The results of a University of Illinois survey of scientists include the following:
- 90% of the scientists surveyed agreed that global temperatures have risen compared to levels from before 1800.
- 82% agreed that human activity been a significant factor in this increase of mean global temperatures.
- 97% of climatologists surveyed agreed with anthropogenic global warming (AGW).
- At the other end of the spectrum, only 47% of petroleum geologists agreed with this.
The researchers chose scientists listed in the the American Geological Institute’s Directory of Geoscience Departments, 2007 edition.
Geologists in general have been more skeptical about AGW than have other scientists, though I’ve noticed a considerable shift on this in publications of the Geological Society of America and the American Geological Institute. Two reasons for this skepticism that have been proposed are:
- A deep historical perspective. Geologists know that Earth’s climate has fluctuated throughout its history by purely natural means, and that a number of factors have caused this, including changing brightness of the sun, changing oceanic circulation patterns, plate tectonics, and cyclical variations of Earth’s orbit. The Quaternary Period, i.e. the past 1.8 million years, has had an especially variable climate, with long glacial maximum periods, punctuated by interglacial periods, such as the one we live in now.
- The close association of geology to the fossil fuel industries. Perhaps there is something psychological here, with a denial that the oil, gas, and coal that we are so closely tied to are the cause of something bad.
I think it is significant that 97% of climatologists surveyed believe global warming is real and that humans have been a significant factor in this. But climatologists will continue to need the input of geologists to gain a fuller understanding of how Earth’s climate works, in both the short term and long term.
Grace and Peace
NASA’s Image of the Day Gallery has a concept of what the next lunar rover will look like:
Here’s the description from NASA:
NASA’s Next Generation Moon Rover
In the year 2020, NASA will be back on the moon. This time NASA will explore thousands of miles of the moon’s surface with individual missions lasting six months or longer. Just as we did during the Apollo program, NASA will be developing new concepts and technologies that also will benefit life on Earth.
One concept that is in NASA’s current plans is a Lunar Electric Rover. This small pressurized rover is about the size of a pickup truck (with 12 wheels) and can house two astronauts for up to 14 days with sleeping and sanitary facilities. It is designed to require little or no maintenance, be able to travel thousands of miles climbing over rocks and up 40 degree slopes during its ten-year life exploring the harsh surface of the moon. The rover frame was developed in conjunction with an off-road race truck team and was field tested in the desert Southwest by driving on rough lava.
Grace and Peace