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Famous Paintings Help Study the Earth's Past Atmosphere

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the color-of-things dept.

Earth 126

houghi (78078) writes "From European Geosciences Union: 'A team of Greek and German researchers has shown that the colours of sunsets painted by famous artists can be used to estimate pollution levels in the Earth's past atmosphere. In particular, the paintings reveal that ash and gas released during major volcanic eruptions scatter the different colours of sunlight, making sunsets appear more red.' The original paper can be found here. In the last 150 years, the sunsets have become redder, likely reflecting increased man-made pollution."

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News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614691)

the paintings reveal that ash and gas released during major volcanic eruptions scatter the different colours of sunlight, making sunsets appear more red.

It's a good thing we have these paintings, or we wouldn't know this kind of thing!

Stars have also gotten smaller. (5, Funny)

generic_screenname (2927777) | about 6 months ago | (#46614693)

At least, according to Van Gogh.

Re:Stars have also gotten smaller. (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 months ago | (#46614869)

At least, according to Van Gogh.

But due to the prevalent light pollution, from our perception they actually have gotten smaller.

Re:Stars have also gotten smaller. (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 6 months ago | (#46615129)

At least, according to Van Gogh.

Or eyeglasses have gotten better.

Re:Stars have also gotten smaller. (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46615167)

At least they are not rectangular anymore, as they used to be in the cubist era. Imagine the weather changes caused by a non-isotropic rotating Sun! I imagine the only reason why they didn't complain and got used to it was because WW I and the post-war depression were worse.

artistic licence... (5, Insightful)

buzzsawddog (1980902) | about 6 months ago | (#46614737)

Because we know they never used artistic license to paint something that is less than realistic...

Re:artistic licence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614809)

Maybe if they used all paintings (famous or not), they could average out artistic styles and get a more reliable measure.

Re:artistic licence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614825)

Because we know they never used artistic license to paint something that is less than realistic...

Same with historians, most likely.

Re:artistic licence... (3, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 6 months ago | (#46615051)

. . . so let me take a quick look at my works from Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Rene Magritte . . .

Rothko - There's pollution in the atmosphere, but it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Pollock - The world's fucked.

Lichtenstein - The atmosphere is comical.

Magritte - The sky looks fine . . . but it is in the face of a scary looking guy in a black suit.

Science and art . . . quite a powerful combination! What do creationist believe about the world's atmosphere . . . did God create it polluted? Or did it start with that eviction deal over a terms of use dispute with the Garden of Eden . . . ?

Re:artistic licence... (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 6 months ago | (#46615171)

And from JMW Turner, we learn that Mt Toba was in continuous eruption during Victorian times.

Re:artistic licence... (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 6 months ago | (#46615933)

You should have had Dali there too.

Dali - The world is full of hidden vaginas

Re:artistic licence... (2)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about 6 months ago | (#46617201)

Dali - The world is full of hidden vaginas

Geiger - The world is full of not-at-all-hidden vaginas

Re:artistic licence... (4, Insightful)

bluegutang (2814641) | about 6 months ago | (#46615819)

And because we know artists from past centuries had access to exactly the same paints and color ranges that we do today...

Re:artistic licence... (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 6 months ago | (#46616075)

And we know that pigments and binders are completely stable across decades and centuries...

Re:artistic licence... (3, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | about 6 months ago | (#46615891)

This!!

One of my many studies in life has been art. I paint in oils and acrylics, and even took a few college courses. Very few painters are "realists" and even back 3000 years ago we knew about how to use colors for effect, not realism.

Sure, sculpting was one of those things where the ancient Greek artists tried to be as realistic as possible. At the same time, paintings of Hermes and Zeus indicate that not everything required the same level of realism (unless of course someone wishes to argue that the Ancient Greeks "saw" their gods.). Trying to measure the atmosphere based on pictures of Hermes seems pretty silly to me.

Lets also not forget that even with realism, many things can give the sunset or sunrise in a nice red hue (storm on the horizon anyone?). The pollution in the atmosphere is just one of countless things that could cause the sky to have a red hue. I really hope that people are not calling this "science".

Re:artistic licence... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616127)

The pollution in the atmosphere is just one of countless things that could cause the sky to have a red hue. I really hope that people are not calling this "science".

Shakespeare may have written all lawyers should be killed but these days I think he would pen the sentiment that all scientists should be killed. Do we have any true scientists? All they all frauds pushing an agenda (gaining research funding and tenure at university or making their employer filthy rich)?

Re:artistic licence... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616001)

And the pigments, they have changed. Industrial tube colors came about 150 years ago as well. The amount of aerosols have reduced significantly during the last decades over Europe due to environmental regulation, while in some other places they have likely increased quite significantly.

Dear Hippies, (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614741)

"Pollution" is what happens when living things do stuff. Pollution is not bad, per se... it is a fact of life. Demonizing "pollution" is the way of the intellectually unsophisticated or lazy. It is how we deal with pollution that is ever the issue.

Re:Dear Hippies, (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46614775)

Our goal should still be to limit pollution to what is absolutely necessary and not overdo it. Along the golden rule that your actions should not impose more harm upon others than entirely necessary (because by the very nature of existence it is impossible to have no negative impact on everyone all the time).

Re:Dear Hippies, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614877)

A lot of what people do is mildly polluting and not entirely necessary, so you might want to rephrase your golden rule, otherwise you're implying that we should ban things like leisure travel.

Re:Dear Hippies, (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46614991)

I'm not talking about banning something. I don't feel it's my prerogative to tell anyone how to lead their lives. But I'd expect people to understand that resources are limited and that responsible use thereof is in order.

Re:Dear Hippies, (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46615189)

I'm pretty sure that 80 % of all the world's total happiness is achievable with 20 % of the world's resources, or something like that.

Re:Dear Hippies, (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#46615631)

im pretty sure 90% of statistics on the internet are simply pulled out of peoples asses 73.7% of the time

Re:Dear Hippies, (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about 6 months ago | (#46617029)

Why shouldn't leisure travel be required to be non-polluting, or at least, as little polluting as possible?

Re:Dear Hippies, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616173)

Our goal should still be to limit pollution to what is absolutely necessary and not overdo it. Along the golden rule that your actions should not impose more harm upon others than entirely necessary (because by the very nature of existence it is impossible to have no negative impact on everyone all the time).

Okay let's exterminate every human in the every country except the First World. There would be many benefits the least of which is less foreign aid to these "culture of dependency" types. Which country's population do you propose we eliminate first Herr Opportunist?

Re:Dear Hippies, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46618163)

As long as you don't pollute in my neighborhood, your in good standing.

Re:Dear Hippies, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46617645)

Which is why environmental regulations usually contain the clause of "using the best commercially available technology", commercially available meaning affordable to the industry in question, sufficiently unencumbered by licensing and patents, and existing on the related market instead of in a research stage or under some kind of political embargo.

Wouldn't photography be a better reference? (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 6 months ago | (#46614785)

Surely photography would be a better reference - I'm assuming that the vast majority of 'globally influencing' pollution would have occurred after colour photography became popular.

Re:Wouldn't photography be a better reference? (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 months ago | (#46614873)

Surely photography would be a better reference - I'm assuming that the vast majority of 'globally influencing' pollution would have occurred after colour photography became popular.

"King Edward I of England banned the burning of sea-coal by proclamation in London in 1272, after its smoke became a problem."
So how far back to you think color photography goes?


(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P... [wikipedia.org]

Not just Man-made... (1)

The-Bobmeister (969131) | about 6 months ago | (#46614815)

Let's not discount natural events either. A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about the deep reddish and orange hues of the Oslo sky in Edvard Munch's painting, The Scream - they were a manifestation of the 1883 Krakatoa volcanic eruptions (http://bobyewchuk.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/the-scream/).

Re:Not just Man-made... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 months ago | (#46614863)

That was the first painting that came into my mind when I read the summery. I did not know the back story on it either.

Re:Not just Man-made... (3, Insightful)

aaron4801 (3007881) | about 6 months ago | (#46614979)

Paraphrasing the summary: 'Volcanic eruptions make sunsets more red, therefore, redder sunsets in paintings reflect man-made pollution.' WTF?

Re:Not just Man-made... (1)

houghi (78078) | about 6 months ago | (#46615263)

The natural events are not forgotten. In fact they let a modern painter paint while they KNEW there had been a volcanic eruption.

Starry Night! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614849)

Starry Night is proof that that stars were once much closer together!

Clutching at straws (2, Interesting)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about 6 months ago | (#46614853)

The climate debate is pretty much settled: humans are responsible for (at least) most of the current climate shock.

But this is just silly. Art is subjective, even for the artist. And even if all artists always painted with perfect colours that don't change over time, artists don't paint sunsets on a regular basis, but rather irregularly, such as when they're extra pretty.

This sort of study makes AGW proponents look desperate, and that's not a good way to convince people who prefer to stick their heads in the sand.

Re:Clutching at straws (1, Insightful)

marcgvky (949079) | about 6 months ago | (#46614929)

No, it's not settled. If you actually READ the literature with an honest mind, you would see that there is no proof that we are having a major influence on any part of things. "Climate Change" is the new socialist religion.... you can't really prove it using scientific method, ergo it's more of a faith than a science.

Re:Clutching at straws (4, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46615175)

Climate change is a scientific proposition, and has absolutely nothing to do with "literature", unless you're referring to research papers that have been peer-reviewed and repeated by others. In which case the overwhelmingly consensus is that yes, fossil fuel CO2 emissions are very much in danger of tipping the the planet into a runaway climate shift that will end the ice age that is all our species has ever known.

Take a look at this video series - he does a pretty decent job in he first couple videos of stripping away all the hypes and disingenuousness of both sides of the political debate, and gets down to the actual science and scientific debate. Yes, there is some scientific debate, but no, it has nothing to do with any of the tripe you've heard on the "news". He then spends many, many more episodes tearing apart the mountain of lies politicians and talking heads have piled on the issue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re:Clutching at straws (2)

marcgvky (949079) | about 6 months ago | (#46615401)

Starting to like Immermans tone. Yes, I was referring to journals. And a proposition is not a proven fact, by definition.

Since the tone of this conversation has shifted to one of debate (which is welcomed), most of the science that has been published is NOT repeatable, due to two factors: 1) to the confidence intervals when taken in 2) combination with the way the study data must be flogged and contorted, in order to produce a reasonably acceptable CI. This fact is never in dispute, even with most frequently cited authors. Ergo, extrapolating or deriving a clear and repeatable conclusion is theoretically impossible.

One of my early mentors once said, "If you torture the numbers and cohorts enough, they will say anything that you want them to say." Climate change "science" falls into this category, until you can make a model that anyone can observe and test and say, "yep, that's it."

Re:Clutching at straws (3, Informative)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46615649)

Observational science is by it's nature difficult to repeat, and when discussing changes on a global scale the necessary period of repeatability is by necessity thousands, if not millions of years - which doesn't help us at all. So we're force to extrapolate from small-scale knowledge.

Known - no significant debate among scientists.
- atmospheric CO2, methane, and water vapor all slow the rate of thermal loss into space by making the atmosphere less transparent to IR, with water vapor and CO2 capturing relatively independent parts of the infrared band.
- historical temperature reconstructions show that the combination of solar variation, atmospheric CO2 levels, and ice-cap extents (and a few other much less significant factors) appear to completely explain all major historical thermal fluctuations.
- atmospheric CO2 monitoring shows steadily accelerating increases consistent with known human CO2 emissions
- observations of the atmosphere at all levels show warming consistent with even decades-old models of AGW
- over extremely long timescales the global climate oscillates between two metastable positions - ice ages, with their oscillations between deep freezes and temperate interglacial periods that we're in today, and warm periods (where oscillations seem to be instead between tropics and deserts).
- at some point in every transition from an ice-age to a warm period a runaway process appears to take over, where melting ice caps, permafrost, and oceanic methane hydrates release ever-increasing amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere in a self-reinforcing cycle, until those reserves have been completely spent and the planet is firmly established in a warm period

Unknown:
- exactly where the "tipping point" is that causes runaway warming to take over (but all our best estimates are that with current fossil fuel consumption trends we'll cross it with ease by the end of the century, if we haven't done so already)
- exactly how fast things can change, and how fast the biospere can adapt - i.e. just how bad the associated mass extinctions from a particular transition might be.
- exactly what sorts of weather changes to expect during the centuries of transition.

If you can throw some additional unknowns out that call into question the reality of the problem we're facing I'd be glad to hear it.

Re:Clutching at straws (2)

dryeo (100693) | about 6 months ago | (#46617163)

You left out one driver of climate change over geologic time scales. Continental drift which over the eons might be the largest driver of climate change. Relatively recent examples could be the closing of the isthmus of Panama stopping currents between the Pacific and Atlantic and the opening of the straight between Antarctica and S. America.
Of course this is long term affects and obviously has nothing to do with historical climate.

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about 6 months ago | (#46617283)

Thanks, that was a lucid and easily-digestible summary of the matter.

The media and industry shills have managed to really cloud this issue.

I wonder how people would feel about the loud and ever-present AGW deniers if they realised the full extent of the scientific 'debate' amounted to determining

1) exactly how badly screwed we all are,
- and
2) exactly when the screwing begins

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

TranquilVoid (2444228) | about 6 months ago | (#46618839)

observations of the atmosphere at all levels show warming consistent with even decades-old models of AGW

This is surprising as old models cannot take into account recent efforts to reduce emissions, or at least reduce the rate of increase of emissions.

Unless of course all that policy has had a negligible effect, but that can't be right - a quick scan of my local supermarket reveals that 90% of products are now environmentally friendly.

Re:Clutching at straws (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46615727)

In which case the overwhelmingly consensus is that yes, fossil fuel CO2 emissions are very much in danger of tipping the the planet into a runaway climate shift that will end the ice age that is all our species has ever known.

Except there's no consensus about a tipping point pushing into runaway climate change. I don't even know why you think there is a consensus on that. There is one very vocal scientist who is certain it will happen (James Hansen), and there are certainly others who agree with him, but it is far from a consensus. Seriously, where did you hear that?

Re:Clutching at straws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616037)

They heard it from the news. I would bet the parent never even cracked an IPCC report, yet is attempting to claim the intellectual high ground..

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46616069)

I would bet the parent never even cracked an IPCC report,

You bet wrong.

Re:Clutching at straws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616149)

By parent I referred to Immerman.

Re:Clutching at straws (3, Informative)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46616091)

No, there's definitely a consensus on a tipping point - every major climate shift for which we have data shows evidences of a runaway positive feedback loop where atmospheric CO2 levels climb precipitously when leaving an ice age (which we're currently in an interglacial period within), and there's no longer any serious debate about the warming effects of atmospheric CO2. Typically the process lags behind the temperature by several hundred years, this is the first time on record where it would be CO2 changes acting as the forcing factor rather than just positive feedback, but the warming effects of atmospheric CO2 are well understood and accepted. Normally something else happens that sets the planet to warming - orbital shifts increasing solar energy being one of the major ones. but then the CO2 feedback loop kicks in and carries the warming far beyond what the forcing factor alone could have done.

Where there's not a broad consensus is on just how much warming has to happen before the positive feedback loop becomes unavoidable without massive risky geoengineering projects. Historic CO2 emissions (if we cut them to zero today) however are estimated to be sufficient to raise the global temperature by at least a couple degrees C, we're almost there already, and it'll be decades before current atmospheric CO2 levels can fall back to 1900 levels and stop warming the planet further. Meanwhile more realistic estimates based on current fossil-fuel consumption trends are estimating closer to a 4-10 degree change by the end of the century, and most climatologists believe that will be more than sufficient to cross the tipping point. We are after all starting from the position of a nice warm interglacial period.

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46616393)

No, there's definitely a consensus on a tipping point - every major climate shift for which we have data shows evidences of a runaway positive feedback loop where atmospheric CO2 levels climb precipitously when leaving an ice age (which we're currently in an interglacial period within), and there's no longer any serious debate about the warming effects of atmospheric CO2. Typically the process lags behind the temperature by several hundred years, this is the first time on record where it would be CO2 changes acting as the forcing factor rather than just positive feedback, but the warming effects of atmospheric CO2 are well understood and accepted. Normally something else happens that sets the planet to warming - orbital shifts increasing solar energy being one of the major ones. but then the CO2 feedback loop kicks in and carries the warming far beyond what the forcing factor alone could have done.

Ok, I think you are confused here. I asked why you thought there was consensus on a certain point, and you responded by describing the hypothesis in greater detail. Which is cool, but it doesn't answer the question in any way........

Re:Clutching at straws (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46616467)

My mistake, I figured you maybe wanted more information to assuage your ignorance. Here:
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=climate+c... [lmgtfy.com]

Go ahead, find me some credible links there calling into question the existence of such a thing.

The global climate is a metastable system on geologic timescales - there's no serious question about that. And *every* metastable system has tipping points - that's the defining quality of metastability.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46616573)

So.......there have been attempts to identify consensus on climate change. A typical method is presented here [uic.edu] , which finds that most scientists agree that the earth is getting warmer, and that humans have contributed, for example. That is one method of measuring consensus.

Do you notice they didn't ask whether the scientists are worried about a 'tipping point?' Looking at a Google search is not the same as showing that there is consensus. Is that the reason you think there is a consensus, counting Google search results? I hope not.

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46616667)

No, it is because a tipping point is implied by every climate model in existence that is capable of describing the transitions between ice ages and warm periods - i.e. pretty much all of them. To deny the existence of a tipping point is to deny the nature of metastable systems and eons of geologic history that show our planet to be one such. Nobody is doing research to measure the degree of consensus about a tipping point for the same reason nobody is researching the degree of consensus about the existence of gravity or the fact that the Earth is round(ish) - there is no meaningful disagreement to measure. On the exact nature and position of the tipping point sure, there's lots of disagreement, in fact AFAIK there's currently no meaningful consensus - it's recognized that there's still too much we don't understand about the exact mechanisms in play to make precise predictions. But on it's existence? Go ahead - find me a handful of independent climatologists even calling it into question, otherwise I have nothing more to say on this topic.

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46616727)

So.....your argument is that there is consensus on the point because it is scientifically established truth? And that's why no one felt the need to measure it?

If that is your argument, I'd be interested in seeing why you felt that other aspects of climate science, which are in fact more scientifically established, did need consensus established.

Go ahead - find me a handful of independent climatologists even calling it into question, otherwise I have nothing more to say on this topic.

Frankly what you have to say on the topic seems to be entirely based on a crappy series of movies you found on youtube by some anonymous guy.

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

Grow Old Timber (1071718) | about 6 months ago | (#46615825)

Dick Cheney once said "All we have to do is create a sense of uncertainty about global warming." So why would we go on listening to the nay sayers? Go AWAY! and keep buying your oil stock... We are We have We will try to do something before we kill our future home...

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46614987)

> But this is just silly. Art is subjective, even for the artist. And even if all artists always painted with perfect colours that don't change over time, artists don't paint sunsets on a regular basis, but rather irregularly, such as when they're extra pretty.

Do read the article. They measured red-green _ratios_. Since much of color vision is based on the contrast between objects, and since they measured changes in the same artist's work from year to year, this seems a very reasonable way of measuring contrasts in sunset coloring from year to year. I applaud the scientists for doing this very well, to normalize the comparisons they made for the aging of the paint, the cost or tint of locally available paint dyes, and other factors that would skew results.

Even if the artists chose to paint particularly striking sunsets, the existence of those striking sunsets is, in itself, often a sign of artificial or natural pollution altering the sunsets.

Re:Clutching at straws (3, Insightful)

Stumbles (602007) | about 6 months ago | (#46615013)

"... the existence of those striking sunsets is, in itself, often a sign of artificial or natural pollution altering the sunsets."

Or just their fucking imagination, geesh what mental gyrations "scientists" and the holy believers will go through to "support" their religion.

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46616259)

> Or just their fucking imagination, geesh what mental gyrations "scientists" and the holy believers will go through to "support" their religion.

Well, yes. That's why the researchers looked for artists who tried to do "realistic" work, and compared over years of work by the same artist, and checked for the contrast levels, rather than the direct color. It's actually quite good work based on how human eyes and minds perceive color, as _contrasts_ rather than as absolute values.

Re:Clutching at straws (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 6 months ago | (#46615615)

Everyone seems to be assuming that this paper is about global warming. It's not.

The pollutants that they are talking about generally lead to cooling of the climate, as evidenced by the climate change observed after major volcanic eruptions. Just because it talks about pollution, does not necessarily mean it's equatable to global warming. In most of the western world, these airborne pollutants are now at a much lower level than they were a hundred years ago.

Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdot (3, Insightful)

marcgvky (949079) | about 6 months ago | (#46614885)

We get it, you are climate change believers.... can we move on.... please.

Re:Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdo (-1, Troll)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46615191)

Sure, as soon as you and yours stop condemning our species to centuries of devastating climate instabilities as we force the ice age to an end for the first time in human history.

Re:Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdo (1)

marcgvky (949079) | about 6 months ago | (#46615239)

I am happy to have my views and data tested and confirmed by others, are you? You post is laughable. Go get into your Prius, drive to Whole Foods and buy some free-range-non-GMO-fair-trade-organic food that only elitists can afford...

Re:Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdo (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46615495)

Absolutely. Now show me some serious research that suggests we aren't responsible for global warming and perhaps I'll take you seriously. Because the overwhelming consensus among the actual researchers qualified to have an opinion is that we are in serious trouble. The opinions of engineers, doctors, biologists, english literature professors, etc. are irrelevant. Much less the opinions of industry-sponsored talking heads barely qualified to wipe their own asses.

Re:Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdo (1)

marcgvky (949079) | about 6 months ago | (#46616677)

"The overwhelming consensus" is blather, my uneducated friend. The "overwhelming consensus" is simply mass faith based on myth. Getting a group of people to believe in a myth is easy. The fact that billions of people believe in God or Allah, doesn't make "god" or "allah" anymore tangible and provable... it just makes billions of people terribly misinformed, but "faithful" people. Not unlike you.

The fact that you must resort to ad-hominem attacks directed at people that disagree with you, only further reinforces my central thesis; that it's impossible to differentiate man-made climate change (if it exists) from any normal cyclical event.

Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time, you silly wiper of other peoples bottoms. *raspberry sounds*

Re:Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdo (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46616775)

You are quite correct, except for one key detail - I said "the overwhelming consensus among the actual researchers qualified to have an opinion"

That is to say pretty much *everybody* who has spent the tens of thousands of hours of time and energy necessary to actually understand the issues in question agrees that we have a problem. Just about the only people arguing against it are those who have major business interests in protecting the status quo, or are being paid to come up with pseudo-scientific bullshit to cloud the issues among the masses. And of course all the arguing among armchair intellectuals such as ourselves, none of whom are actually qualified to have an independent opinion on the subject.

Could the researchers all be wrong? Certainly. But on one hand we've got the combined mass of the vast majority of the researchers in the field, people who've spent their careers exploring the details of a complicated system, who are armed with mathematical models capable of describing the Earth's climate for as far back as we have data, and reams of data showing that their predictions of planetary changes have been accurate for several decades. On the other hand we've got a bunch of business tycoons yelling "Nuh-uh!". I know which group I would bet on being correct.

Check out this video series - the first couple are concerned with stripping away all the bullshit spouted by the "cheerleader squads" on both sides and exposing the actual scientific climate debate - which bears precious little resemblance to what the media portrays. Then he goes on for many more specifically trashing the various major lies and propaganda campaigns that have been drummed up around the science. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re:Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdo (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about 6 months ago | (#46616799)

The god shiit isn't science. A Holy Grail reference, really?

Re:Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdo (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46615257)

the climate has never been "stable" on this globe. We are not in an "ice age", you'll notice the lack of kilometer or two of ice over N. America. We are in an "interglacial" that is 12,000 years old, and that has nothing to do with humans. All that time the sea level has been rising, and if you look it up charts you'll see even the rate of rise for much of that time has been much faster than today's rate

Really, get a grip on your imagined phobias.

Re:Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdo (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46615475)

Interglacial periods are part of an ice age - note the thick year-round ice caps on the poles? A sure sign we're still in an ice age, and one that estimates are will be gone within a few centuries at most if we don't drastically reduce fossil carbon emissions very quickly.

No, the climate has never been stable, but it seems to have two meta-stable states around which it oscillates - ice ages, with their associated deep-freezes and temperate interglacial periods, and "hot Earths" where deserts and tropics battle for domination of the globe. Tropics we could live with, but planetary deserts would devastate our population, and are hardly a rare scenario under hot-Earth conditions. More importantly the unstable centuries of transition to a hot Earth will be extremely hard on agriculture of all kinds, and the speed of transition, which appears likely to be one of the fastest in geologic history, will usher in a new mass extinction, just as all the previous transitions have done. The climate line is already moving at an average of 1/4 mile per year, considerably faster than even the fastest-spreading plants can reliably "travel", and things are only just beginning to get moving. Combine that with what is already one of the larger mass extinctions the planet has seen due to human predation, pollution, and environmental destruction, and it may take the biosphere millenia to recover, even with all the help we can give it. And if the planetary carrying capacity were to fall precipitously we've got the added risk of global warfare as nations struggle for survival. But hey, at last all that nuclear fallout should boost mutation rates dramatically, so biodiversity may have a chance to return on a faster timetable. It'll kinda suck for the individuals dealing with it though.

Re:Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdo (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46615827)

This has nothing to do with climate change. Climate change is focused on CO2. This study is focused on dust (aerosols) and other things that we know are in the air.

Really, 'air pollution' is not equivalent to 'climate change.' The pollutants mentioned here will actually cool the earth.

Re:Enough with the Climate Change Articles Slashdo (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about 6 months ago | (#46616503)

We get it, you are climate change believers.... can we move on.... please.

That's an awkward turn of phrase - 'climate change believer' , like calling someone who drives a car an 'oxidation believer' or someone who is careful on a ladder a 'gravity believer'.

In any case, no, we won't stop discussing an important topic just because it makes you uncomfortable. And it will continue to have import for hundreds of years, although I suspect if we bit the bullet and did something now the discussion later would be less fraught - like pulling a painful tooth.

Ironically of course, the reasons this topic appears so often on Slashdot are (a) because it's science and we left brainers tend to be interested in sciencey things (b) Because the efforts of major vested interests to generate discord + some curious psychology has created a community of people who think climate change is a conspiracy , and the discourse between this latter group of conspiracy theorists and those that accept the science makes for many page views.

So, somewhat ironically, it's the remnant controversy that makes it a popular topic for slashdot editors.

history of WMD hysteria makes future look short? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614909)

atmostfear is the color of our sky now? http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=weather+weapons&sm=3 our legacy & leavings for our kids..

It's not pollution... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 6 months ago | (#46614953)

...it's Instagram filters.

I guess either way the planet is going to end up uninhabitable - we may not choke to death on smog, we'll be overrun by hipsters. God, what an awful way to go.

crazy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614967)

This is really getting stupid. It is stuff like this that make me disbelieve climate change more and more every day. I doubt everything that is published be science now, unless its something provable. Like, here is a car running on poop, here is a video and verified. It is why I can't believe in climate change, all the "proof" is made up stuff like this study on paintings.

Re: crazy (1)

AudioEfex (637163) | about 6 months ago | (#46615307)

It's how it is with so many things. Grains of truth may be there, but those who protest the loudest always have to go too far and come off with ridiculous crap like this so people like you and I just end up being disillusioned to the entire movement. It's like the "Woman in the Refridgerator" comic book stuff - sure, could women be better represented in comics? Of course. But when every little thing is brought forth and used as de facto evidence of something, it just makes you shake your head and walk away (for example, you cannot complain that too many female villains are too pretty and then complain when the "ugly" one is evil).

The folks that perpetrate this type of rhetoric think they are serving the greater good (think: Al Gore) but in the end they make even open minded people turn off totally because they think they have to overstate and inflate things to get our attention. According to Al Gore's statements a decade or so ago we are only what, five or six years from Manhattan being under the ocean? Please.

It has reached these religious levels where you cannot even have a rational discussion about it. It's also hypocritical - not to beat on Al Gore again, but how many private plane flights has that guy taken? I don't see him using a bicycle to get everywhere and he's probably one of the folks that drives an electric car and doesn't realize the environmental impact of the limited-lifespan batteries in them are no better for the overall environment than burning fossil fuels (the pounds of nickel in the batteries is devastating, dangerous, and rare to mine, usually by child labor).

"Climate Change" has become modern myth (2)

marcgvky (949079) | about 6 months ago | (#46614971)

John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who has written: “I’m sure the majority (but not all) of my IPCC colleagues cringe when I say this, but I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see.”

wow (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46614997)

When I read the title I thought to my self "That's a clever way to word something, so people will be outraged, read the article and then find that it's really about them sampling paint and finding pollutants there." But no, it was as ridiculous as the title suggested. Can we revoke their science card?

Re:wow (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 6 months ago | (#46615165)

Can we revoke their science card?

You'd revoke their science card for what the authors freely admit is a "tentative proposal"? And based on, what, your hunch that what they describe is too good to be true?

They sampled red-green ratios from various painters, compared it to historical pollution data and found a correlation. They got an artist to paint before and after a dust event (of which he was unaware) and found a similar correlation. Doesn't sound that far-fetched to me. Will it "help study the Earth’s past atmosphere" as the headline suggests? Perhaps not - I'm sure there are probably much better ways. But I don't see why it has to be dumped in the pseudo-science bin.

Re:wow (0)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about 6 months ago | (#46615197)

They sampled red-green ratios from various painters, compared it to historical pollution data and found a correlation.

Good God. Seriously? Really wonkey_monkey? You're willing to give these idiota the benefit of the doubt because... they found a correlation? I know what happens next: The correlation becomes a model, the model predicts utter doom for mankind, possibly, but first more money is needed to fund further research!

They should be fired for brining science into disrepute. I bet their "correlation" doesn't have any error bars because, well, they have no idea how accurate their measurement is.

Re:wow (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 6 months ago | (#46615313)

No, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt because the only reasonable information I've seen on what they've achieved suggests they've got something interesting, and also because it a) doesn't seem that ridiculous to me and b) doesn't really matter enough to me personally to go and investigate further. They haven't claimed the sky is falling. Why are you, and others, going ape-shit (as so often happens on Slashdot) just because someone's dared to suggest - tentatively suggest, at that - something that you (and I'm going to go out on a limb and assume, by the law of averages only, that you're not actually a climate scientist) think sounds implausible?

The authors call it a "tentative proposal." It's not like they've claimed they can read the future in tea leaves, is it?

I don't think it sounds far-fetched. You, clearly, do. That's great, because the pursuit of differing ideas and opinions is how we get anything solved. But why are you so annoyed that my opinion - based, let's be honest, as yours was only on the article and possibly the abstract of the paper - differs from yours?

I personally try to avoid claiming people are idiots unless I know more about their subject than they do.

Re:wow (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about 6 months ago | (#46615393)

The reason I'm going "ape shit" is because this is one story in a continual stream of complete bollocks the press releases from which get recycled into the "media" on a regular basis, making scientists look truly stupid and helping to destroy public trust in science, the scientific method and scientists as a whole.

Re:wow (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 6 months ago | (#46615863)

which get recycled into the "media" on a regular basis

This is a new paper, isn't it? On what basis are you lumping this particular study in with the rest of the bollocks?

Re:wow (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 6 months ago | (#46616053)

No, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt because the only reasonable information I've seen on what they've achieved suggests they've got something interesting, and also because it

Interesting != Science

a) doesn't seem that ridiculous to me

So Zeus was a historical figure and the Greeks painted him while he posed? He's just one of many of their gods painted.

I believe it's obvious that this is like reading tea leaves. When you start with a unrealistic premise it's nearly impossible to get to a realistic solution. Perhaps because of your "b" you just don't care to scrutinize the logic.

I'll agree with you that it's interesting, but it's not science. It would be impossible to try and make any type of measurement for what they are trying to measure based on paintings, when the majority of those paintings contain mythical and unrealistic objects. If you believe that their goal is possible, do me a favor and visit a few art museums and just look at the paintings. I'd refuse to believe that Poseidon swallowed ships for the same reason I would refuse to claim that the colors the artist chose for the sky indicate how much air pollution there was.

Quite frankly, you don't even need to make a trip to a museum and look at more modern paintings. Just Google search "Ancient Greek Paintings" and have a look at what someone is claiming can be used to determine air pollution levels base on pain hue and RGB content.

Re:wow (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 6 months ago | (#46616621)

It would be impossible to try and make any type of measurement for what they are trying to measure based on paintings, when the majority of those paintings contain mythical and unrealistic objects.

Just Google search "Ancient Greek Paintings"

Perhaps you should try reading the article properly. I think I see where you went wrong:

A team of Greek and German researchers [...] analysed hundreds of high-quality digital photographs of sunset paintings done between 1500 and 2000.

Shop smart (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 6 months ago | (#46614999)

In other news, researchers examining medieval paintings announced that they believe walking skeletons were much more prevalent 700 years ago than they are today. Bruce Campbell was unavailable for comment.

Re:Shop smart (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46615223)

and people with halos, which might have been an early form of what we now call a glowstick, bent into circle and levitating above the wearers head by yet unknown means.

just ask noam promotion going well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46615001)

he has no motive to lie about anything https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CKpCGjD8wg&list=PL456D453B409DF8D1

Competition (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about 6 months ago | (#46615139)

This is by far the stupidest "climate" story published on slashdot this week. And as you can imagine, that's up against some pretty stiff competition.

Red fades. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46615145)

Red fades. Was this accounted for?

What a JOKE (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 6 months ago | (#46615201)

Anything to further the (non) science of (man made) global warming, whoops, sorry..."climate change". More UNSCIENTIFIC crap to throw to the uneducated. The reason we have so many people believing this garbage, is because of 20 years or more, they started with 5-6 year old children, and have drilled it into their uneducated heads. Tell a lie long enough, and they will believe it.

Re:What a JOKE (0)

Shompol (1690084) | about 6 months ago | (#46616429)

Well, when I was a 5-6 years old child, we used to have -20 C (-4 F) every frigging winter morning, and +24 C in the summer. As of late it became -5C in winter and +35 C in summer. I don't need nobody's propaganda to tell the difference, and I am not alone. You can ask ski resourt owners about receding snow line, or use the new shipping lane Canada to Russia via the North pole. How about you educate yourself first?

The moon has absolutely gotten smaller. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#46615281)

It get's farther away every day.

Re:The moon has absolutely gotten smaller. (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 6 months ago | (#46615801)

The moon does not physically shrink in size just because it moves further away from the Earth. Also, it moves away from the Earth at a mere rate of 1.5 inches per year.

Chromatic change over time? (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 6 months ago | (#46615293)

Setting aside artistic license, and the possibility that any artist may well have had chromatic aberrations in their vision, didn't we JUST have a story in the last month or two specifically discussing the changing of colors used in rennaissance paintings, and how displaying them in different colored lighting environments would likely allow us to see the pictures in (something more like) their original hues?

Seems like another effort to "prove" how the sky is falling, climatologically speaking.

Re:Chromatic change over time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46615379)

I vaguely remember something, somewhere years back that talked about how some artists, as their vision deteriorated with age, started to favour redder hues in their paintings. Assuming this is true, then I don't see how the colour of painted skies can be any sort of reliable measure.

Too many layers of abstraction (1)

blindseer (891256) | about 6 months ago | (#46615501)

We take a painting of a sunset from someone that died 500 years ago, maybe we have several paintings to remove some variation, but still this is where they start. Now they have to account for the shifting of the color due to aging of the paint. They they have to account for the paints that were even available to the artist.

Presumably they can determine date, time, and location from the scene begin depicted but I recall that some of these artists at that time would paint a single scene over the span of a month. It's not like they were taking a photograph, the time to paint the image could take a considerable amount of time. Then maybe I know nothing about painting, perhaps they did this in one sitting over the span of minutes, or even seconds.

What do the people studying these paintings know about the vision of the person that painted it? I recall hearing of several famous artists that were colorblind. A colorblind artist could paint a very detailed paining of a fruit bowl, for example, and it would look completely natural to someone with normal vision. The painting may show red apples but the real ones used for inspiration may have been green. The oranges, bananas, and grapes could all look equally natural in the painting but also have obvious deviations from the real fruit if placed side by side.

I want to know who is paying for this so called scientific analysis. This research does not seem to be driven by someone with a deep understanding or respect for science.

I recall some interesting studies of paintings in the past where people would look for scenes depicting times and places for clues of climate change. They'd look for things like plant life, when snow was on the ground, and so on, where the color accuracy would not be a significant matter. One particular example I recall was of people ice skating on the River Thames, this is significant because the river does not typically freeze in modern times. There were also images of grapevines growing in places where they do not today. These paintings can give some very interesting and quite conclusive evidence of the climate in historic times and not rely so much on the interpretations, visual acuity, and materials available to the artist at the time.

This study does not sound like science to me.

In related news ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#46615983)

... medical researchers are studying the prevalence of congenital physical disorders in the early 20th Century by studying Picasso's paintings.

Daily slashdot rothschild "man made global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616333)

Don't enrich the rothchilds with their schemes anymore:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdqNds9pNuI

Another explanation (1)

GPS Pilot (3683) | about 6 months ago | (#46616701)

In the last 150 years, the sunsets have become redder, likely reflecting increased man-made pollution.

It's also possible that red pigments break down, decompose, fade, and become less brilliant as decades and centuries go by; especially red pigments that were manufactured before colorfastness and other chemical properties were well understood.

Oh Dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616773)

How embarrassing. And this exercise in art was payed by taxes.

If they examine religious paintings (iconography) they will 'discover' that people were smaller when the world was colder. Surely a sign of the calamity to come.

No wonder those pesky mammoths looked so big.

Ha ha. LOL

Hallaluah Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46618147)

It is god come to smit man for all his sins, Repent while there is still time (or pay your carbon tax while you still have money)

Please help me with this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46618363)

when climate scientists study old paintings and take the colors they find there as both accurate and, in effect, "literally true" this is SCIENCE and must be respected as such.... but when religious people take their "holy book" (which, whether it's "Holy" or not is at least a written document whose many chapters can be documented to be unchanged over thousands of years) seriously in the field of archaeology to aid in the interpretation of things like the locations of ancient cities and the identification of objects etc (not even the religious claims of the book) this is ANTI-SCIENCE and labelled as "dubious" because "everybody KNOWS" the document is just allegory and artistic and should "obviously" not be taken literally... hmmmmmmm...

I would like to submit another piece of art to demonstrate that climate was much better in the 1980's (in the super-polluted days of the evil Reagan) than it was in 1912: Consider Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 [wikipedia.org] and compare with, for example this example of 1980's art [google.com] . Clearly the climate of the 1980's, even with all of its corrupt capitalist pollution was far better for the health of female humans.

Climate science has become the state-sponsored religion of the left. We must all listen to the preachers, our children must all attend the state-run seminaries and recite the liturgies. We must all pay a portion of our incomes (both in direct taxes and in increased costs of goods and services), some of which fund the scholars, scribes and keepers of the holy texts. We must restrict our behaviours to obey the required moral codes (gay sex may now be OK, but don't you DARE toss a log on the fire! i.e. we've not reduced the religious rules, only changed them to conform to the new religion). Anybody who dissents will be labelled as a heretic and be driven from the public square, whilst the more-earnest follwers call for them to be jailed, "re-educated", or killed. Oh, and given that most people are never going to do any of the climate science themselves (just as most never became theologians in the old religions), for the vast majority of adherents this "new" religion (which is really only the newest form of earth-worshiping paganism) is taken on blind faith.

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