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December 12, 2006

Global Warming: It's Fan-Tastic

Fossils of a baby pleicosaur, kind of a Loch Ness Monster, were found in Antarctica:

Plesiosaurs lived for millions of years in the then-warm southern ocean surrounding Antarctica, with adults growing as large as 9.75-metres long. With diamond-shaped fins they could “fly” through the water much as penguins do now.

The U.S. National Science Foundation said researchers battled freezing conditions and 110-kilometre-an-hour winds in recovering the fossil, which was too heavy to be carried out and had to be moved by helicopter.

Remember, though, it is the warmest now than it has ever been, ever, ever, everever-ever.

And global warming now, it seems, threatens us, even from the heavens themselves. See, global warming may help polute even outer space, by keeping "space junk" aloft for longer.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Human increases in carbon dioxide emissions are thinning the Earth's outer atmosphere, making it easier to keep the space station aloft but prolonging the life of dangerous space debris, scientists said on Monday.

"It's a bit of a two-edge sword," said Stanley Solomon, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. "In the future, it will be a little bit easier to keep the space station, for instance, in orbit. It will need a little bit less fuel."

"On the other hand, it will give space junk a much longer lifetime," he told the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

Solomon is the co-author of a study presented on Monday that found man's burning of fossil fuels and increase of carbon dioxide emissions will make the Earth's outer atmosphere above 62 miles 3 percent less dense by 2017. The study found a decrease of about 5 percent between 1970 and 2000.

Although scientists say that carbon dioxide contributes to global warming closer to Earth's surface, in the thinner outer atmosphere where space craft orbit, a cooling effect takes place. Solar activity also impacts the outer atmosphere.

As this outermost region becomes less dense, it produces less drag on satellites, space craft and tens of thousands of pieces of discarded space debris from previous missions orbiting at about 250 miles from Earth's surface.

"These objects are now experiencing less drag proportionally than they did 30 years ago," Solomon said.

Um, I'm not really sure how it's a "two-edged sword" that space trash will remain in space, rather than crashing back to earth, for a longer period of time.

Except that maybe Iron Eyes Cody will one day be resurrected and sent into orbit and cry his famous tears over the derelict satellites polluting his beloved magnetosphere.

Every global warming story has to have the required chill for the reader. Even if it's absolutely fucking stupid.

Oh... And a nuclear war would still lead to nuclear winter and crop failures and mass starvations and other things of this nature, too.

Correction: I meant "Iron Eyes Cody," of course.

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posted by Ace at 02:52 PM

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