February 28, 2007
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2, AUGUST 1988
"The Rising Tide," F. Lowenstein, Tech. Rev., 17-18,
The National Research Council reports that climate change may cause the sea
level to be up to 11 feet higher by year 2100, necessitating expensive coastal
"The State of the World," ibid., 51-58.
An interview with Lester Brown, director of the World Watch Institute,
concerning its annual State of the World report, which some consider provides a
more accurate and provocative picture of the globe than provided by policy
makers. The earth's latest physical report shows no improvement in any vital
signs over the last five years. Answers to questions of energy efficiency will
decide our future.
"The Greenhouse Effect," S. Begley, M. Hager, D.Wang, Newsweek,
16-23, July 11, 1988.
The greenhouse effect is expected to warm the earth between 3 and 8 degrees
Fahrenheit over the next 50 years. There will be great regional variations. Some
spots may even get colder for a short time, as random weather patterns run
contrary to the general warming trends. A number of hot spots will increase,
especially the interior of the U.S. and other continents. The rich farmland in
the Midwest may suffer while Canada's bread basket enjoys more bountiful
"Stretched to the Limit," J. Adler, Newsweek, 23-24,
July 11, 1988.
As the earth's population expands, pollution and overuse threaten the "global
commons": the atmosphere, the oceans and the tropical rain forests. Much of
the damage is irreversible: the cropland lost to desertification and the
diminishing tropical forest are gone forever.
"El Niņo Makes it a Warm, Warm World," F. Pearce,
New Scientist, p. 29, Mar. 17, 1988.
The evidence for links between El Niņo, carbon dioxide and climate
stretch back at least a century.
"Taxman, Spare That Tree!" J. Gribbin, ibid., p. 70.
Suggests that proper management of plantations in the temperate and tropical
zones, together with the doubling of all existing forest in the world, could
return to the biosphere all the carbon dioxide released from factory chimneys
and power stations since the industrial revolution within about 35 years.
"What's Going Wrong with the Weather?" R. Thompson, ibid.,
Severe weather events are merely a symptom of worldwide change in climate.
The best clues to the erratic pattern of weather extremes come from theories
regarding the dust veil and the greenhouse effect.
"Probing the Ozone Hole," E.R. Shell, Smithsonian,
18(11), 142-155, Feb. 1988.
A NASA expedition sent an experiment-packed plane ten miles up into the
stratosphere to probe causes of the ozone hole. The stratosphere above the South
Pole is dominated by the coming and going of the polar vortex and is like no
other chunk of air in the atmosphere. Antarctica, with its unique meteorology,
is perhaps a weak link in the stratospheric chain, but there is no telling
whether other stretches of stratosphere don't have soft spots that have yet to
"High Anxiety," C. Peterson, Sierra, 73(1),
34-39, Feb. 1988.
The Montreal agreement on freezing CFC consumption demonstrates an
astonishing consensus that the human race has overstepped the limits of
technology and is flirting with disaster. The stratosphere has not yet received
the full load of CFCs produced in the last 50 years; millions of tons have yet
to be released from old car air conditioners, old refrigerators in the landfill,
foam cups, discarded furniture and discarded foam insulation.
"The Antarctic Ozone Hole," R.S. Stolarski, Sci. Amer.,
258(1), 30-37, Jan. 1988.
A map of ozone levels in the Southern Hemisphere on October 5, 1987,
highlights the springtime ozone 'hole' over Antarctica in which the abundance of
ozone is about half that of a decade ago. The map, based on data from the Total
Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) on board NASA's Nimbus 7 satellite,
shows that the depleted region is broader than the Antarctic continent and
flanked by an ozone-rich region.
"Forecast for Disaster," R.H. Boyle, Sports Illus.,
78-92, Nov. 16, 1987.
We must discontinue basic environmental research by or funded by EPA and the
Department of Energy, which are heavily influenced by political pressures.
Man-made pollutants are producing changes in the earth's climate that may prove
catastrophic. Records of previous climatic changes suggest that even a small
rise in global temperatures could have enormous repercussions. Deforestation and
the use of fossil fuels have caused a huge increase of carbon dioxide, promoting
the greenhouse effect. UV radiation causes skin cancer and may suppress the
immune system. To get the world to act in time we need a national institute
devoted to basic environmental research.
"Chlorofluorocarbons and the Ozone Layer," J.P. Cohn,
BioScience, 37(9), 647-650, Oct.1987.
While most agree that use of these compounds should be reduced, finding
alternatives that do not hurt the U.S. economy may be difficult. Solving the CFC
problem in the long run depends largely on finding acceptable alternatives. One
solution might be in shorter-lived chlorofluorocarbons. Dupont researchers say
that CFC-134 might be an effective substitute for CFC-12 in air conditioners and
refrigerators while CFC-123 could replace CFC-11 as a foam blowing agent. Even
greater hopes are placed on CFC-22 for a variety of uses but is still being
The Heat is On," M.D. Lemonick, Time, 58-67, Oct.19, 1987.
Piloting NASA's specially equipped ER-2 high altitude research aircraft
proved to be extremely rigorous. At altitudes of 68,000 feet pilots were
astonished to encounter layers of translucent mist composed of tiny ice
particles, and temperatures plummeting to -130° F instead of soaring as
expected in the stratosphere. When the existence of these ice clouds was plugged
into the NCAR's computer model the ozone hole appeared. Despite the limitations
and omissions of climate models, Stephen Schneider of NCAR argues that
scientists cannot afford to ignore their predictions.
"Complex Mission Set to Probe Origins of Antarctic Ozone Hole,"
P.S. Zurer, Chem. & Engin. News, 65(33), 7-13, Aug. 17, 1987.
Scientists from NASA, NSF, NOAA, the Chemical Manufacturers Association and
several U.S. universities, as well as the U.K., Argentina, Chile, and France are
involved in what Robert T. Watson, NASA program scientist, calls perhaps the
single most important earth science project in a decade: probing the ozone hole.
The chemical hypothesis proposes that under the uniquely cold conditions of the
Antarctic night, polar stratospheric clouds provide a surface for heterogeneous
reactions that free chlorine from the reservoir species. Until recently these
reactions were not included in the computer models used to simulate the chemical
behavior of the stratosphere. The abundance of chlorine monoxide is so crucial
to the understanding of the chemistry of the hole that the expedition set out to
measure it accurately by several independent methods.
"Antarctic Ozone Hole: Complex Picture Emerges," P.S. Zurer,
ibid., 65(44), 22-26, Nov. 2, 1987.
The chlorofluorocarbon link to the `hole' is shown, but early data from the
latest NASA expedition suggest both dynamical and chemical processes are
involved. Regions where unusual chlorine chemistry is going on do not coincide
with what meteorologists call the polar vortex, indicating something more than
chlorine photochemistry is affecting Antarctic ozone.
"Can We Close the Ozone Hole?" F.S. Rowland, Tech. Rev.,
51-58, Sep. 1987.
Even if all CFC use were to stop today, ozone breakdown would continue for
at least another century because several of the organic chlorine compounds
persist for many decades in the atmosphere. Because atmospheric concentrations
of CFC-12 and CFC-11 are roughly 1 million times smaller than those of carbon
dioxide, their incremental contribution to the greenhouse effect is more than
that of CO2. Each CFC molecule can intercept about 15,000 times more infrared
radiation in the troposphere than each added molecule of CO2.
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