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 4, NUMBER 12, DECEMBER 1991
OF GENERAL INTEREST
"Reduced Antarctic Ozone Depletions in a Model with Hydrocarbon
Injections," R.J. Cicerone (Dept. Geosci., Univ. California, Irvine CA
92717), S. Elliott, R.P. Turco, Science, 254(5035), 1191 ff.,
Nov. 22, 1991.
Uses a numerical model to explore the possible benefits of injecting ethane
or propane into the Antarctic stratosphere. Annual injections of 50,000 tons of
either hydrocarbon could suppress ozone loss, but under some circumstances ozone
depletion could be increased. Key uncertainties include initial concentrations
of nitrogen oxide species and poorly defined chemical and physical processes.
Delivering and distributing the hydrocarbons would be difficult.
"Length of the Solar Cycle: An Indicator of Solar Activity Closely
Associated with Climate," E. Friis-Christensen (Danish Meteor. Inst.,
Lyngbyvej 100, DK-2100, Copenhagen O/, Denmark), K. Lassen, Science,
254(5032), 698-701, Nov. 1, 1991.
(See Research News, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Dec.
1991.) Demonstrates that the record of the variation of the precise length of
the roughly 11-year sunspot cycle over the past 130 years is very highly
correlated with long-term variation of the Northern Hemisphere land air
temperature. This suggests a close connection between the Earth's climate and
"The Greenhouse Index," Environment, 33(8), 2-4,
Oct. 1991. Objections by G. Marland to an index of national greenhouse gas
accountability suggested by Hammond et al. in a previous issue, and their
"Volcanic Shade Causes Cooling," J.F. Luhr (Global Volcanism
Prog., Smithsonian Inst., NHB-119, Washington DC 20560), Nature, 354(6349),
104-105, Nov. 14, 1991. Pumice ejected in the June 1991 eruption of Mount
Pinatubo contained the anhydrite CaSO4. The eruption released an SO2-rich cloud
which could lead to global-scale cooling at the Earth's surface in the next few
years, counteracting expected global warming. Details of the composition of the
Pinatubo eruption are reported by Bernard et al., ibid., p. 139.
"Coal-Bed Methane in the UK," C. Mitchell (Sci. Policy Res.,
Univ. Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, E. Sussex BN1 9RF, UK), Energy Policy,
19(9), 849-854, Nov. 1991.
Although British Coal estimates 1987 methane emissions from UK coal mining
to be 0.8 + or - 0.2 million tons, this number cannot be verified until relevant
data are released. Based on an approach developed by the U.S. EPA, emissions
were 1.19-2.21 million tons. Both estimates indicate a lost resource and a major
contribution to greenhouse gases.
Two related articles from Nature, 353(6347), Oct. 31,
"Chaos in Ocean Heat Transport," C. Covey (Lawrence-Livermore Nat.
Lab., MS L-264, Livermore CA 94551), 796-797. Results of the following paper by
Weaver et al. raise the question of whether the chaotic nature of oceanic
circulation limits climate predictability, just as the chaotic nature of the
atmosphere limits the predictability of weather.
"Freshwater Flux Forcing of Decadal and Interdecadal Oceanic
Variability," A.J. Weaver (Dept. Meteor., McGill Univ., 805 Sherbrooke St.
W, Montreal, Que. H3A 2K6, Can.), E.S. Sarachik, J. Marotze, 836-838. Numerical
experiments show the importance of freshwater flux forcing in exciting oceanic
variability, and possibly self-sustained oscillations. Such variability may be
important in interpreting observations of decadal and interdecadal variability
in the air-sea-ice climate system.
"Keeping Global Change Honest," W.S. Broecker (Lamont-Doherty
Observatory, Palisades NY 10964), Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 5(3),
191-192, Sep. 1991.
The lure of global change funding encourages exaggeration of the relevance
of research projects to the greenhouse warming problem, making the task of
policy makers more difficult. An example is the claim by the Joint Global Ocean
Flux Study (JGOFS) that biological cycling of carbon in the ocean plays a key
role in the uptake of CO2; marine biology probably has a negligible impact. (See
related article in Science, p. 845, Aug. 23, 1991, and subsequent
comment by C. Wunsch, ibid., p. 357, Oct. 18.)
"The Atmospheric Input of Trace Species to the World Ocean,"
R.A. Duce (Sch. Oceanog., Univ. Rhode Island, Narragansett RI 02881), P.S. Liss
et al., ibid., 193-259.
A lengthy analysis that assesses current data and develops global-scale
estimates of the atmospheric fluxes of trace elements, mineral aerosol, nitrogen
species (particularly those that can be utilized as nutrients), and synthetic
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Index of Abbreviations