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hubble
2004-Dec-15, 03:32 AM
what if in many many thousands of years by the time mars is terraformed that we "accidently" mess that on &#092;e up to. Could we possibly have the technology to explore other horizons planets or moons withdangerous gases we may then be able to handle. Venus for example has a light ozone but too dangerous but moons of jupiter or saturn may be able to be used food can be grown on mars still and transported to the moons. But what do you think would happen if we did indeed mess mars up to. :ph34r: :( <_<

hubble
2004-Dec-15, 03:34 AM
following up what happens if we can not make it to mars at all. We may not realise but one day for some generation there lifes will slowly end. Or in one big masicure in an unsee able and unstoppable moment.

Jakenorrish
2004-Dec-15, 01:13 PM
I think that if we were able to terraform Mars, the problem would be that it could only be a relatively short term measure. Mars doesn&#39;t have the mass to be able to hold on to a thick atmosphere or surface water for any length of time as has been shown by the evidence of the current rover explorers.

I for one think that we should not attempt to do this anyway. When humans meddle with nature it always seems to lead to disaster&#33;

Jake B)

GOURDHEAD
2004-Dec-15, 02:24 PM
I for one think that we should not attempt to do this anyway. When humans meddle with nature it always seems to lead to disaster&#33; Bah humbug&#33;

We have been meddling with nature since we made our first tool and even before by selecting whatever was included in our diet and the actions we took to acquire its constituents. Living organisms cannot avoid meddling with nature. We are one of the few, perhaps the only, species capable of anticipating disaster and taking remedial action to the benefit of both ourselves and other species as well. We do and will continue to make mistakes; the trick is to make sure that the benefits of our actions outweigh the mistakes.

We can and should consider the terraforming of Mars and Venus, and, in the case of Mars, consider whether its colonization requires terraforming and whether terraforming is the optimum method of colonization as opposed to burrowing in. Will we make mistakes in so doing? Very likely. We must keep the feedback loops sufficiently short so the mistakes can be corrected prior to reaching a point of no return.

Wouldn&#39;t it be convenient if our genetic engineers could produce a "living canopy" consisting of especially engineered microbes living and forming a "continuous mat" suspended by its buoyancy high in the martian atmosphere that would prevent or significantly impede the escape of disassociated hydrogen. If so, we could cause a comfortable atmosphere to form under and be retained by this living canopy. This biotechnology would help us to terraform the larger moons in the system as well.

spacepunk
2004-Dec-16, 02:09 AM
I for one think that we should not attempt to do this anyway. When humans meddle with nature it always seems to lead to disaster&#33;

Bah humbug&#33;

That&#39;s telling him&#33;

Apparently some people don&#39;t live in cities where storm sewers and water mains have been put in place to service millions of homes in countless cities. Alternatively some people have never seen the collosal irrigation projects in North America&#39;s prairies that grow an abundance of cheap food for almost billions of consumers.

Bobunf
2004-Dec-16, 03:47 AM
Terraforming Mars doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. We don’t need a Martian atmosphere with 100% of Earth pressure, 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen. But higher atmos-pheric pressure than currently exists would be helpful in putting less stress on Martian suits, vehi-cles and habitats.

Martians would probably breathe a mixture of 40% or higher oxygen and the balance nitrogen and helium at a presume of 50% or less of Earth’s atmosphere. Pressure on Mars wouldn’t have to increase by anything approaching this 50% level before making a very substantial contribution to Martian livability.

A denser atmosphere would provide increased protection from meteors and radiation. Greenhouse gases like water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane would make for a warmer Mars. Even modest amounts of ozone in the upper atmosphere would significantly reduce ultraviolet radiation at the surface; and there may be other gases that would act as partial radiation barriers.

If the Martian colonists were to create a 10% of Earth pressure atmosphere that provided some protection from radiation and meteors, and provided a significant greenhouse effect, there world would be a lot more habitable, safe and convenient.

It seems to me that any life that was ever on Mars must be in pretty bad shape if not extinct. Mother Nature seems to have done a poor job on Mars, and looks to me like she could use a lot of help. What she’s done on Mars makes human meddling seem awfully benign.

Bob

hubble
2004-Dec-17, 06:47 AM
i disagree we have screwed most attemts to be a fully idealistic world. With this we have made things extinct others never to be seen again. All because of needing to be faster more powerful or should i say more pollutive and population growth i ssaykill stax of people if you want to have that but have oxygen and an ozone layer but would we do that no. We need to act upon our actions and not develp in life evolvement much further as it will just lead to the destruction of our race.

spacepunk
2004-Dec-17, 07:59 AM
I for one think that we should not attempt to do this anyway. When humans meddle with nature it always seems to lead to disaster&#33;

we have screwed most attemts to be a fully idealistic world

These insights are invaluable, and certainly do shame the human race as for its many failings and lost opportuniites.

But meddling with nature is a fact of life for many species: some sea otters will use small rocks to smash mussles in order get at the insides, ants build anthills but actually disturb the lay of the land, hornets and birds build elaborate nests in trees and leave a mess behind for the next year, beavers making dams block up waterways that eventually cause floods along the higher shoreline, ... the list of species other than mankind making an artificial environment for themselves without regard to other species could go on and on.

To wholescale condem all of mankind&#39;s accomplishments and dreams is too pessimistic an approach. Your statements would mean that the irrigation projects should never have been built and must be dismantled immediately. Also, countries where dams have been built to reclaim farmland from the sea should let the sea resurge and flood that farmland even if houses are there.

Your statements also seem to completely ignore the dynamic nature of Earth and nature itself -- the Ice Ages were of no fault of man, nor the K/T event, nor the extinction of the trilobite. Check out the Arizona meteor crater sometime and while you are in the neighborhood visit the petrifed forest. There are remnants of trees that resemble today&#39;s common horsetail weed but lived when the Earth&#39;s atmosphere was drastically different than now. In fact, a case could be made for space hydroponics experiments to actually use the horsetail weed in low oxygen environments to see if it could be a source of food, because it would grow considerably taller in a non-Quaternary environment.

My point is that there are unfortunately some trade offs to the advancement of civilization and we do need critics to make sure that the loss/benefit ratio is worth defending. Responsible resource management is needed to keep pollution to a minimum and the development of human potential to a maximum.

Jakenorrish
2004-Dec-17, 12:19 PM
I think that a fairly blase comment I made has stirred up some good thoughts, so I&#39;ll expand on mine.

yes, there is truth as spaceboy says in the huge strides we have made in agriculture etc, but to generalise on it by talking about the plains of North America is folly. Man&#39;s effects on the planet have to be looked at in far larger terms, as there have been huge agricultural disasters such as the removal of huge expanses of diverse rainforest for short term agricultural use too, which has added to the problem of climate change.

We are currently seeing the effects of human actions on our own planet in the form of climate change. Nasa&#39;s data is the prime proof of this climate change. Yes proof. There will be those of you who don&#39;t think that we&#39;re having an effect, but we are. The icecaps are melting a great deal faster than they would have if we weren&#39;t pumping carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere-fact. We have managed to increase the temperature of Earth by a degree or two in no time at all. A couple of hundred years is not even the blink of an eye in the developement of this planet.

With those facts in mind I stand by the quote which a few of you have argued against which was &#39;When humans meddle with nature it always seems to lead to disaster&#33;&#39; It has and will lead to disaster here. Ask anyone in the Philapines where they have suspended all logging due to their recent storms. If we try and affect Mars&#39; climate I&#39;m sure it would be a very short term, measure which would ultimately strip the place of its beauty.

astromark
2004-Dec-17, 12:40 PM
If its Mars you want to go to then take your weather with you. I dont think tera forming Mars is a viable idea. I would sagest the large biosphear, but the roof had better be real tough and the structure very secure. Becouse of the thin and low presure atmosphear the possible impacting metior could be a problem for my Dome. This dome would be able to suport a vilage sized out post. Trees and all.

spacepunk
2004-Dec-17, 04:30 PM
to generalise on it by talking about the plains of North America is folly. Man&#39;s effects on the planet have to be looked at in far larger terms, as there have been huge agricultural disasters such as the removal of huge expanses of diverse rainforest for short term agricultural use too, which has added to the problem of climate change

Viewpoints noted, but there is lots of room for skepticism for those on the other side of this quasi debate: a goal to achieve the best possible cost/benefit ratio

It is generally accepted that the not-so-ancient Romans aided significantly to the growth of the Sahara Desert through massive tree cutting for sea ship construction. Not exactly environmental stewards, but then they brought the concept of organized civilizastion to the world. Obscure but mounting evidence in Egypt has demonstrated that the great pyrimids were built in, and at the expensse of, the tropical rain forest at that vicinity. Certainly not environmental stewards there either, but they brought us the basis of organized astronomy via calenders: for religious observances, flooding dates for agricultural purposes, certainly mathematics where a metric system was developed that today presents profound competition to the SI politically correct crowd.

I have not seen any paleo-climatological data from the holocene that comments on the effects of those civilizations. Perhaps it is published somewhere but in order to give credence to the Amazon sky-is-falling concept that info should be made available (Note that I am not advocating cutting down every last tree). It is postulated that most O2 is generated by water bourne photosynthetic organisims and not land based life. And that an acre of corn will produce more O2 than an acre of trees ---- plus feed people at the same time.

One more item for skepticism on the 100% mankinds&#39; fault hypothesis: the last interglacial was much warmer than the temperatures we are experiencing today. And the next ice age could be as soon as 70,000 years away if we don&#39;t do something about it&#33;

If there are errors in what was written here then blast away -- constructive criticism is the hallmark of these Universe Today forums.

ChromeStar
2004-Dec-17, 07:27 PM
GOURDHEAD makes a good point&#33;&#33;&#33;

spacepunk
2004-Dec-17, 10:14 PM
One more comment: I would prefer to settle for the zero cost/infinite benefit ratio. I accept that this is impossible, and apologies Jake if any offense was taken. I just don&#39;t completely agree that "When humans meddle with nature it always seems to lead to disaster".

Bobunf
2004-Dec-18, 07:52 AM
“there have been huge agricultural disasters such as the removal of huge expanses of diverse rainforest for short term agricultural use too, which has added to the problem of climate change”

There is zero evidence that anything having to do with changes in rainforests (formerly known as jungles) have anything to do with any climate change. This is just cant.

Try to think a little bit critically, and maybe even consider some facts: What percentage of the Earth’s surface was ever during the Holocene covered in rainforest? What is the difference between then and now? What percentage less photosynthesis takes place on agricultural land as opposed to rainforests?

I don’t have any figures about rainforests handy, but I do have some figures for forestation in the United States from the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 120th edition, Table 1148: Total forest land: 1987, 731 million acres; 1992, 737 million acres, 1996, 746 million acres.

According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization Production Yearbooks 1949-1995, the percent of the Earth’s land area covered in forest rose from 30% in 1950 to 32% in 1994. Such figures will, hopefully, give some pause to the almost religious belief that deforestation is a critical problem in global warming.

The amount of photosynthesis taking place on agricultural land is not significantly less than that taking place in forests. Crop plants cover nearly all of the land, grow very rapidly and power the process with photosynthesis. Crops are also protected to some extent from pests, drought, fire, and other factors which adversely affect the photosynthesis taking place in forests. Harvests do reduce photosynthesis until a new crop begins to grow.

Even if there were a 10% reduction in relative photosynthesis amounts, and even if forest land had been reduced by 10%; that’s still a reduction of only 1% of land based photosynthesis. The water that covers 70% of the Earth‘s surface participates in at least half of the photosynthesis that occurs on Earth.

We are left with a reduction in photosynthesis of one-half percent being a gross overestimate—and probably pointing in the wrong direction.

Bob

Bobunf
2004-Dec-18, 08:07 AM
“the next ice age could be as soon as 70,000 years away”

The next ice ago is almost certainly due to come much, much sooner; perhaps by the end of this century.

The last glaciation, the Wisconsin lasted about 100 thousand years, and was preceded by an inter-glacial period similar to the current inter-glacial period and lasting about twenty thousand years. The Wisconsin glaciation was one of a series of glaciations that have occurred in a complex pattern over the last three million years or so with inter-glacial period lasting around twenty thousand years but varying widely.

The Wisconsin glacial maximum was about 18,000 years ago, and the Holocene is about 11,000 years old. Time is running out for us.

Glaciation is an unstable process because snow reflects more Sunlight, and thus has a greater cooling effect, than water or land, whether vegetated or bare. Once a summer occurs in which the snow has not melted, the likelihood of another summer without snow melt increases. Even 50 years of snow accumulation will result in considerable extension of existing glaciers and the formation of new ice sheets hundreds of meters thick with extensive new glaciers.

Prior to three million years ago the Earth hadn&#39;t had major glaciations for over 500 million years.

Bob

Bobunf
2004-Dec-18, 08:23 AM
"It is generally accepted that the not-so-ancient Romans aided significantly to the growth of the Sahara Desert through massive tree cutting for sea ship construction."

Who is generally accepting this idea? What is your source for this?

astromark
2004-Dec-18, 09:45 AM
I am not going to buy in to this idea untill the evedance is presented; I believe these prosesses are part of the Earths &#39;Normal&#39;cycle of change.
Did I understand corectly the Ice ages have a history of only 500 mill yrs. I did not know that. So was the earth warmer then? Whats all this global warming ..rubbish? by the look of this it might be.
Do we need to fear the onset of an ice age? Could we not prapare for this. Its not here yet, or any time soon. What would we need to do to insure cropp failyer is not our undoing. What order of events brings the end of an ice age,? can we do this?
Is any of this actually happening? Warming, Cooling. I dont know what to believe, and I suspect that its all going to keep right on happening that way regardless of mans pathetic attemps to change things. Noteing Bobs reaserch into the reforesting of the USA. I dont think we should worrey about the impending ice sheet just yet.

Bobunf
2004-Dec-18, 11:44 PM
Earth was essentially Ice Age free from about 500 million years ago to about three million years ago.

Throughout the Cenozoic, beginning around 65 million years, the Earth has cooled, rather erratically, but sufficiently such that about three million years ago the Earth was cool enough for glaciation events to oc-cur. And, for the last three million years, an irregular pattern of glaciations has occurred, characterized by relatively short interglacial periods such as the one we are in now.

Throughout most of geologic time, the climate has been warmer than it is today. This is difficult to explain since we know that the Sun has been getting warmer during the entire existence of the Earth.

But it makes for a very interesting and challenging puzzle.

Bob

Bobunf
2004-Dec-19, 12:03 AM
The hypthesis that human activity may cause global warming is very powerful and very important. It runs like this: CO2 is a greenhouse gas that, in large quantities in the atmosphere, will cause the world to heat up. Humans put CO2 in the atmosphere (and other greenhouse gases), and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has gone up. Therefore, the world will heat up because of human activity.

Unfortunately, climate, like most other things, is not so simple. It’s argued that the effect of the human caused CO2 will be too small to be noticed, oceans will absorb the CO2, and plants will just grow more and use up most of the CO2. Also, water vapor is the most significant greenhouse gas; and methane from cows among others is almost as significant as CO2. It might be said that the real cause of global warming was too much beef; another arrow in the quiver of the Vegan.

The complexity of climate effects might be appreciated by considering this sequence of events: Increased temperature will result in increased evaporation from the oceans, and consequently more cloud cover. The increased cloud cover will reflect more Sunlight into space in the daytime, and have a relative cooling effect; and decrease the amount of heat radiated into space at night with a relative warming effect. Which effect predominates is unknown.

Then, the effect increased cloud cover will have on photosynthesis and the consequent removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is another important element in evaluating the possibilities of climate change. The simplest assumption would be that, if there is less light, there would be less photosynthesis, and, consequently, an increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

This, however, is probably wrong because the optimum Sunlight for photosynthesis is exceeded for a substantial part of the day with direct Sunlight. Plants have probably evolved to take best advantage of the most common conditions, not an extreme. High noon at summer solstice only occurs for an instant once a year. Cloud cover diffuses Sunlight; the light lasts longer and stresses the plants less, which weren’t using all that Sunlight anyway.

CO2 is a plant fertilizer; and warmer, wetter environments with enhanced CO2 and Sunlight conditions might be considered a plant paradise. The more photosynthesis, the faster CO2 is converted to organics, water, and oxygen.

Or, it may be that all of these mechanisms will be overwhelmed by the increased heating effect, that a new equilibrium will be established, involving a hotter Earth with other effects humans will find very unpleasant. It not a good idea to rock the boat.

Bob

trevorsproston
2004-Dec-27, 10:47 PM
Although I&#39;m in favour of human exploration and colonisation [as if my opinion matters], I am worried by a persistent image. Some time ago, I saw a documentary on the devastation caused in Australia by introduced species, wherer no predator exists to limit numbers. A particularly striking image was a huge, pullulating mass of mice caught in a corner of a grain store. They looked for all the world like a single, quivering, living mass of tissue.

Can I really look forward to a future where humanity spreads through the universe like uncontrolled vermin? We need to make sure that wherever we go, we either take other species with us, or cultivate native ones, to keep a sense of proportion, to remind us of our origins. If we don&#39;t, we will end up as Wells&#39; Martians, fatally arrogant about our place in the universe.

Planetwatcher
2004-Dec-28, 12:35 AM
In the spirit of this topic, let&#39;s look at the origional question again.
[/QUOTE]Could we possibly have the technology to explore other horizons planets or moons withdangerous gases we may then be able to handle. Venus for example has a light ozone but too dangerous but moons of jupiter or saturn may be able to be used food can be grown on mars still and transported to the moons. [QUOTE]

OMH No we can not. Why? because if we can&#39;t terriform Mars because of it&#39;s low mass, we certainly can&#39;t terriform moons of Jupiter and Saturn which are even smaller.

At best in the future, and this is a stretch both to physically accomplish and morally weither we should if we could, would be to suppliment the mass of Mars with other large bodies, or moons.
For example, if the planet Mercury could be added to Mars would make the planet some 65% larger then it is now, or nearly 70% of the mass of Earth.
This would make it able to sustain a more breathable atmosphere.

Is that a crazy thought? yes and no. Yes if you think of that in itself, but no if you consider how else could Mars be made larger.
All the asteroids combined amount to less then 1/2 of the mass of our Moon.
Which would not add enough mass to Mars to be significant.
Same story of all the smaller moons of Jupiter or Saturn. Also same story of the 2 smaller Galliollian moons Io and Europa. Only the moons Ganymede, Callistio, or Titan could add significant mass to Mars, and they are all nearly the size of Mercury anyway. So why get a Jovlin moon which is 400 million miles away at the closest, when you got a dead husk only a hundred million miles away which is about the same size.

But again if we could should we? Morally speaking.
If so what is next? Perhaps combining all 5 Galliollian moons to make one planet of a size between Mars and Venus, (closer to the Venus end)

Impossible? It is today, but may not be in a hundred years.
Crazy idea? Again yes today, but perhaps plausable by the next century.
Morally right? I don&#39;t think so, but again by then the needs of the many will likely outweigh the needs of the one.

eburacum45
2004-Dec-28, 03:24 PM
Adding Mercury to Mars to make a long lived terraformed world...
Perhaps we could do that;

but it would be a good idea to work out how much heat energy we would be adding to the new bigger Mars if we add Mercury on top of it; most methods of adding one planet to another would add the considerable heat of impact to the surface of the planet, so we would need to lower the mass very gently onto Mars- perhaps using millions of space elevators.

The added mass would cause the new bigger Mars to heat up anyway, by gravitational contraction; I am guessing that the surface of Mars would become volcanically active, and probably become hot and toxic for thousands of years.

Once you manage to cool the planet down it could support an Earth-like atmosphere for perhaps billions of years.

I prefer the quicker methods of caeliforming or paraterraforming; Mars could hold on to an Earth-like atmosphere for tens of millions of years- longer if you keep topping it up. Alternately paraterraforming the planet with a flexible tent-like worldroof would keep the planet livable for perhaps hundreds of millions of years.

Just how long do you intend to live there anyway?

Planetwatcher
2004-Dec-30, 07:01 AM
You and I won&#39;t live to see it, but if we are going to put colonies in space, let&#39;s do it right, and so they stay and enjoy.

It occured to me on the Mercury/Mars combo, it might be a good idea to give it some water as well, so we may want to include Europa for just that purpose. :D


That still leaves us 4 Galliolian moons. Perhaps we can throw in Enceldius, Saturn&#39;s 6th largest moon thought to be simular to Europa for water on a 2nd man made planet. :D

For a 3rd planet we can round up all the asteroids, and the remaining moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Proabley better throw in Uranus&#39;s 2 or 3 largest moons as well. :lol:

Finally a forth man made planet from the mix of the rest of Uranus&#39;s moons, all of Neptune&#39;s, Pluto, Chiron, and as many of the Kupier bodies as we can grab.
That one may come out a little on the small side but then the whole idea is totally rediculas isn&#39;t it?
But who knows, Perhaps someone will find our outragious ideas in the next century and pronounce us as visionaries.

GOURDHEAD
2004-Dec-30, 03:01 PM
What does caeliforming mean?

eburacum45
2004-Dec-30, 07:31 PM
Adding a temporary atmosphere to a planet which cannot hold on to it permanently;

from here
http://www.geocities.com/alt_cosmos/

Jakenorrish
2005-Jan-11, 04:02 PM
I think adding another planet&#39;s mass to a planet like Mars (say Mercury) is not possible. If it were, then I&#39;d have to argue that our solar system formed the way it did because of the laws of physics, and not due to man&#39;s interference. We don&#39;t know how adding mass to Mars would affect its orbit around the sun.

Hi Sacepunk too, hope you read this, but I never EVER take offence at your posts, just hopefully argue my point forcefully&#33;

spacepunk
2005-Jan-14, 10:39 PM
adding another planet&#39;s mass to a planet like Mars (say Mercury) is not possible

The concept exists for manipulating the orbits of small asteroids to affect Earth&#39;s orbit, but it would be a leap further to actually join planetary masses. Also, think of the time frame required for all the planetary collision dust to settle.

You&#39;re correct though to the extent of present technology and NASA&#39;s budjet -- it&#39;s definitely a challenge (impossible)&#33;

Astronomical Engineering: A Strategy for Modifying Planetary Orbit (http://www.disasterrelief.org/Disasters/010208hotsun/)

_C_E_L_L_
2005-Jan-18, 05:45 PM
Hello all i&#39;m new here but&#33;, Here&#39;s my thoughts :D I believe we could change the mars atmisphere to support human life but it would take millions of years before it could be with-standable like earths atmosphere. like ours, tereaformed by the dinasours and so on for millions of years. and to the other questions and replys, I believe we need to find a planet that already has a atmosphere that is already like ours, would there be life there already?Probly, There is no way in this vast galaxy-universe that there is no life other than us BAHH, there is life out there besides earth related life here, are they like us who knows, are they visiting us now who knows, if they are sooner or later they to will make a mistake and everyone will find out. heres some of my thoughts.. peace&#33;&#33;

Jakenorrish
2005-Jan-27, 01:39 PM
I think that the US government and NASA and all of us should be concentrating on putting our own house in order before we decide to colonise somewhere else anyway. The only reasons to leave here and live elsewhere would be that we were either under threat from destruction by a comet or asteroid, or (more likely) if we&#39;d made the planet inhabitable in a very short time frame through putting too much CO2 into the atmosphere.

If the US could take steps to join the Kyoto agreement like the UK, and Russia, then we&#39;re on the way. Its not the solution, but a small step in the right direction. The latest news is that within the next ten years climate change will be irreversable. Whilst learned people will argue that whether climate change is real or not I can tell you this. I&#39;m 32 years old. When I was a child, the daffodils in Wales never grew before the end of February. They are growing now in mid January, and have done for the past five years. You may mock this minor fact, but it is something I am able to prove. Our winters are warmer here than they were. Noticebly warmer.

Climate change is a harsh fact we must all face in particular the developing world and USA. Lets not go elsewhere lets sort things out on our planet first&#33;

Bobunf
2005-Jan-28, 03:25 PM
"Lets not go elsewhere lets sort things out on our planet first"

I think I&#39;d re-phrase this

If we sort thing out first, we&#39;ll never, ever go anywhere else. I think this holds true for Earth, Europe, UK, Wales, or Chepstow Castle; today, last year, last century, last millennia--or tomor-row, next year, next century, or next millennia.

If we wait till everything is all sorted out, we&#39;ll never do anything but sort.

Was everything sorted out in Africa when Homo Sapiens decided to colonize Asia and Europe? Was everything sorted out in East Asia, when these Asians decided to colonize North America; in North America when they decided to colonize South America? I don&#39;t think things are ever sorted out.

Parallel processing. That&#39;s the ticket.

Bob

spacepunk
2005-Jan-31, 04:15 PM
daffodils in Wales never grew before the end of February. They are growing now in mid January, and have done for the past five years
......Our winters are warmer here than they were. Noticebly warmer
......Climate change is a harsh fact we must all face

Objectivly speaking, it would be useful to determine if these are local or regional effects and how broad the expanse, versus if its a global phenomenom but also if part of a 50/100 or more year cycle, versus if human induced global wariming is ocurring versus again if there is a varied solar output irrespective of the other influences affecting earth&#39;s climate. Would someone be able to provide some data/studies/websites on crops now being regrown in Greenland after a lapse of a couple hundred years?

Another point is that the Earth has been warming for the past 12,000 years by some estimates and may continue to before succumbing to another ice age. That is, if one subscribes to saying that the earth will continue to follow the cyclical climate patterns of the recent millenia.

Jakenorrish
2005-Feb-01, 12:06 PM
Hi Spacepunk,

I think that many scientists are burying their heads in the sand saying &#39;well we don&#39;t know whether we&#39;re to blame for this&#33;&#39; I believe we aren&#39;t totally to blame for global warming as a whole, and that as you say the Earth goes through periods where it cools and warms for various reasons- volcanic activity, cometary impact perhaps etc.

All the evidence we have currently suggests that we have assisted in speeding up the current global warming. We are responsible for higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere as well as the CFC&#39;s which punched a hole in the ozone layer. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that we are slowing down the natural global warming process.

We can debate it for the next 20 years or act now. I for one think we should act now. It seems that each new report that comes out points towards us being responsible, so are we going to wait for the absolute concrete proof, or carry on using the &#39;Well we can&#39;t be 100% certain, so we should do nothing for now&#39;. We&#39;ll then discover that we are to blame and we should have acted when its way too late.

Bobunf
2005-Feb-06, 03:23 PM
Jakenorrish, you wrote, “We&#39;ll then discover that we are to blame and we should have acted when its [sic] way too late.”

It seems to me there are two logical fallacies to this statement:

First, if something bad is happening, what difference does it make who is to blame? If someone set a fire that was rapidly getting out of control, the possible solutions to this problem would really be entirely independent of who set the fire or why. If the Earth is warming why care if “we are to blame” or it’s the variable sun, or bad karma in the orbital parameters?

The cause does not dictate the solution. So it seems to me that the real question should be, “Is global warming really happening?” The cause may be interesting and even instructive, but really not the significant question.

The cause of an infection may be poor food handling; but the solution for the individual affected is not better refrigeration and increased attention to cleaning the cookware; but antibiotics. Cause may suggest possible solutions, but causes do not exhaust nor dictate solutions. If the cause of global warming is human activity, the solution is not necessarily a return to the Pleistocene.

The second fallacy is an ellipsis: If something changes, it that necessarily bad? The answer is obviously, No. So, before one can say, the Earth is getting warmer and we better do something about it; we need to be able to say, the Earth is getting warmer and that’s a bad thing.

There are certainly telling arguments against such a proposition. For instance,

The Earth was warmer for geologic periods many times in the past, if not most of the time; thus no great disaster awaits a warmer world.
Life, holding the amount of water constant, increases in quantity and diversity the higher the temperature, i.e.; the Earth on average is not optimally warm enough for life. Or, to be alarmist about it: The Earth is Too Cold for Life
The approaching next ice age needs to be staved off.
Many parts of the world will be better off a little warmer, such as most of Russia and Canada. Maybe the Sahara will get wetter, like it was the last time the Earth was two degrees warmer about six thousand years ago.

Obviously, if global warming is good, there’s no need for a solution. It does seem to me that rising sea levels as a consequence of global warming could be pretty undesirable, but nothing compared to an ice age. Think of all the new beachfront property.

Taking a little time to figure out this problem is probably not too dumb, because three are very serious questions for which we need deep understanding:

Is global warming occurring, and to what extent into the future? Remember meteorologists can’t tell you what the temperature will be next week, let alone in a hundred years. Climatologists can’t tell you how soon Chicago, Toronto and London will be under a kilometer of ice.

Is a warmer Earth a good thing? Or not?

What’s the cheapest, least inconvenient way to change the climate? We’ve hardly begun to research this issue. CO2 sequestration? Manipulating day and night cloud cover? A sun shade at the L1 point? Some combination of these or a hundred other possibilities?

Whose fault it is, is pretty much an irrelevancy.

So relax. Take a little time to think this through. As a bonus, a good understanding of this issue should enable us to deflect the next ice age when the time comes—by heating the Earth.

Bob

hubble
2005-Mar-30, 07:15 AM
Hmm i did not expect this debate to go into such deep lines. Because of school i have not been able to read up but now i have interesting things have come up. Mainly i am asking should we wait to destroy our race or go to mars for a far away dream of saving a once vollatile people

j0seph
2005-Mar-30, 08:05 AM
Originally posted by hubble@Mar 30 2005, 07:15 AM
Hmm i did not expect this debate to go into such deep lines. Because of school i have not been able to read up but now i have interesting things have come up. Mainly i am asking should we wait to destroy our race or go to mars for a far away dream of saving a once vollatile people
Hey, I really dont think that we are a doomed race, we have shown that we an fix most anything we screw up... we have great technical competence and we have the ability to to show compassion... now as for screwing up mars?... nah it won&#39;t happen as technology advances we will slowly trickle onto mars, creating new restrictions to protect Mars where they are needed, it will be many years before the average citizen is able to take a trip out to mars, and by then I&#39;m sure we will have eliminated our wasteful oil-dependent ways (which is the cause for most of our problems). And in your original post you said something about Terraforming.... If we someday posses the ability to Terraform a world... don&#39;t you think we would atleast have the ability to clean up a little after ourselves?

I think we will turn out just fine as long as some random astroid doesn&#39;t come wipe us out first :)

Jakenorrish
2005-Mar-30, 03:25 PM
Hi Bobunf&#33;

I think you&#39;ve done your best in a very long reply, in trying to say global warming may be a problem, but hey&#33; It wasn&#39;t me who directly caused it, so why should I care?&#33;

Whilst we can say that there is no &#39;conclusive&#39; proof that global warming is a man made phenomena or that its never happened before for other reasons, the mass consumption of fossil fuels by mankind during the industrial age has sped things up somewhat. Even the most sceptical of scientists know that this is the case from huge amounts of data available (including NASA&#39;s). There is NO evidence that current global warming has been caused by anything other than humankind, so I personally think the balance of probabilities means that it is time to act now.

You may be right, there may be no problem from man made global warming that won&#39;t eventually be counteracted by a super volcanic eruption for example. However, if I&#39;m right, and you&#39;re wrong (which is just as plausible as your opinion) Then it will all be too late. The money making nature of capitalist free market economics will have been put before the survival of mankind, and for what? We&#39;ll have no time to colonise Mars, because the effects of global warming are getting worse. The whole shebang is speeding up, not slowing down. We won&#39;t have figured our way out of this as we won&#39;t have time to escape from our planet or the situation we are facing.

All of our knowledge and ideas and research will be gone for ever, because a few greedy men in suits wanted to make as much money as possible in as short a time as possible to the detrement of mine and your environment on Earth. It all sounds very melodramatic, but so it should- this is Earth&#39;s entire future at stake, not some banal trivia to be explained away with &#39;Take a little time to think things through&#39;&#33; I&#39;ve been thinking about it for the best part of twenty years Bobunf&#33;&#33;

Kind regards as ever,

Jakenorrish. :P

Jakenorrish
2005-Mar-30, 03:38 PM
Further to my rant.....&#33;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4391835.stm

j0seph
2005-Mar-30, 03:49 PM
I don&#39;t see how anyone can come to the conculsion that our very survival is at risk because of global warming.

First off, if we keep releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at the rate we are right now, by the year 2100 - the average global temperature will have risen about 5 degrees, a significant amount of glacial ice will have melted which in turn will have risen the average global sea-level by around 15ft causing caostal communities to spend billion in protecting structures from the rising tide, the sky willl be a faded brown color and most of all, it will be hard to see the stars at night through the smog....

BUT, get this.... we will run out of fossil fuel deposites within 2035-50, all gone.... so now basically reduce those effects I listed above, in half. Not that bad is it? although, I agree we are being greedy and putting our earnings before earth, we need to stop burning fossil fuels as soon as we can, as well as somehow curve the rate at which we are consuming forests as that is basically earth&#39;s last line of defense against us.

So, what I&#39;m trying to say is, we will not DIE of global warming no matter what the cause, but we really need to figure out a better way to get what we want while allowing the earth to heal its battle wounds.

eburacum45
2005-Mar-30, 04:41 PM
Only the oil will be in serious decline by 2035-2050; there is still a couple of hundred years worth of coal in the ground, so there will still be a respectable amount of carbon going into the atmosphere for a couple more centuries.


Bobunf made some excellent points; the Earth and the biosphere will survive anthropogenic global warming, assuming it occurs, (which does seem likely); but the effect on the global human populations, GNP and coastal regions may well be severe.

We will not all die; a lot of people could become homeless and trillions of dollars could be lost in real estate; but we might be delaying an even more devastating ice age. Humanity will sink or swim, but life will go on.

Ecological degradation by overexploitation( as shown in that BBC link) has very little to do with anthropogenic CO2 production. It is a real problem, which must be addressed; but it is an entirely separate consideration.

Jakenorrish
2005-Mar-30, 08:39 PM
Hey Eburacum45

[QUOTE] the sky willl be a faded brown color and most of all, it will be hard to see the stars at night through the smog....

Good point. I for one would hate to think of my great great grandchildren not beeing able to see the next great comet.

wstevenbrown
2005-Mar-30, 08:58 PM
I think you guys have gotten off on a tangent. Yes, the globe is warming, but it isn&#39;t because of CO2. As I mentioned in an earlier rant, man&#39;s impact has been to reduce global CO2. Think about it. Because of fire departments, cropland, highways, firebreaks, railroads, and pavement generally, the fires which follow a dry season are no longer continent-sized. CO2 is a red herring-- we only pay attention to it because that phase of the carbon cycle is fairly long, because carbonate formation in rocks takes geological time, and photodissociation doesn&#39;t catch up with production by animals.

Methane is shorter-lived because it photodissociates quickly, but it is a more effective greenhouse gas. Problem is, we are maintaining it by resupply at levels many times what is &#39;natural&#39;. How? By promoting high-turnover cereal crops (instead of &#39;natural&#39; forestation or savannah), and feeding them to hugely inflated antelope populations. Yeah. The real cause is cowfarts. The species that are prospering way above predation-controlled levels include cows, buffalo, water buffalo, sheep, goats, yaks, llamas, camels, vicunas... just about anything we&#39;ve domesticated. It just seems more &#39;natural&#39; to us to buy grain-fattened antelope flesh or milk at the corner market than to go out and hunt the scraggly lean-and-mean survivalist-type ones.

I personally have no problem with the warming-- my sleepy little farm town will become a seaport, and the climate here has always been a bit chilly for my taste.

Quite aside from man&#39;s little peccadillos, the planet itself has HUGE amounts of methane stored on the continental shelves as methane clathrate-- but it&#39;s stable as long as the crust around it is stable, and as long as the mean temperature of the ocean doesn&#39;t vary by more than 3 deg C. The average deposit (as I have detailed in an earlier rant) is about the size of Connecticut, and if one such is disturbed, the water forming the clathrate simply melts, and the methane rises as bubbles to the surface. Let the greenhousing begin. Given the right sort of catastrophe (say, a really stupidly placed nuclear warhead or asteroid impact), the chain reaction could release of all of the clathrated methane on the planet. Earth becomes Venus.

We would be doing ourselves a real favor by mining this stuff for its fuel content, and turning it into nice, safe CO2. :P Best regards-- Steve

Jakenorrish
2005-Mar-31, 09:58 AM
Oh dear.

Yes we have gone off on a bit of a tangent, but that is because this is a subject that arouses people&#39;s passions.

Since the dawn of human civilisation, the atmospheric temperature has risen by less than a degree. Fact. If we don&#39;t do something about CO2 emissions (thats carbon dioxide wstevenbrown), then the scientific evidence available to us predicts an average rise of global temperatures between 1-5 degrees by 2100. As scientists we have an obligation to take this seriously and research it better. We should also do whatever we can to minimise the impact that our actions are having on our planet.

Isn&#39;t it bad enough that natural disasters can wipe out huge amounts of people without us adding to it? Will you take the same blase attitudes when hurricane force winds are ripping your house apart or when its been raining for a year and you can&#39;t see orion any more?&#33; If nothing else, please understand that I come from the standpoint of having witnessed things changing in my part of the world in a very short space of time - 32 years in fact.

I originally commented that man&#39;s actions have had a negative impact on this planet so until we can learn from that we shouldn&#39;t take our short term attitudes to Mars and pollute it too. I have yet to read anything to change my mind. Feel free to produce the evidence that says that current global warming will have no effect on my life, and that it could in fact benefit it.

All the hard evidence I read suggests that climate change will be devistating.

ironpirate
2005-Apr-09, 01:41 PM
As George Carlin said, "The Earth will probably be here long after we&#39;re gone. At any time, she could shrug and shake and wipe us out."
Sure, we make mistakes, but for man to grow and explore, we need to exploit our natural resources.
Mars, the Moon, they are there for the taking. To worry about what is or might be, is ludicrous. We need to proceed with our outward expansion. Making Mars, or the Moon, or even Pluto if it were possible, a viable, productive, and livable place carries more weight in my book.

hubble
2005-Apr-09, 11:17 PM
Our survival is not dependent on global warming but on what we do about it if many countries like they are put up prevention for poluton and such then we should be fine. But two of the most polluted countries will not do this. ........... IF we do get out of the global warming crisis then what will be done about the ever gwoing population?

Nyrath
2005-Apr-10, 01:55 AM
Originally posted by hubble@Apr 9 2005, 11:17 PM
IF we do get out of the global warming crisis then what will be done about the ever gwoing population?
What ever growing population?

http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/0...e_earth.asp?p=0 (http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/05/issue/feature_earth.asp?p=0)
"However, in the 1990s, the U.N. started taking a closer look at fertility patterns, and in 2002, it adopted a new theory that shocked many demographers: human population is leveling off rapidly, even precipitously, in developed countries, with the rest of the world soon to follow. Most environmentalists still haven’t got the word. Worldwide, birthrates are in free fall. Around one-third of countries now have birthrates below replacement level (2.1 children per woman) and sinking. Nowhere does the downward trend show signs of leveling off. Nations already in a birth dearth crisis include Japan, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Russia—whose population is now in absolute decline and is expected to be 30 percent lower by 2050. On every part of every continent and in every culture (even Mormon), birthrates are headed down. They reach replacement level and keep on dropping. It turns out that population decrease accelerates downward just as fiercely as population increase accelerated upward, for the same reason. Any variation from the 2.1 rate compounds over time."

Nereid
2005-Apr-14, 10:20 PM
Ginormous topic, good posts, much emotion, ... where to begin?

How important is a human&#39;s life? Does it matter if that human lives in the USofA or the Congo? If one&#39;s primary concern is &#39;life on Earth, any life&#39;, then (as someone in this thread said), who cares? We live in The Age of Bacteria, which has lasted at least 3.5 billion years, and will no doubt continue long after all eukaryotes are extinct.

OTOH, if one is concerned that, ~1 billion individuals of the species Homo sap. will have their life expectancy at birth reduced from ~70 years to the (long term species average) of ~40 years (or less), in a timeframe of ~one human generation, then the cause of global warming should be giving you nightmares. (won&#39;t make much difference to most folk living in Africa and Asia, except that death by starvation, war, and plague will be rather more common than hithertofore).

Terrforming Mars? Not in the lifetime of anyone reading this post&#33; Put aside your favourite scifi novels and look that plausible scenarios - where would the economic and political will come from to make the humungeous long-term investment needed to pull it off? Even the most exploitative of political system couldn&#39;t sustain the required grand-larceny-over-many-decades that would been needed.

Someone mentioned Australia - does anyone have hard data on the extent to which the economy of that country is, in essence, a drawdown of capital? Clearly all the mining (gold, coal, iron ore, oil, etc) is just that; but to what extent is agriculture there nothing more than &#39;drawing on the capital of the soil&#39;? Of course, as a modern economy, in which the services sector dominates, who cares? But wait&#33; How significant is the &#39;environment related&#39; segment of that sector (e.g. tourism)? If global warming, bye bye Great Barrier Reef?

Wouldn&#39;t it be convenient if our genetic engineers could produce a "living canopy" consisting of especially engineered microbes living and forming a "continuous mat" suspended by its buoyancy high in the martian atmosphere that would prevent or significantly impede the escape of disassociated hydrogen. If so, we could cause a comfortable atmosphere to form under and be retained by this living canopy. This biotechnology would help us to terraform the larger moons in the system as well.
Hmm, wouldn&#39;t it be simpler to &#39;terraform&#39; Antarctica and Greenland? If those millions of square km could be converted to Ohio-like cornfields, how many more billions of us Homo sap. could be fed? And surely at a cost many, many OOM less?&#33;?