The planet Mars is undergoing significant global warming, new data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) show, lending support to many climatologists' claims that the Earth's modest warming during the past century is due primarily to a recent upsurge in solar energy.
Martian Ice Shrinking Dramatically
According to a September 20 NASA news release, "for three Mars summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars' south pole have shrunk from the previous year's size, suggesting a climate change in progress." Because a Martian year is approximately twice as long as an Earth year, the shrinking of the Martian polar ice cap has been ongoing for at least six Earth years.
The shrinking is substantial. According to Michael Malin, principal investigator for the Mars Orbiter Camera, the polar ice cap is shrinking at "a prodigious rate."
"The images, documenting changes from 1999 to 2005, suggest the climate on Mars is presently warmer, and perhaps getting warmer still, than it was several decades or centuries ago," reported Yahoo News on September 20. *snip*
"The number of significant temperature forcings on the climate system grows yearly as we get to know more and more about it, but we really are at a very early stage of our exploration of this very complex system," Murray noted. "If all the estimates are true about the relative effects of forcings like the sun, black carbon, and greenhouse gases, then it is quite possible that we would have been in a sharply cooling phase over recent years were it not for these forcings. In which case, one might say, thank goodness for global warming!"