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Noctilucent Clouds Likely Caused By Shuttle Launches

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the tunguska-was-a-comet dept.

Earth 132

icebike writes "In our recent discussion of the phenomenon of noctilucent clouds, there was some suggestions that these might be the product of global warming due to moisture being lofted high into the atmosphere. It now appears that these clouds are simply the product of Shuttle launches. In a story about the Tunguska blast, Science News says: 'Each launch of a space shuttle, which burns a combination of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as fuel, pumps about 300 metric tons of water vapor into the atmosphere at altitudes between 100 and 115 kilometers. Soon after the January 16, 2003, launch of the shuttle Columbia, a liftoff that took place just after the height of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, noctilucent clouds appeared over Antarctica. Similarly, a widespread display of the night-shining clouds showed up over Alaska two days after the shuttle Endeavour blasted off on August 8, 2007. Previous studies show that in both instances those clouds included material from the shuttle plumes.' So, man-made after all?"

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See? Man-made climate change! (4, Funny)

mveloso (325617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28862895)

Those damn environmentalists were right!

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (2, Insightful)

boliboboli (1447659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28862943)

sarcasm> Anything in the sky that isn't normal (what is normal exactly?) is caused by global warming, duh! /sarcasm

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (1, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863221)

Normal: Things we have observed for a long time. Not normal: Things we have observed only recently.

Since global warming is the main change currently happening to our climate, attributing other changes to global warming is often an acceptable first hypothesis, at least if there's a known mechanism that could potentially link the two.

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863459)

Since global warming is the main change currently happening to our climate, attributing other changes to global warming is often an acceptable first hypothesis, at least if there's a known mechanism that could potentially link the two.

Well the "known mechanism" is probably a good thing to have before you move from hunch to public announcement.

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863557)

AFAIK - The best explaination has always been rockets [slashdot.org] , photos and comentry of the clouds have been posted on APOD [google.com.au] several times. The previous /. article is the first time I recall hearing it linked to AGW by an atmospheric scientist.

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (0, Troll)

shadow349 (1034412) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864339)

AFAIK - The best explaination has always been rockets,

A theory completely supported by their first recorded observation being in 1885 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865713)

That reply seems to be an emerging binary slashdot meme. It's totally reflexive, no hint of any non-binary thought process.

A Hint: It's the increasing incidence of the clouds that is being "explained" by increased water vapour from rockets. Rockets obviously don't explain 19th century occurences of the phenomena recorded just a few years after Krakatoa (1883).

A Clue: You will get a better response if you attempt to debunk something that is actually being claimed. It's a bit disconcerting when you attack the nonsensical thoughts you project into other people's heads.

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (1)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863327)

no! it's a sign of the apocalypse! XD

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863947)

OMG slashdot is being paid by the oil companies. Anything that doesn't fall in line with Al Gore and his AGW racket is someone being paid off big time. Slashdot I hope your check is big enough when Global Warming comes and kicks you in the nuts. How can you sell out like that. If it gets hotter it's global warming, if it gets colder (in the same region that was predicted the opposite) it's global warming. Doesn't this sound like a ultra conservative christian argument. It's hot cause God made it hot...wait it's cold cause Ghost man in the sky said so. For the record I believe Global Warming is happening but I am sick and tired of the dogmatic bullshit and the politicized crap that is coming out of it.

The bigger problem in the world is that the 3rd world doesn't want to be the 3rd world anymore. The earth cannot support everyone living like the western world in it's current form. Maybe instead of inventing boogeymen we can work on that problem which would involve reducing emissions and having modern society living more modestly. Right now all this green legislation says that giant companies that are polluting can afford to pollute more and that their 10% of their kickbacks and subsidies might have to go to carbon credits while the rest of John Q public will have to make "societal sacrifices" because they don't have the money to pay off Al Gore's carbon credit company. It's nothing but feel good legislation in the US. A classic signature generally but not exclusively of Democratic leadership.

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863079)

Each stroke of my penis, which burns a combination of sweet love and sauciness as fuel, pumps about 300 metric gallons of sperm into yo mama's vagina at depths between 8 and 10 inches depending on sexual position. Of course, if she is in the mood and lube is available, it is deposited in her anus.

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (3, Insightful)

Anonymos Noel Coward (1607485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863341)

Correlation is not causation! [wikipedia.org]

Someone had to say it. I wish CmdrTaco would write a bot which automatically inserts the "Correlation is not causation" thing into every discussion, along with an automatically selected XKCD cartoon.

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (1)

Stuarticus (1205322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863901)

I guess we can all relax now knowing that we are only seeing the signs of shuttle damage to the extreme edge of the atmosphere.

  I have been concerned for a while now about the possibility of disturbing what must for the most part be a very stable part of the atmosphere. Does anyone know how many pollutants ie N/SOx these launches distribute or if the chemistry of that region is likely to be affected?

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (1)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865435)

Damage? Who knows, just because it's causing clouds, that doesn't by itself infer damage.

Now, on to pollutants... the solid fuel boosters pump out a few-hundred tons of fairly nasty stuff each launch- a lot of it being greenhouse gases.

Dave

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (2, Insightful)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865529)

Actually they weren't right because they said it was due to global warming. But what I don't get is that they are "scientists". They use the "scientific method". All their conclusions are "peer reviewed". They are smarter than all non-scientists. How could they be wrong? And if they were wrong about this is it possible that they could be wrong about other statements of "fact"? I thought scientists couldn't be wrong? That is was impossible for a non-scientist to question their conclusions?

Could it be possible (stay with me on this one) that they are full of shit and should be taken with more than just a grain of salt?

Re:See? Man-made climate change! (2, Funny)

NReitzel (77941) | more than 5 years ago | (#28868063)

And now, they're putting toxic chemtrails in space!

Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttle (5, Informative)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#28862929)

The previous Slashdot thread included the tidbit that the first noctilucent clouds mentioned in recorded history were in 1887 (also noted here [wikipedia.org] ). So unless someone was using hydrogen-oxygen rocketry almost a full century before the first shuttle launch, it would seem that they are not purely anthropogenic.

Cheers,

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (1)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 5 years ago | (#28862949)

Mod parent up. It appears that even TFAuthors don't read TFArticles. (Neither have I)

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (2, Funny)

Taikutusu (1479335) | more than 5 years ago | (#28862965)

Well, there goes my crack headline of "Latest Global Warming Cause : Shuttle Farts".

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28862969)

Almost a full century before the first shuttle launch by humans! Finally we have proof for UFOs! :-)

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (5, Insightful)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28862983)

first noctilucent clouds mentioned in recorded history were in 1887

1887 was when the term was coined. It is impossible to say whether the phenomenon called "noctilucent clouds" in 1887 is the same phenomenon we see today. For example, Northern lights might qualify as "noctilucent" and may look cloudy to boot. It's important to distinguish the phenomenon from the terminology.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863051)

They we're also photographed back then by some German person. So that shuttle theory can be one explanation to phenomenon but not certainly the only one.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863265)

My theory, then, is that they were caused by the advent of photography, in much the same way Color was invented in the 50s.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (2, Informative)

jonadab (583620) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864461)

> My theory, then, is that they were caused by the advent of
> photography, in much the same way Color was invented in the 50s.

You're off by a couple of decades. The world turned color starting in the thirties. Although, it was pretty grainy color for a while.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (2, Informative)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864517)

Thank you, Calvin's dad.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (3, Funny)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864623)

Schroedinger's Noctilucent Cloud?

It doesn't exist until you photograph it?

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (5, Informative)

hcpxvi (773888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863795)

Noctilucent clouds occur over a very small altitude range (about 82-84 km) Observations of the same cloud from different locations can be used to find the height by triangulation. ISTR that the 1887 observation did this and that it is therefore a genuine observation of NLC.

The question of whether there were no NLC before this date was a contentious one last time I asked. Some make the argument that NLC are very distinctive and that if they were there we would have records going back to the Viking era, as we do with the Aurora Borealis. Others, however, argue that NLC look sufficiently like other clouds and are sufficiently unremarkable to the casual observer that it is not surprising that there are no descriptions prior to 1887. (Remember that the idea that it is worth naming and describing clouds only really goes back to Luke Howard in the early 1800s.)

Please go read the article. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28862985)

While I suppose the summary could be read that way, the actual article is a little more clear on the distinction. That some other events also cause noctilucent clouds, while true, does not invalidate the premise of the shuttle also causing them.

So mod parent down. Bitch about inaccuracies in the summary if you want, but don't pretend they serve as meaningful parts of the discussion.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28862989)

Its also quite possible that the recent appearances of these clouds was caused by the shuttle launches dumping lots of water into the upper atmosphere, regardless of what has caused them in the past

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (2, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28862991)

Such as from a volcano, which can reach into the stratosphere, not as high as the shuttle, but probably far enough. Or perhaps from the other direction, a (or many) comet burning up in the atmosphere.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28862999)

Ahah! So, "From the Earth to the Moon" was a documentary, and not fictional (so, it's the opposite of the moon landing shots).

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863373)

Ahah! So, "From the Earth to the Moon" was a documentary, and not fictional (so, it's the opposite of the moon landing shots).

Now you've done it! You'll soon be receiving a visit from some extraordinary gentlemen.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863247)

The previous Slashdot thread included the tidbit that the first noctilucent clouds mentioned in recorded history were in 1887 (also noted here [wikipedia.org] ). So unless someone was using hydrogen-oxygen rocketry almost a full century before the first shuttle launch, it would seem that they are not purely anthropogenic.

Cheers,

Good point. I'm not an astrophysicist or anything, but could meteorite's from carbonaceous chondrites, or micro-comets, ejecting their mass at the clouds' altitude cause the phenomenon naturally?

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (3, Interesting)

BenihanaX (1405543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863441)

Had you RTFA you would have seen this:

Scientists at the time suggested that the night-shining clouds over London were made of meteoritic dust. But those aerosols are typically too small to reflect sunlight efficiently, Kelley argues, suggesting the clouds above Europe were made of ice crystals. This assumption, along with the new analysis of shuttle plume movement, strongly suggests that the object that blazed into the atmosphere and disintegrated above Siberia was a moisture-rich comet rather than a relatively dry asteroid.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863965)

This is /., very few actually RTFA.

CM and CI carbonaceous chondrites are the ones I was thinking about specifically, they aren't that "dry" compared to other asteroids.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863307)

"unless someone was using hydrogen-oxygen rocketry almost a full century before the first shuttle launch"

Werner von Braun's grand daddy?

Krakatoa 1883 (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863353)

The gap of four years is probably a bit too long, but if a lower poster is right that 1887 is the date the term noctilucent was coined, then it the coinage might well occur a little after the phenomenon.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863451)

And what happened around that time?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krakatoa [wikipedia.org]

You totally miss the point of the story. Its not the fuel mixture. Its the fact that large amounts of water vapor find their way to the upper atmosphere. Some by natural causes. Some by shuttle launches.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863593)

The previous article also noted it could have been due to Krakatoa Island [funtrivia.com] sending house sized bits of itself into low earth orbit four years earlier.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865869)

what a strange page to link to for your historical information, furthermore, that page says nothing about sending bits into orbit

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863649)

That's a non-sequitur. There may be multiple anthropogenic causes for noctilucent clouds, some of which could have existed in 1887. Industrial revolution, etc.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863809)

Also recorded in history is this account of a close encounter of the third kind in 1887 ;-))

http://home.pacbell.net/joerit/docs2/crash/1887crsh.htm [pacbell.net]

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28864331)

That was the comet that broke the mountain's back. It had a lasting effect on the gender known as "cowboys".

Great excitement exists in the vicinity and the round-up is
suspended while the cowboys wait for the wonderful find to cool off
so they can examine it.

[...]

They were astounded to see that the queer object had melted [...] The air was filled with a faint,
sweetish smell.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865247)

Dude, UFOs.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (1)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865747)

The claim is not that shuttle launches are the cause for all noctilucent clouds, but rather the recent dramatic increase in sightings of this previously rare phenomenon.

Re:Um, first observed in 1887 - well before shuttl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28867145)

You idiot! RTFA!

It's a message... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28862935)

The aliens are showing us somthing interesting and beautiful as a message, telling us to get ourselves to the stars.

Finally! (2, Insightful)

supersat (639745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863015)

Finally, solid evidence that the government controls the weather.

Re:Finally! (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863131)

Finally, solid evidence that the government controls the weather.

Well, duh [weather.gov] !

Dang.... (1)

Jager Dave (1238106) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863027)

JUST when I thought all my conspiracy-theorist friends would have something new to pursue in their spare time...

Why now? (4, Interesting)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863067)

Disregarding the 1887 thing, which is amply discussed above, what amazes me is this:

If these luminous clouds are caused by shuttle launches, why has it taken, 32 years and 128 launches for someone to discover this relation?
Or, has something else happened to the atmosphere not-so-long ago which, together with the launches, have been causing these clouds only recently?

Re:Why now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863325)

Every time I read your comment I could only hear in Dr. Strangelove's voice.

Re:Why now? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863555)

An obscure topic of meteorology, that appears to occur naturally from time to time, being correlated with space shuttle launches? And probably with a significant delay between release and formation of the clouds, one would think. I think you vastly overestimate the degree of weather observation that actually gets done, and our understanding of the weather system. Yes, there's much ground-based data of temperatures, precipitation and cloud cover but very little on the actual conditions up there - the lone weather balloons they used to send up don't amount to much. It's really only in the last few decades of satellites we've been studying it in detail.

In any case, I'm sure this will be used as another "disproof" of global warming. Like with Darwin when he gets 95% right and 5% wrong people always want to pretend that theories are either perfect or completely wrong, even though that makes no sense. Or assume some irrational assumption of uniform effects, so the results can violate them. Mess with say the Gulf stream and everything from Mexico, eastern US and Europe could get colder even during a global warming. Sometimes I wonder if they don't understand or if they just pretend not to...

Re:Why now? (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863705)

I think you vastly overestimate the degree of weather observation that actually gets done, and our understanding of the weather system.

Very likely, yes. Thanks for the insight.

Oh and by the way, I'm not reading any global warming (dis)proof into this -- that's one thing I *know* I'm not qualified for. :D

Re:Why now? (1)

tpheiska (1145505) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863875)

It didn't take that long.

I distinctly remember hearing about this in a lecture back in 2006 in Kiruna space campus. They have investigated stuff like this for a while there and remarked that spacecraft launches 'also' cause them. Shuttles were not specifically mentioned.

The clouds that are not man-made were said to dissolve ozone, but not in big quantities, they are completely "natural".

Re:Why now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863937)

Doctor House?

Facts FUD (3, Interesting)

Meor (711208) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863073)

Only 300 metric tons? By doing a simple 1 minute Google search I've found that a single cloud weighs on the order of 100 tons-100,000 tons and more. Great bullshit kdawson.

Re:Facts FUD (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863429)

So 300 pounds is within that range, and your point is?

Re:Facts FUD (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863439)

*tons

got volume? (1)

distantbody (852269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863081)

So the volume of shuttle exhaust material is enough to fill a significant portion of the upper atmosphere of the North Pole?
Why don't we see people rolling around choking at shuttle launches as the huge volume of exhaust displaces the breathable atmosphere from sea-level to stratosphere?

Re:got volume? (1)

mudimba (254750) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863311)

I'm no rocket scientist, but I am pretty sure that they largely use liquid oxygen for the rocket boosters. Most of the exhaust is probably water vapor and oxygen.

Re:got volume? (1)

BenihanaX (1405543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863419)

Easy enough to verify. Aaaaaand, nope. Only the shuttle's main engines use liquid oxygen/hydrogen. The boosters use a solid mixture and each one provides over twice the force generated by all three main engines combined (therefore it's safe to assume the boosters are expelling a significant amount of the total exhaust).

Re:got volume? (1)

BoogieChile (517082) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863599)

Except that the boosters are done by about 46 kilometres. From there on up, the shuttle runs on its main engines.

spread the wealth... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865345)

So the volume of shuttle exhaust material is enough to fill a significant portion of the upper atmosphere of the North Pole?

Really depends on how much you spread it out. If the air up there was only 1/1000 thick as it is a sea level, then, a volume of gas which might be a cubic 100 meters at sea level would be considerably larger in the upper atmosphere... miles across maybe.

Some one on ./ mentioned this was the cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863211)

Somebody on ./ said this was a likely cause of the clouds. Wow there are smart people in here :-)

Carbon credits for shuttle launches? (2, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863279)

So, can shuttle launches get "carbon credits"? (I know that they aren't actually reducing carbon emissions but if these clouds reduce global warming perhaps they'd be eligible). Is the amount so negligible that it wouldn't come close to offsetting the (horrendously) expensive launches?

Do other spacecraft (Arianne, Delta, Soyuz) also create these clouds?

Re:Carbon credits for shuttle launches? (3, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863399)

Since the water vapor brought into the atmosphere in high altitudes likely increases global warming (water vapor is a more effective greenhouse gas than CO2), I don't think they could get carbon credits.

Launch more shuttles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28864383)

So they illuminate our nights and warm up the poles? Sounds great. I want more of those. Never mind the islanders, they should have started building floating cities and submarine bubbles years ago.

Re:Carbon credits for shuttle launches? (2, Insightful)

jonadab (583620) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864625)

> (water vapor is a more effective greenhouse gas than CO2)

That's kind of like saying gasoline is more flammable than wood.

As infrequent as shuttle launches are, the relatively tiny amount of water vapor they've released is almost certainly not a significant contributor to global warming. There's just not enough quantity there.

But if somehow a *lot* of water got up there, enough to form a continuous layer from the equator to the poles, you'd be looking at world-wide year-round subtropical temperatures, not much temperature change from day to night, very little convection and thus no significant wind, and probably the only rain would be directly above bodies of standing water.

Humidity would achieve world-wide equilibrium, so there'd be no deserts and no rain forests, not to mention no glaciers. Pretty much the entire land surface of the world would be inhabitable.

Talk about terraforming!

We have easily enough water to do this. It's just a matter of how to get it up there.

Will reflectivity of NLCs moderate global warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863281)

NLCs reflect sunlight back into space (lowering the amount of sunlight reaching the earth by some TBD amount). If NLCs increase, will they ever reflect enough sunlight back out into space to moderate the factors that contribute to global warming?

Causing, or contributing? (3, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863313)

I can't read the article due to Slashdot effect, but if shuttle launches are contributing to or causing (big difference there!) the formation of the noctilucent clouds then there should be a correlation to check for. Specifically, there should be a fall in the number of observed clouds during the two extended periods of time when the shuttle wasn't flying following the Challenger and Columbia disasters. IIRC, there was a similar fall off in percentage cloud cover over the US during the days after 9/11 when almost no aircraft were flying within US airspace.

Re:Causing, or contributing? (2, Insightful)

drunken_boxer777 (985820) | more than 5 years ago | (#28869363)

That's an interesting point. Similarly, I wonder if the conditions that NASA chooses to launch during are related to conditions that allow noctilucent cloud formation.

Easiest waste of modpoints (3, Funny)

BenevolentP (1220914) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863347)

Wow, that was the easiest way to get rid of these pesky modpoints ever. Go back to the old article and retroactively mod everyone up who vaguely mentioned something spaceshuttly.

Re:Easiest waste of modpoints (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863531)

And then post in order to vapourise those pesky mod points... Brilliant! Think of all the WOMs [wikipedia.org] you can save by not accumulating all those mod points.

Re:Easiest waste of modpoints (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863899)

Yeah, reading comprehension should be a requirement for posting on /. ^_^

Amazing... (1)

Linuss (1305295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863377)

I've seen this, they are one of the most beautiful things ever to reach my eye. Was around 1998 in california after a space shuttle launch, it looked like we had Northern Lights all of a sudden, huge swathes of purple and green whisks of clouds all across the night sky, visible right during a typical beautiful california sunset. Man... good times.

Re:Amazing... (1)

BenihanaX (1405543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28863427)

Citation needed.

This is *OLD* news... see APOD! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863537)

From June, 2003:
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap030615.html [nasa.gov] .... note the last sentence.
6 years.

Sometimes it takes main stream media a while to catch on.

Note that this APOD entry has further links to US Navy research on the topic.

Chemtrails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28863843)

are obvious Chemtrails.

Noctilucent clouds have been observed in Europe (1)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864003)

Such nonsense. Recently noctilucent clouds have been observed with uncommon frequency all over the world, not just the US: http://www.nlcnet.co.uk/ [nlcnet.co.uk]

These idiotic explanations (global warming, space shuttle) show that a political agenda is being protected. It is quite simple: noctilucent clouds are a symptom of cooling of the upper atmosphere. Only that allows ice crystals to survive at a height of 80 kilometers at such low latitudes.

This true explanation cannot be allowed to penetrate the public mind because it constitutes evidence that conflicts with the attempt to sell the global warming scam and impose a carbon tax. Hence the bullshit.

Re:Noctilucent clouds have been observed in Europe (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864105)

I'm pretty sure temperatures at 80km up have been cold enough for ice for several million years at least.

Wikipedia says that the mesosphere extends from 50 to 80-85 km up, and the thermosphere from 80-85 to over 640km, and that the mesopause (the boundary between the two layers, at 80-85km) "is the coldest place on Earth, with a temperature of 100C" [wikipedia.org] . The really hot bit is well above the mesopause.

Not to mention that cooling of parts of the atmosphere, if it was real, would still be evidence of climate change. No one is claiming that the whole earth is going to smoothly warm up in step.

Re:Noctilucent clouds have been observed in Europe (1)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864217)

Wikipedia says that the mesosphere extends from 50 to 80-85 km up, and the thermosphere from 80-85 to over 640km, and that the mesopause (the boundary between the two layers, at 80-85km) "is the coldest place on Earth, with a temperature of 100C".

Make that -100C, but yes, true, it is well below freezing. However, the somewhat more physically complete explanation than simply "the upper atmosphere is getting colder" is that less energy is being put into the upper atmosphere on account of unusually low UV and X-ray emissions of the sun.

During the current solar minimum, which has extended well beyond the time it should have, there have been very few sunspots. The number of sunspots is strongly correlated to the UV and X-ray emissions of the solar corona which constitute a significant fraction of the overall solar flux. This strongly variable component of the solar output is the main driver of global warming or, as happens to have been the case since about 1998, global cooling.

Re:Noctilucent clouds have been observed in Europe (2, Informative)

jagsta (1607283) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864265)

Please, how have you managed to turn this into a rant about a global warming conspiracy?

There are 3 requirements for these clouds to form:

1. Dust in the mesosphere to seed the accumulations
2. Moisture in the mesosphere
3. Temperatures less than about 150K

There isn't a lot of either dust or water in this part of the atmosphere, and things like volcanic eruptions, and shuttle launches are one mechanism by which large quantities of both can be transported to this layer of the atmosphere, which is what TFA is saying.

The clouds themselves form when the temperature in this layer is low, and the lowest temperatures in this region occur in summer, counterintuitively. This is of course when temperatures are highest in the lower atmosphere.

So, the cooling you refer to hasn't got any established relationship with the "scam" of global warming, and if it did, it wouldn't support your argument.

Re:Noctilucent clouds have been observed in Europe (1)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864631)

It is related to global warming/cooling as follows: the required low temperatures in the upper atmosphere are only attained if the solar UV/EUV/X-ray flux, mostly originating from the solar corona, is very low: that part of the spectrum does not penetrate well and hence is absorbed in the upper atmosphere.

Since this UV/EUV/X-ray flux is a significant fraction of the solar output and varies strongly with coronal conditions, it is the most important driver of global warming/cooling. The solar corona is a very dynamic system which currently is in a quiescent state on account of the anomalously low number of solar spots. As a consequence it has been cooling in recent years, in spite of all the bullshit being published to the contrary: the raw data does not lie.

just typical American (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864049)

poor quality american electronics. if the entire system was built by the Russians we wouldn't even have a single issue... the advantage of the russian system is that it isn't man-controlled, if 1 single blip comes up on their computer the entire shuttle is turned-off it can't take off (like the hacked around nasa ones). it was funny when on the discovery channel the Russian ISS engineers said: we always have to rewire all the american made ISS parts because everything is done in inches (the only country in the world to do anything in inches). just face it NASA: a bankrupt state can supply better products, than one which pretends to be the richest...

Wishful thinking (1)

S-100 (1295224) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864075)

More wishful thinking that man's slightest activity can cause changes on a global scale. The numbers don't add up. Sure, that's a lot of tons of water vapor sent up a couple of times a year, but compared to the volume of the hemisphere's atmosphere, it's virtually nothing. Add to that the osmotic pressures that cause dilution, supersonic currents that dissipate the vapor, and the movement of the ship itself which leaves just a slender tendril through the air. Now we are expected to believe that this water vapor hangs together and goes off to Antarctica and Alaska to form distinctive clouds?

Self-enforced Ignorance (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864077)

"In our recent discussion of the phenomenon of noctilucent clouds..." ... we had plenty of input on the history and nature of them, including an uncharacteristically (for recent examples) detailed and accurate recounting from Wired.

So how is it one can reference an article with such good, clear information, and then utterly ignore all of that in order to posit such a ridiculous assertion? Worse than submission of such junk articles is the complete lack of editorial effort in determining whether the submission is worth posting.

As to whether these predate the observed appearance following the Krakatoa eruption, it might be useful to inquire of those who'd be likely to have historical sightings -- arctic or near arctic natives such as Yup'ik, Saami or Tungusk.

seen these for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28864389)

I've seen these for years, while living in Omaha and Fargo. They are pretty.

For all the "Save the Earth" people, the Earth's climate is self regulating. Any swings of high or low temperatures, alter weather to bring it back towards normal. Why are we worrying so much about this?

Ice ages happen. Hot ages happen. I'm doubtful there is anything we can do to prevent this.

FYI, these clouds are in the mesosphere ... (1)

jdagius (589920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864395)

... which is the layer of the atmosphere, 50km-85km, immediately above the statosphere. This is a very lonely place, the air's too thin to float baloons, airplanes and such, and too thick for orbiting spacecraft. Its major inhabitants are falling meteors and rocket ships enroute to outer spaces. Also hosts the D Layer of the ionosphere (during daylight hours) which tends to absorb radio waves transmitted from the ground.
Convection stops in the stratosphere (because there is no temperature inversion there) so very difficult for gases and vapors rising from the ground to reach this desolate place.
:-)

Cognitive filtering (2, Informative)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28864485)

Here's what I find interesting: the bulk of the 'data' behind anthropogenic global warming points to a rise in temps THIS century of a small handful of degrees. The concern is over the consequences of a further rise of, again, a small handful of degrees.

Now, drag out all the charts, graphs, and politically-motivated reports you want, for and against; the only actual modern large-scale experiment that gives us any proof regarding human impact on temperature was the week after 9/11.

The complete lack of aircraft over the US had a SIGNIFICANT effect on high and low temperatures immediately.

Couple that with this current evidence that a single shuttle launch can apparently impact cloud formation over the Antarctic, and I'd say that's a far-more-tangible red flag than the supposed connections made over CO2 or other 'global warming' gases.

So why isn't there a significant, sustained effort to minimize air travel?

Re:Cognitive filtering (2, Insightful)

OrangeDoor (936298) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865339)

I am unsure about your reasoning regarding the effect of airplanes, seems like there are many dots missing. Firstly, link about the temperature drop from no aircraft? That is curious and I wonder if it has a much greater effect because of the altitude at which the gases are released (though the long-term result may be the same despite the immediate evidence, that is all the ground level gas released is just as damaging as that from the airplanes).

Secondly, What is the effect of noctilucent clouds on on our atmosphere? Is it clear? Could they be protecting us/earth from some solar radiation? Or are they having the opposite effect (increasing the greenhouse-effect, and/or reflecting more solar radiation into our atmosphere)?

Idea: Nanoparticles (or other charged dust) blasted beyond the stratosphere that we can control! Keep it where it can block the sun, occasionally produce festive light shows, and keep the alien's from reading our collective thoughts!

Re:Cognitive filtering (2, Insightful)

hawkfish (8978) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865611)

Now, drag out all the charts, graphs, and politically-motivated reports you want, for and against; the only actual modern large-scale experiment that gives us any proof regarding human impact on temperature was the week after 9/11.

It was three days. Citation with reference here [realclimate.org] .

The complete lack of aircraft over the US had a SIGNIFICANT effect on high and low temperatures immediately.

Three days is far too short a time period to say anything conclusive about climate. You might as well argue that the sustained low temperatures last winter are a sign that the world is cooling...

Couple that with this current evidence that a single shuttle launch can apparently impact cloud formation over the Antarctic, and I'd say that's a far-more-tangible red flag than the supposed connections made over CO2 or other 'global warming' gases.

So why isn't there a significant, sustained effort to minimize air travel?

You mean like this [yahoo.com] ? Judging from this and the rest of your comments, you really need to get out more...

Re:Cognitive filtering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865719)

How is CO2 from cars or power plants different from airplanes (besides that airplane exhaust is already at 30,000 feet (10,000m)?

Hopefully the solar sun spots will start up again to see if they are more of a factor versus CO2 levels, since CO2 levels have come down in the past 8 months (they say). Though it is still pretty hot in Phoenix.

Re:Cognitive filtering (2, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866887)

So why isn't there a significant, sustained effort to minimize air travel?

Because we like air travel and hate industry. Minimizing air travel would inconvenience too many of "the right kind of people."

The same kind of thinking can be seen in the summary: "It now appears that these clouds are simply the product of Shuttle launches." The key word here is "simply", implying that there's nothing to worry about, because shuttle launches are a Good Thing.

AGW may be real--the signal in ocean heat content is pretty damned interesting, if maybe not quite compelling--but the argument around it is almost entirely driven by social engineers who want to use the non-zero risk of a civilization-ending climate event to empower themselves and their friends.

Re:Cognitive filtering (2, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#28869385)

Considering how variable the weather is in September, how can you be sure you're seeing causation, and not mere correlation? Having 3 or 4 days of temps significantly warmer or cooler than the week before is normal that time of year, as it's when winter fronts start moving across the continent.

While I've seen the sky completely haze over between morning and afternoon due to contrail spreading (if you work outside all day and can watch the sky, you can see this happen) I'm still not convinced it's significant. How much of the moisture was already there, and condensed due to the air disruption??

Growing up in New York City (1)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865409)

I remember growing up in New York when the Space Shuttle launched it always rained the next day.

Statistics needed (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865803)

In the science field, there's a saying "anecdotes are not data."

Let's see some real statistics.

few airplanes after 9-11 changed atmosphere (3, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866485)

Interesting PBS NOVA show on Global Dimming [pbs.org] or the effects of a hundred thousand US jet flights a day. they mostly halted the three days after 9-11. The upper atmosphere become noticeably more clear in that short period.

correlationisevidence tag reeks of hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28866965)

because there was so much more evidence that this was caused by global warming
man-made global warming itself is just as much correlationisevidence

NLC's have been noted over a hundred years ago (1)

CokeJunky (51666) | more than 5 years ago | (#28868199)

So is that evidence of alien visitation?

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