Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sunday Science, w/Ordnance on the Half-Shell !

In recent research stolen from the "Liberal Labs", here's an interesting article showing that a natural, recurring change in the degree of tile in the planet's access may be responsible for the occurance of Ice Ages.

The Earth's rotation axis is not perpendicular to the plane in which it orbits the Sun. It's offset by 23.5 degrees. But the angle is not constant - it is currently decreasing from a maximum of 24 degrees towards a minimum of 22.5 degrees. This variation goes in a 40,000-year cycle.

Peter Huybers of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Carl Wunsch of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology have compared the timing of the tilt variations with that of the last seven ice ages. They found that the ends of those periods - called glacial terminations - corresponded to times of greatest tilt.

"The apparent reason for this is that the annual average sunlight in the higher latitudes is greater when the tilt is at maximum," Huybers told LiveScience in a telephone interview.
More sunlight seasonally hitting polar regions would help to melt the ice sheets.

This article indicates we should be entering a new ice age; but as the expected changes are not occuring, human factors (ie: warming) may be a contributing factor. Time to supersize those SUV's, folks, because the ice age will not stop by itself!

Next up is this related study showing that changes in ocean currents were a reaction to, and did not cause, ice ages . Here they state as a matter of fact:

Ice ages are driven by changes in the amount of heat that arrives at the poles from the sun.

..which would seem to validate the first article. Maybe enviornmental groups would do better to look at the forest, instead of just focusing on a few trees.

I wasn't kidding about this info being lifted from "the liberal files"; I got them via Crystalinks, , kind of a new-age clearinghouse linking to various events of interest to editor "Ellie". Everything from Earth Science and Sunspot Meters to UFO's over Stonehedge, Ellie has something (including an inspirational message or two) for everyone. Just for giggles, also see:

Stone Age Erotica Found
Conspiracy Page (alright, not as funny)

Finally, in the "only in New Jersey" files; the Asbury Park Press reports in an editorial entitled "Ordnance on the Half-Shell", they inform us that:

...the Army Corps of Engineers has issued warnings that some processed clamshells were found to contain unexploded World War I-era ordnance from munition dumpings off the Atlantic coast.

Hand and rifle grenades, mortar rounds and even cannon shells were traced back through a trucking outfit to a company that makes canned clams. That company is now scanning incoming harvests of clams with metal detecting equipment.

There's that Homeland Security for you!

UPDATE April22nd: The Glaciers are retreating, but apparently it's more than global warming :

Although higher air temperatures are a factor, they say, the full picture may go beyond just simple global warming...This study demonstrates the enormous importance of gathering long-term data.

I love they way global warming was one of those scientific absolutes among the liberal community; yeah, as if you can figure out global temperature patterns on a four billion year old planet just by saying, "but..but... this is the second straight hot summer!"

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