Global warming on Mars - dust to blame

Posted on Saturday, April 07 2007 @ 5:15 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Scientists say Mars is heating up, they've spotted an increase in temperature by around 0.65°C (or 1 degree Fahrenheit) from the 1970s to the 1990s:
NASA scientist Lori Fenton and colleagues, reporting this week in the journal Nature, now believe variations in radiation from the surface of Mars are fueling strong winds that stir up giant dust storms, trapping heat and raising the planet's temperature.

By studying changes in light reflected from the surface of Mars -- a measure known as an object's albedo -- they predict the red planet has warmed by around 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.65 degree Celsius) from the 1970s to the 1990s, which may in part have caused the recent retreat of the southern polar ice cap.

On earth, carbon dioxide traps infrared radiation which can affect global climate. This a phenomenon is known as the greenhouse effect. Fossil fuel emissions add to the problem.

On Mars, it's the red-tinged dust

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