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Is the Earth Gaining Or Losing Mass?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the do-your-genes-make-this-planet-look-fat? dept.

Earth 356

Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC recently asked physicist and Cambridge University professor Dave Ansell to draw up a balance sheet of the mass that's coming in to the earth, and the mass going out to find out if the earth is gaining or losing mass. By far the biggest contributor to the world's mass is the 40,000 tonnes of dust that is falling from space to Earth every year. 'The Earth is acting like a giant vacuum cleaner powered by gravity in space, pulling in particles of dust,' says Dr. Chris Smith. Another factor increasing the earth's mass is global warming which adds about 160 tonnes a year because as the temperature of the Earth goes up, energy is added to the system, so the mass must go up. On the minus side, at the very center of the Earth, within the inner core, there exists a sphere of uranium five mile in diameter which acts as a natural nuclear reactor so these nuclear reactions cause a loss of mass of about 16 tonnes per year." (Read more, below.)Pickens continues: "What about launching rockets and satellites into space, like Phobos-Grunt? Smith discounts this as the mass is negligible and most of it will fall back down to Earth again anyway. But by far the biggest factor in earth's weight loss are the 95,000 tonnes of hydrogen that escape from the atmosphere every year. 'The other very light gas this is happening to is helium and there is much less of that around, so it's about 1,600 tonnes a year of helium that we lose.' Taking all the factors into account, Smith reckons the Earth is getting about 50,000 tonnes lighter a year, which is just less than half the gross weight of the Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise liner that recently ran aground."

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I was really hoping for gaining mass (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906745)

It would have given me a nice excuse the next time my wife noticed I had gained weight. "It's not the junk food, honey. The earth is gaining mass and causing me to weigh more!!!"

Re:I was really hoping for gaining mass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907139)

Global warming is giving me a fat arse!!!

Re:I was really hoping for gaining mass (4, Funny)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907239)

Well I got good new for you regardless. Since the earth is losing mass, the gravity will become weaker, resulting in lower numbers on your bathroom scale. :)

(Although it's probably not going to be so noticeable in the shortcut.)

Re:I was really hoping for gaining mass (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907391)

If only gravity wasn't the weakest of the fundamental interactions. Damn you, physics!

Re:I was really hoping for gaining mass (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907305)

Look at it the other way: The earth is losing mass, so you're doing it a favor by gaining mass to compensate.

Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (-1, Offtopic)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906761)

Can we put out a memo that EVERY SINGLE science story doesn't need a green religious hook in it? Please? You guys are worse than the most rabid Pentecostal.

I promise you that if you look at the error bars on the 40,000 in and 95,000 numbers the 160 atributed to global warming is lost in the noise. And that is IF you accept that number in the first place which is pretty bogus sounding. Anyone remember just how much energy is in mass anymore? How one kilogram of mass directly converted to energy is so much fricking energy that it would probably power all of civilization for a year or more? So now burning (hint, just a chemical action) some dead dinosaur is releasing the energy equivilent of 160 TONNES? Eh? The mass of the burned material drops by the amount of the released energy and either escapes to space or ends up captured as mass somewhere on Earth. IF one assumes AGW the mass of heating the crust and atmosphere of the earth a tiny fraction of a degree per year isn't going to give tons either. Math people, try it sometime. It works a lot better than your hokey religion.

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906819)

IF one assumes AGW the mass of heating the crust and atmosphere of the earth a tiny fraction of a degree per year isn't going to give tons either. Math people, try it sometime. It works a lot better than your hokey religion.

And neither match a good blaster by your side.

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906833)

I have no idea what you are talking about. Are you responding to someone, or just ranting into the ether?

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (4, Informative)

NikeHerc (694644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907571)

I have no idea what you are talking about. Are you responding to someone, or just ranting into the ether?

Dude, I got his blaster comment. Best laugh I've had all day!

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (3, Informative)

tiffany352 (2485630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906865)

According to E=mc^2, one gram of matter is equivalent to 10^13 J of energy (according to Wolfram|Alpha).

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907159)

"Since the Earth's cross sectional area is 127,400,000 square km, the total Sun's power intercepted by the Earth is 1.74E+17 Watts but as the earth rotates, no energy is received during the night and the Sun's energy is distributed across the Earth's entire surface area so that the average insolation is only one quarter of the solar constant or about 342 Watts per square meter. Taking into account the seasonal and climatic conditions the actual power reaching the ground generally averages less than 200 Watts per square meter. Thus the average power intercepted at any time by the earth's surface [mpoweruk.com] is around 127.4 X 106 X 106 X 200 = 25.4 X 1015 Watts or 25,400 TeraWatts.

Integrating this power over the whole year the total solar energy received by the earth will be:

25,400 TW X 24 X 365 = 222,504,000 TeraWatthours (TWh)"

So what is the mass equivalent of 222,504,000 TeraWatthours if one gram of matter is equivalent to 10E+13 J of energy?

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (2)

tiffany352 (2485630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907317)

Popping that number into Wolfram|Alpha, getting the conversion to Joules and converting that to grams yields 8.912×10^9 grams.

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907359)

8912.48717 metric tonnes, but remember most of that is radiated back out, so the real question is what is the capture delta from any global warming

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907459)

So what is the mass equivalent of 222,504,000 TeraWatthours if one gram of matter is equivalent to 10E+13 J of energy?

8912 metric tonnes [wolframalpha.com] .

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (3, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907479)

This estimate would be vaguely correct if you used the Earth's surface area. However, the Earth's cross-sectional area is area of the 2D disc that is formed by a meridian. The area of solar radiation it absorbs is exactly its cross-sectional area. (What part of the surface that happens to be changes as time passes and a unit of sunlight is spread over a larger surface around the edges, but the total area is constant and is simply the cross-sectional area.)

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907559)

Rounding the solar power a bit we get 222.5'10^18 * 3600 Ws = 8.01*10^23 Chop off 13 on the exponent (from the mass equivalent) to get grams. Chop another 6 off the exponent to get metric tons; that gives 8,01*10^4 or 80,100 tons

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906929)

Math people, try it sometime. It works a lot better than your hokey religion.

Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerous ways, Lord jmorris42. Your sad devotion to that ancient math has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you enough clairvoyance to find the rebels' hidden fortress...

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (0)

Frenzied Apathy (2473340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907295)

+10 Funny!

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (3, Informative)

noh8rz2 (2538714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906945)

So now burning (hint, just a chemical action) some dead dinosaur is releasing the energy equivilent of 160 TONNES?

I'm pretty sure he means that if the surface temperature increases by 1 degree C, then that corresponds to a higher amount of energy in the planet. it has nothing to do with burning fuel or anything else.

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906963)

Indeed, labeling "global warming" as a contributor to mass is deceiving, "man-made global warming" wouldn't increase earth's mass at all. Combustion in a closed environment cannot increase or decrease mass.

Solar energy, however, does increase Earth's mass via energy, and a byproduct of that energy is global warming (as opposed to having Pluto-like global freezing)

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906971)

What about insolation [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906979)

Can we put out a memo that EVERY SINGLE science story doesn't need a green religious hook in it?

Ah, so the earth isn't retaining an increasing amount of heat? What evidence do you base this assertion on?

Anyone remember just how much energy is in mass anymore? How one kilogram of mass directly converted to energy is so much fricking energy that it would probably power all of civilization for a year or more?

Spread throughout the whole of the Earth, combined with how much we're incapable of utilizing, that totally doesn't surprise me. Consider how much energy from the Sun hits the Earth every year that all just goes to waste, let alone what is reflected or shines off in other directions.

So now burning (hint, just a chemical action) some dead dinosaur is releasing the energy equivilent of 160 TONNES? Eh?

I think only a reactionary, kneejerk idiot would make this kind of ridiculously wrong statement.

IF one assumes AGW the mass of heating the crust and atmosphere of the earth a tiny fraction of a degree per year isn't going to give tons either. Math people, try it sometime. It works a lot better than your hokey religion.

It'd help your argument if you had something more than a tenuous grasp on thermodynamics and the processes involved with the retention of heat. Also, do consider that when working with the masses of planets and the energy output of stars, 160 tons is so easy to come across that, yes, it is highly like that this is in fact the case. Funny, though, how you get so violently worked up over it.

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (2, Interesting)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907331)

Honestly, though, the state that global warming is adding 160 tons of mass to Earth is just BS. You could say that if we were talking about geological time periods, but global warming (if it exists) definitely doesn't exist for geological time periods. Ice ages last long enough to get noticed by the planet's interior, warming periods do not.

It would take thousands to millions of years for a one degree average surface temperature change to work it's way through the entire planet. And even the worst case runaway global warming projections do not predict one degree per year. Long before the entire planet is heated by rising surface temperatures, the next ice age will hit us.

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907583)

It would take thousands to millions of years for a one degree average surface temperature change to work it's way through the entire planet.

So what? If the entire damn planet, core and everything, heated up by 1 degree the result would be a damn lot more than 160 tons of extra mass-energy!

The calculation is based simply on the estimated amount of excess solar energy retained. It has nothing to do with whether or not the energy spreads through the earth. The energy is already here, increasing the earth's mass.

It's cold out there... (1)

xded (1046894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907347)

how much energy from the Sun hits the Earth every year that all just goes to waste

Try living for a couple of weeks facing nothing but deep space (e.g., south pole in June), then you'll learn what that energy is wasted for...

MOD PARENT UP: religious zealots (0, Offtopic)

davek (18465) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907003)

OP is correct. Going into an experiment with a preconceived bias isn't science, it's politics:

as the temperature of the Earth goes up, energy is added to the system, so the mass must go up.

But from TFA:

So taking into account the gains and the losses, Dr Smith reckons the Earth is getting about 50,000 tonnes lighter a year.

So AGW isn't happening, then?

Re:MOD PARENT UP: religious zealots (1)

Dinghy (2233934) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907181)

OP is correct. Going into an experiment with a preconceived bias isn't science, it's politics:

as the temperature of the Earth goes up, energy is added to the system, so the mass must go up.

But from TFA:

So taking into account the gains and the losses, Dr Smith reckons the Earth is getting about 50,000 tonnes lighter a year.

So AGW isn't happening, then?

Now you're just sounding desperate. They consider AGW to be a factor in the equasion, and that it adds mass annually. However there are still other factors that are affecting the mass and those have a larger value, so they outweigh AGW. It's called math (or maths depending on where you live).

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907053)

Sadly, your attempt at condescendingly enlightening all of us succumbs to your own ignorance. The attribution of mass to excess thermal energy is not related to direct energy output from chemical reactions such as the burning of coal. It is instead related to the increased heat from the sun trapped by the additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which raises the total energy storage of the system.

Knowledge, jmorris42. Try it sometime. It works a lot better than your hokey attitude of denial and foolishness.

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907087)

I know that your point/rant is about the implication of global warming in that sentence, and I have no opinion on that, but as for the rest I had the exact same thought:

WTF ? Math people, try it ...

So if I get this right, you extract oil , you burn it, temperature increases and suddenly Earth's mass increases because Energy on Earth *increased* ? I don't know about the global warming/change part, but I call BS on that ...

We should stop all research on fusion now, it's going to double Earth's mass, therefore increasing gravity to an unsustainable level ...

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907103)

Nobody is claiming that burning fossil fuels is causing an issue from heat released from the chemical reaction. Sort of like how if you detonate an atomic bomb, the fallout kills far more than the initial bomb blast.

Are you suggesting that mass is converted into energy in a chemical reaction?

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (5, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907123)

So now burning (hint, just a chemical action) some dead dinosaur is releasing the energy equivilent of 160 TONNES? Eh?

No. Burning is mass-neutral. Not only is it chemical, as you point out, but the energy released during burning is still in Earth, so by mass-energy-conservation, the total mass of the Earth is unchanged.

It's the increasing average temperature of the Earth that causes the increase in mass. That temperature increase is not energy released from burning fuel, but rather additional energy captured from solar radiation (as a result of increased atmospheric CO2). So ultimately all the additional mass is coming from solar radiation.

160 tons of mass ~= 10^22 J
Solar irradiance over the surface of the Earth ~= 10^17 W ~= 10^24 J/yr

Math people, try it sometime.

I see that you didn't take your own advice. I see no math in your post whatsoever, despite the fact that 1 kg of mass in energy is easy to compute and the total energy used by civilization has been estimated before.

IF one assumes AGW the mass of heating the crust and atmosphere of the earth a tiny fraction of a degree per year isn't going to give tons either.

See, here math would have been useful.

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907411)

To add more math:

You'd have to heat 10^19 kg of air (air only) by 1 K to increase its mass by 160 ton. [ (160 ton * c^2) / (N_A * k_B * 1 K) * (29 g/mol) = 4.6 * 10^19 kg ] The mass of Earth's atmosphere is 10^18 kg (5 * 10^18 kg). So it's well within the realm of "you'd need to analyze this more carefully".

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (4, Informative)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907215)

I think the point the author is making isn't about the energy of burning fossil fuels, it's about the heat trapping that results. Normally the Earth is at ~100% energy balance with respect to solar radiation: a lot comes in (174 petawatts), and just about all of it gets radiated back out, continuously. But by trapping extra energy here on Earth in the form of heat, AGW gradually increases the Earth's total energy. E=mc^2 is not just for nuclear reactions: any system that gains or loses energy effectively gains or loses an equivalent mass. By how much? This guy says it's the energy equivalent of 160 tons of mass 160 tons, when converted to energy, is 1.44*10^22 Joules: a whole bigass boatload of energy. But, it is actually rather small (1/400th) compared to the total energy received by Earth from the sun in one year. So it doesn't take but a tiny percentage change the energy balance, accumulated over many decades, to get 160 tons of mass.

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907221)

global ocean heat content (from NODC) has been flat for the last 10 years. As have air temps. So that would be zero accumulated weight in terms of heat energy - and in fact a net loss because of radiated heat from earth's core.
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/figure-116.png

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907227)

Congratulations! You've just posted the most idiotic slashdot comment of 2012. Every single sentence of your little rant is factually incorrect.

Geez, talk about religious delusions...

Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907561)

Well, a kilogram of mass directly into energy is easy to calculate. E=MC^2, so 1 kg of mass is equal to 1 kg* (300,000,000 m/s)^2 which is 90,000,000,000,000,000 (kg*m*m)/s*s or 90 petajoules. That's 25 billion kilowatt-hours. Average monthly household electric usage is 920 kilowatt-hours, so that's 27,173,913 households for a month, or 2,264,492 households for a year. So, assuming 100% conversion to electrical power and no transmission loss (in the real world, less than 25% of that original power would probably be eventually usable in homes), it would power civilization only in the state of Maryland for a year. Of course, most power usage by civilization isn't residential electric. Most home heating isn't electric, then there's all the energy people use to travel, the energy used to produce and transport their food (we'll give the energy from the sun that grows crops a free pass) and to maintain the infrastructure and power other kinds of services and to power businesses as well as households. So, it wouldn't really power all of Maryland.

Wikipedia lists world total energy consumption as about 474 Exajoules in 2008. So the 90 petajoules from the 1 kg of matter, with a miraculous 100% utilization, would last keep civilization running for about an hour and 40 minutes. For a whole year, you'd need 5.27 metric tons of matter. If you actually take conversion and transmission loses into account, it's more like 25 minutes and 21.07 metric tons.

energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906777)

energy is added to the system

i thought energy can not be created or detroyed

Re:energy? (4, Insightful)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906853)

Since when does "added to the system" mean created or destroyed? The earth is not the entire universe. Energy gets added to us from the sun, for example.

Re:energy? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906871)

energy is added to the system

i thought energy can not be created or detroyed

Moved, not created or destroyed.

Come out of your mom's basement, look up at that bright yellow object in the sky.
If there is any global warming, that's where its coming from.

Re:energy? (1)

groslyunderpaid (950152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907121)

The big yellow one is the sun!

Re:energy? (2)

w.hamra1987 (1193987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907323)

all black here with teeny white dots... sometimes a big white banana floats around, i say hi to it, half expecting it to turn out as my cat, but so far no ):

but then, that yellow friend of yours might be showing up when i'm hibernating... no idea, though i'll keep a lookout. maybe carve a hole in my coffin to notice it when it shows up

Re:energy? (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907515)

Creationists always try to use the second law,
to disprove evolution, but their theory has a flaw.
The second law is quite precise about where it applies,
only in a closed system must the entropy count rise.
The earth's not a closed system' it's powered by the sun,
so fuck the damn creationists, Doomsday get my gun!

-- M.C. Hawking, "Entropy"

Re:energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906895)

energy is added to the system

i thought energy can not be created or detroyed

It comes from the sun!

Gravity sucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906803)

As all mass object, Earth tends to gain additional weight simply by attracting all the matter around. Soon or later, all objects tend to collect the mass.

Enough for Eternity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906809)

And here some people are worried about running out of uranium.
We'll never use up a 5-mile diameter sphere of uranium!

Re:Enough for Eternity (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906955)

And here some people are worried about running out of uranium.
We'll never use up a 5-mile diameter sphere of uranium!

The problem is getting to it.

I mean if you believe "science" then it's surrounded by molten rock.
And if you believe the book journey to the center of the earth, then its surrounded by dinosaurs.

Both I understand are fatal to humans.

in situ utilization -- the greenest way to go (3, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907065)

Or just drill parallel pipes, pump cold water down one, get hot water up the other. No danger of a catastrophic meltdown, because, like, that's already happened.
Also has the beneficial side-effect of (allegedly) creating earthquakes, how cool is that?

Re:Enough for Eternity (1)

Eldragon (163969) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907397)

This is the funniest thing I have read all week. I thank you.

Re:Enough for Eternity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907371)

We'll never use up a 5-mile diameter sphere of uranium!

And we'll never use more than 640KB of RAM

What sphere of Uranium? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906835)

No such thing. And warming the earth doesn't make it more massive.

Re:What sphere of Uranium? (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906941)

Some models do have some kind of nuclear-reactor thing going on at the very center, but it's indeed not right to present it as some kind of fact, when it's greatly disputed what might be there (and our evidence is very circumstantial). As far as I can trace it, the proposal for a "nuclear georeactor" in a sub-core of the inner core is due to J.M. Herndon, who proposed it in 1996 [pnas.org] , and has since developed the idea in various other papers. I don't think it's anywhere near consensus, though.

fringe theory, not mainstream (4, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907485)

the mainstream view is that the iron-nickel core of the earth is of the same source and composition of iron-nickel asteroids, which have little or no uranium.

Re:What sphere of Uranium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907533)

Then where does the interior heat come from?

Without new physics, the only explanation is natural fission.

Re:What sphere of Uranium? (4, Interesting)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907031)

Well, warming may not make things more massive according to classical physics, but in the Theory of Relativity, all energy counts as mass. E=mc^2, it goes both ways. Warm objects are very, very slightly heavier than otherwise identical cold objects. So if our atmosphere traps the heat of the sun, that will result in a slight increase in mass. Although I doubt even a few degrees of warming will make a 160 ton difference. c^2 is a pretty big factor.

Re:What sphere of Uranium? (0)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907297)

And warming the earth doesn't make it more massive.

It does if the energy comes from an outside source (the Sun). Mass and energy are the same. Increasing the energy of something increases its mass. Temperature is just an abstraction of kinetic energy of particles, so increasing the temperature of a collection of particles is the same as increasing their kinetic energies. Thus, increasing the temperature of something increases its mass.

Expanding Earth Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906841)

I bring you Expando Planet Model [halfpasthuman.com] .

Tards (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906845)

global warming which adds about 160 tonnes a year because as the temperature of the Earth goes up, energy is added to the system, so the mass must go up.

Single most brain damaged statement I've ever heard.

Re:Tards (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906991)

Global warming is not about added materials, it's about distributing materials that were in stasis, into the environment.
Get your facts straight.

Re:Tards (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906999)

Care to clarify? Or are you just threadshitting?

Re:Tards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907119)

You can't create mass, it's a basic concept in science. I reserve my threadshitting for union threads on a different board.

Re:Tards (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907301)

You can't create mass, it's a basic concept in science.

Ok, so you're threadshitting via ignorance. Good job.

Re:Tards (2)

w.hamra1987 (1193987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907413)

you might want to have a chat with Einestein about that... we're not creating mass... but mass itself comes from energy, and the more energetic (so to say) a particle becomes, the more massy it gets.

here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass%E2%80%93energy_equivalence [wikipedia.org]

Re:Tards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907525)

Fission and Fusion usually go the other way, Fusion of light elements creates atoms and particles that are not quite as heavy as their inputs, and Fission of heavy elements creates atoms/particles that are not quite as heavy as the initial atoms/neutrons.

But in Supernovas, some of the tremendous energy of the dying star continues to perform fusion on heavier and heavier elements. In this situation energy is added to the nuclear reaction and mass is created

Chemical reactions and thermal interactions (absorbing the heat of sunlight) also convert energy/mass, but it's much harder to measure because the amounts are much smaller. That's why it's "only" 160 tons a year (Which is nothing when you consider the mass of a whole planet)

Re:Tards (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907167)

It's not quite as brain damaged as you might think. Relativity says that energy and mass are equivalent (E=mc^2), and this really does mean that warm objects are slightly heavier than otherwise identical cold objects. But 160 tonnes is a lot of energy, so I have my doubts there.

Re:Tards (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907193)

There's this equation that relates energy to mass, let's see, how does it go? Oh yes, e=mc^2.

Re:Tards (3, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907223)

You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, do you? Please try, if you can, to explain what was wrong with the statement.

To quote a later AC post that seems to also be from you: "You can't create mass, it's a basic concept in science."

Believe it or not, there's more to science than what you learned in grade school. If the composition of the Earth's atmosphere changes in such a way that it traps more energy from the sun, that will cause an increase in mass.

Re:Tards (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907225)

The gravitational mass would go up. Energy produces gravitation as well.

Re:Tards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907337)

I agree, since there is no Global Warming. Wasn't there just a press release that said there has been no observed warming since 1998, and in fact we are entering a cooling cycle? GW/CC is a religious belief system. "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts!"

What Global Warming? (-1, Troll)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906879)

Global warming has ceased for 15 years now. How are they calculating this figure?

Re:What Global Warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906951)

Probably over the last century. Using figures as small as 15 years would be silly.

Re:What Global Warming? (4, Informative)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907021)

Depends which globe you are talking about. If you're not talking about Earth- you're off topic.

If you're talking about Earth and look at overall trend analysis graphs covering the last 100 years- the last 15 years fit in the scale correctly. Also 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred during the past 15 years.

Re:What Global Warming? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907245)

Including the warmest year on record, which happened exactly 15 years ago. This is an excellent example of the denialists manipulating statistics to their own ends.

Re:What Global Warming? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907285)

I looked. The trend of the last 100 years involves coming out of the LIA, so it's not surprising we are still slowly warming up. Global warming is meant to be ACCELERATED warming caused by increased CO2. Starting around 1980. The last 100 years is nothing to do with it at all...

Over the last 15 years we have had increased CO2, and DECREASED warming. Bang goes your hypothesis - it's completely dead. That fact alone is enough to kill it.

Oh, and talking about 'warmest years on record' immediately marks you as a propaganda warmist - they are not evidence of anything. If you want to think like a scientist, try thinking about what might DISPROVE the global warming hypothesis. That's right - you'll find that NOTHING is accepted as disproof. It's not a science, it's a religion....

Re:What Global Warming? (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907147)

Average temperature anomaly for the past 15 years: 0.5 C
The 15 years before that: 0.2 C
The 15 years before that: 0.04 C

You were saying?

Earth gaining or losing mass would be reciprocal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906913)

...to Oprah's state

(so... at least we,ve had that one already, now..)

I know for a fact that Earth is gaining in mass (1, Funny)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906985)

... because half of that dust is on my car.

Re:I know for a fact that Earth is gaining in mass (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907523)

Those mottled white splotches on the windshield and hood are not dust, mate.

Why don't I feel upside down when at the S. Pole? (0, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907045)

...Or horizontal at the equator? After all, the earth is [almost] spherical, right?

This is one question that has dogged me all my adult life. Anyone?

Re:Why don't I feel upside down when at the S. Pol (1)

DemonGenius (2247652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907205)

Maybe you're not smoking enough reefer?

40K Tonnes of dust! (2)

Urban Nightmare (147344) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907091)

No wonder my TV is always covered. Time for a bubble dome to keep it all out.

Losing, of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907095)

No, that dress does not make you look fat.

The Earth may be losing mass... (5, Funny)

kehren77 (814078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907133)

But Americans are attempting to even things out.

Re:The Earth may be losing mass... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907497)

But Americans are attempting to even things out.

I'm certainly doing my part!

Physicist on Geology? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907155)

Physicists, at least historically, are known for lacking any geological background. *cough*Lord Kelvin [wikipedia.org] *cough*

On that basis alone, I would suspect that his numbers are wrong.

Uranium inner-inner core? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907171)

This hypothesis of a tiny, nuclear reactor uranium inner-inner core is still, to my knowledge, untested and controversial.

Nuclear core - huh (1)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907199)

Don't think so. It is a pretty far out theory which has no real evidence and plenty of reasons why it does not hold up. But as I can't tunnel down to look, I guess anything is possible.

Re:Nuclear core - huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907381)

"What if the core is made of /cheeeese/?"

Wait (5, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907261)

So you count the 16 tonnes a year from a nuclear reaction that may or may not be there, but you ignore the effects of space rockets, some of which have payloads in the hundreds of metric tonnes? (the Saturn V can carry 45 tonnes to a Lunar Injection orbit and over twice that to LEO.) Huh, interesting.

Also, what is this about the weight of the Costa Concordia? I want to know how many Libraries of Congress that is per year, damnit.

Re:Wait (1)

krlynch (158571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907489)

16 tons/yr for m(b)illions of years is in aggregate a lot more than a few hundred tons a year for the last few decades.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907501)

Most of those rocket propellants and space junk are trapped in Earth's orbit. Eventually they would fall back etc. Only a small portion of it goes outside of Earth and not returning.

Wha--?! (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907263)

Another factor increasing the earth's mass is global warming which adds about 160 tonnes a year because as the temperature of the Earth goes up, energy is added to the system, so the mass must go up.

Wait, what? Isn't the mass already there but is just being distributed differently? What am I missing here?

40,000T is not much mass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907271)

That much mass travels down the freeway in trucks next to my office every half an hour or so.

Of course over a billion year that adds up ...

Solar Orbit Decay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38907283)

Could a change in Earth's mass cause it's orbit around the sun to decay? If so, could this be a factor in global warming? ...Ducks

Geothermal (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907335)

at the very center of the Earth, within the inner core, there exists a sphere of uranium five mile in diameter which acts as a natural nuclear reactor so these nuclear reactions cause a loss of mass of about 16 tonnes per year.

Sounds like the ultimate source of geothermal energy, so let's start drilling for it. Got to get there before Iran goes and makes a bomb out of it.

A planet which your mom is living on? (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907375)

It's gaining mass.

End of the World (2)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907377)

One thing that most posters overlooked was the statement that the Earth's GeoReactor may be shutting down (in anywhere from 100 years to 1 billion years). The theory states that when this happens the earth will lose its magnetic field and then its atmosphere. Scary!

Matt Dayyyymon!!! (1)

jamessnell (857336) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907387)

"Another factor increasing the earth's mass is global warming which adds about 160 tonnes a year because as the temperature of the Earth goes up, energy is added to the system, so the mass must go up. On the minus side, at the very center of the Earth, within the inner core, there exists a sphere of uranium five mile in diameter which acts as a natural nuclear reactor so these nuclear reactions cause a loss of mass of about 16 tonnes per year." I'm dumbfounded by how retarded that is. Ever hear of "Convervation of Energy"? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_energy [wikipedia.org] It makes no practical sense that the planet would gain mass by an increase in temperature. I can see how an increased temperature could make the atmosphere slightly more inclined to escape, but even IF that happens, it'd be a relatively tiny mass compared to the dust and meteors that are showering upon us. Why are we even reading this? I should get back to work. This is stupid.

Missionaries... (0)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907451)

The earth is gaining Mass- thanks to those darn catholic missionaries.

AGW has debunked nuclear core theory (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907511)

AGW science uses sophisticated computer modelling to show that the Earth's climate is driven by the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere...the 'forcing function'. The nuclear core theory provides for a nuclear reactor generating 4 terawatts of heat that must be continuously radiated into space. Moreover, the nuclear reactor output varies over time from full production to zero production to full production.

http://www.rense.com/general25/vore.htm [rense.com]

  Such variation obviously has never happened or we would have seen major changes in the long-term climate. Therefore, the AGW science has thoroughly discredited the nuclear core science since there are obviously thousands of scientists who believe the AGW science versus only one or a handful who believe in nuclear core science and we have to give the verdict to the majority opinion. That's how we do science in the 21st century... As for TFA, is the Earth gaining or losing mass? Duh! + 40000 + 160 -15 = a whole lot of gain. There...solved that question too.

Old news (0)

sinequonon (669533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38907573)

Why the $%#&@*! does this even rate a /. story? The rates are so minuscule that they matter not at all in the Earth's geologic story.
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