

Re:Not impressed... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847785)

measured in mere feet.

Actually, even that can probably be taken as significant because IT'S A GLACIER!!!

all the change... (1)

skydude_20 (307538) | about 5 years ago | (#28847501)

... that is politically convenient...

Re:all the change... (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | about 5 years ago | (#28847631)

Surviving is politically convenient too.

Re:all the change... (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 5 years ago | (#28847861)

Oh to be so naive. Having large portions of your electorate wiped out is so much more politically convenient than having them alive. Unites the survivors under your banner quite nicely.

And just curious... (0)

PortHaven (242123) | about 5 years ago | (#28847565)

What do they show regarding the antarctic?

Anything there? Or is just the top of the planet getting warmer?

Two data points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847695)

So are we supposed to get all hysterical over two data points now? Man, political power comes cheap these days.

Re:Two data points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28847805)

We have data going back to 1979, actually. That was, what, 15 years before you were born, right?

Economic Recovery (-1, Flamebait)

spinlight (1152137) | about 5 years ago | (#28847825)

From TFA:

The Obama administration has already taken steps to tackle America's flagging scientific lead. The president's economic recovery plan allotted $170m (£100m) to help close the gaps in climate modelling. The NOAA is seeking an additional $390m in its 2010 budget to upgrade environmental satellites, and help make data more available to researchers and government officials.

Yoink! Or should I say, Oink!
Closing the gaps in climate modeling != economic recovery.

In February, a Nasa satellite carrying instruments to produce the first map of the Earth's carbon emissions crashed near Antarctica only three minutes after lift-off.

Oh, Snap! More taxpayer money in the drink. Well, perhaps the money that the government dumped into the ocean... err... economy created jobs... for starving... NASA scientists? Salvage crews?
Somebody help me out here.

Re:Economic Recovery (-1, Troll)

glitch23 (557124) | about 5 years ago | (#28847887)

Closing the gaps in climate modeling != economic recovery.

Hence the reason why the stimulus plan was really an excuse for the democrats to push through massive wasteful spending associated with the typical liberal agenda. Obama wanted to get it pushed through very fast in order to have all that spending for all the wrong reasons get passed under the radar except his reasoning to the American people was that it would literally save the economy. It is kind of hard to save it though when the money won't even be available for up to a year or more after the bill was signed into law. It is also hard to believe how a few extra days of reading what you are voting on could literally destroy the economy but if Obama says it then it must be true.

And the answer... (0, Flamebait)

DustoneGT (969310) | about 5 years ago | (#28847891)

Is always totalitarianism. No thanks.
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