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Thermosphere Contraction Puzzles Scientists

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the chicken-little-knows-what's-up dept.

Earth 200

The thermosphere layer of earth's atmosphere begins 80 to 90 kilometers above the surface and extends several hundred kilometers into the sky; it is the home to numerous satellites and the International Space Station. It is known that the thermosphere occasionally cools and contracts, but a recent study of satellite orbital decay (due to light atmospheric drag) found that the contraction during 2008 and 2009 was significantly more severe than expected, leaving researchers at a loss for how to explain it. From Space.com: "This type of collapse is not rare, but its magnitude shocked scientists. 'This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years,' said John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. 'It's a Space Age record.' The collapse occurred during a period of relative solar inactivity — called a solar minimum from 2008 to 2009. These minimums are known to cool and contract the thermosphere, however, the recent collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain."

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yay? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937470)

yay?

This was discussed in those emails (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937634)

It's due to the lack of USB support in linux, the flaws in GPL, global warming, Barack Obama's personal war, and the terrible new changes to slashdot.

Re:This was discussed in those emails (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937718)

I understand: They migrated the thermosphere control servers to Linux. However the thermosphere control device is on USB, and there are no appropriate drivers. Those drivers are missing because of the flaws in GPL. This wouldn't have been a problem if the device would not have entered a special high temperature mode, because the standard low temperature mode is well supported by Linux drivers. This high temperature mode was of course entered because of global warming. Moreover, a backup server still running Windows, which could have been used to drive the thermosphere control device, was destroyed in Barack Obamas personal war. And it wasn't put up again because the people responsible for it were too busy complaining about the terrible new changes to Slashdot.

Boom-shaka-laka-laka! (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937796)

It's the sound a slam dunk makes.

Re:This was discussed in those emails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32938264)

Miss.

It is entirely caused by Republicans and the Teabaggers. Don't you read the news?

Very easy to explain.. (0, Troll)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937480)

global warming. It's called "climate change" these days. Understand climate change and you will learn why our globe is spinning out of control and life as we know will soon be over.

Re:Very easy to explain.. (1, Insightful)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937614)

When they saw the potential for global warming to be used to justify tax increases, bans of certain products and making otherwise harmless but enjoyable activities into a crime they changed it to 'climate change' in order to to instill it as a permanent stick to beat the population into compliance long after the much exaggerated threat of global warming induced disasters has passed. The only thing constant is change and that includes climate change - the climate has always been changing and will continue to do so.

Environmentalists won't stop until everybody is forced to move into huge city centre apartment blocks and not allowed to consume any energy other than for their government-supplied 'nettop' used for delivering propaganda and possibly one CFL bulb.

The good life is being regulated out of existence at an alarming rate in the name of security, safety and now 'protecting' the environment. Driving a car is almost considered a sin at this stage because not only is a 'mere human' driver being passed of as a danger to others and their children but they are also accused of ruining the environment. It won't stop until we are all forced to live in a purely receptive society where no individual is allowed to think for himself, just sit there in that cell with one CFL waiting for instructions from the government.

Re:Very easy to explain.. (-1, Flamebait)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937730)

The good life

What exactly do you consider "the good life"? Sitting in your back garden, smoking crack, snorting CFCs, burning tyres, pouring battery acid on poor defenceless tree saplings and masturbating to pictures of coal mine fires?

Re:Very easy to explain.. (0, Flamebait)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937900)

Funny that. Last time I looked there was a difference between pollution and climate science. But it seems to be the rage now that breathing causes global warming. In other news, the latest "OMG!!!!eleventy11 hottest temperature on record month" is actually 0.42 vs the 1.48 when you're not cherry picking your data.

Re:Very easy to explain.. (3, Informative)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938040)

We had 8 months of winter in Europe, with record snow down to Spain and temperatures lower than they were in the last 30 years. Were constantly reminded that it was a seasonal event, weather, that had nothing to do with climate.

After a mere 3 weeks of summer, with record hot temperatures, the media is already reviving the global warming mantra.

I was modded into oblivion when I half-jokingly asserted that record lows are weather and record highs are climate change, but now we see exactly that.

8 mo. of the harshest winter for 30 years = press says "weather".
4 we. of the hottest summer for 30 years = press says "global warming, doom, hellfire".

I have no problem with either explanation, but it sure should be consistent.

Re:Very easy to explain.. (3, Interesting)

Arlet (29997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938110)

Europe may have had a cold winter, but globally the period Dec 2009-Feb 2010 was warmer than average. Similarly, the spring/early summer period was also warmer than average.

As far as the temperature on any given point on the globe, it's a combination of weather and climate. Global warming has pushed the averages up a little, but daily weather will always be the major factor in the temperature swings.

Banking analogy (4, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938236)

We had 8 months of winter in Europe, with record snow down to Spain and temperatures lower than they were in the last 30 years

Interestingly, global warming does cause colder winters. The cause of those colder winters is the melting of the ice caps.

More heat in the atmosphere means more energy, which causes stronger winds and quicker circulation. Cold air from the north pole travel faster to Europe and therefore has less time to warm in the way.

Those colder winters are more than balanced by hotter summers, we are spending away our ice reserves. It's like when you spend more than you earn. Your having more money to spend does not mean you're getting richer.

Re:Banking analogy (-1, Troll)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938556)

Interestingly, global warming does cause colder winters. The cause of those colder winters is the melting of the ice caps.

Interestingly the ice caps are not melting. One is in a decline (the Arctic) and one is growing (Antarctic). Result? No change in total ice cover in the last 30 years.

More heat in the atmosphere means more energy, which causes stronger winds and quicker circulation. Cold air from the north pole travel faster to Europe and therefore has less time to warm in the way.

That's amazing. Totally wrong, but its amazing to watch someone create a theory based on no science whatsoever.

Those colder winters are more than balanced by hotter summers, we are spending away our ice reserves. It's like when you spend more than you earn. Your having more money to spend does not mean you're getting richer.

Yep. Its bad metaphor week.

Re:Very easy to explain.. (4, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938240)

We had 8 months of winter in Europe,

No, we had not. When you say something like that I wonder if you're living in Europe at all - or maybe you're counting on your readers to not be in Europe?

Winter in Europe, December to February, were below the average for the period 1951-1980 (the standard reference period). But already in spring, March to May, it was back above it.

Another issue: the amount of snowfall depends primarily on water vapor in the atmosphere. As long as there's freezing temperatures, more moisture means more snow. More cold below zero degrees celsius does not cause more snow. A very basic prediction of climate modeling is that water vapor in the atmosphere will increase as temperature increases. So record cold might be unexpected from a climate science perspective; record snowfall would not.

Oh, go fuck a goat. (-1, Flamebait)

Petersko (564140) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937700)

"It's called "climate change" these days. Understand climate change and you will learn why our globe is spinning out of control and life as we know will soon be over."

Just... go fuck a goat, you pessimistic bastard. What we don't need is people who are going to sit around and bitch about how we're all inevitably doomed. Those people (and you specifically) aren't a part of any solution, so yes - go fuck a goat.

My post isn't going to get any more insightful. You can stop reading now. We'll figure out the answers without you, goat fucker.

Re:Oh, go fuck a goat. (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937754)

Just... go fuck a goat, you pessimistic bastard. What we don't need is people who are going to sit around and bitch about how we're all inevitably doomed. Those people (and you specifically) aren't a part of any solution, so yes - go fuck a goat.

(pulls up a chair, dons a colander for a hat, straps on the old high school football shoulder pads and starts fretting)

How on earth am I supposed to fuck a goat when I'm so worried about the inevitable demise of this giant merry-go-round that I'm wearing a coffee pot for a cup?

I'm impressed. (1)

Petersko (564140) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937786)

"...that I'm wearing a coffee pot for a cup?"

Okay, either that's one seriously underutilized coffee pot, or you're the greatest man on earth.

Re:Very easy to explain.. (0, Troll)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937776)

Humanity will survive, all Global warming is going to do is take crappy places to live and make them even crappier. Big whoop.

Re:Very easy to explain.. (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938112)

But we've never survived such a period of severely healthy satellite environment before. How can you be so flippantly optimistic?

Re:Very easy to explain.. (2, Funny)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938332)

Don't you remember the Race Select Screen? Humans come with +5 Adaptability.

cough (-1, Troll)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937486)

It's Bush's fault.

Re:cough (-1, Troll)

w00tsauce (1482311) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937536)

I blame it on the Jews.

Re:cough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937986)

I blame it on Canada.

FTFY

Great (-1, Flamebait)

bteed (1832400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937524)

So now CO2 causes cooling too. Can't win.

Re:Great (0, Flamebait)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937556)

Yeah, you caught that too... Greenhouse Gas or Coolant- which is it guys?

Re:Great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937616)

doors, do they let people in, or do they let people out? Which is it?

windows, do they let light in, or do they let light out? We can't win!

Re:Great (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937722)

Spot the fuck on.

CO2 keeps heat in, and keeps heat out. Think of it as insulation.
I have no doubt the deniers will vehemently deny this as scientific hocus pocus. Im surprised they havent tried to burn any scientists at the stake yet.

WITCH CRAFT!!! DUNK THEM IN THE RIVER!!! BURN THEM AT THE STAKE!!! CRUSH THEM WITH ROCKS!!! THEIR LOGICAL THINKING POKES HOLES IN OUR FANTASY!!!

Re:Great (1)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937728)

Oooh, hyperbole, that's the way to convert people to your side.

Re:Great (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937874)

Ill stop using it when you stop putting Hitler mustaches on pictures of Obama.

Re:Great (1)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937936)

But I voted for Obama...why would I put a Hitler mustache on him?

Obamao (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938028)

I find putting "Mao eyes" is more appropriate.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937884)

Yeah, and sarcasm works so much better.

Re:Great (1)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937944)

Cause I am trying to win converts?

Re:Great (1)

N!k0N (883435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938090)

Im surprised they havent tried to burn any scientists at the stake yet. WITCH CRAFT!!! DUNK THEM IN THE RIVER!!! BURN THEM AT THE STAKE!!! CRUSH THEM WITH ROCKS!!! THEIR LOGICAL THINKING POKES HOLES IN OUR FANTASY!!!

but wood also burns... and you can build bridges out of stone. Get me a duck and some scales, THEN we'll see whether or not they're witches.

Re:Great (3, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937978)

I have a thermos. Sometimes it keeps hot stuff hot, sometimes it keeps cold stuff cold. How do it know?

Re:Great (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937714)

It's called conservation of energy. If one thing gets hotter, another thing must get cooler.

Surface of earth gets warmer, upper layer of atmosphere, cooler.

Welcome to high school.

Re:Great (1)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937738)

But, thermodynamics also says that heat transfers at a rate that depends on the difference in temperature. If the thermosphere cools more, that means less heat can be transferred to our part of the atmosphere. Meaning to save the Earth, we must make the Thermosphere, Even Colder!

Re:Great (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937768)

wouldn't "Surface of earth gets hotter, earth spins slower" also work?
or "Suface of earth gets hotter, sun gets cooler", or "Surface of earth gets hotter, universe gets cooler"

Ah the fun of thermo and where you define your system...

Re:Great (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937774)

It's called conservation of energy. If one thing gets hotter, another thing must get cooler.

Yeah? Tell that to this lump of uranium.

Re:Great (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938084)

If you ever manage to find a material or process that can repeatably induce a temperature gradient in whatever when there was none before without needing external energy input, make sure to patent it hard and fast.

Repeal the law of thermodynamics!

Re:Great (2, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938498)

There's all sorts of materials that do that. Thorium, radium, polonium, plutonium, uranium. All of these materials induce a temperature gradient without an external energy input. That's why they're used as power sources in RTGs and nuclear reactors. See, there's this equation; perhap's you've heard of it: e=mc^2. What it means is that mass can be traded for energy. That's what radioactive isotopes do. They trade the odd subatomic particle off as energy. The law of conservation of energy was superseded by the law of conservation of mass and energy. It is not true that "If one thing gets hotter, another thing must get cooler."

Re:Great (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937966)

The Earth isn't a closed system.

I'm not sure if you noticed, but there's a rather big flaming ball of hydrogen in the sky.

That should have been explained in high school as well.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32938120)

That light isn't "a rather big flaming ball of hydrogen", it's His love you insensitive clod!

Re:Great (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938056)

Always the bad one of course.

That's why we need that draconian tax, don't you understand?

And I see you were just exhaling that stuff.

Remain calm and stay put. Carbon police is already underway.

Not temperature - density (1, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937570)

CO2 is denser than air so naturally the atmosphere compacts under gravity as the density increases.

Re:Not temperature - density (3, Insightful)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937630)

Whoever marked the parent as informative is a moron.

Re:Not temperature - density (1, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937704)

I am stunned by the deep and proper reasoning, that went into your comment. Such wonderfully general paradigms, and oh what a elegant chain of reasoning. I’ve never seen a collection of high-quality references with such a great density.
I am hugely impressed, and would like to be thaught at your school of logic. Which no doubt is one of the best in the world.

Your sincerely and deeply humbled,

Hurricane78

Re:Not temperature - density (5, Informative)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937800)

CO2 is denser than air so naturally the atmosphere compacts under gravity as the density increases.

Utterly incorrect. CO2 levels rising dramatically doesn't mean the percentage composition of CO2 in the atmosphere has changed by a large number. The atmosphere is still less than .5% CO2 today; even if it had started at 0% CO2, adding .5% concentration of something only half again as heavy (or dense, if you prefer; not that dense and heavy are synonyms but either way my point stands) as the vast majority of the atmosphere would not logically explain "the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years" without some serious synergy compounding the effect of that minimal impact on atmospheric density.

Furthermore, a given swath of the atmosphere is all roughly the same density; it's not like there's this big fat pocket of air that weighs 0.1 g/L and this other pocket a mile away at the same altitude that weighs 0.19 g/L. Diffusion dictates that CO2 could change the density of the air only as much as it changes the average density of the entire atmosphere (at a given altitude) once completely diffused into all the other stuff. You could jack the atmosphere up to 10% CO2, 20 times what it's ever been in the last billion years, and I doubt you could explain these contractions with simply density arguments.

Also, TFA mentions CO2 - not in any conjunction whatsoever with your insane reason for mentioning it, but it does mention CO2 - and says "Even when we take CO2 into account using our best understanding of how it operates as a coolant, we cannot fully explain the thermosphere's collapse." Note that they're talking about CO2 cooling the upper atmosphere, not about density.

Whoever marked the parent as informative is a moron.

Definitely, and there's at least 4 of them apparently. 4 people who felt compelled to tell us this was good information but couldn't remember anything about 101 level chemistry. How the fuck did they pretend to know it was good information if they can't see through something that stupid?

Re:Not temperature - density (-1, Troll)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937922)

Reelin' in the little fishies ...

Re:Not temperature - density (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938138)

Reelin' in the little fishies ...

Are you now? So you're not an idiot, you're just a troll or a joker? And that's supposed to make me more impressed with you?

In any case, when I wrote my response, your comment had briefly peaked at +5 informative; I had to save people from believing such idiocy whether or not I thought you believed your own bullshit.

Re:Not temperature - density (1)

1%warren (78514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938516)

Maybe I have made a simple math error, but from looking at data from the IPCC, the actual percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is about 0.0038 (380 parts per million).

For some perspective on its effects, consider that it has risen from about 280ppm, a massive jump of 0.001%. Over the past decade, global temperature has been running about 0.5 degrees above average, or around 3.3% higher. The two decades (80-00) before that was about 0.15 degrees above average. The three decades (50-80) before that were about 0.5% below average. Over the last 40 years (70-10) carbon dioxide has risen about 1.5ppm a year.

I don't see much of a correlation there. The temperature increase is simply far too high.

Re:Not temperature - density (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938254)

Another milestone victory of green zombies in science.

Re:Great (4, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937580)

Think of insulation. Insulation can keep heat in, and it can also keep heat out. Insulation will keep your house warm in the winter, and also cool in the summer. It's not that hard to understand, is it?

Although CO2 may be causing cooling high in the troposphere, it's keeping the surface of the Earth warm. So far, 2010 is the warmest year on record [usatoday.com] , with Arctic [nsidc.org] and Antarctic [nasa.gov] ice continuing to melt, despite low solar activity.

Re:Great (1, Informative)

siride (974284) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937608)

The ice always melts during the summer. But it is melting faster than "normal". Thankfully, in July, the ice loss is now behind 2007 instead of being miles ahead of it like it was in June.

Re:Great (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937628)

Yes, of course ice melts in the summer. It also freezes in the winter. Thank you, Captain Obvious!

What I was referring to by the Arctic and Antarctic ice melting was that they are melting away over the period of years and decades because the Earth is warming over the period of years and decades. If you would have read the links I posted, you would see that's what I was referring to.

Re:Great (1)

bteed (1832400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937648)

That's not quite what the article says, though.

Emmert suggests carbon dioxide (CO2) in the thermosphere might play a role in explaining the atmospheric collapse.

This gas acts as a coolant, shedding heat via infrared radiation. It is widely-known that CO2 levels have been increasing in Earth's atmosphere. Extra CO2 in the thermosphere could have magnified the cooling action of solar minimum."

I'm not saying "Oh, what do those darned scientists know?", it's just interesting.

Re:Great (1)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937708)

To save the earth, all we have to do is use heat to somehow power giant laser beams to fire lasers into space. The earth will cool off because we are sending excess energy out.

Re:Great (3, Insightful)

weicco (645927) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937726)

Are we talking about the same Artic ice [uaf.edu] here. It's quite understandable that ice melts at summer. There's anything special about this year.

Meanwhile in Antarctic [nsidc.org] . At the end of June, Southern Hemisphere mid-winter, the sea ice surrounding Antarctica was more than two standard deviations greater than normal.

Re:Great (0)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937804)

Regarding the Arctic ice, I'm not pointing out anything special happening this particular year. I'm pointing out that over the past several decades, the Arctic ice is melting, because the Earth is warming.

Regarding the Antarctic ice, the sea ice extent refers to the surface area of ice, not the mass or volume. The volume and mass of ice in the Antarctic is decreasing because it is melting. This is because the ice is thinning [reuters.com] .

Re:Great (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937848)

The Antarctic ice sheet isn't really melting, but the glaciers are moving at an increased speed, carrying more ice towards the edges (where it is melting).

Re:Great (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938132)

Well, I'm not panicking even though polar bears are dying here in Finland [wordpress.com] ;)

Re:Great (1)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938114)

Good point. This is partly why we can't have an emotional reaction to a single data point. Showing the arctic ice as melting quickly has to be balanced with the fact the antarctic is melting very slowly. Perhaps TFA is describing a more complex issue than a simple CO2 change, similar to melting ice caps being more complex than most believe.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937762)

and maybe that's a good thing, because maybe if it didn't work out like you "think" it does maybe we would of had winters that would kill off everything?

Don't even pretend you have a clue about climate even the very top scientist say they don't hardly understand the system...

Re:Great (3, Interesting)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937968)

What is it with you people? Scientists have said that they have observed a change in the Thermosphere that they can't explain . What is it about the phrase "they can't explain" that leads you to believe it's caused by Carbon Dioxide?

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32938078)

Yawn.. It's the church of global warming at play. You see, if it can't be explained, then it's an act of god. If it's an act of god, then it's their god, the mighty Co2.

Once the God of Gasses comes into play, then it's just a matter of the tired old, your god isn't real or my god is mightier then your god crap that has played out with every other religion since the inception of supernatural power.

In reality, it's just some people with a vested or emotional interest wanting to either claim it as part of their doom and gloom to advance their agendas or the opposite where people with a vested or emotional interest are attempting to retard their agenda. At this stage in the game, it's a grasp for anything which has traditionally lead to the same discourse that has always existed.

You can now cue the down mods. I have posted this as Secret Santa in order to both amaze you and provide disappointment in wasting a mod point on an AC.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32938522)

You denialists are just too fucking stupid.

The SCIENCE shows that CO2 causes warming. It's an observed fact.

YOU are the one who rejects the facts because of your OWN vested or emotional interest.

Re:Great (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938088)

I like how CO2 always does the bad things.

Now that we know it makes the summers hotter and the winters cooler, we should double carbon taxes. It's only fair.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32938302)

Who says shrinking of the thermosphere is a bad thing ? Quit the hyperbole.

Re:Great (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32938280)

Shut up already. If it's hot, it's the carbon. It it's cold, "you have to look at the trend". You guys make string theorists look good.

Re:Great (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32938304)

Once the earth reaches it's new insulated average temperature, the amount of heat radiated will be exactly the same.
A huge fail for you explanation.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32938548)

Seriously RTFA. It it says CO2 sometimes acts as a coolant. It radiates heat back out from itself which is why it warms in some cases and cools in others, like the coolant in a fridge absorbs heat from inside, and radiates it out from the piping you see on the back. It is in no way whatsoever like insulation keeping your house warm in winter and cool in summer.

No good can come from this discussion (2, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937532)

It'll end up being a blamefest.

The first 4 comments show as much.

Re:No good can come from this discussion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937692)

Everything was going fine until you posted.

Everybody run for your lives! (4, Funny)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937542)

The sky is falling in... literally!

Some One Liners (2, Funny)

Reilaos (1544173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937548)

"Don't worry, it's cool."

"Don't worry, I suffer from a bit of shrinkage, too."

I'm confused. (5, Insightful)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937564)

On the one hand, it's reported this is not rare. On the other hand, we've got plenty of sensationalistic language: "significantly more severe", "researchers at a loss", "collapse", "its magnitude shocked scientists".

So, is it the usual news cycle hype reporting on a puzzling phenomenon, or is there a reason to be alarmed?

Re:I'm confused. (0, Troll)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937706)

Perhaps you should read it again?

It's the largest compression on record, which makes it "significantly more severe" than they were expecting, "its magnitude shocked scientists" enough to call it a "collapse". It cannot be explained by the Solar Minimum (which occurred at the same time), and since solar activity is the only thing that has a direct influence on the compression or inflation, it has left "researchers at a loss".

Christ, you can get that from the fucking summary, you don't even have to read the fucking article.

It's like you saw those phrases and immediately had to post, without even bothering to read enough to put any of them in context. If you were a reporter, you would be the poster-boy for reactionary alarmist journalism.

Re:I'm confused. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937912)

you're a douche.

Re:I'm confused. (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938152)

I have a feeling that the bit about being "on record" is a bit limited. As opposed to events that occur on a millenial scale. Certainly it is noteworthy from a scientific view regardless of all the finger-pointing and etc. We have a rare opportunity to record an observation and hypothesize about it.

Re:I'm confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32938448)

BigJeff complaining someone didn't read the summary - pot, meet kettle.

Somewhere, buried in your really-need-to-get-a-life posting history [slashdot.org] is your take on IPv4 vs IPv6.

In it, you had some posts that were just as dense as the one you are criticizing. But you had five of them.

Re:I'm confused. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937750)

First rule: If you can’t change it, and can’t protect yourself from it, there is no point in being alarmed.

Re:I'm confused. (1)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937802)

Global warming is like old age, when you are young you might worry a little about death. When you get middle aged, you really worry about death. When you get old, meh, Death? Can't wait to meet him. As we get closer we will come to realize it all ain't that bad.

Re:I'm confused. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937932)

From what I can tell, that happens mainly to old people who spend their retirement time watching TV.

Saramago (our laureate writer) said he was afraid of dying not because of death itself, but for all the projects he was still committed to and would leave unfinished.

Re:I'm confused. (1)

moo-shim (1335425) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937822)

Biggest thing is that the satellites are burning more manouvering fuel to stay in orbit. Their lifespan is reduced significantly. The effect on global warming is tiny. If anything this is probably an effect of global warming, though that would be an interesting investigation.

Typical denialist talk (0, Troll)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938150)

On the one hand, it's reported this is not rare. On the other hand, we've got plenty of sensationalist language

The reasoning goes like this: if there is something about the temperature of the atmosphere that's in some sense unexplained this means scientists know nothing about the climate which means anthropocentric global warming does not exist which means my BP stock will keep its value and I will not have to sell my SUV.

Damn. (2, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937568)

I was hoping for some comment that might shed some (presumably ionising) light on this issue, since TFA offers no suggestions. Instead, we have a series of boring troll posts.

Oh well, I'll just move on, nothing to see here...

WTF? (3, Funny)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937578)

The sky IS falling. Oh, Chicken Little, how we all should've listened!

actually it's (5, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937584)

Actually it's likely related to global warming, since CO2 emits light at a different wavelength than it absorbs it, it sometimes causes the thermosphere (and other layers) to cool and contract by the time the light gets to the outer layers. There are climate models that predict this. The heat is absorbed at low altitudes and not emitted at high altitudes.

Actually I just made that up, but it sounded good, didn't it? Right? I'm sure we can blame it on pollution somehow.

Re:actually it's (4, Funny)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937610)

Evil. Very evil.

You have a lucrative future ahead of you in climatology.

Re:actually it's (3, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937748)

Actually it's likely related to global warming, since CO2 emits light at a different wavelength than it absorbs it, it sometimes causes the thermosphere (and other layers) to cool and contract by the time the light gets to the outer layers. There are climate models that predict this.

The problem with that is the CO2 levels have been gradually rising over the years - the 2008-2009 cycle did not have significantly more CO2 in the atmosphere than did previous cycles, yet there is a massive difference thermosphere compression.

If CO2 were the cause you would still expect to see a gradual increase in thermosphere compression year to year - the current 16 year cycle would simply have a higher rate of compression on average than the previous solar cycles.

That's not what was observed. What was observed was a massive compression in a single year - far greater than the previously useful solar models predicted. CO2 can definitely be part of the cause, but it cannot explain the huge difference between 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. They should only differ by the difference in solar activity, as CO2 levels are essentially the same.

Re:actually it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937846)

Of course CO2 can explain it. The sudden anomaly is simply caused by positive water feedback reflected of the methane produced by cow farts causing an upward wind.

Re:actually it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937928)

It was that damn wizard. The wizard ALWAYS did it!

Re:actually it's (1)

dominious (1077089) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937980)

why is gp troll?

It should finally be obvious to everyone (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937600)

Global warming sucks

Uh? (1)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937698)

So, uh, what happens when the thermosphere contracts too much? The ISS goes *crunch*?

Re:Uh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32937828)

It just needs a bit more fuel for the rockets to not fall down...

ARRL skip thought (2, Interesting)

moo-shim (1335425) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937790)

I wonder that the Amateur Radio low power operators have to say about the "skip" signals? That is when a radio wave gets caught in a "corridor" up there and "bounces" in there a long way before coming back to earth. The compression should have some sort of effect on them.

Coincidence? (2, Funny)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32937840)

It is an interesting to me that the HAARP project [wikipedia.org] was brought online a year before these severe contractions of the thermosphere. Although I'm sure the conspiracy theories are over the top, it would probably be dumb to disregard the fact that there are no other explanations right now as to what is happening to the atmosphere, but during this time period the military just happened to conduct an experiment against it.

Get to the hospital (4, Funny)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32938502)

when the contractions are 5 minutes apart

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