Friday, April 06, 2007

Wow . . . two subjects I'm passionately interested in -- Mars and climate change -- rolled into one!

Dust Storms Fuel Global Warming on Mars

Across the past two decades, the model showed the surface temperature of Mars has increased by about 0.65 degrees Celsius (1.17 degrees Fahrenheit).

'That magnitude of change is comparable to what we've estimated for global warming on Earth over the last 100 years,' said study participant Paul Geissler of the USGS.

The model also found that winds have strengthened over regions with the lowest albedo.

There's a strange symmetry at work here: if Earth becomes intolerably hot within the next 100-200 years, we might discover that Mars has taken the first steps toward effectively terraforming itself, making it that much more important in terms of human settlement. Ironically, our trashing of Earth's climate may hasten our first efforts to colonize Mars, thereby helping to ensure the human legacy isn't wiped out in some quite unguessable orgy of destruction.