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Rewriting The Science
As a government scientist, James Hansen is taking a risk. He says there are things the White House doesn't want you to hear but he's going to say them anyway.
Hansen is arguably the world's leading researcher on global warming. He's the head of NASA's top institute studying the climate. But this imminent scientist tells correspondent Scott Pelley that the Bush administration is restricting who he can talk to and editing what he can say. Politicians, he says, are rewriting the science.
"In my more than three decades in the government I've never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public," says Hansen.
Restrictions like this e-mail Hansen's institute received from NASA in 2004. "… there is a new review process … ," the e-mail read. "The White House (is) now reviewing all climate related press releases," it continued.
...Hansen went public a year and a half ago, saying this about the Bush administration in a talk at the University of Iowa: "I find a willingness to listen only to those portions of scientific results that fit predetermined inflexible positions. This, I believe, is a recipe for environmental disaster."
Dozens of federal agencies report science but much of it is edited at the White House before it is sent to Congress and the public. It appears climate science is edited with a heavy hand. Drafts of climate reports were co-written by Rick Piltz for the federal Climate Change Science Program. But Piltz says his work was edited by the White House to make global warming seem less threatening.
"The strategy of people with a political agenda to avoid this issue is to say there is so much to study way upstream here that we can’t even being to discuss impacts and response strategies," says Piltz. "There’s too much uncertainty. It's not the climate scientists that are saying that, its lawyers and politicians."
Piltz worked under the Clinton and Bush administrations. Each year, he helped write a report to Congress called "Our Changing Planet."
Piltz says he is responsible for editing the report and sending a review draft to the White House.
Asked what happens, Piltz says: "It comes back with a large number of edits, handwritten on the hard copy by the chief-of-staff of the Council on Environmental Quality."
Asked who the chief of staff is, Piltz says, "Phil Cooney."
Piltz says Cooney is not a scientist. "He's a lawyer. He was a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, before going into the White House," he says.
..."He would put in the word potential or may or weaken or delete text that had to do with the likely consequence of climate change, pump up uncertainty language throughout..."
...References to human health are marked out...
..."Even to raise issues internally is immediately career limiting..."
...in one federal report submitted for review. Government scientists wanted to tell you about the ice sheets, but before a draft of the report left the White House, the paragraph on glacial melt and flooding was crossed out and this was added: "straying from research strategy into speculative findings and musings here..."
...Hansen says his words were edited once during a presentation when a top official scolded him for using the word danger...
And Cicerone, who’s an atmospheric chemist, said the same thing every leading scientist told 60 Minutes.
"Climate change is really happening," says Cicerone.
Asked what is causing the changes, Cicernone says it's greenhouse gases: "Carbon dioxide and methane, and chlorofluorocarbons and a couple of others, which are all — the increases in their concentrations in the air are due to human activities. It's that simple."
But if it is that simple, why do some climate science reports look like they have been heavily edited at the White House? With science labeled "not sufficiently reliable." It’s a tone of scientific uncertainty the president set in his first months in office after he pulled out of a global treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"We do not know how much our climate could, or will change in the future," President Bush said in 2001, speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House. "We do not know how fast change will occur, or even how some of our actions could impact it."
Global Warming on Mars?
A study of the ice caps on Mars may show that the red planet is experiencing a warming trend.
After decades of thinking that the ice caps on Mars were mostly carbon dioxide (dry ice), planetary geologists are starting to think that those caps may be mostly fresh water ice instead.
Caltech planetary scientists have been keeping a close eye on the dozens of deep, wide pits in the southern martian ice caps. These pits have been growing larger every year, but they never get any deeper.
One of the most profound benefits of being able to continue photographing Mars in the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Extended Mission is the opportunity to go back and re-image a site that was seen in the previous martian year. New MGS Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images have provided a startling observation: The residual martian south polar cap is changing. The fact that it is changing suggests that Mars may have major, global climate changes that are occurring on the same time scales as Earth's most recent climate shifts, including the last Ice Age.
Global warming isn't just restricted to Earth. Both our neighbouring planets, Venus and Mars, are warmed by the effects of greenhouse gases in their atmospheres. In fact, from comparing these three rocky worlds, scientists have gained an invaluable insight into how the quantity of greenhouse gases in a planet's atmosphere can radically affect the climate and surface conditions – conditions which are crucial for life.
On Earth, the majority of carbon lies not in the atmosphere, but in the oceans and rocks. Just 0.00035% of Earth's atmosphere is made of carbon dioxide. However, this carbon dioxide, along with water vapour and other small amounts of greenhouse gasses, is enough to raise the average surface temperature of Earth by around 30°C. Without it, Earth would be frozen.
By comparison, the atmosphere of Venus is composed of 96% carbon dioxide (260,000 times more than Earth) and is much denser, containing around 100 times more gas than Earth's. The thick dense carbon dioxide atmosphere on Venus has led to a 'run away' greenhouse effect, with surface temperatures soaring to around 460°C, hot enough to melt lead, and three times greater than otherwise expected.
Mars too has an atmosphere made mainly of carbon dioxide (95%), but there the atmosphere is over 100 times thinner than Earth's. So even though, like Venus, the Martian atmosphere is almost solely made of carbon dioxide, it's actually so thin that the effect of greenhouse warming lifts the global temperature by just 6°C.
In what is largely a reversal of an August announcement, astronomers today said Pluto is undergoing global warming in its thin atmosphere even as it moves farther from the Sun on its long, odd-shaped orbit.
Pluto's atmospheric pressure has tripled over the past 14 years, indicating a stark temperature rise, the researchers said. The change is likely a seasonal event, much as seasons on Earth change as the hemispheres alter their inclination to the Sun during the planet's annual orbit.
They suspect the average surface temperature increased about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or slightly less than 2 degrees Celsius.
Jupiter's New Red Spot
The official name of this storm is "Oval BA," but "Red Jr." might be better. It's about half the size of the famous Great Red Spot and almost exactly the same color.
Oval BA first appeared in the year 2000 when three smaller spots collided and merged. Using Hubble and other telescopes, astronomers watched with great interest. A similar merger centuries ago may have created the original Great Red Spot, a storm twice as wide as our planet and at least 300 years old.
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At first, Oval BA remained white—the same color as the storms that combined to create it. But in recent months, things began to change:
"The oval was white in November 2005, it slowly turned brown in December 2005, and red a few weeks ago," reports Go. "Now it is the same color as the Great Red Spot!"
MIT researcher finds evidence of global warming on Neptune's largest moon
June 24, 1998
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- We're not the only ones experiencing global warming. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher has reported that observations obtained by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based instruments reveal that Neptune's largest moon, Triton, seems to have heated up significantly since the Voyager space probe visited it in 1989. The warming trend is causing part of Triton's surface of frozen nitrogen to turn into gas, thus making its thin atmosphere denser.
Originally posted by amisn1957
While the possibilty exist that humans are not entirely resposible for all the global warming, might the contribution that we are making make it worse than has to be?
Yes we may simply be going through a natural cylce with warmer temps, but it may also be to our extreme misfortune to have timed our industrialization and it's consequences to coincide with this cycle.
Originally posted by dgtempe
Muaddib, call me foolish, but i think our scientists are looking at this warming from the earth's prespective. I am no scientist but i do beleive Mars' different compositions would apply to Mars only.
I may be wrong.
You have voted loam for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month.
Originally posted by Muaddib
I am not saying that some of the human activity has not made things worse, but let's call it what it is. Something else is causing the global warming that the entire solar system is experiencing.