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What climate change is happening to other planets in the solar system

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate
There are three fundamental flaws in the 'other planets are warming' argument. Not all planets in the solar system are warming. The sun has shown no long term trend since 1950 and in fact has shown a slight cooling trend in recent decades. There are explanations for why other planets are warming.

Climate Myth...

Other planets are warming
"[E]vidence that CO2 is not the principle driver of warming on this planet is provided by the simultaneous warming of other planets and moons in our solar system, despite the fact that they obviously have no anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.

Mars, Triton, Pluto and Jupiter all show global warming, pointing to the Sun as the dominating influence in determining climate throughout the solar system." (Ian McClintock)

The basis of this argument is that the sun must be causing global warming and in fact, warming throughout the solar system. There are several flaws in this line of thought. Firstly, the characterisation that the whole solar system is warming is erroneous. Around 6 planets or moons out of the more than 100 bodies in the solar system have been observed to be warming. On the other hand, Uranus is cooling (Young 2001).

Secondly, the theory that a brightening sun is causing global warming falls apart when you consider the sun has shown little to no trend since the 1950s. A variety of independent measurements of solar activity including satellite data, sunspot numbers, UV levels and solar magnetograms all paint a consistent picture. Over the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been moving in opposite directions.

That begs the question - what is causing warming on other planets? With the exception of Pluto, climate change on other planets are fairly understood:

  • Martian climate is primarily driven by dust and albedo. Global dust storms increase the surface albedo by settling brighter dust on dark surfaces. Higher albedo leads to more sunlight being reflected which has a cooling effect. Snapshots of Mars' surface in 1977 and 1999 find that the surface was brighter in 1977 and darker in 1999. However, this doesn't necessarily point to a long term warming trend - the 1977 snapshot was made shortly after a global dust storm while the 1999 snapshot occured before a dust storm. Consequently, there is little empirical evidence that long term global warming on Mars is occuring (Richardson 2007). More on Mars...
  • Neptune's orbit is 164 years so observations (1950 to present day) span less than a third of a Neptunian year. Climate modelling of Neptune suggests its brightening is a seasonal response (Sromovsky 2003). Eg - Neptune's southern hemisphere is heading into summer. More on Neptune...
  • Neptune's largest moon, Triton, has warmed since the Voyager space probe visited it in 1989. The moon is approaching an extreme southern summer, a season that occurs every few hundred years. During this special time, the moon's southern hemisphere receives more direct sunlight (Elliot 1998).
  • Jupiter's storms are fueled by the planet's own internal heat (sunlight is 4% the level of solar energy at Earth). When several storms merge into one large storm (eg - Red Spot Jr), the planet loses its ability to mix heat, causing warming at the equator and cooling at the poles (Marcus 2006). More on Jupiter...
  • Pluto's warming is not clearly understood. Pluto's orbit is much more elliptical than that of the other planets, and its rotational axis is tipped by a large angle relative to its orbit. Both factors could contribute to drastic seasonal changes. As Pluto's orbit is equivalent to 248 Earth years and observed warming spans only 14 years, it is likely this is a seasonal response (Sromovsky 2003).

Last updated on 26 June 2010 by John Cook.

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Comments 1 to 39:

  1. You realize that the argument, Jupiter is heated from within and only receives a small fraction of the energy from the sun that the Earth does, depends upon that 4% of energy being incapable of driving weather. We know this to be false from your own report regarding Neptune.
    While Jupiter receives 25 times less energy per square meter from the sun that the Earth does, Neptune receives 900 times less.

    How is it that the 900 times weaker sunshine can drive weather and promote seasonal changes on Neptune, as you testify on this very blog above, but the much stronger incident sunshine on the face of Jupiter is considered inconsequential?

    The fact is Jupiter is a strong case for solar driven climate change. The Great Red Spot is a singular weather event without a peer or analog on any of the other known worlds. Some people insist on describing it as a hurricane. This is incorrect. A hurricane is a low pressure zone funneling surrounding warm air to the ground. The Great Red Spot is a high pressure zone, forcing hot air out of the middle of the planet. It rises 8 kilometers above the surrounding methane cloud deck, like a turkey timer that is popping out to tell us that the thanksgiving meal is ready.
    And now we have another great red spot, which will probably be with us for a very very long time.
    Neptune is changing in a spectacular and miraculous way which a cut and dried pdf file will not impart to you.
    Have a look at it in color. Neptune's orbit is 164 years long, and Voyager only visited it once back in 1989, so we have no baseline to judge if this change is the natural effect of Neptune traveling through it's orbit, or if it is the result of an augmented solar effect.
    But either way it is the sun driving Neptune's weather.

    Voyager was launched in 1977 and didn't get to Neptune until 1989. Right now, thirty years later, Voyager still has ten more years of travel before it reachs the heliopause, where the solar wind gives way to the pressure of interstellar space. So don't let this joker fool you that the sun is too weak or feeble to affect Jupiter.
  2. Papertiger, your comment about Jupiter is in disagreement with research conducted by Gierasch (summary and comment readable on, and several other teams.

    Gierasch has extensively analyzed the jovian storms and has concluded that they can not be fueled by solar energy, there is not enough of it. Other teams have built very successful models of Jupiter's atmosphere, they all use internal heat as the energy source. All this has been published and is easy to find. Jupiter's core is extrememly hot, from compression and the residual heat from the planet's formation. That heat is the main driver of the planet's weather and climate.
  3. Phil,

    Here is the first two sentences from Gierasch
    "The energy source driving Jupiter's active meteorology is not understood. There are two main candidates: a poorly understood internal heat source and sunlight."

    Doesn't sound like he has extensively analyzed the Jovian storms to me.
    Further on he says,
    We estimate that the total vertical transport of heat by storms like the one observed here is of the same order as the planet's internal heat source. We therefore conclude that moist convection-similar to large clusters of thunderstorm cells on the Earth-is a dominant factor in converting heat flow into kinetic energy in the jovian atmosphere.

    Now isn't it interesting that when in doubt Gierasch offers up water vapor as his main transport of heat energy on a planet without water. Recall it is the water born heat exchange which is not well modeled, misunderstood, discounted, and ignored by the IPCC on Earth as the basis for alarm, regarding CO2 warming.
    Does this not disturb you?
    Response: I think the point of the "is not understood" is that his paper sheds some light on Jupiter's meteorology. Also, there is water on Jupiter. Ingersoll 2000 says "We estimate, based on the inferred abundance of water in the deep atmosphere that the base of the water cloud is at 6 bars. From the base to the top of the cloud clusters the vertical distance is 80 km, or 0.1% of Jupiter's radius. Water is the principal agent of cloud electrication, as the other condensates are thought to be less abundant than water."
  4. I have heard discussion about ammonia clouds (being imaged for the first time and such). What is the conductivity of ammonia as compared to water? As I remember it, water is only a conductor due to impurities.
    Ingersol and company "infer" water deep under the opaque cloud cover, beyond direct inspected, due to lightening strikes. Is it not possible that some other chemical is the source of lightening activity on Jupiter?
    There were two events which allowed the direct examination of whether Jupiter's atmosphere contained appreciable ammounts of water. The Galileo atmospheric probe, which found no water, and the Shoemaker Levi comet crash. In the first instance, Ingersol explained the lack of water found by the probe as due to it falling in an area analogous to a desert region on Jupiter. IN the second case, the comet, due to it's disintigration, fell over a wide area of Jupiter. Spectroscopic analysis found some water but it wasn't native to the planet. The water vapor found was carried by the comet and after a short period of time was converted through photolytic processes into Co2.
  5. Uranus has just passed into the equinox of its orbit where the whole of the planet is receiving sunshine evenly, as opposed to just the one pole getting continuous sunlight. So of course it is going to cool down on the poles.

    By the way, you left out Saturn and Enceladus on your list of planets or moons undergoing climate change.
  6. What "local" climate statistics do you use to justify the assertion that Saturn or any other outer SS planet is undergoing climate change? The IPCC definition of climate for Earth involves a 30 years period. I'm sure you know what kind of time period that translates into for Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto (respectively 356, 884, 2522, 4947 and 7435 years, give or take).

    I find interesting that "skeptics" so eagerly recommend taking the enormous amount of highly accurate data available for Earth with a grain of salt (or the all shaker for that matter), while at the same time accepting wild conclusions on poorly understood extra-terrestrial "climates" based on very scant, spotty observations. If you want to tell me about climate change on outer SS planets, I'll take the skeptical approach and ask for some serious climate history and data before considering any conclusion.

    As for Pluto's expanding atmosphere observation, it was made under ideal conditions, with equipment never available before (KECK, if I remember right). So, even if the event witnessed on that occasion is a regular occurrence, it could never have been seen before, for that reason and this other detail: with a year lasting close to 248 Earth years, Pluto has not been observed through a full orbit yet. Should we add that Pluto's atmospheric changes are suspected to be highly albedo dependent and that Pluto has been darkening since the 50's (collection of space materials is probable)? There are countless caveats and like considerations for all the planets supposedly experiencing "climate change."

    How about crunching some numbers and showing us what kind of energy output would be necessary from the Sun to obtain those changes that you assert are Sun driven? Then we could compare that with the observed changes in solar irradiance. You could crunch some more and come up with theoretical values of increased energy input for Venus and compare with what is actually happening there (not much unusual if I recall), where the Sun is mighty close.

    Jupiter deserves some crunching too: three vortices merged into one to form the so-called Red spot Jr. How unusual is this? By the way, the idea of Jovian internal heat is not new, see this:

    But Galileo certainly helped restart the debate, as discussed here:
    I noted the following passage:
    " According to mission scientists, Galileo probe data
    strongly suggest that circulation patterns in Jupiter's cloud tops and its interior (which runs 10,000 miles deep) are part of one continuous process. Dr. David Atkinson of the University of Idaho continues to report persistent Jovian wind velocities of over 400 mph. The probe detected no reduction in wind speed, even at its deepest levels of measurement,approximately 100 miles below Jupiter's clouds. Galileo scientists regard this finding as confirmation that the main driving force of Jupiter's winds is internal heat radiating upward from the planet's deep interior. The strength of the Jovian winds and the fact that they do not subside with depth is very significant, according to Dr. Andrew Ingersoll of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA." This blurb is interesting also:

    Closer to Earth: for all the talk about Mars, it is worth pointing that it went trough significant cooling after the Viking landing, before experiencing the more recent warming some are so excited about (which is best explained by dust storm patterns). It does not leave that much correlation with Earth changes.

    The bottom line is this: what is presented as climate change carries little meaning when the climates in question are so poorly known to start with. Outer SS planets are exposed to all sorts of influences that have as much weight as the solar constant in their "climate." Attempts to show a solar source to terrestrial climate change by pointing to observations on other planets whose significance is unclear should be received with the highest skepticism. Especially when there are satellite observations of solar irradiance available for Earth. Sorry for the long post.
  7. Rereading through Papertiger posts, I thought it would be interesting to address the issue of water on Jupiter. Here is what I found in 10 minutes of straight, basic googling. Observations by the Galileo probe in orbit around the planet led to more information on this subject than the atmospheric probe, which entered over a very dry, cloudless area. This release gives the skinny:
    Here is also a cool pic from JPL:
    I had conversations with proponents of outer SS planetary warming before and for some reason, they seem to be fond of Dr Beebe. She contributed to this paper:

    Overall, it does not seem that Jupiter suffers a lack of water such as to invalidate the convective models proposed by Gierasch and many (most) others.
  8. I suggest that people who think that the sun is responsible, and cite warming on other planets become familiar with the Inverse Square Law. ;)
  9. I am curious, With the millions of dollars of equipment we left on the moon 40 years ago, did anyone leave a thermometer? Has there been trends?
    Remote mensurements would not be able to provide reliable data, as the technology used has changed and become much more precise in the past 40 years.
    The Moon has no atsmosphere so only the surface temperature based upon the direct influence of the Sun would be recorded (I know there is a very slight atmosphere and there is slight internal heating but this should suffice as a baseline to compare the planets to)
    There have been arguments that ground based weather stations can;t be reliable over a long period of time due to micro climate influences. Measuring stations near a grassy field 50 years ago may be a strip mall now. Before we commit billions of dollars in change. We should at least disprove the Sun's influence.
    Anything that could melt IceCaps on Mars should have a noticable difference on our own Moon
  10. Recent solar activity also contributes to Solar System Warming. The electromagnetic storms on the sun which cause solar flares also convert high wavelength energy into low wavelength energy.

    Lower wavelengths travel further and are able to better penetrate atmosphere and other barriers. This is why both solar activity and solar intensity matter.
  11. What if the two scenerios are NOT mutally exclusive? Let's supposed that their IS indeed some sort of phenonema heating planets independantly of human activity. Let's suppose that human activity is also warming the planet. What then?
    Response: If there was some phenomenon warming the solar system - a phenomenon which cannot be solar activity as the sun has shown no long term trend over the last 50 years (if anything a cooling trend) and cannot be cosmic radiation as cosmic rays have also shown no long term trend - if there was some other phenomenon not yet considered that is causing warming throughout the solar system, then that would pose several questions:
    1. Why are not all planets and moons showing warming?
    2. Why isn't the Earth showing more warming? We already know with high understanding the warming effect of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. This warming effect has been confirmed by direct observations. This warming effect is consistent with the amount of heat content observed. So any additional "solar system warming" should add to the warming we're already caused. Where is it?
  12. I'd just like to point out that it's absurd to claim with any confidence that any other planets or moons are warming, when we have so little data about them- all the while ignoring our vast armada of land and sea based temperature probes right here on Earth (and orbiting satellites).

    We know far more about the temperature trends on our own planet than on any other planet, and yet certain people use highly questionable speculations about other planet's temperatures to try to dismiss the trends we see here at home.

    We have laughably few samples of temps on other planets as compared to the astounding array of data on our own Earthly climate trends. For example, we have a handful of probes on Mars and an orbiter. Mars is the planet we probably know the most about besides Earth. With that equipment we can only get the faintest idea of what's going on with the temps there.

    To use this data (or records from other planets) as reliable evidence of anything more solid than the temperature sampling we have for Earth, is on its face absurd.

    I would also like to say that there's too much attention paid to CO2 alone. Methane and Nitrous Oxides maybe be at least as problematic. Most of this comes from livestock production. Certainly, getting them under control first will give us more return on investment.
  13. On the simplest level, if Pluto were being warmed significantly by increase in solar output despite how very far away it is, a much closer planet like Earth would be fried by that increased output.
  14. the thing for me is, all this stuff is great, what troubles me is that the climate debate has "been settled" its all ready considered a fact that we (humans) are causing 'dangerous climate change' when other factors are still largely being debated. legislation already being put in place without conclusive evidence that global warming is man made.

    evolution is considered a fact because of the amount of evidence and no other scientifically plausible explanations, but that is not the case with climate change, it seems to me like every other theory is thrown out without the slightest consideration. there are plenty of plausible explanation for why the earth could be heating but none of them have undergone testing.

    for example, i cant recall ever seeing a news report or debate where the participants were not already in agreement that humans are causing climate change, yet there are professors and such out there who do not agree with the UN's models so why don't we ever hear from them?

    while different causes can still be debated there can be no settlement and laws should not be made to reinforce a theory that has yet to be proven, that would make it a religion, and not science
    Response: Thank you for trying to post on a relevant thread. But this thread is not appropriate for this particular comment of yours. Your comment is too general, and so belongs in one of the more general threads. Please either comment on this thread about other planets warming (but read the post at the top of this page first), or look through the list of "Arguments" to find one that is more relevant to your general comment. A good candidate is "It’s not us." But please do read the post on that page before commenting there.
  15. The sun's output is still higher than any time in the entire century before 1950. Cirrus values may be consistent with rising temps
    Response: See the Argument "It's the Sun."
  16. So, many different bodies may have quite different reasons for warming or cooling, and these may be irrespective of solar activity. No argument from me there, as long as climate change on planet Earth is given the same objective analysis and assessment.

    However scientists, being apparently quite anthropomorphically inclined, have placed their attention on a single variable, "human activity" and of course can then find lots of reasons to support their conclusions.

    The more likely scenario is that highly-complex and interacting variables are behind warming or cooling of all the bodies in our solar system, and since this occurs both with and without the impact of homo sapiens, we have to consider that our puny contribution may possibly be of no consequence, and that we ought to be continuing our search for understanding of climate change in other directions.
  17. Christine,

    This claim that scientists have placed their attention solely on a single variable is wholly incorrect. Please review this site and the primary sources that the articles link to, and consider that you may be doing exactly what you are condemning - finding lots of reasons to support a preconceived notion.
    Response: For example, Christine, see "CO2 is not the only driver of climate."
  18. Isn't there a much simpler way to rebut this argument. All these other planets are devoid of life , looking at the Solar System should remind us that the 'goldilocks zone' where life is possible is very narrow. Comparing dead planets to the Earth is less than persuasive because these other planets have incredibly hostile environments.

    Also isnt this argument a (logical)fallacy ? 'Correlation is not causation' springs to mind
  19. This is a recent study of ice cores that seems to show that the Sun is actually more active on a longer timescale and it's activity has increased.

    A&A 413, 745-751 (2004)
    DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20031533
    "Reconstruction of solar activity for the last millennium using 10Be data" I. G. Usoskin1, K. Mursula2, S. Solanki3, M. Sch?ssler3 and K. Alanko2
    The study used ice cores. The authors concluded "In conclusion, we have presented here a new reconstruction of solar activity on the millennium time scale based upon a description of the related physical processes. It implies that the present high level of sunspot activity is unprecedented on the millennium time scale. The results will be the subject of further analysis."
  20. Saparonia @19, Solanki 2004 shows the following reconstructions of sunspot numbers based on icecore isotopes:

    With two out of three reconstructions showing negative sunspot numbers in some periods, and the third significantly under representing solar variability, it is clear that these methods are not sufficient to make so definitive a statement about sunspot numbers.

    Even should we accept the reconstructions at face value, however, the fact is that solar forcing between twentieth century maximum and maunder minimum is about 0.3 W/m^2 at Earth's distance from the Sun. for Mars and the outer planets, the forcing is much less because of the inverse square law. Why we should ignore the 1.8 W/m^2 forcing from CO2 in favour of the much smaller solar forcing remains a mystery. Even more mysterious is why we should do so when the solar forcing has been declining over the last 30-50 years.
  21. This defense of position is particularly poor and can be refuted by a simple 5th grade-level experiment. Take a brisket and put it in your oven, setting the oven at 175 degrees Fahrenheit. After an hour check the brisket's temperature. Put it back in the oven and raise the oven's temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for twenty minutes. After twenty minutes, take it out and check the brisket's temperature. It went up right? Now put the brisket back on the oven and lower the oven's temperature slightly to 325 degrees Fahrenhiet for a half hour. Take the brisket out and check it's temperature. The temperature of the brisket will have continued to rise! "How is that?", you seem to say, "How could the temperature of the brisket continue to rise when the temperature of the oven went down by 25 degrees?" Your "defense" is that the oven couldn't be warming the brisket because the brisket didn't cool when the oven's temperature was slightly lowered -- even though the oven's temperature was still well above the brisket's point of stasis. Seriously???

  22. mkuske, the only way your analogy is valid is if the brisket has not yet reached the oven's temperature of 325 when you lower the oven's temperature from 350 to 325. The oven is still warmer than the brisket, so of course the brisket continues to warm toward that temperature of 325. If instead the brisket has reached the equilibrium temperature of 350 before you lower the oven's temperature to 325, then the brisket will start to cool down from 350. (And it will cool slower than the oven does, because the brisket has greater thermal mass than the oven's air.)

    But let's skip your analogy and use the real Earth.  You are implying there is a lag between the increased incoming energy from the Sun and the Earth's heating.  You are quite correct.  Assuming the Earth initially was in thermal equilibrium (same energy coming in as going out to space), an increase in the energy coming in from the Sun will cause energy immediately to start accumulating in the Earth (by which I mean the atmosphere, surface land, surface water, deep oceans--the whole shebang).  But that extra energy is distributed among all the components of "the Earth," which takes time.  So although parts of the Earth immediately start heating, there is a lag before the entire Earth system reaches a new temperature.  If the Sun's input stops increasing--flattens out--then the Earth's energy indeed will continue to increase, but only until it reaches equilibrium.

    But simultaneously, as the Earth's temperature increases, the Earth emits more energy to space.  So as soon as the Sun's input to the Earth flattens, the energy imbalance in the Earth (energy in minus energy out) instantly starts decreasing.  That makes the rate of temperature increase slow down.  But that is not what has been happening.  Instead the energy imbalance has continued to increase, and the rate of temperature increase has not slowed.  Also, we have a large amount of empirical evidence of the length of the lag between a change in the Sun's input to the Earth and the resulting temperature change (e.g., the Sun's 11-year cycle and volcanic eruptions of large amounts of reflective aerosols).  The lag is not nearly as long as the time in which the Sun's radiance has been flat. 

    For more details, and for a more proper place to put your comments on this topic, see the post "Climate time lag."

  23. mkuske, also see the post "It's the Sun."  Be sure to read the Basic tabbed pane, then the Intermediate one, then the Advanced one.

  24. Tom Dayton, First I'll acknowledge that this is a simplistic analogy. However, you're assuming that the Earth has in fact reached the equilibrial state for the amount of increased activity from the Solar Grand Maximum (Modern Maximum), likewise assuming that the equiibrial state would be met almost instantly (in the larger picture of time).

    Just like the temperature of the brisket doesn't instantly jump to 350 degrees just because the oven around it did, neither does the Earth when irradiated by the Sun. In fact the oven could heat to 350 degrees in minutes but it would take hours for the brisket to reach that temperature.

    In this analogy the brisket only increases in temperature if affected relatively constantly by the heat input of the oven over an extended period of time. Also when the brisket is cooked, it doesn't immediately express it's stored heat and become room temperature, it releases it over time. After all you don't have to heat it back up 5 minutes after it comes out of the oven. Likewise if it's been out of the oven for 30 minutes and you do want it a little warmer, you don't have to cook it for an hour again, starting from scratch. It has stored some of that heat radiation and gets to temperature much more quickly. Likewise the Earth would not immediately express its stored energy especially considering it -- until very, very recently -- has been exposed to a fairly constant and atypical excess of irradiation from the Sun.You're assuming that the Earth -- and rest of the solar system -- has reached the temperature that it would if the Solar Grand Maximum were the typical constant state.

    In this analogy, what is typical for the brisket is the 175 degrees worth of heat radiation from the oven. What's typical for the Earth is a normal non-Solar Grand Maximum fluctuation of radiation from the Sun. The brisket only heats because it is exposed to a constant yet atypical 350 degrees of heat radiation from the oven before the oven drops slightly to 325 degrees, as the Earth has been exposed to an atypical and constant amount of the Sun's increased energy, even though there has been the slightest dip in activity -- which is still being atypical.

    And the constancy is important. After all if you turn the stove on for 15 minutes, then turn the stove off for fifteen minutes, then turn the stove on for fifteen minutes, then turn it off for fifteen minutes and continue on that way, you won't get very far at cooking your meat as the brisket will barely have time to absorb more enegy than it expresses. Keep that oven on for 45 minutes though, with the meat continuing to absorb more and more heat and what happens? Your brisket gets cooked. As for Earth -- and the rest of the solar system -- because of the extended Solar Grand Maximum, the Earth has been in the "oven" and constantly asborbing a hightened level of radiation for an extended period of time (since approximately 1900). That doesn't mean it met its equilirial temperature for that heightened state of solar activity.

  25. Tom Dayton, I also find it interesting and somewhat amusing the differing standards that are applied. For instance, the reason given for solar activity not causing global warming is that solar activity has retreated ever so slightly (while still being at an atypically much higher rate over an extended period of time). Meanwhile the Earth's temperature virtually flat-lining over a period of time in which CO2 has been released into the atmosphere at the highest rate ever is in fact accepted.    


    [DB] This thread is about other planets' warming, or not.  If you wish to discuss whether global warming has continued over the recent decade+ period, go to this thread where they explain why you are very, very wrong:

    Global warming since 1997 more than twice as fast as previously estimated, new study shows

    Further, you should also review this post:

    Global warming is being caused by humans, not the sun, and is highly sensitive to CO2, new research shows

  26. mkuske, please do not refresh the page after submitting a comment.  Doing so inserts a duplicate of your just-submitted comment.  Thank you.

  27. No, mkuske, I did not assume that equilibrium was reached almost instantly. Read my reply to you again. Carefully. Really, read it.  All of it.  Then refrain from typing for awhile, ponder, and read it again.  All of it.

  28. Dear LarianLeQuella,  you stated "I suggest that people who think that the sun is responsible, and cite warming on other planets become familiar with the Inverse Square Law. ;)"  Nice winky emoticon, but yet I am wondering how this is applicable given that Jupiters' orbit has not changed - not to mention that it is much farther from the Sun than Earth is...shouldnt its weather be near constant given your arguement?[Indeed it has had very consistent storm patterns in the PAST, rings of weather and the famous red spot].  Obvisously the intensity of the suns output effects deminish over distance(the distance squared is still just a relationship to distance, this is much more relevant for gravity) would this NOT be the case? Specifically whether or not the sun is causing Warming or Cooling (and I suspect COOLING due to its decreasing MAGNETIC FIELD, not  increasing solar output), it is still THE driving force of weather on every planet in the solar system.  Its silly to imply that the amount of water vapor or CO2 on Jupiter has been drastically changing over the past few years, and the Suns output was kept constant


    [DB] Thank you for your attempts to dialogue with Larian, but Larian has not posted since that comment on this thread, back in 2008. It was a one-off, with no intent to engage anyone.

  29. One thing I have not heard at all in the climate debate is that the Earth and entire Solar System are not only orbiting the Sun, but also, along with the Sun, are moving through Space orbiting the Galatic center. When we orbit the Sun we never return to the same spot. the entire system by that time has moved on. We are constantly moving into areas of space we have never inhabited before.
    How can we say with any authority there are not energies we never encountered, and possibly can't even detect, influencing the delecate balance of our climate and maybe more, like the magnetic field?

  30. MagickWizard, you're not arguing for a new force.  You're arguing for the same forces that have been measured for decades directly and through proxies for thousands or millions of years.  Magnetic flux has been considered as an element of the GCR argument.  Or is there a different magnetic flux you're aware of but scientists are not?

    You can argue for all the mysterious undiscovered forces you want, but until you show the force as a physical mechanism, no one will take you seriously.

  31. MagicWizard, why would forces that we can not detect have more of an effect than the forces that we can detect. We can detect freakin's neutrinos for God's sake, why would something that we can't detect have such a hufe effect, which is perfectly explicable by the forces we can detect?

  32. Response to sjw40364 from inappropriate thread: I looked at all the links provided, and not a single one of them alludes to a warming of the climate of the planets mentioned. Suggesting that any of these articles indicates a warming climate on the planets considered indicates that sjw did not read or understand the articles.

    At best, the Venus and Mars articles underline how we can attempt to better understand their climates, emphasizing that we don't understand them well.

    Climate on Earth is defined by a baseline of 30 years. For Mars, Jupiter and other planets going outward from the Sun, 30 orbits translates into respectively 56, 356, 884, 2522, 4947 and 7435 years. That is what would be required to establish a baseline, if we had instruments capable of reliably measuring enough climate parameters. Then we would need proxies to establish the true existence of any significant departure from normal conditions. We are not even fully understanding weather events happening on these planets.

    The argument that other planets are warming is one of the most ridiculous ever spewed by fake skeptics.

  33. Response to PhilippeChantreau.

    So those who claim to follow science are going to contiinue to ignore that during the same time frame that the earth became warmer - the Winds of venus increased - over the entire timeframe that the mission proceeded. And could still be but we don't know - we haven't sent another probe back to check yet.

    That Mars warmed up during this same time frame so that we can now oberve the effects of liquid water on its surface?

    That Jupiter lost an entire band - and if we are not talking climate - not just on small scales but ones that have lasted just how many years?


    Your 30 year scenario strawman is based upon then ignoring those flux ropes between the earth and the sun - knowing as we do that flux ropes transport superheated plasma from one end to the other. We will just ignore that fact too while we are at it I guess.


    Every single atmosphereic scientist in the world was stunned by what they found, yet you discount this newly discovered source of energy as unimportat????? Falsified every textbook you had on the subject - so of course it is unimportant to you, you still use them.

    You didn't even know that this energy source

    And this one even existed when the word global warming was even invented.


    But you think you got it all figured out - whiloe you continue to ignore every actual observation in the entire solar system - and right in froont of your nose - you just couldn't see or detect it a few years ago. Mostly because as they admitted - they were not looking. So predictive power is out for sure.


    Now NASA knew something was up, knew enough energy was being generated to disrupt satelites, probes, etc. Energy you seem to think just magically adds nothing to the system. In direct opposition to the laws of thermodynamics.

    Your strawmen convince no one but yourself. Because of course you refuse to accept 99% of the data.


    And even when told of two newlt discovered sources of energy never added to any clculation - you think it's ok to dismiss them. The reality they would skew your hand-picked data - so they must be ignored. The shame you do to science.


    [PS] Fixed links.

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

    In particular: Provide a source for your "flux ropes". Watch your tone and no accusations of fraud.

    If you want to have a rant about AGW, there are plenty of other sites which would welcome your input. If you actually do want discuss the science then please observe the following:

    Read the sources people provide back to you and read them for understanding, not to dismiss.

    Acknowledge where you agree and where you not with explanation and sources - preferrably to peer-reviewed literature.

    Discuss the science rather motives. Say what you think rather than declaring what you think other people think.

    To any respondents, please likewise follow those guidelines before discussion goes west and I have to start deleting comments.

  34. sjw40364 @33:

    1) The water discovered on Mars was discovered by an orbital platform that has been orbiting Mars since 2006.  The observed phenomenon from which water flows have been observed were seen over that entire period.  Consequently the situation is that water was found by the first observing platform that was capable of doing so.  To infer from that that Mars global temperatures are increasing follows the same logic of an explorer who, on first discovering the Mississipi concluded it was evidence of an imminent Noachian flood.

    2)  On the outer planets, at least, higher windspeeds are associated with cooler temperatures.  That is because heat introduces turbulence that decreases the velocity of the wind.  On Earth, things differ because increased temperatures increase absolute humidity, and hence the energy supply for storms - but that mechanism is not available on Venus.  Ergo, it is more likely that increased windspeed on Venus is associated with cooling temperatures than the reverse.

    There is no data showing any possible connection between temperature change in the interesting phenomenon on Jupiter or Saturn.  The connection you form is of the nature of a leap of faith.  You desire that all planets be warming, so you infer from any change (or entirely new observation) that it is evidence of that warming with no effort to tie the two phenomenon together.

    3)  Finally, NASA has not come up with "a new source of energy".  The effect of the solar wind on the magnetosphere has been known since at least 1965.  The 2009 NASA article to which you refer merely discusses improved understanding on what modulates that energy transfer.  It has no significant bearing on the (already known) existence of and scale of the energy transfer.

    With regard to that scale, it is extensively discussed by Tenfjord and Ostgaard (2013).  They show a total cumulative energy transfer to the ionsphere over the period 1997-2010 of 889,000 x 10^14 Joules (W(Ut)), representing approximately 60% of the total energy from the impacting solar wind (W(Usw)).  Averaged over the Earth's surface and the time interval involved, that represents 0.00035 W/m^2.  That in turn is an overestimate of the forcing as approximately only 10% of energy transfered to the thermosphere (let alone the ionosphere) makes it to the lower atmosphere, the rest being radiated to space.

    Note, further that this energy is not new energy.  The solar wind did not spring into existence yesterday.  Consequently there is no basis from this data to conclude that changes in the solar wind are warming or cooling the Earth.  There is every reason to conclude it is absolutely inconsequential to the climate.

    Your reasoning is shown to consist of taking some unanalyzed (by you) data from the news and simply assume that it automatically applies in support of your theory (without analysis) and that it is very significant (again without analysis and in very stark contradiction to the facts).  Frankly, I am no impressed.


    [PS] Good response but watch tone.

  35. Flux ropes eh? That seems to be in the same category as the recently discussed profession of "IR astronomer." Please provide scientific references explaining specifically what are flux ropes.

    The solar wind is nothing new. Suggesting that one can warm up the long term climate of a planet with a change in solar wind is like suggesting that one can heat up a tea kettle by throwing hot stones at it. Eventually you could, I guess, but the barrage of stones required would be quite interesting. We're not seeing that at all. Tom Curtis gave you the numbers, do you realize what they mean?

    I will add that handwaving my climate baseline remark does not make it go away. If all solar planets are to be considered as having seasonal variations according to their orbit around the sun, as they should, then it is indispensable to have a long enough base of obervation to determine whether or not what is being observed is due to seasonal variation or not. In order for any observed variable to be determined to have a significant departure from normal, a long enough time serie must be acquired to define normal. You make no logical case at all against that idea, you don't even try and just hand wave. I'm sorry but that's not convincing.

    If we are to assume that some planets do not have seasonal variations, we need to have some serious basis for that, grounded in physics. You have any reference defending that idea? I would also like to see some scientific reference explaining why it is reasonable to assume that we can detect a climate change on a planet whose climate is barely hypothesized. I would also like to see an equally serious reference as to why any weather event on a planet whose climate has not been oberved through a full orbit can be ascribed to a "warming climate."

    Skeptics on Earth argue that the rash of 1 in 1000 years weather events we saw on a regular basis over the past few years are not due to a warming climate. And yet here we are, with another type of "skeptic," who asserts that other planets phenomena, whose frequency is completely unknown to us, must be due to a warming climate. Something is clearly wrong in the "skeptic" camp.

    A multitude of weather phenomena have become observable on other planets only because we have recently acquired the means to observe them. There is absolutely no way of telling whether these phenomena happened regularly before or not. One going with logic should assume that the likelihood of a phenomenon only recently observed to have sarted happening just when we became able to observe it is extremely low. Why would that be? Because it comes in handy to defend a pet theory?

    If you discover something just because you started looking, that thing was probably happening all along. Therefore its existence does not constitute a change. Do you realize you're even arguing against yourself?

    I must agree with Tom Curtis on this one. You select snippets from news stories, fail to look into their true significance, and automatically assume that they support your theory, while said theory is itself ill defined and rather free of constraints from basic physics.

    What is your theory anyway? That high energy particles warm up the planets, including Jupiter? Jupiter, whose magnetosphere is so large that its bow shock with the solar wind is 75 radii away? Really? No thermodynamics problem there?

    I'll add that, before condescending onto others about thermodynamics, you should perhaps verify that the ideas you defend do comply with them. For example, take the amount of energy from a star that would be required to heat up a giant gas planet, orbting far from the star, in a way that can be noticed from another planet closer to the star. Then attempt to quantify what effect that amount of energy would have on the small rocky planet, 300 times less massive and much closer to the star. Would that effect be something subtle enough that a significant portion of the intelligent beings populating the rocky planet would deny its existence? Methinks this all doesn't add up...

  36. (This is my first post ever in this forum so please, bear with me if I break some cardinal rule. But, please point it out to me.)

    First off, I'm not formally educated about any of these topics - cosmology is more of a point of interest or a hobby for me. I approach all of this in fairly broad strokes.

    "Climate Warming," now re-fashioned into, "Climate Change," seems to be very little based on science and much more related to your political philosophy nowdays. It is a good excuse to raise taxes and place further controls on the entire planet, for those in power. I honestly don't really have an opinion on all of that, one way or the other, except for my own brief lifetime.

    Personally, I do think that the planet is becoming more turbulent, and I don't think mankind has done anything to help the situation. There is no doubt that human industry, war, nuclear testing, pollution, deforestation, etc. have damaged our ecosystems - just a debate over the degree to which we have damaged things. I agree with what I think was the OP's original assertion that the Sun's weather is, by far, the greatest determinant of weather on the Earth. That being said, the Earth's environment, it's "goldielocks" position in the universe being just right, I don't think it takes much to knock things way out of balance - say, a .02% change in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Things could be more delicate than most of us realize.

    So, if the Sun has such a major impact on the Earth's weather, how much more does our own galactic weather have on our Sun and it's solar system? It's reasonable to hypothesize that galactic weather could have a much greater effect on the solar system, as a whole, during certain galactic weather events. Our solar system is travelling through an interstellar medium, the density and energy of which may vary greatly - and for extended periods of time. This could also explain any other planetary changes which have been, or may have been observed as every object in our solar system could be impacted by such events.

    So, here is a link to a site which explains the phenomenon in greater detail than I ever could:

    I hope this adds something to the discussion - another point of view which may not have been investigated yet.

  37. Bi5h0p,

    I am straining how you can give the appearance of being rational and acknowledge your superficial understanding of a scientific subject matter while at the same throwing out an opinion that dismisses an entire body of knowledge as, also, mere opinion. A body of knowledge with which you have confessed lack of familiarity. How does that make any sense?

    As far as the rest of your questions, there is a start here button on the site that you should use to start exploring.

    I'll add that not everything is a matter of point of view. There is a right answer. Uninformed opinions carry no validity whatsoever against those formed by the understanding of the scientific issues involved. It really is that simple. If you want to form a opinion worth its salt, you have to do the work. If you don't, you'll just say whatever suits your already existing system of belief and values, or parrot other sources that you recognoze as sharing that same system. That's worth somewhere between a rabitt's fart and a mouse turd on the scale of reality based understanding. The internet contains the best and the worst. Why do you trust the source you cited?

    I tried your link, it didn't load for me; I couldnt' evaluate whether they cited any scientific work and how faithful to the original content it was. It appears to be about galactic cosmic rays (GCRs). That's old news and there is a number of threads exploring the question on this site. Use the search engine. CERN has experimented on the subject and they do have info available online. Do your work. Don't expect people to spoon feed you the info. Select serious sources. Examine published science papers. If a blurb mentions a science article, read it, as many cite a paper and draw from it conclusions that are often nowhere near what the authors conclude or even say. That's how it works.

  38. 5i5h0p @36.

    Your link dates from 2012 and is wrtten in particularly sensational language, usually a bit of a give-away with such publication. It quotes only three scientists (It is not always the wisest thing to rely on very small numbers of scientists. Remember the phrase “There's always one” and with scientists that is certainly the case.) and your link is actually mashing four different phenomenon and three separate issues rolled into the one account.

    The first is gamma-ray emissions from the centre of our galaxy. The news is that that Profs Abazajian & Kapling have “patiently sifted through reams of data accumulated from 2008 to 2012 by NASA’s orbiting Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope” and now (in 2012) propose that the gamma-rays streaming from the stellar conflagration can be used to infer the presence of dark matter.

    On this first issue, with no change in this phenomenon there can be no change resulting on planet Earth. There is no new situation being discussed, just the measuring of something in more detail than before. It is also very new science (as written it had yet to pass peer review and I see no sign of publication today) so should not be accepted from what is just one 'paper in submission'.

    The second issue is down to a lunatic called Dr. Alexey N. Dmitriev who has been preaching for some time (This reference date 1998) of a coming armagedon resulting from “highly charged material and energetic non-uniformities in anisotropic interstellar space which have broken into the interplanetary area of our Solar System.” If Dmitriev hasn't managed to convince his fellow scientists in (2015-1998=) 18 years, it likely isn't worth examining the details of his assertions and rather put it down to “There's always one!”

    The third issue is very poorly described and presented most sensationally. It is referenced only by use of a NASA quote “once in a lifetime super solar storm event”  that apparently dates to March 2006 (the NASA archive links to this are not providing any text at present) and is about the 11-year solar cycle which (No 24) was soon to begin in 2006. With a lot more satellite use since the height of the previous solar cycle, NASA was warning of potential problems from the coming cycle. This does not stop the nutters deciding the warning is about something completely different. Indeed, the only uses of that quote on-line actually discusses, not 11-year solar cycles but instead the rotation of our bit of the Milky Way around the centre of the galaxy. The quote is thus exclusively used by a bunch of real nutters who predict the end of the world. Whether the result will be ”thousands of rocks and asteriods … raining out of the sky” or a “rampage” of “powerful x-class solar storms and coronal mass ejections”, we are apparently in danger of “great earthquakes, super volcanic eruptions, pole shifts, planet crossers and so forth” and that is despite acknowledging that the peak storms of 2012-13 are now passed. All this has zero credibility.

    So I conclude that on all three issues mentioned by your link, there is nothing that requires fresh investigations.

  39. Bi5h0p argument turns out on examination to be an appeal to changes in cosmic ray frequencies as a driver of climate.  Consequently, I have responded on a more appropriate thread.  On the unsubstantive diatribe with which he begins, Phillipe Chantreau @37 raises the relevant question.

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