Friday, October 28th, 2016

Save Pluto. Stop global warming


Pluto is getting warmer.

The photos show a mottled world with a yellow-orange hut, but astronomers say it is 20 per cent more red than it used to be. At the same time its illuminated northern hemisphere is getting brighter, while the southern hemisphere has darkened.

Changing face: Scientists are baffled after new images of the surface of dwarf planet Pluto show it has become 20 per cent more red

These changes are most likely consequences of surface ice melting on the sunlit pole and then refreezing on the other pole, as the dwarf planet heads into the next phase of its 248-year-long seasonal cycle.

As Andrew “Squiggy” Squigman said, “Brrrr. It’s hot.”

But what does this mean for those of us here on Earth?

It suggests that natural cycles alone can cause unexpected and dramatic climate changes on planets. Some scientists argue global warming on Earth is more likely to have been caused by a regular 1,500-year-cycle of warming and cooling than rising carbon dioxide levels.

All planets experience climate change. Nasa scientists recorded Mars warming by 0.5C since the 1970s, which is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over the same period. In the Red Planet’s case, strong winds are thought to have stirred up giant dust storms, trapping heat and raising Mars’ temperature.

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