Bigger problems than global warming – NASA discovers 8 new dangerous near Earth asteroids

Bigger problems than global warming – NASA discovers 8 new dangerous near Earth asteroids (2015-01-19i). Red Alert! Anthony Watts wants us to know about Eric Worrall’s shocking discovery that there’s something we should all really be worried about! Meteors! Meteorites? NEOs? Stop worrying about so-called climate change (which is already affecting everyone on Earth and will steadily increase in impact) and start worrying about meteors, which may or may not strike the Earth and would have effectively no prolonged climate influence.

“[T]he risk of a damaging meteor impact is not a possibility which should be neglected” says Eric. Somehow Eric’s caution doesn’t extend to the undeniable (except by, you know, denialists) fact that man’s industrial activity is already measurably altering Earth’s climate in a negative way. That should be neglected as well as vigorously denied.

Riiiiight.

Eric also manages to throw in a heaping plate of sneering at NASA for the work they’ve done to study the risks posed by Near Earth Objects while being careful not to explain that low funding for the work is because of cost-cutting anti-science Republicans.

Eric’s apparent belief that satellites should be able to refuel as easily and often as the average family sedan is just cute.

 I’m mildly horrified that a project this important appears to be so far down the list of priorities, that the project was mothballed for a year while the survey satellite stood waiting for a refuel.

Buy why are political cranks like Eric and Anthony bothered with public safety? Surely all handsome, virile, brilliant, libertarians will have made their own personal arrangements to either leave the planet for an extended vacation or activated their bunker networks. Anyone unable to do the same surely deserves what they get!

P.S. Does Eric Worrall actually rely on The Register for breaking scientific news?

Quick, somebody slap a carbon tax on this new planet

Quick, somebody slap a carbon tax on this new planet. Oh, I see what you did there, Anthony. You used a completely un-related NASA astronomy news report to make fun of carbon taxes! That is so clever! It’s like you’ve jumped all the way to Class Clown with a rank of Grade Six!

Is your headline the only thought you had? Apparently yes.

NASA discovery: solar storms don’t always travel in straight lines

NASA discovery: solar storms don’t always travel in straight lines. Anthony Watts posts another NASA news report, Solar Storms can Change Directions, Surprising Forecasters. A 2008 coronal mass ejection (CME) was observed by NASA’s STEREO-A and STEREO–B spacecraft. The researchers speculate that CME’s follow the sun’s curving magnetic field until they get swept up by the solar wind. The paper by Byrne et al, Propagation of an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection in three dimensions, is in the Sept. 21, 2010 issue of Nature Communications.

The Dec. 12, 2008 coronal mass ejection observed by STEREO. Source: NASA.

I guess Anthony thinks this report is helpful in suggesting that a) we don’t know anything about that big fiery ball in the sky, and b) them scientists are going to change their minds anyway, so don’t bother listening to them.

Where the particulates are (and aren’t)

Where the particulates are (and aren’t). NASA posts a press release (New Map Offers a Global View of Health-Sapping Air Pollution) about an estimate of the global distribution of fine particulate matter, and talks about efforts to assess the health risks these particles pose. Anthony Watts decides it’s all just dust (natural!).

Global Particulate Matter (<2.5μm) Distribution

Satellite-derived map of particulate matter (<2.5μm) distribution averaged over 2001-2006. Source: Dalhousie University.

Donkelaar and Randall Martin published Global Estimates of Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations from Satellite-Based Aerosol Optical Depth: Development and Application in Environmental Health Perspectives. They combined data from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) on NASA’s Terra satellite and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on both NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites.

Why the random grousing about random NASA research, Anthony? Just some kind of reflexive urge? The commenters join in with a chorus of “scare tactics!”

CO2 Optical Illusion

CO2 Optical Illusion. Steven Goddard is nothing if not stubborn. He still thinks that graphics editors can be used to prove that Global Warming is a lie. NASA’s Earth Observatory image of the day has him all riled up.

Here he once again mangles legitimate scientific images and then counts pixels to prove… something. Although he admits that “This is not a perfect equal area projection – so the pixel count method is not 100% accurate” it doesn’t stop him from speaking from the mountaintop. He declares that “5% more pixels were below normal than were above normal” but ignores the unreported areas (most of India and China) that almost all lie within hotter than normal regions.

Pixels, eh Steven? I think you’re actually looking at pixies. I suppose it makes a change from arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Earth’s thermosphere collapses – film at 11

Layers of Earth's upper atmosphere. Credit: John Emmert/NRL.

Earth’s thermosphere collapses – film at 11: NASA releases a news report on how the thermosphere (the top 500K of Earth’s atmosphere) is affected by solar activity. This is Anthony Watts’ excuse to revive the hoary bogus claim that climate change is all driven by the sun and will swing back no matter what humans do. Also, NASA are a bunch of ‘Chicken Littles’, always worrying about things. Don’t ever listen to them!

Too bad these fluctuations (the “collapses” are the result of upper atmosphere cooling triggered by lower solar activity) don’t mirror anything that’s happening to Earth’s climate. If you want to get technical, the historical patterns suggest that last decade of declining solar activity should have been accompanied by minor global cooling, not record warming…

The paper that NASA’s summary is derived from is: Emmert, J. T., J. L. Lean, and J. M. Picone (2010), Record-low thermospheric density during the 2008 solar minimum, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L12102.

Of course Anthony also highlights the NASA author’s e-mail address for easy harassment.