February 28, 2007
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Our extensive collection of documents.
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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 3, NUMBER 5, MAY 1990
OF GENERAL INTEREST
"Expecting the Unexpected: Some Ancient Roots to Current Perceptions
of Nature," I.M.B. Wiman (Dept. Classics, Lund Univ., Sölvegatan 2,
S-223 62 Lund, Sweden), Ambio, XIX(2), 62-69, Apr. 1990.
Discusses the role of some ancient Greek and Roman conceptions of nature and
illustrates their restrictive influence on current approaches to environmental
management. The ozone hole is an example of how an overly narrow perception of
nature's behavioral patterns caused it to go undetected by computerized
technical information routines and physicochemical models. Discusses the
potential for creating a more fruitful dialogue with nature through constructive
evaluation of alternative technological strategies and consideration of
mankind's intimate affinity with nature.
"The Montreal Protocol: A Dynamic Agreement for Protecting the Ozone
Layer," J. Koehler (U.S. EPA, 401 M St. SW, Washington DC 20460), S.A.
Hajost, ibid., 82-86.
Uses the Protocol's negotiating history to illustrate how and why agreement
on a particular issue was reached. Provides a detailed analysis of the
Protocol's most innovative provisions, discusses its international
implementation, and concludes with modification proposals possible in June 1990.
"Amazon Deforestation and Climate Change," J. Shukla (Dept.
Meteor., Univ. Maryland, College Park MD 20742), C. Nobre, P. Sellers, Science,
247, 1322-1325, Mar. 16, 1990.
Assesses the effects of Amazon deforestation on the regional and global
climate in a simulation that uses a coupled numerical model of the global
atmosphere and biosphere. When the tropical forests in the model were replaced
by degraded grass (pasture), there was an increase in surface temperature and a
decrease in evapotranspiration and precipitation. The dry season lengthened,
making reforestation particularly difficult, which suggests that complete and
rapid destruction of the Amazon tropical forest could be irreversible.
"Biological Feedbacks in Global Desertification," W.H.
Schlesinger (Dept. Bot., Duke Univ., Durham NC 27706), J.F. Reynolds et al.,
ibid., 1043-1045, Mar. 2, 1990.
Focuses on changes that can be expected at the transition between semiarid
and arid lands, and on the potential for an increasing area of arid land to
alter biogeochemical processes at the global level. Studies of ecosystem
processes in southern New Mexico suggest that long-term grazing of semiarid
grasslands leads to spatial inhomogeneity of soil resources. Subsequent positive
feedback mechanisms lead to increased desertification and invasion of desert
shrubs into formerly productive lands. Future desertification would be
exacerbated by global climatic warming and would alter global biogeochemical
"Coherence Established Between Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Global
Temperature," C. Kuo (Math. Sci. Res. Ctr., AT&T Bell Labs, Murray Hill
NJ 07974), C. Lindberg, D.J. Thomson, Nature, 343(6260),
709-714, Feb. 22, 1990.
Applies multiple-window time-series methods to the Hansen-Lebedeff average
global surface temperature series and Keeling CO2 concentration measurements to
estimate their trends and power spectra as well as the coherence between the two
series. Results confirm that average global temperature is increasing, and
temperature and atmospheric CO2 are correlated over the past thirty years.
Changes in CO2 content lag those in temperature by five months.
"Abrupt Climate Fluctuations in the Tropics: The Influence of
Atlantic Ocean Circulation," F.A. Street-Perrot (Sch. Geog., Oxford Univ.,
Mansfield Rd., Oxford OX1 3TB, UK), R.A. Perrot, ibid., 343(6259),
607-611, Feb. 15, 1990.
Reviews recent oceanographic and paleoceanographic literature to show that
several severe historic and prehistoric droughts were linked to episodes of
decreased salinity in the Northern Atlantic. Input of fresh water decreases
salinity, leading to reduced North Atlantic deep-water formation and anomalies
of sea surface temperature of the kind associated with decreased rainfall in the
northern tropics. Ice-sheet disintegration, the most important source of
freshwater input to the oceans, should therefore be considered explicitly in
models of past and future climate.
"Evidence for Two-Step Deglaciation and Its Impact on North Atlantic
Deep-Water Circulation," E. Jansen (Dept. Geol., Univ. Bergen, Allégaten
41, N-5007 Bergen, Norway), T. Veum, ibid., 612-616.
Presents oxygen and carbon isotope records from benthic and planktonic
foraminifera for the past 35,000 years in the northeastern Atlantic. Results
suggest that the last deglaciation took place in two major steps, contrary to
theories calling for a strong reduction in North Atlantic deep-water formation
to explain the abrupt cooling of the Younger Dryas cold period.
"Effects on Carbon Storage of Conversion of Old-Growth Forests to
Young Forests," M.E. Harmon (Dept. For. Sci., Oregon State Univ., Corvallis
OR 97331), W.K. Ferrell, J.F. Franklin, Science, 247(4943),
699-702, Feb. 9, 1990.
Simulations of carbon storage suggest that conversion of old-growth forests
to young fast-growing forests will not decrease atmospheric CO2, as has been
suggested recently. During simulated timber harvest, on-site carbon storage is
reduced considerably and does not approach old-growth storage capacity for at
least 200 years. This results in a net flux of CO2 to the atmosphere.
"Managing Atmospheric CO2," J. Edmonds (Pacific Northwest Lab.,
Washington DC 20024), Clim. Change, 15(3), 339-341, Dec. 1989.
Explains how the following paper by Harvey demonstrates the importance of
models of atmospheric processes, and in particular models of the carbon cycle,
to forecast possible future climate changes. Calls for a carbon cycle model
comparison workshop to reconcile apparent differences between such models, which
is necessary before we can confidently forecast the rate and timing of climatic
"Managing Atmospheric CO2," L.D.D. Harvey (Dept. Geog., Univ.
Toronto, 100 St. George St., Toronto, Ont. M5S 1A1, Can.), ibid.,
Uses a coupled carbon cycle-climate model to compute global atmospheric CO2
and temperature variation that would result from several future CO2 emission
scenarios. Two important factors in limiting atmospheric CO2 are: (1) the
airborne fraction falls rapidly once emissions begin to decrease, so that total
emissions need initially fall to only about half their present value in order to
stabilize atmospheric CO2; and (2) changes in rates of deforestation have an
immediate and proportional effect on gross emissions from the biosphere, whereas
the CO2 sink due to regrowth of forests responds more slowly, so that decreases
in the rate of deforestation have a disproportionately large effect on net
emissions. Discusses the implications of climatic warming-induced changes in
oceanic CO2 absorption for CO2 management policy.
"The Greenhouse Effect and Energy Policy in the United States,"
K. Nowotny, J. Econ. Issues, 23(4), 1075-1084, Dec. 1989.
Because of the greenhouse effect, freely operating markets can no longer be
relied upon to allocate fossil fuel resources; competition in the electricity
generation market will only aggravate problems. To reduce fossil fuel use, the
electricity generating sector must coordinate conservation efforts. The
transportation sector could strive to double fuel economy. Reduction of fossil
fuel burning to acceptable levels could cost $2-6 trillion.
"Crisis in Politics of Climate Change Looms on Horizon," P.J.
Michaels (Dept. Environ. Sci., Univ. Virginia, Charlottesville VA 22903), Forum
Appl. Res. Public Policy, 4(4), 14-23, Winter 1989.
Examines the scientific uncertainties and inconsistencies that may flaw the
popular vision of the greenhouse world and should be factored into policy
decisions. These are the interpretation of global and hemispheric temperature
histories with respect to greenhouse gas concentrations, artificial warming from
urban heat islands, high latitude temperatures, day and night temperature
changes, and the holistic nature of the global change problem and negative
feedbacks in the pollution system. Some of the unforeseen consequences of recent
policy proposals may serve to enhance greenhouse warming.
Guide to Publishers
Index of Abbreviations