A Day in the Life of the Earth: Understanding Human-Induced Climate Change

 Posted by DrJeff on June 13th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog



This post is a Driving with Jordi.

This is crossposted at Huffington Post HERE.

Note to reader: click on the links in the text for the real data. This is not a work of fiction.

From Dr. James Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies concerning this post—

Public understanding of climate change depends on an understanding of time scales. Goldstein [Dr. Jeff] does a brilliant job of making clear the rapidity of the human-made intervention in the climate system, and the correlation of global warming with the appearance of technology powered by fossil fuels.

“Daddy, how long is a billion years?”

As soon as we got in the car this morning, and buckled up, I said “so Jordi, I need some help. I need more material for the blog.” “Daddy, what do you mean by ‘material’?”  “That’s what writers call the stuff they use to create stories”, said daddy.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning, so he started talking about … the Sun. He had lots of questions—where did it come from, what’s burning on it to make it so bright, how old is it, what will happen to Earth when it stops burning? The last one was particularly cool. I asked him if he thought the question “what will happen to the Earth when the Sun dies?” is something lots of kids might ask. He said “yes!!” I asked him who he thought was the first person to actually figure it out. He didn’t know. I told him it was me.

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Apples and You

 Posted by DrJeff on May 21st, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog



This post is a Jeffism’ by Dr. Jeff and a Dr. Jeff Speaks Out.

Last time on the blog, I used astronaut John Grunsfeld’s recent Business Trip to the Hubble Space Telescope to show you that the perceived limitless ocean of air under which we live is really not limitless. At an altitude of 62 miles (100 km) above Earth’s surface, you’re effectively at the top of the atmosphere (since 99.99% of it is beneath you.) So let’s really put this in perspective with a Dr. Jeff Jeffism:

Earth’s atmosphere compared to Earth is thinner than

the skin of an apple compared to an apple.

I truly hope that makes an impression on you. Read it again and let it sink in. Then take a moment and reflect on what you’re thinking.

Now … for the rest of the story—

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