A list of reasons why it's not a good idea to directly compare the temperatures of different planets


while you make a point…in context of the tweet…I’m pretty certain that if Winnipegs relative temp dropped to 85c it would still suck pretty hard.

Canadians should quote their temperature in Kelvins. It would seem much warmer that way. And even at -50C, Mars might feel warmer, because the thin atmosphere can’t conduct much of your heat away from your body.

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I’m going to defend Star Trek here. Our one data point (Earth) has spent much more time as a totally volcano planet or totally ice planet or totally jungle planet than our current mixed configuration.

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Maybe, just maybe, it’s colder on Mars, Maggie, but in Winnipeg, they’ve got major wind chill.

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Right, it’s easier to retain body heat in a much thinner atmosphere, because heat conduction is far lower.

Totally jungle planet? At the time it was and still is much closer to an ocean planet.

A bias towards looking at the state of the land masses is preferable. It’s more interesting and it’s the place we live.

Wait. Are you agreeing with me about “global warming” being a poor choice for an activist buzzphrase, only sideways? :scratching_head:

I better go to bed.

Just like I’m sure somewhere in Siberia is colder than Mars, all depends on how & where you measure it.

I’m also sure that Mars plows it’s canals, unlike here in Winnipeg where the City drags it’s feet, allowing the streets to rut so badly even a Red River ox cart can’t get through safely. Mars Rover? Ha, wouldn’t make it 2 feet.

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No, there actually is such a thing as global average temperature, and it changes over time, even though the local effects of that change are variable.

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I too agree! No way should there be any tweets that are not 100% serious.


I thought “global warming” had been deprecated in favour of “climate change”?

The screen-capped tweet probably isn’t the best illustration for this post, because it explicitly compares a specific place on Mars with a specific place on Earth. Just like we the weather in Winnipeg doesn’t imply much/anything about the weather in Singapore, the weather at the Mars Rover’s location of Gale Crater doesn’t logically imply much about the weather elsewhere on Mars.

Also, it’s a tweet. We already know that @maggiek believes the medium and the intended audience maters when writing about science, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that wrong about an objectively accurate, light-hearted tweet.

Also, if we’re going to get all nitpicky about stuff, then the quoted snippet from John Bowman (itself quoting the Curiosity rover weather station website )is seriously wrong, and all the more shamefully so for appearing in a piece pretending to bring a scientific perspective to a popular story.

Imagine you were on the Martian equator at noon, you would feel like summer at your feet, but winter in your head.

This is no more true than sticking your hand in an oven at 212°F/100°C feels like sticking your hand in boiling water. As others above me have said (and Bowman basically acknowledges immediately afterwards), if the air is that thin then it has relatively little thermal conductivity and heat capacity and will subjectively feel less cold or hot, as it will be significantly less able to affect your body temperature. What would be interesting, however, would be a piece describing how tolerable (or not) the cold of Mars would be, and how long it would take to get frostbite (if at all) given the density of the air and human metabolism.

Ah, the old “take a funny off-the-cuff gag and respond with a dreary essay” ploy, eh?

It’s a joke about how cold Winnipeg is. It’s not a detailed monograph on the relative temperatures of planets!

Winnipeg has better songs written about it.

I suspect the six millibars of pressure and abundance of CO2 would make things uncomfortable a bit faster than the Arctic temperatures.

That’s certainly what I’d like to see. Climate change is an actual ongoing problem, rather than an etiolated description of a symptom.

Calling this a symptom really seems reversed to me. The way greenhouse gases affect things is by interfering with radiative loss and so increasing the total thermal energy of the planet, thus the term global warming; the changes to climate are the results of that.