Sunday, April 10, 2016

Will NASA Need to Find Another Earth Soon?

According to a recent Yale University study, climate models have drastically underestimated just how much Earth’s temperature will rise. If greenhouse gas emissions continue on its current trajectory, our planet may end sooner than we think. Is it time for NASA to start looking for a new home?


Yale scientists have found that someone misread the ratio of ice crystals and cooled water droplets of a mixed-phase cloud. In layman’s terms, that means someone massively underestimated global climate projections. Using equilibrium climate sensitivity, one can estimate how Earth’s surface temperature responds to changes in CO2. In more detail, it shows how the average temperature would rise if C02 doubled. 2013 showed that climate sensitivity would be between 2-4.7 degrees celsius. Now, Yale estimates that number to be around 5 degrees celsius. If that increase is true, this will have a major effect on climate change around the world.


Using this data, we can expect sea level rise, more frequent droughts and floods. Kind of sounds familiar doesn’t it? Take note climate change deniers. Basically, Earth is doomed. A big part of this research has to do with the makeup of clouds. Clouds consist of water vapor, liquid drops, and ice particles. If there is a larger amount of ice in these clouds, the less warming there will be on the Earth’s surface. Previously, all models had too much ice in the clouds. Hence, people thought the planet was warming at a slower pace. Now that the overestimation of ice is cleared up, researchers have realized they made a big mistake. Whether or not it’s too late to reverse these damages is unknown. It certainly wouldn’t hurt if NASA had a backup plan, though.


NASA does have a backup plan right? Well, not really. However, NASA has estimated that about 100,000 Earth-like planets exists in our galaxy. You would think those are pretty good odds, but then again, space is pretty large. Considering there are 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, it’s going to take some dedicated searching to find something suitable. Fortunately, NASA is literally designed to explore space, so it’s quite possible they will find something eventually. Meanwhile, crank the A/C in your diesel Hummer H2 and continue cutting down the rainforest for that Ikea coffee table while we leave the problem of finding another planet up to someone else.