Nasa calls out climate change deniers on Facebook

Nasa had to tell a climate change denier that actually, fossil fuels aren't cooling the planet

Doug Bolton@DougieBolton
Friday 15 April 2016 10:51
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Kennedy Space Centre, Nasa's launch facility
Kennedy Space Centre, Nasa's launch facility

Nasa has taken time out from its usual work of exploring the galaxy to call out climate change deniers on Facebook.

Nasa's comments were posted underneath an update from popular science educator Bill Nye, who posted an article about climate change denier Marc Morano refusing Nye's $20,000 (£14,000) bet that the planet will keep getting hotter.

One user, Fer Morales, took issue with the article's assertion that human emissions are causing the planet to warm, writing: "Riiiiight, despite Nasa confirming that fossil fuels are actually cooling the planet's temperature, and that there's more ice than in the last century in the polar caps. And the fact that so-called rises of the sea levels have not materialised, and that any real scientist doesn't back up man-made climate change at all, since it's a cycle that has existed even before we did."

Seemingly out of nowhere, Nasa's climate change department showed up, putting Morales' comments to bed by writing: "Do not misrepresent Nasa. Fossil fuels are not cooling the planet."

Morales' erroneous views seem to come from a 2015 Nasa study which found that some aerosols released by burning fossil fuels can temporarily cool localised areas, since they reflect some of the Sun's radiation away from the Earth before they disperse.

However, the same study also asserted that the carbon dioxide released during the burning of fossil fuels contributes to global warming - aerosols may cool small areas temporarily, but they're not enough to cancel out the wider effects of CO2.

Not satisfied with correcting one scientifically illiterate climate change denier, Nasa continued elsewhere in the comments section. Denying accusations they "fudge" climate change numbers, the agency said: "All data requires statistical adjustments to remove bias."

"Temperatures are adjusted to coordinate time of day, remove the urban heat island effect, account for station moves, etc. This is all very clearly documented. These adjustments are performed to make the data more accurate."

Climate scientists often have to battle with the misconception that most global warming data is conflicted, or that scientists disagree on the true causes of climate change.

NASA wants to grow potatoes on Mars

Governmental and academic climate agencies from around the world, including the UK Met Office and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, all have extensive proof that global temperatures have risen in the last few centuries, and a recent meta-study from Michigan Technological University found that 97 per cent of climate researchers believe these rises are down to human activity.

However, Nasa might need to write a few more Facebook comments before climate change denialism goes away completely.

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