Russian Astronomer re/global warming: It’s the Sun


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

MARCH 2, 2007

Russian Astronomer Cites Global Warming On Mars, Doubts Man-Made Climate Change 
on Earth

Charles Ganske

Mars is heating up at the same time as Earth

A Russian astronomer may have declared his own "inconvenient truth" for 
advocates of man-made climate change this week. According to Habibullo 
Abdussamatov, head of the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg, 
polar ice caps on the planet Mars are melting, and the Red Planet is 
experiencing a warming trend at the same time as the Earth. Abdussamatov cites 
this is evidence that solar radiation is the main cause of global warming.

Scientists who support the view that human beings are responsible for global 
warming have dismissed Abdussamatov's claims. In their view, the Martian heat 
wave is caused by changes in the Red Planet's rotation on its axis rather than 
more solar radiation. "His [Abdussamatov's] views are completely at odds with 
the mainstream scientific opinion," said Colin Wilson, a planetary physicist at 
England's Oxford University.

Last month the world media was quick to trumpet the findings of the United 
Nations International Panel on Climate Change, which concluded that human beings
were to blame for global warming and that governments urgently needed to take 
action to curtail carbon dioxide emissions. It will be interesting to see how 
much coverage Dr. Abdussamatov's dissenting view receives.

UPDATE: Click here to read a World Politics Watch article about other Russian 
scientists views of global climate change and whether or not human beings are 
the driving force behind it.

Click on the extened post to read the full National Geographic article.

Group photo of scientists from the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. 

Original Article

Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says

Kate Ravilious for National Geographic News
February 28, 2007

Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet's recent climate
changes have a natural‹and not a human- induced‹cause, according to one 
scientist's controversial theory.

Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of 
climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse 
gases into the atmosphere.

Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.

In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that
the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for 
three summers in a row.

Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical 
Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global 
warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.

"The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," he 

Solar Cycles

Abdussamatov believes that changes in the sun's heat output can account for 
almost all the climate changes we see on both planets.

Mars and Earth, for instance, have experienced periodic ice ages throughout 
their histories.

"Man-made greenhouse warming has made a small contribution to the warming seen 
on Earth in recent years, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar 
irradiance," Abdussamatov said.

By studying fluctuations in the warmth of the sun, Abdussamatov believes he can 
see a pattern that fits with the ups and downs in climate we see on Earth and 

Abdussamatov's work, however, has not been well received by other climate 

"His views are completely at odds with the mainstream scientific opinion," said 
Colin Wilson, a planetary physicist at England's Oxford University.

"And they contradict the extensive evidence presented in the most recent IPCC 
[Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report." (Related: "Global Warming 
'Very Likely' Caused by Humans, World Climate Experts Say" [February 2, 2007].)

Amato Evan, a climate scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, added 
that "the idea just isn't supported by the theory or by the observations."

Planets' Wobbles

The conventional theory is that climate changes on Mars can be explained 
primarily by small alterations in the planet's orbit and tilt, not by changes in
the sun.

"Wobbles in the orbit of Mars are the main cause of its climate change in the 
current era," Oxford's Wilson explained. (Related: "Don't Blame Sun for Global 
Warming, Study Says" [September 13, 2006].)

All planets experience a few wobbles as they make their journey around the sun. 
Earth's wobbles are known as Milankovitch cycles and occur on time scales of 
between 20,000 and 100,000 years.

These fluctuations change the tilt of Earth's axis and its distance from the sun
and are thought to be responsible for the waxing and waning of ice ages on 

Mars and Earth wobble in different ways, and most scientists think it is pure 
coincidence that both planets are between ice ages right now.

"Mars has no [large] moon, which makes its wobbles much larger, and hence the 
swings in climate are greater too," Wilson said.

No Greenhouse

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block in Abdussamatov's theory is his dismissal of
the greenhouse effect, in which atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide help 
keep heat trapped near the planet's surface.

He claims that carbon dioxide has only a small influence on Earth's climate and 
virtually no influence on Mars.

But "without the greenhouse effect there would be very little, if any, life on 
Earth, since our planet would pretty much be a big ball of ice," said Evan, of 
the University of Wisconsin.

Most scientists now fear that the massive amount of carbon dioxide humans are 
pumping into the air will lead to a catastrophic rise in Earth's temperatures, 
dramatically raising sea levels as glaciers melt and leading to extreme weather 

Abdussamatov remains contrarian, however, suggesting that the sun holds 
something quite different in store.

"The solar irradiance began to drop in the 1990s, and a minimum will be reached 
by approximately 2040," Abdussamatov said. "It will cause a steep cooling of the
climate on Earth in 15 to 20 years."

Posted by Charles Ganske on March 2, 2007 12:30 PM | Permalink

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