Climate Change / Science / Space / Technology · November 19, 2007

Dr. Bob Park on the DSCOVR mission and global climate change

Great minds think alike. Well, in this case, Dr. Bob Park and I have the same idea on the subject of global climate change. Whether or not Dr. Park shares my predilection for HP Lovecraft and geeky gadgets remains to be seen.

But on climate change, we both agree. I wrote about the denial of climate change in October, and in that blog entry I wrote about the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) which was built at Vice President Gore’s suggestion, and then mothballed by the Republican controlled Congress. It is kept in mothballs and studiously ignored by climate change deniers and by the current Presidential administration.

As Dr. Park said in his latest “What’s New?” column:

4. CLIMATE: UH, MAYBE WE SHOULD FIND OUT WHAT THE PROBLEM IS.
Warming is caused by atmospheric contaminants that change the energy balance with the sun. Last week an “elite” group talked about sending up vast amounts of other contaminants to make it go the other way. Yes, they really did. Before we do that, maybe we should launch DSCOVR to measure the energy balance. Built and paid for, the Bush administration is hiding it in a Greenbelt, MD warehouse.

Much more succinct than what I have written on this subject, Dr. Park acknowledges that climate change is real, and that the cause is still subject to dispute. Measuring the Earth’s energy balance would be a huge step toward figuring out just how much of climate change can be blamed on humans. Personally, I think that the current evidence points directly at human causes. The DSCOVR mission can offer much better evidence to support or deny this hypothesis.

So once again, I call on those people who deny climate change or deny that it is caused by humans. The DSCOVR mission would cost mere hundreds of millions to take out of mothballs and to launch. The most expensive portion of the mission, designing and building the vehicle, is already bought and paid for. For what we spend in half a day in Iraq, we could have definite answers to the question of climate change.

What are we waiting for?