originally posted by: lostinspace
The global warming of all the planets may be coming from their cores. I remember reading about the massive methane fields recently found near Russia.
They say the permafrost melt under the water is causing the methane release. We all have been trained to believe the warming oceans has been caused by
the warmer atmosphere. What if the oceans are being warmed by magma being closer to the crust?
Good, let's think scientifically. We're in introductory oceanography/geophysics tutorial. Prof asks: "How would we use observable data to
distinguish various hypotheses for warming? For example, what if the oceans are being warmed by magma being closer to the crust? We've already
gone over the Sun last lecture but this time I want you to think about this one."
Student: The heat has to diffuse out from its source if it's by conduction, or maybe be transported by convection?
Professor: Right! The ground is opaque so it's not radiative transfer like solar or greenhouse influence. And so what specifically would you look
for in your measurements?
Student: ... We would see the signal from underwater measurements and see deep ocean start to warm before upper ocean, because the heat would have to
Professor: Good, anything else?
Student: Maybe we'd see it only in specific places, where the magma is particularly close? Volcanoes are only in some places given by geology,
right, so the heat sources would be in a certain set of locations?
Professor: Exactly. Now, I'm here to tell you that we don't see that. We see upper ocean warming first, and then the lower ocean which
Student: warming is coming from the surface, so probably not deep magma.
Professor: and poles are warming more than equatorial regions.
Student: Is there something about the spin of the planet which makes the magma closer on the poles?
Professor: Are there lots of polar volcanoes and few in equatorial regions?
Student: I don't know, but there was that huge one in Tambora in Indonesia, so I'm guessing not.
Professor: I don't think so either. And what would you say if measurements show night-time is heating more than day-time?
Student: I don't know. I can't figure out how more magma would make night-time heat more than daytime.
Professor: but if it were greenhouse gas increases and not magma?
Student: Well, as you said the greenhouse layer re-radiates infrared, so the warm ground at night releases its heat and it's scattered back by the
Professor: Bingo. So what do you think about magma and global warming?
Student: Not my money bet.