January 23, 2006

Hot hot hot

So, now its official, 2005 is the warmest year since the invention of the thermometer, and likely for much longer than that. Figure from Uncle Sam: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2005/


At January 23, 2006 6:40 PM , Blogger Kate said...

Can someone explain to me why the US funds NASA, which collects important data that proves over and over that we are impacting the earth in a negative way, and then completely ignores the information? I don't get it.

At January 23, 2006 9:22 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Projects like the mission to planet earth are small potatoes to NASA; Here's what W has in mind (gleaned from http://www.nasa.gov/missions/solarsystem/bush_vision.html):

President Bush has unveiled a new vision for space exploration...

In a speech at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., the President said that the "new course for America's space program" would give NASA a new focus and clear objectives for the future.

"We do not know where this journey will end," said Bush, "yet we know this: Human beings are headed into the cosmos."

..."Our third goal," Bush said, "is to return to the moon by 2020, as the launching point for missions beyond."

With the experience and knowledge gained on the moon," he said, "we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond."

At January 31, 2006 1:25 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

See recent article in New York Times: The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

At January 31, 2006 1:34 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

question for you:
If the global heat conveyor slows down, does this mean the Gulf of Mexico will get even warmer, since the ocean current that carries away some of that heat won't be working as well?

At January 31, 2006 9:58 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

As far as I can figure out, yes, the chain of logic is there, effect taking place with a timescale on the order of generations. I'd say even the experts can't say for sure though, modeling ocean currents is complex stuff. What is more sure is documentation that global ocean surface temperatures have risen, and it is very likely that they will continue to rise, due to global warming. Changes in ocean circulation induced by climate change will also affect climate change, but these kinds of feedbacks are always on a bit thinner ice, so to speak.

At January 31, 2006 10:00 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

And back to Kate's question, I have heard people from NASA complain that money is being taken away from science programs and put into politically driven exploration programs. Why put humans in space when robots explore better, cheaper and faster?


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