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Earth Science

Famous Paintings Help Study the Earth's Past Atmosphere 126

houghi (78078) writes "From European Geosciences Union: 'A team of Greek and German researchers has shown that the colours of sunsets painted by famous artists can be used to estimate pollution levels in the Earth's past atmosphere. In particular, the paintings reveal that ash and gas released during major volcanic eruptions scatter the different colours of sunlight, making sunsets appear more red.' The original paper can be found here. In the last 150 years, the sunsets have become redder, likely reflecting increased man-made pollution."
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Famous Paintings Help Study the Earth's Past Atmosphere

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  • Dear Hippies, (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2014 @10:41AM (#46614741)

    "Pollution" is what happens when living things do stuff. Pollution is not bad, per se... it is a fact of life. Demonizing "pollution" is the way of the intellectually unsophisticated or lazy. It is how we deal with pollution that is ever the issue.

  • Clutching at straws (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LongearedBat ( 1665481 ) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @11:11AM (#46614853)

    The climate debate is pretty much settled: humans are responsible for (at least) most of the current climate shock.

    But this is just silly. Art is subjective, even for the artist. And even if all artists always painted with perfect colours that don't change over time, artists don't paint sunsets on a regular basis, but rather irregularly, such as when they're extra pretty.

    This sort of study makes AGW proponents look desperate, and that's not a good way to convince people who prefer to stick their heads in the sand.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @11:47AM (#46615051)

    . . . so let me take a quick look at my works from Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Rene Magritte . . .

    Rothko - There's pollution in the atmosphere, but it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling.

    Pollock - The world's fucked.

    Lichtenstein - The atmosphere is comical.

    Magritte - The sky looks fine . . . but it is in the face of a scary looking guy in a black suit.

    Science and art . . . quite a powerful combination! What do creationist believe about the world's atmosphere . . . did God create it polluted? Or did it start with that eviction deal over a terms of use dispute with the Garden of Eden . . . ?

  • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @12:13PM (#46615175)

    Climate change is a scientific proposition, and has absolutely nothing to do with "literature", unless you're referring to research papers that have been peer-reviewed and repeated by others. In which case the overwhelmingly consensus is that yes, fossil fuel CO2 emissions are very much in danger of tipping the the planet into a runaway climate shift that will end the ice age that is all our species has ever known.

    Take a look at this video series - he does a pretty decent job in he first couple videos of stripping away all the hypes and disingenuousness of both sides of the political debate, and gets down to the actual science and scientific debate. Yes, there is some scientific debate, but no, it has nothing to do with any of the tripe you've heard on the "news". He then spends many, many more episodes tearing apart the mountain of lies politicians and talking heads have piled on the issue. []

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @02:29PM (#46615891)


    One of my many studies in life has been art. I paint in oils and acrylics, and even took a few college courses. Very few painters are "realists" and even back 3000 years ago we knew about how to use colors for effect, not realism.

    Sure, sculpting was one of those things where the ancient Greek artists tried to be as realistic as possible. At the same time, paintings of Hermes and Zeus indicate that not everything required the same level of realism (unless of course someone wishes to argue that the Ancient Greeks "saw" their gods.). Trying to measure the atmosphere based on pictures of Hermes seems pretty silly to me.

    Lets also not forget that even with realism, many things can give the sunset or sunrise in a nice red hue (storm on the horizon anyone?). The pollution in the atmosphere is just one of countless things that could cause the sky to have a red hue. I really hope that people are not calling this "science".

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