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 1, JANUARY 1991
GENERAL INTEREST AND COMMENTARY
"On the Limitations of General Circulation Climate Models,"
P.H. Stone (Ctr. Global Change, MIT, Cambridge MA 02139), J.S. Risbey, Geophys.
Res. Lett., 17(12), 2173-2176, Nov. 1990.
Because general circulation models calculate large-scale dynamical and
thermodynamical processes and their associated feedbacks from first principles,
they are believed to have an advantage over simpler models in simulating
global-scale climate changes. However, because their simulations relating to
heat transport depart from observations, the authors question whether they are
better than simpler models for simulating temperature changes associated with
climate change experiments.
"Climatic Change Due to Solar Irradiance Changes," T.M.L.
Wigley (Clim. Res. Unit, Univ. E. Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK), S.C.B. Raper,
Used solar irradiance reconstructions dating to 1874 to estimate the effect
of the sun on global-mean temperature and found that the overall range of
modeled temperature variations is extremely small, 0.05° C.
"The Space Shuttle's Impact on the Stratosphere," M.J. Prather
(NASA-Goddard, 2880 Broadway, New York NY 10025), M.M. Garcia et al.,
J. Geophys. Res., 95(D11), 18,583-18,590, Oct. 20, 1990.
Chlorine enhancement at the current rate of shuttle launches is small, <<0.6%
above background. Other emitted gases have smaller global effects, but the
impact of particulate alumina is uncertain.
"Is Recent Climate Change across the United States Related to Rising
Levels of Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gases?" M.S. Plantico (Nat. Clim. Data
Ctr., NOAA, Asheville NC 28801), T.R. Karl et al., ibid., 95(D10),
16,617-16,637, Sep. 20, 1990.
Analysis of observations for 23 geographic regions showed various seasonal
and regional differences from 1948 to 1987, although the mean temperature does
not show a significant trend. Several features of this recent climate change
agree qualitatively with model-predicted impact of increasing anthropogenic
greenhouse gases, but observed trends do not appear in line with model results.
Possible explanations for the discrepancy are given.
"Synthesis of Nitric Oxide during the Formation of an Artificially
Ionized Level in the Atmosphere," G.M. Milikh (Dept. Phys., Clemson Univ.,
Clemson SC 29634), ibid., 16,451-16,456.
Artificial ionization of layers of the atmosphere by powerful microwave
transmitters is being studied for possible application to communication services
(radio and TV). Synthesis of NOx molecules, which are aggressive to ozone and
might cause serious damage to the ozone layer, is a possible negative impact.
When compared to existing natural sources, concludes that a world-wide net of
artificially ionized layers does not appear to be of environmental concern.
"The Gloomy Greenhouse: Should the World Phase Out Fossil Fuels?"
J. Rotmans (RIVM, POB 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, Neth.), R. Swart, Environ. Mgmt.,
14(3), 291-296, May-June 1990.
Stabilizing atmospheric CO2 concentrations would require an emissions
reduction of >>50% by 2025. Using the Dutch Integrated Model for the
Assessment of the Greenhouse Effect (IMAGE), found that suggested emissions
reductions could be adequate to prevent global temperature change from moving
beyond past climatic experience. Although the reductions are technically
feasible, major social and economic impediments must be removed, but a complete
phase-out of fossil fuels would not be necessary.
"Warming in the 1980s," M.I. Budyko (State Hydrol. Inst.,
USSR), P. Ya. Groisman, Soviet Meteor. Hydrol., No. 3, 1-5, 1989 (publ.
1990). Eng. trans. of Meteor. i Gidrol., No. 3, 5-10, 1989.
Compared observed variation of air temperature and atmospheric precipitation
in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere in the first half of the 1980s with
earlier estimates of climatic variations during the Holocene warming, in an
attempt to predict greenhouse warming through analogy to past climatic epochs.
The variation in winter surface air temperatures in the first half of the 1980s
generally agrees with a projection based on past epochs, while agreement for
precipitation variations did not.
"Next Steps on Global Warming," Nature, 348(6298),
181-182, Nov. 15, 1990. An unsigned editorial that argues for the need for a
better mechanism to assess the consequences of the accumulation of greenhouse
gases than the IPCC has proved to be. Suggests a permanent institution, which
would produce regular, pointed, authoritative reports.
"Evaluating Ozone Depletion Potentials," ibid., p. 203.
Extensive discussion among several researchers regarding our present capability
to determine the future impact of CFC alternatives on stratospheric O3. See also
related items on pp. 410 and 432, ibid., Oct. 4, 1990.
"IPCC's Climate Change Mindset," B.J. O'Brien (12 Caithness Rd.,
Floreat Pk., W. Australia 6014, Aust.), ibid., 348(6296), 9,
Nov. 1, 1990.
Correspondence arguing that continuing uncertainties about climate may be
less of a threat to rational forward planning than unwarranted certainties (or
mindsets) of several years' standing, which are difficult to identify among the
handful of real facts that support a large number of policy proposals.
"Climate Research Review," M. Allen (Dept. Atmos. Phys., Univ.
Oxford, U.K.), Energy Policy, 585-587, July-Aug. 1990. Discusses
research involving climate simulations and observational evidence from the
recent climate record. Concludes that either we already have evidence of
unnatural warming, or the prognosis for future warming as a result of current
emissions looks exceedingly bleak.
"Deforestation in the Tropics and Proposals to Arrest It," F. Le
Tacon (Ctr. Recherches For. Nancy, Champenoux, 54280 Seichamps, France), J.L.
Harley, Ambio, 19(8), 372-378, Dec. 1990.
Included in a special issue focusing on how some specific environmental and
resource problems facing Third World countries are being tackled by Third World
researchers. Covered are crops, forestry, sustainable livestock production,
aquaculture, ethnopharmacology and biogas. This article summarizes the causes of
tropical forest destruction and remedies to reverse this trend that would be
tailored to various countries. Concludes that there is a need for research in
forest production, the economic use of wood and the elimination or use of waste.
Suggests that the International Foundation for Science broaden the distribution
of its research grants in Third World countries.
"Intensive Sustainable Livestock Production: An Alternative to
Tropical Deforestation," E. Murgueitio (Convenio Interinstitucional para la
Producción Agropecuaria del Valle del Cauca, AA7482 Cali, Columbia), ibid.,
Preservation of the ecological riches and biological diversity of tropical
forests demands a complex, aggressive strategy. Intensive livestock production
models based on true tropical resources offer real alternatives to the pressures
of extensively grazed beef. A model developed for Columbia uses perennial crops
(sugarcane and legume forage trees) with complementary livestock (pigs and
African hair sheep). Better sugarcane management and feeding livestock in
confinement would allow existing grazing areas to become more productive and
reduce the pressure to further colonize remaining forest land.
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Index of Abbreviations