JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Signs of life on Venus?

All around the world are dawning headlines wondering if we have founds signs of life on Venus.

Despite the hunt for life on star systems that are lightyears from Earth, it turns out there may be something on the Planet-next-door. “May” being the operative word. A team found phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus and can’t think of any other way it could have got there. Phosphine is considered to be a biomarker. And microbes on Earth would have no trouble making it, though none of them could easily survive on Venus where the atmosphere is 90% hot sulphuric acid.

Scientists find gas linked to life in atmosphere of Venus

Ian Sample, The Guardian

Sara Seager, a planetary scientist on the study at MIT in the US, called the finding “mind-boggling”. She hypothesises a lifecycle for Venusian microbes that rain down, dry out and are swept back up to more temperate altitudes by currents in the atmosphere.

For 2bn years, Venus was temperate and harboured an ocean. But today, a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere blankets a near-waterless surface where temperatures top 450C. The clouds in the sky are hardly inviting, containing droplets of 90% sulphuric acid.

[...]

There is a Greenhouse Effect on Venus

I‘m peppered with emails asking me if articles like this one (which claims there is no Greenhouse Effect at all on Venus) could be right.

Michael Hammer has some 20 patents in spectroscopy, and he explains why the Greenhouse Effect — where CO2 and other gases absorb and emit infra red — is very real, and backed by empirical evidence. The calculations using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law on the atmosphere of Earth and Venus, argue that the Greenhouse Effect is not-detectable. But not-detectable (by that method) does not “prove” the effect is zero. Other methods — like satellite observations of Earth’s atmosphere, and countless lab experiments, tell us that the Greenhouse Effect is real. (The Stefan-Boltzmann Law is used to create the first graph below). Huffman’s calculations suggest other factors are more important than greenhouse gases (with which we heartily agree) and that Hansen et al were barking up the wrong tree by pretending that Venus “shows” us anything much about the Greenhouse Effect. (Indeed, the IPCC mention “Venus” in their first Assessment Report back in 1990 as one of the three key reasons.)

So here in middle-of-the-road centrist land, the people who claim Earth could become more like Venus are [...]

DeSmog accidentally vindicates The Skeptics Handbook

DeSmogBlog could’ve flattened The Skeptics Handbook in just one sentence.

All they had to do was point to empirical evidence that more CO2 forces temperatures up. They can’t and everything else is bluster and bluff.

The question of evidence is on the front page; the book is built around it, and billions of dollars hinges upon it, on this topic, “nothing else matters…”. Yet Jeremy Jacquot’s sole attempt at evidence only shows he doesn’t know what evidence is. Even a bright junior high spark could prove him wrong with a 20 year old encyclopedia. Jacquot uses 3000 words to NOT answer that question, he confuses himself, resorts to cut-n-pasting from the site that does his thinking for him, and makes at least 9 errors of logic and reason. Jacquot complains that I’ve rehashed and repeated old arguments, which only makes it all the more embarrassing that he still hasn’t got any good answers.

But the part I like best was the way he jumps through the hoops just as I predicted. The Skeptics Handbook says when you poke a believer they will bark ‘Santer’, ‘Sherwood’, and ‘amplification’ and he does, right on cue. Yap Yap Yap. DeSmogBlog [...]