Runaway Laughter



I just read something hilarious today.  It was so funny that I absolutely had to share it.

At first glance, and from the title alone, I have to admit, it worried me for a bit.  When the words trigger, runaway, and greenhouse are all emblazoned at the top on the title, it does bring a bit of a panic-sounding name to the article, attracting far more attention due mostly to all the populace’s fear porn addiction than anything of substance.

But then I read the very last sentence and nearly choked on my coffee.  It was the funniest thing I had seen all day, and it came from a place that is not really known for the hilarity of its content, namely that rather stuffy rag, Nature Geoscience.  In fact, as far as science journals go, it’s normally quite dry reading.

But not today!

Here is the entirety of the article as shown in an online magazine named Message to Eagle: [1]

Easier To Trigger A Runaway Of Greenhouse Effect On Earth Than Previously Thought

A new study conducted by researchers at University of Victoria indicates that it may be easier to trigger a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth than initially thought.  The runaway greenhouse effect happens when a planet absorbs more energy from the Sun than it can radiate back into space.  The so-called runaway greenhouse is a very dangerous process that can cause oceans to entirely evaporate.

If a planet absorbs more energy than it can emit, it will heat uncontrollably and evaporate all of the oceans – the runaway greenhouse effect. Previously, it was thought that this would require more energy from the Sun than Earth receives.  Now, scientists know that it can happen, in theory, with the amount of solar energy that Earth now receives.

“What we’ve shown here is that a runaway greenhouse atmosphere that would sterilize the planet is actually possible for Earth, with the amount of sunlight it receives now,” says Colin Goldblatt, an assistant professor in UVic’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.  His research is the most complete look at the runaway greenhouse effect in 25 years.

“Fortunately, it would need 10 times more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to trigger this than burning all of Earth’s fossil fuels – every bit of coal, oil and gas that exists – would give,” Goldblatt added.

The research is published in Nature Geoscience.[2]

And with that, all the greenhouse, runaway, carbon dioxide buzz words went wee, wee, wee, all the way home.

1.  Message to Eagle

2.  Low simulated radiation limit for runaway greenhouse climates.  Nature Geoscience