Global Warming Issues :)

It’s unfortunate that these days, “global warming” is such a dirty word; tis a fascinating topic and one we’ll be investigating a bit during our course (in Unit 3 when we talk about the rocky planets).  Despite the fact we’ll be looking at this more later, I HAVE to post about two things that I found yesterday that remind me of global warming issues.

1.  A Bad Astronomy blog post about new research about the cause of the Little Ice Age also linked to some new data put out by NASA stating the Sun cannot be the cause of global warming. This claim that the Sun’s natural increase in temperature over time (increase is true) is the cause of what we are calling “global warming” is one of the big drums that climate change deniers keep beating on.  But it’s simply not true.  We just go to the data (like the folks at NASA did in the above article).  We’ll talk about it more in class.

2.  One of my sisters is a landscape designer and she provided a link to the newly updated “Plant Hardiness” map published by the USDA.  It shows that the hardiness zones (basically what kinds of plants you can put outdoors) are shifting northerly a bit.


However, they are careful to put this statement on their website:

“Climate changes are usually based on trends in overall average temperatures recorded over 50-100 years. Because the USDA PHZM represents 30-year averages of what are essentially extreme weather events (the coldest temperature of the year), changes in zones are not reliable evidence of whether there has been global warming.”

There are other factors in the shift, like better data (more coverage, more accurate) available now, but regardless, it seems mighty interesting to me :)


About drgrundstrom

They call me the Dancing Astrophysicist. I love to teach people about the Universe and all the things within it and I love to dance (partner and solo)!

Posted on February 1, 2012, in Science, Terrestrials and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I am sure you have heard of a guy named William Happer and his theories about global warming. What do you think of his ideas?

    • Yes, Prof. William Happer is quite an interesting guy. He is certainly intelligent and is highly decorated. I also think he’s a little bit stubborn ;) While it is true that climate science and the modeling of said climate can be quite difficult, it can be done and there is evidence that something strange is going on with our atmosphere. The greenhouse effect and global warming will be a subject we’ll discuss in class when we talk about terrestrial planet atmospheres in our next unit :)

      For anyone that wants a further read, here’s an article that contains parts of an interview with him – it’s a good synopsis of the issues at hand:

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: