Tunguska Event buffs, take a bow: According to a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the 1908 catastrophe, in which a remote area of Siberia was hit with the force of a bazillion kajillion atom bombs by some non-terrestrial mass (or was it?), may be a cause of global warming today:
[Vladimir] Shaidurov's theory is supported by other studies on Earth impacts and celestial debris that is scattered about at high altitude. Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division, the University of Western Ontario, Aerospace Corporation, Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories have already laid their cards on the table and declared in a paper published in Nature that dust from asteroids entering the Earth's atmosphere has a bigger effect on weather than once thought. "Our observations suggest that [meteors exploding] in Earth's atmosphere could play a more important role in climate than previously recognized," the researchers write. These research teams urge that climate modelers should take such events into serious consideration, because dust from asteroids, meteors and the like regularly find their way into high altitude cloud. On one research field trip, Dee Pack, of Aerospace Corporation, watched as an: "asteroid deposited 1,000 metric tons in the stratosphere in a few seconds, a sizable perturbation," adding that meter-sized asteroids hit Earth 50-60 times every year. They suggest that asteroid dust could be modeled as the: "equivalent of volcanic eruptions of dust, with atmospheric deposition from above rather than below." This new information on micron-sized particles might "have much greater implications for extraterrestrial visitors like Tunguska," explains Peter Brown at the University of Western Ontario.
Shaidurov explains that these disturbances can alter the delicate bands of clouds that regulate the amount of solar energy entering the Earth's atmosphere. Shaidurov says that it doesn't take much of a change in atmospheric levels of water—in the form of vapor and ice crystals—before it contributes to a significant change in the Earth's surface temperature. He also notes that the most potent greenhouse contributor is water, arguing that a variance in water levels has a far greater effect on temperatures than the greenhouse gases usually blamed for global warming. A rise in water vapor of just 1 percent can raise the global average temperature of Earth's surface more then 4 degrees Celsius.
Global warming dissenters hail this hypothesis, while non-dissenters say the science is bogus. I draw the obvious conclusion: The Tunguska event was pre-emptive Russian revenge for the earth-collision stinkeroo Armageddon, which took some really gratuitous swipes at the Russian space program—suspiciously dovetailing with NASA's late-nineties campaign to discredit the Mir space station.
Meanwhile, the Yucatan asteroid is cleared of the crime of killing the dinosaurs.
And a Japanese planetary-impact film dares to ask the question: Are the human cannot escape this destiny?
Ron Bailey took aim at earth-killing asteroids last year.