LtE in CMO #268

From William Patrick SHEEHAN



. . . . . .Dear Masatsugu, Warmest regards! no hurry on the paper. I just thought you might be interested in the argument. I'm having comment from Sallie Baliunas and Leif Robinson among others.

Looking forward to CMO #267.

Again, my sincere thanks for the wonderful material about the transit of Venus observations in Japan from 1874. I am looking forward to visiting you in '04 -- all the plans you described sound simply marvelous!

Ever,

(26 December 2002 email)

 

. . . . . . . .I am pleased to inform you that I have succeeded in obtaining a first edition -- 1891 -- of "Noto" as a gift for you. Please accept this as a small token of my appreciation. I will be sending it shortly. I hope we may revisit the scenes there described together another year and a half from now. Nothing, indeed, would give me greater pleasure!

My warmest and best regards for our great year of Mars, 2003,

(30 December 2002 email)

 

. . . . . . . .Hope you are soon well, and glad you have already absorbed the pleasure of welcoming the New Year.

(31 December 2002 18:03:06 -0600 email)

 

. . . . . . . .I've received interesting comments back on the Martian global paper and am sending you a draft of my suggestions for revision that I also sent to Don and Jeff. What's critical is getting the solar constant data that Charles Greeley Abbott and others have been collecting for years.

We would be pleased if you would be willing to join us as co-authors to this work once we get a draft that is acceptable on all sides. It would be an honor to include you as representative of the outstanding OAA Mars work,

which in my view sets the standard for everyone.

Ever,

(2 January 2003 email)

 

. . . . . . . .Also, I have wanted to read Noto so you can have the enjoyment of knowing every word on every passage has passed under my eye. It is a study for our explorations in 2004. I just came to the wonderful account in the chapter, "Over the Arayama Pass," which I could not resist applying to Lowell's telescopic panoramas a few years later of Mars:

 

"Panoramic views are painfully plain. They must needs be mappy at best, for your own elevation flattens all below it to one topographic level. Field and woodland, town or lake, show by their colors only as if they stood in print; and you might as well lay any good atlas on the floor and survey it from the lofty height of a footstool. Such being the inevitable, it was refreshing to see the thing in caricature. No pains, evidently, had been spared by the inhabitants to make their map realistic. There the geometric lines all stood in ludicrous insistence; any child could have drawn the thing mechanically."

(5 January 2003 email)

 

. . . . . . . .Thank you for your many excellent comments! They are superb; I will read them and ponder fully.

I must admit that my role in this paper has mainly been that of scribe --Don and Jeff have collected quite a lot of data and it seemed worth trying to ascertain whether the global trends on Earth and Mars might correlate. You are right, we do need to get solar constant data that is reliable to examine this question; there's no question that the terrestrial situation is much more complex than that on Mars. We should also take steps to point out that the data are very preliminary -- we don't know that Global Warming is occurring on Mars -- and that what we are presenting in no way nullifies the fact that human input to global warming on the Earth is likely to overwhelm solar contributions. It does seem to me that even if the solar constant is variable that greenhouses gases will amplify that signal, so if the sun is in fact heating up it should by no means reassure anyone that we need take the warming less seriously.

It's unfortunate but these questions, since they involve human activity, necessarily become (or potentially become) political. For the most part humans make decisions based on passions and urges rather than rational data. Like starlings (there was a study looking at this in Science a few years ago) we do what we do based on short-term calculations of profit and risk which is not in the long-term interest of the planet.

 

Parenthetically, I am not a specialist on this subject, but have no reason not to believe that CO2 and other emissions are the main culprit for the global warming trends. I personally mourned the U.S. decision to abandon the Kyoto accords. On the other hand, this is the most scientifically uninformed administration in memory so it is what is to be expected from such ignorant people.

Many thanks again for your very perceptive comments which I think will provide a more balanced view of the subject presented in this paper.

(7 January 2003 email)

. . . . . . . .I have received so much feedback on the draft of that paper -- the subject obviously was of general interest -- that it will take me several days to include all of it in various attempts at revision. Yours was most helpful and I cannot thank you enough for your comments. I shall send you a revision which you may find of interest; then I hope to submit this to Sky & Telescope as part of their pre-opposition coverage. Do you consent to being included as a contributor to the article?

It is hard not to believe in terrestrial global warming here in Minnesota -- the temperatures are breaking all records, and it feels like spring. We usually have blizzards of snow and ferocious wind-chill.

Now I must also thank you for the OAA Mars Section Report which contained your extremely valuable essay, "The 2001 Yellow Cloud and the Visibility of Tharsis-Olympus Montes." This is a subject which I have never seen considered in such depth or clarity. I absolutely agree with your observation that visibility of the calderas as dark spots does not attest to lack of dust or cloud activity but rather to brightening of the surrounding terrain -- but this is something that I think few readers will have grasped. The relevance of the comment to the Barnard observations of July and August 1894 are noted.

David Strauss has been in touch regarding the passage where Lowell describes his impressions from the Arayama Pass and the geometrical structure of rice fields and other agricultural tracts. I do wonder if some of these experiences did not consciously or unconsciously affect his eyepiece impressions of Mars.

(7 January 2003 email)

 

. . . . . . . .Here's a fairly extensively revised version of the paper. I've taken your suggestions very much to heart, and as a result, this is going to be a much stronger paper than it otherwise would have been. Hope you don't mind being listed as co-author.

I want to add a little more stuff at the end on the solar-climate connection -- Don sent me a reference, which has some very good graphs of solar irradiance vs. sunspots, and Sallie Baliunas also sent me an extensive bibliography -- but I wanted you to have a whack at this version of the paper so I can keep moving toward finality.

(8 January 2003 email)

 

. . . . . . . .Here's a slightly reworked version of the paper I sent you last night.

(9 January 2003 email)

 

. . . . . . . .Thanks much for the very good comments.

A major paper on sunspot, isotope and tree ring data for several centuries -- all connected with solar irradiance -- was published in Eos, the Transactions of the American Geophysical Society, in October, so we have that data. I have been in touch not only with Sallie Baliunas and her collaborators at Mount Wilson but also with Sanjay LiMaye who is an expert on the atmospheric dynamics of the Giant Planets regarding the warming of the upper cloud deck of Neptune.

The paper continues to evolve, but it does, as you indicate, need to be more focused. The version I most recently sent is a vast improvement over the earlier ones; I should say it has been largely because of your inputs.

It sounds as if you are harrassed with much work and I promise not to impose more on you by further iterations of this project unless you request them.

On a less vexsome subject, I received in the mail yesterday Ernest Fenellosa's book on Japanese and Chinese art, which I am looking forward to studying. ・・・・

With very best wishes,

(10 January 2003 email)

 

. . . . . . . .Meanwhile, I have started reading Ernest Fenollosa's book, "Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art", which I am enjoying greatly. I thought of the last Mars opposition, that of 2001, when news of the dust storm was being electronically relayed in real time from opposite hemispheres of the Earth when I read his comment: "East and East and West is West and never the twain shall meet," so runs Kipling's dictum; and American orators use it to-day to affect our treaty legislation. But the truth is that they have met, and they are meeting now; and history is a thousand times richer for the contact.... The interchange views from the basis of a common humanity." If only this were posted in the minds of those who are currently so conflict-driven rather than peaceable, and that includes some world leaders whose horizon extends no farther than the pig-sty of their own narrowly-proportioned minds.

(15 January 2003 email)

 

. . . . . . . .Many thanks for the latest comments. The sunspot data is certainly of interest, and brings home once again how complicated all these matters are. There's also cosmic ray data that has been discussed in relation to the global climate change thesis -- it may affect cloud cover -- and probably applies particularly in the case of Neptune, where the interstellar medium effects are more significant.      

(23 January 2003 email)

 

. . . . . . . .I'll be leaving tomorrow -- January 25 -- for Yerkes Observatory (southern Wisconsin), where I will remain for a week. W. W. Morgan is the astronomer in whom I'm interested. Here's a brief passage from one of his notebooks which I hope you like as I do, and captures the joy of discovery:

 

THE FEELING IS DEEP -- DEEP -- NOT TRIUMPH -- NOT VIOLENT JOY -- THE DEEPEST FEELING OF ALL: THAT OF BEING PERMITTED TO SEE A LITTLE FARTHER INTO THE ARRANGEMENT OF THE UNIVERSE THAN ANYONE HAS BEEN PERMITTED TO SEE BEFORE.

THE GALAXIES HAVE BEEN IN MY THOUGHTS AND DREAMS ALL NIGHT.

 

(24 January 2003 email)

 


Bill SHEEHAN (Willmar, MN, USA)

sheehan41@charter.net


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