Snowball Mars?

Guest “have rock hammer, will travel” by David Middleton

Early Mars was covered in ice sheets, not flowing rivers


Aug 3, 2020    |   For more information, contact Sachintha Wickramasinghe

A large number of the valley networks scarring Mars’s surface were carved by water melting beneath glacial ice, not by free-flowing rivers as previously thought, according to new UBC research published today in Nature Geoscience. The findings effectively throw cold water on the dominant “warm and wet ancient Mars” hypothesis, which postulates that rivers, rainfall and oceans once existed on the red planet.

To reach this conclusion, lead author Anna Grau Galofre, former PhD student in the department of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences, developed and used new techniques to examine thousands of Martian valleys. She and her co-authors also compared the Martian valleys to the subglacial channels in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and uncovered striking similarities.

“For the last 40 years, since Mars’s valleys were first discovered, the assumption was that rivers once flowed on Mars, eroding and originating all of these valleys,” says Grau Galofre. “But there are hundreds of valleys on Mars, and they look very different from each other. If you look at Earth from a satellite you see a lot of valleys: some of them made by rivers, some made by glaciers, some made by other processes, and each type has a distinctive shape. Mars is similar, in that valleys look very different from each other, suggesting that many processes were at play to carve them.”

The similarity between many Martian valleys and the subglacial channels on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic motivated the authors to conduct their comparative study. “Devon Island is one of the best analogues we have for Mars here on Earth—it is a cold, dry, polar desert, and the glaciation is largely cold-based,” says co-author Gordon Osinski, professor in Western University’s department of earth sciences and Institute for Earth and Space Exploration.


Grau Galofre’s theory also helps explain how the valleys would have formed 3.8 billion years ago on a planet that is further away from the sun than Earth, during a time when the sun was less intense. “Climate modelling predicts that Mars’ ancient climate was much cooler during the time of valley network formation,” says Grau Galofre, currently a SESE Exploration Post-doctoral Fellow at Arizona State University. “We tried to put everything together and bring up a hypothesis that hadn’t really been considered: that channels and valleys networks can form under ice sheets, as part of the drainage system that forms naturally under an ice sheet when there’s water accumulated at the base.”

These environments would also support better survival conditions for possible ancient life on Mars. A sheet of ice would lend more protection and stability of underlying water, as well as providing shelter from solar radiation in the absence of a magnetic field—something Mars once had, but which disappeared billions of years ago.


The University of British Columbia

The article features this collage of Mars’ Maumee valleys (top) and Devon Island (bottom):

Collage showing Mars’s Maumee valleys (top half) superimposed with channels on Devon Island in Nunavut (bottom half). The shape of the channels, as well as the overall network, appears almost identical. Credit: Cal-Tech CTX mosaic and MAXAR/Esri.

Interesting hypothesis… It actually may explain Mars’ sedimentary geology better than the current generally accepted hypothesis of a warm-wet Mars 3.0 to 3.8 billion years ago. Sounds like an awesome field trip!

Unfortunately, the paper is pay-walled.


Grau Galofre, A., Jellinek, A.M. & Osinski, G.R. Valley formation on early Mars by subglacial and fluvial erosion. Nat. Geosci. (2020).

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via Watts Up With That?

August 4, 2020 at 04:05PM

China’s natural disasters continue – Video

Snow in mid-summer and more heavy rain (beginning last night) for already inundated areas. Possible food crisis.

Areas in Eastern China were evacuated over typhoon warnings, and it could impact parts of Zhejiang, Fujian, Shanghai, and elsewhere. Chinese state media reports that the Ministry of Emergency Management warned of heavy rains in parts of southern China from August 1 to August 6.

Meanwhile, problems with the quality of Chinese corn already in storage is deepening concerns about a possible food crisis in China.

Snow in mid-summer

The commentator is also worried about the snow at the end of July. Snow in mid-summer has been deeply, almost mystically, concerning to the Chinese since at least 1300 AD.

I’m not sure it was snow. I think it may have been graupel. Graupel is soft hail or snow pellets formed when supercooled water droplets collect and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm (0.08–0.20 inch) balls of rime. And according to Wikipedia, rime is frost formed on cold objects by the rapid freezing of water vapor in cloud or fog.

Either way, if the Chinese peasants believe it was snow, it is deeply symbolic.

The post China’s natural disasters continue – Video appeared first on Ice Age Now.

via Ice Age Now

August 4, 2020 at 02:43PM

Resisting the PC “Karens”

Resisting the PC “Karens”

In the social media is has become common to refer to someone who scolds or punishes you for your behavior as “Karen being Karen.” It started with a stereotype of arrogant entitled white women who put down others lacking their privileged refinement. Since the return of the BLM movement many are using the label for a racist tone dismissive of white people generally.

Leaving aside the racist connotation, I am focusing on the Karen role of enforcing politically correct behavior. For example, consider the recent Central Park incident in which a woman called Amy Cooper called the cops on a black man called Christian Cooper (no relation) and claimed that he was harassing her when in truth he was reprimanding her for letting her dog off its leash in a part of the park where you’re not meant to do that. Amy behaved badly in this incident. But as Robert A George argued in the New York Daily News: ‘[Christian] is the “Karen” in this encounter, deciding to enforce park rules unilaterally and to punish “intransigence” ruthlessly.’ Amy Cooper’s life has been shattered by this Karen-shaming incident: she lost her job and her dog.

Regardless of racial or gender identity, the “Karenness Quality” is this self-righteous public shaming of others for not behaving according to Karen’s Rules. For example, note the flip-flop of the mayor of Olympia, Washington. She was fine with the Black Lives Matter protests that followed George Floyd’s death in police custody. But that was until vandals damaged her home, according to reports. Changing her mind about the BLM protests when she was damaged personally, Mayor Cheryl Selby of Olympia now refers to the protests as “domestic terrorism,” according to The Olympian. “I’m really trying to process this,” Selby told the newspaper Saturday, after the rioters’ Friday night spree left her front door and porch covered with spray-painted messages. “It’s like domestic terrorism. It’s unfair.”

Karenism has this moral purity abstracted from personal experience with the hardships involved. Karen exemplar Marie Antoinette famously responded to the plight of breadless peasants with her “Let them eat cake.”

Karens are having a field day with The Wu Flu pandemania, such that I am in violation just for referring to the Chinese origin of this contagion. The media weaponizing the virus fear factor triggers the inner Karens to confront, denounce and denigrate others as threats to personal health and well being. You can see it when in a store, another customer scolds you for not wearing your mask properly, or going the wrong direction in the aisle. Or when Governor Karen Cuomo of NY denounces Florida or Georgia for their policies, while his state sets records for Wu Flu deaths per million.

There are various ways of responding to the Karens of this world. Comedian Steve Martin was famous for his reply to PC critics.

When the scolding is related to trivial procedural details, it’s appropriate to respond with: “Whatever.”

Then there’s Jimbob’s approach which involves switching the context to expose the absurdity of Karen’s challenge.

via Science Matters

August 4, 2020 at 01:43PM

“World War Zero”: Former Republican Governors Demand Action on Climate Change

“World War Zero”: Former Republican Governors Demand Action on Climate Change

Left: John R. Kasich, middle: John Kerry, right: Arnold Schwarzenegger. By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Former Republican governors John Kasich and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and former Secretary of State John Kerry have teamed up to create “World War Zero”, an initiative aimed at driving conservative interest in climate action.

It’s Time for American Leaders to Wake Up to the Threat of Climate Change for the Good of the Planet and Business

Kasich was the governor of Ohio from 2011 to 2019.

If we could have seen the pandemic coming and had the power to prevent it, of course, we would have. If we had that power but sat on our hands as millions became sick and died, that inaction would be unforgivable.

There is another problem that we know is coming, that we have the power to address, and yet which we continually do too little—or often nothing—to tackle. I’m talking about climate change.

I joined with former Secretary of State John Kerry and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger behind an effort called “World War Zero” to help bring together a group of unlikely allies – Democrats, Republicans and independents, scientists, military leaders, business leaders, diplomats, entertainers, and ordinary people from all walks of life – to mobilize, speak up, and tackle climate change together. And to find new ways of helping people appreciate the need to address the problem.

Seeing the economic benefits of renewable energy investments at a time of a global recession might not be an angle that first comes to mind. But tough problems merit different approaches and demand that we take advantage of the opportunities when they arise—like now.

Read more:

World War Zero” wants net zero emissions by 2050. I couldn’t see anything resembling a carefully costed plan to achieve net zero, the site focus mostly seems to consist of lots of positive thinking, and reminiscences about the spectacular debt fuelled growth of the 1940s wartime economy.

Kasich’s claims of economic benefits from renewables are questionable. If renewables provided any short term “economic benefits”, if they were a genuinely profitable opportunity, there would be no need for the government to step in and support renewables.

Regardless of the alleged long term benefits of renewables, in the short to medium term additional government support for renewables would be a drag on the economy.

The last thing the USA or anywhere else needs right now is even more short term economic pain.

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via Watts Up With That?

August 4, 2020 at 12:25PM

Why are we locked down?

The UK, which locked down on March 23rd, has had more deaths per million than Sweden, which never locked down.

Sweden had no lock downs, no masks, no panic, and yet they have had fewer deaths per million of population than the UK.

I checked today (August 4) to see if this assertion is correct.

Yes it is. According to worldometers, as of today the UK has had 680 deaths per million of population, while Sweden has had 569 deaths per million.

Meanwhile, again, as of today, the USA is looking at at 481 deaths per million. My guess is that in spite of all our tyrannical lock-down attempts, our numbers per million will eventually match Sweden’s numbers and then decline in a similar manner.

See more charts here:

Thanks to Stephen Bird for this link

And here’s the worldometers page:

The post Why are we locked down? appeared first on Ice Age Now.

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August 4, 2020 at 12:21PM