“NASA admits that climate change is due to changes in the Earth’s solar orbit, not to humans or fuels,” claim viral posts that circulate on social networks. However, this is false. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States (NASA) did not admit that the cause of the climate crisis is the changes in the Earth’s solar orbit and even came out to deny these arguments: “The Sun may influence Earth’s climate, but it is not responsible for the warming trend we have seen in recent decades.”
One of the tactics of climate disinformation is to use an authoritative voice like NASA to supposedly affirm something that the agency never said, as we tell in this note.
Likewise, the arguments used in these publications They are misleading because they bias scientific theories to justify its main narrative: that climate change is “something natural” and not a consequence of human activities. The scientific evidence is clear: greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels are the main cause of the current climate crisis.
What disinformative publications say
The posts were shared by disinforming actors such as the website “Tierrapura” and the Telegram channel “Noticias Rafapal”, who During the pandemic they systematically spread false information about COVID-19. Some reproduce in Spanish disinformation that originally circulated in 2019 in English and that was verified by other fact-checking sites (see here and here).
The publications indicate that 23 years ago NASA He supposedly published a report in which he claimed that the Earth was getting closer to the Sun by the movement of our planet itself and that is why it was warming. Like any conspiracy theory, it is stated that this information is hidden, in this case because the aerospace agency would seek to support the agenda of “unhinged leftists obsessed with the climate.”
NASA itself came out to deny this statement through a statement: “The Sun can influence the Earth’s climate, but is not responsible for the warming trend we have seen in recent decades. The Sun is a provider of life; “It helps keep the planet warm enough for us to survive.”
And he added: “We know that subtle changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun are responsible for ice ages. But the warming we have seen in recent decades is too rapid to be related to changes in Earth’s orbit and too large to be caused by solar activity.”
NASA itself on its website has a section dedicated to “the causes of climate change”, where it points to greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels for human activities as the main cause of the current climate crisis.
Changes in the Earth’s orbit
Although disinformative publications They lie from the beginning by stating that NASA stated something it never said, also develop their argument based on a theory validated by the scientific community. However, they use parts of this theory and leave out a fundamental aspect of it, a common deceptive tactic of disinformation narratives.
This is Milanković’s theory or cycles. They were a series of calculations developed by the Austro-Hungarian civil engineer, mathematician and astronomer Milutín Milanković in 1941. With them, this famous scientist proved how there are factors external to the Earth that influence its temperature, and therefore, also its climate.
The theory correlates the succession of glaciations and interglacial periods with changes in the Earth’s orbit, since the variation in solar radiation caused by the greater or lesser proximity to the Sun affects the temperature of the Earth, causing changes in the past. climate. Milanković explains that these changes are due to the cyclical movement of our planet’s position with respect to the Sun.
The Earth’s orbit is elliptical, not circular, similar to a rugby ball. This leads to periods when it is closer to the Sun (perihelion) and others further away (aphelion). Over time, the orbit changes, resulting in times of greater solar proximity or distance. Milanković attributes glaciations and interglaciations to this orbital “eccentricity”, influencing the long-term climate.
On the other hand, this theory also highlights that there are 2 other movements that influence the Earth’s temperature and climate. One is obliquity, or the change in the Earth’s tilt, and the other is precession, which is a movement that experts compare to the wobbling of a top when it loses speed.
The general conclusion is that if the inclination and position of the planet with respect to the Sun or the light it receives changes, changes also appear in the atmosphere. However, this theory does not explain why our planet has warmed so much over the last 150 years.
“It cannot be explained that the rise in temperature is due to being closer to the Sun. There is no evidence in the last 100 thousand years that we are getting closer,” he explained to Checked Pedro José Depetris, emeritus researcher at Conicet and doctor in Geological Sciences from the National University of Córdoba.
And he added: “With rough numbers, the Earth would take more or less 400 thousand years to warm up due to its approach to the Sun. But it would also take 40 thousand years if it were due to a change in obliquity and 2500 if it were a change in its precession.”
How we know that changes in Earth’s orbit are not the cause of the current climate crisis
One of the irrefutable evidence that tells us that the Sun is not causing global warming comes from observing the amount of solar energy that reaches the top of the atmosphere. “Since 1978, scientists have been tracking this using sensors on satellites, which tell us that there has been an upward trend in the amount of solar energy reaching our planet,” NASA said.
Another evidence that the US space agency What stands out is that only the lowest layers of the atmosphere are those that have warmed: “If the Sun were responsible for global warming, we would expect to see warming in all layers of the atmosphere, from the surface to the upper atmosphere (stratosphere). But what we actually observe is warming at the surface and cooling in the stratosphere.”
But how can we be sure that human activities are causing this warming?
Geologist Andrés Folguera, professor at the University of Buenos Aires and researcher at Conicet, explained to Checked that there is indirect and direct evidence. “Among the hints is the historical record. You can count the number of railroads, coal, oil and gas industries that have existed. And measurements are made directly on ice cores,” said the researcher.
The “witnesses” are pieces of ice that have trapped air bubbles in times past. What specialists do is go to a place where there are glaciers. There they take samples from different layers of the ice. The deeper the ice, the older the air will be. They then analyze this in the laboratory and determine what gases are in each layer of ice. In this way, industrial activity has been linked to the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, and also to the warming of the Earth.
Researcher David Keeling began measuring CO2 in the atmosphere in 1959 and the data obtained correspond with the conclusions reached from studying the ice. According to the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, at that time there were 315.98 parts per million of this gas in the atmosphere and today there are more than 418.56. Currently, China (27%), the United States (15%), the European Union (9.8%), India (6.8%) and Russia (4.7%) are the main emitters of greenhouse gases.
Both NASA and the scientists consulted agree that the Milanković cycles have no link with global warming. What there is consensus in the scientific community is that industrialization has generated an increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and that this, in turn, promotes the current climate crisis.
This note was originally published by Checked.
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