MOC Observes Changes in the South Polar Cap:
Evidence for Recent Climate Change on Mars
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.
MOC images of the south polar cap taken in 1999 were compared with images of the same locations taken in 2001, and it was discovered that pits had enlarged, mesas had shrunk, and small buttes had vanished. In all, the scarps that enclose the pits and bound the mesas and buttes retreated about 3 meters (3.3 yards) in 1 martian year (687 Earth days). This rapid retreat of polar scarps can only occur if the ice is frozen carbon dioxide (also known as "dry ice"). Retreat of scarps made of water ice is much slower and would not have been measurable from one martian year to the next...
B.) DECEMBER 8, 2003
Mars Emerging from Ice Age, Data Suggest
Scientists have suspected in recent years that Mars might be undergoing some sort of global warming. New data points to the possibility it is emerging from an ice age.
NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter has been surveying the planet for nearly a full Martian year now, and it has spotted seasonal changes like the advance and retreat of polar ice. It's also gathering data of a possible longer trend.
"One explanation could be that Mars is just coming out of an ice age," Feldman said. "In some low-latitude areas, the ice has already dissipated. In others, that process is slower and hasn't reached an equilibrium yet. Those areas are like the patches of snow you sometimes see persisting in protected spots long after the last snowfall of the winter." "Odyssey is giving us indications of recent global climate change in Mars," said Jeffrey Plaut, project scientist for the mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
C.) SEPTEMBER 20, 2005.
8 Years at Mars #4: Four Mars Years of South Polar Cap Scarp Retreat
by Malin Space Science Systems
"One of the most profound discoveries that would not have been possible if the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission had not been extended beyond its 1 Mars year (687 Earth days) Primary Mission is that of dramatic changes that take place in the south polar residual ice cap each martian year. To make this discovery, the MGS Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) had to be employed during a second Mars year to repeat images of sites on the south polar cap that had been imaged during the Primary Mission."
According to a September 20 NASA news release, "for three Mars summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars' south pole have shrunk from the previous year's size, suggesting a climate change in progress." Because a Martian year is approximately twice as long as an Earth year, the shrinking of the Martian polar ice cap has been ongoing for at least six Earth years.
The shrinking is substantial. According to Michael Malin, principal investigator for the Mars Orbiter Camera, the polar ice cap is shrinking at "a prodigious rate."
"The images, documenting changes from 1999 to 2005, suggest the climate on Mars is presently warmer, and perhaps getting warmer still, than it was several decades or centuries ago," reported Yahoo News on September 20.
D.) FEBRUARY 28, 2007.
Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.
In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.
Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.
"The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," he said
The conventional theory is that climate changes on Mars can be explained primarily by small alterations in the planet's orbit and tilt, not by changes in the sun..."
Don't get me wrong here. A quick glance on Google learned me that for every version advocating Mars' global warming, you'll find another one blaming the apparent continuous receding of Mars' South Polar Cap on fluctuations in the tilt of the planet's axis, dust storms lessening its albedo (percentage of light reflected, therefore lower when more light is absorbed, e.g. by "darker" dust storms) and what not.
In that case, the global warming on Mars (OK, some would say it's local warming) would therefore be just coincidentally occur at the same time Earth heats up, and not be a result from increased Sun activity. However, studies also show that a.o. Triton (Neptune's moon), Jupiter and even Pluto experience higher temperatures. And when you then hear the same fellas claim Triton's warming may be the result of an extreme southern summer, a season "occurring every few hundred years), or that Pluto's heating up can be attributed to possible eruptive activity and/or a delayed thawing from its 1989 close approach to the Sun, or that Jupiter might be warmer because of a recurring climatic cycle that churns up material from the gas giant's interior and lofts it to the surface, where it is heated by the Sun...
...then you start to think something is stinking.
I'm all for a clean environment, and willing to do my extra bit. As a matter of fact, I pay to have my company's waste selected and processed in an eco-friendly way in my city's container park. Personally, I think that greenhouse gases may play a role in global warming, at least, I would not dismiss the possibility downright. But the hype of the past several months? Every time I see politicians jump on a propaganda vehicle offering them a cheap excuse to tax us even more, my stink radar beeps alarmingly. Especially when a socialist cunt who on a blue monday became Belgian budget minister, one of those people who like to swap us Eco-Neanderthals around the ears for trodding on Mother Earth, sees no bone in flying to Thailand only to wed some doofus from her cabinet "according to Buddhist rites".
Or when our fat soon-to-be-history (I hoooooooooope so!) Secretary of Defense flies 90 kloms in an attack helicopter from Brussels to Hasselt just to see An Inconvenient Truth.
Or when our fookin gumint considers a ... you guess it ... Gore-Tax.
Global Warming? First explain me the heating up of Mars, and in a decent way, presto. Either that dumbass who has been Prez of the US for six years now secretly built a huge defense industry on the Red Planet, spawning gazillions of tons of carbondioxice in the atmosphere, or the Sun is shining hotter. What will it be?