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Earth Space Science

Global Warming Felt By Space Junk and Satellites 224

An anonymous reader writes in with a story about another side effect of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. "Rising carbon dioxide levels at the edge of space are apparently reducing the pull that Earth's atmosphere has on satellites and space junk, researchers say. The findings suggest that man made increases in carbon dioxide might be having effects on the Earth that are larger than expected, scientists added... in the highest reaches of the atmosphere, carbon dioxide can actually have a cooling effect. The main effects of carbon dioxide up there come from its collisions with oxygen atoms. These impacts excite carbon dioxide molecules, making them radiate heat. The density of carbon dioxide is too thin above altitudes of about 30 miles (50 kilometers) for the molecules to recapture this heat. Cooling the upper atmosphere causes it to contract, exerting less drag on satellites."
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Global Warming Felt By Space Junk and Satellites

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  • Faulty headline (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @06:14AM (#41955047)

    So global warming has nothing to do with it? It's all about the carbon dioxide buildup?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @06:26AM (#41955091)

    That's because you like a number of people think that CLIMATE CHANGE only causes warming. It causes a rougher cycle of warmer highs and colder lows. Overall it causes the planet to warm, but the effects felt are not always to warm.

    On the other hand, if this might effect american's TV channels perhaps we can get the majority of people in the US to start believing in science....

    Ok maybe not, but a boy can hope.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @06:27AM (#41955095)

    Does it really surprise you that CO2 reduces the temperature away from the surface of the planet? Cannot you see that is energetically required for the planet to increase in temperature due to the greenhouse effect?

    No (of course you can see this). You have simply turned off your brain because you do not want to believe in something. Please: stop talking before you stop thinking.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @06:58AM (#41955165)


    In other words, this is yet more evidence of AGW.

    Umm, no.

    Strictly speaking, it's just evidence of more CO2 in the upper levels of Earth's atmosphere.

    Of course, you are free to leap to conclusions...

  • Re:less drag? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gagol ( 583737 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @07:45AM (#41955283)
    You forgot to factor in gravity and density.
  • by cryptolemur ( 1247988 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:04AM (#41955347)
    You are right, and we have all suffocated!! Or, maybe you are not right...
  • Re:Faulty headline (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tgd ( 2822 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:38AM (#41955449)

    No, no, no... we are quibbling as much about the actual cause as we quibble about semantics... and if we can't quibble about those things, we'll quibble about the effects. And during all those shenanigans, we're playing the blame-game.

    You didn't really think this was about identifying and solving a problem, did you?

    Joe six-pack, politicians and the media are quibbling about those things. There aren't any scientists trained in relevant fields who are, about the cause, semantics, or effects unless they're doing so for money or a bizarre reaction to "publish-or-perish".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:17AM (#41955559)

    Why is it even relevant? What if there is a naturally occuring global climate change that will make this planet inhabitable for humans? Should we just let it happen becasue it is "natural"?

    Oh wait, I tend to forget that the cause, the problem and the solution was decided upon even before the research was done.

  • Very good point but I wouldn't say "never mind CO2." I'd say it's an equally big problem.

  • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:31AM (#41955623)

    It's about "net production". Nature's net production of CO2 is nearly zero and currently over long periods it's slightly negative. Humanity's CO2 production is almost entirely net positive, we sequester very little CO2, so we are increasing the CO2 level in the atmosphere. It may represent only a small amount of the total carbon in the atmosphere each year but we're putting all of the extra CO2 into it.

    It's a like a guy standing by a half-filled swimming pool with a hose pouring water into the swimming pool. While we can't show that any particular molecule of H2O came from his hose, we can observe that the water level is rising and few people would doubt that the reason the level is rising because of the hose pouring water into the pool.

    If there are 720 gigatons of carbon in the atmosphere and humans add 10 gigations of carbon a year, you should be able to figure out roughly how long it takes to double it.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:35AM (#41955653) Homepage Journal

    There is an utter lack of explanation for this extra CO2. Humans don't produce that much CO2 relative to nature each year

    Citation needed. Have fun, because you're dead wrong. For example, we produce on average two orders of magnitude more CO2 than volcanism. Are you getting paid to spout this shit, or are you telling lies for free? That's not a very good deal.

  • by DiamondGeezer ( 872237 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:46AM (#41955715) Homepage
    Please prove that the commenter was bribed by the oil industry, that there exists any attempt by oil industry companies and that any money is on the table. I want receipts, invoices or funding statements in company records. Otherwise you're just full of shit.
  • by Bigby ( 659157 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:58AM (#41955781)

    No, he is saying something more like "lung cancer doesn't cause second hand smoke". Because the title would read something like:

    Lung Cancer Affects Health Of Those Around You

  • by fatphil ( 181876 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:06AM (#41955831) Homepage
    Liquids and gasses are very different beasts. One has enough intermolecular forces to bind the molecules into an effectively incompressible mass, the other hasn't, and has components that only interact with each other through random collisions. You're comparing apples to class III orange stars.
  • by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:14AM (#41955901)

    >Please prove that the commenter was bribed by the oil industry, that there exists any attempt by oil industry companies and that any money is on the table. I want receipts, invoices or funding statements in company records. Otherwise you're just full of shit.

    Of course, because it's standard practise for companies to keep careful, public accounting records of illegal or deceitful activities (paying shills is sometimes the former and always the latter).

  • by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:24AM (#41956437)
    Not really. GW is caused by conversion of high energy photons (light) into low energy photons (heat). If CO2 increases this conversion rate, then the result should be increased warmth at all levels of the atmosphere where increased concentrations of CO2 are present. This observation throws the fundamental axion of AGW into doubt--something I have been talking about for some time, as the heat capacity of CO2 is slightly below the average of other atmospheric gases, meaning that an increased fraction of CO2 should cause very minor cooling rather than warming. This article (or summary) seems to imply that this is the case. If there is global warming going on, it is likely to be from a different source than CO2 (I propose water vapor as the primary driver, as it's continuous output rise matches the slow rise in CO2 over relevant time scales, but I am open to alternative hypotheses). If that is the case, then REJOICE, because if we can find it, we can fix it. CO2 is the only one that we can't fix without a radical overhaul of worldwide energy infrastructure (which we would still benefit from, but which should be motivated by economic concerns rather than the threat of impending doom).
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:22PM (#41957145) Homepage Journal

    Consumption of vegetation by animals & microbes accounts for about 220 gigatonnes of CO2 per year

    And consumption of CO2 by vegetation accounts for what? Here's a hint, plants are made almost entirely out of carbon, and almost all of the carbon comes from the atmosphere. Rainforests produce about as much CO2 as they consume, their "job" is to filter. But other types are carbon sinks. And the ocean is a net carbon sink; it takes in CO2 from the air, which makes the ocean more acidic. It's fixed out from the ocean primarily by reaction with subaquatic limestone. It's disingenuous in the extreme to discuss CO2 production of the ocean or of vegetation without simultaneously discussing the fixing of CO2 in the ocean or by vegetation, or foolish in the extreme to believe it when someone else does it.

  • Uh huh. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:42PM (#41957373)

    So a tiny scrap of sample data is enough to make a grandiose statement.

    Note to the wise: Any big, popular theory heralded by the emotionally over-active and therefore biased public is always going to be overlooking several key pieces of information.

    Things are a-changing, no doubt, but the forces involved are much bigger than these ego-centric thinkers can contain in their limted, "socially aware" minds.

    Bring up the fact that the environments on the other planets in our solar system are also undergoing observable changes, link [] and you get spittle in your face. Also bring up the fact that Carbon Taxes would benefit the same elites who currently run the oil/banking cartels, and you get blank stares.

    We know that science is corrupt; there are many hundreds of instances, dozens of which have been reported on this very site, but few are willing to concede that this problem might be affecting this particular sacred cow of the research spectrum, where there is arguably more at stake than nearly any other.

    I'm not saying that pollution isn't a problem, but it's just one part of a much larger puzzle. I see the situation being spun by the psychopathic element of our world's leadership to their own advantage, using emotionalism to shut down the rational centers of the populace.

    There's a giant con job going down, and very few of us are willing to question its basic premises.

  • by SleazyRidr ( 1563649 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:45PM (#41957423)

    Well, to be completely accurate, it's raining, but there's a drain that's only big enough for the rainwater to drain out. When the man comes along with his hose (it doesn't have to be a big hose, we can be patient) he breaks the equilibrium and it starts to rise.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal