Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Tuesday, 23 June 2009


A new study, reported on ScienceDaily, which was able to reconstruct carbon-dioxide levels in the sharpest detail ever and over a much longer period than any previous one, shows that the peak average over the past 2.1 million years has been 280 parts per million--which was the level before human activity raised it to its present level of 385ppm.

Another study on ScienceDaily shows that glaciers can vanish in a geological eyeblink.

Not a pleasant conjunction of studies. Yet all the fools who run the world can think of as the Arctic melts away is that they will now be able to get at the oil and gas beneath it.

And fools of the same breed are excited about a new technique that will enable the human race to extract even more fossil fuels--folly fuels--from the earth.

Monday, 15 June 2009


A report in ScienceDaily cites a new study showing that Greenland's ice-sheet is melting faster than expected, and is contributing up to 25% of the global rise in ocean levels.

The oceans are now rising 3mm a year, and Greenland has been contributing about 0.7mm of that since 1995. About 265 cubic kilometres of ice have been lost each year.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


From the American Association for the Advancement of Science: 'The idea that we are already committed to a certain amount of surface air temperature increase and sea-level rise over the coming century, even if we could immediately halt all CO2 emissions, has become well known in scientific and science policy circles. The longer-term outlook is less well understood. Eby et al. use a complex, coupled climate-carbon cycle model to investigate how long anthropogenic climate change will persist as a function of how high the concentration of atmospheric CO2 rises. They calculate how long it will take for half of the total emissions to be removed from the atmosphere, what the maximum global average sea surface temperature increase will be, and how long it will take for 80% of that sea surface thermal anomaly to decay. The results suggest that atmospheric CO2 can persist at high concentrations for several thousand years, and that sea surface temperature increases can last many times longer than that. It looks, then, like we are in this for the long haul.'