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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d91jul1

Clim. Change, 18(1), Jan. 1991.

"Global Warming and the Credibility of Science," J.A. Laurmann (Univ. California, 3372 Martin Rd., Carmel CA 93923), 107-109. Expresses concern that the rhetoric being used in presentations of the threat of global warming may endanger the long-term credibility of science. Because of large uncertainties relating to the greenhouse gas question, biased or one-sided depictions can easily pass undetected; opposite conclusions can be drawn depending upon which extremes in the ranges of uncertainty are chosen. Suggests remedies.

"The Greenhouse Marathon: A Proposal for a Global Strategy," vii-xii. A guest editorial concluding that it will take 40 years to deal with the climate change question; a goal, a route and a good start are needed.

Item #d91jul2

"The Use of General Circulation Models to Predict Regional Climatic Change," S.L. Grotch (Lawrence Livermore Nat. Lab., MS L-264, POB 808, Livermore CA 94550), M.C. MacCracken, J. Clim., 4(3), 286-303, Mar. 1991.

Reviews the performance of current versions of general circulation models, which are in broad agreement that a doubling of CO2 will result in a global annual average surface air temperature increase of 2.5-4.5 K. At finer spatial scales, however, the range of changes in temperature and precipitation predicted by different models is much broader. Many shortcomings are also apparent in their simulations of the present climate, indicating the need for further improvements.

Item #d91jul3

Nature, 351(6325), May 30, 1991.

"Simulations of the Effect of a Warmer Climate on Atmospheric Humidity," A.D. Del Genio (NASA-Goddard, 2880 Broadway, New York NY 10025), 382-385. Tests the recently proposed hypothesis that sinking air around deep cumulus clouds will provide a negative feedback to greenhouse warming. In two versions of a climate model, upper-level humidity increased with warming (contrary to the hypothesis), despite drying of the upper troposphere by cumulus clouds. Model results are consistent with recent satellite estimates of water vapor feedback.

"Climate Response to Smoke from the Burning Oil Wells in Kuwait," S. Bakan et al., K. Hasselmann (Max Planck Inst. Meteor., Bundesstr. 55, D-2000 Hamburg 13, Ger.), 367-371. Using a coupled atmosphere-ocean GCM with an interactive soot transport mode and extended radiation scheme, found a decrease in surface air temperature of about 4° C in the Gulf region. Changes outside the region, including those to the Indian summer monsoon, are insignificant.

"Environmental Effects from Burning Oil Wells in Kuwait," K.A. Browning (Meteor. Office, London Rd., Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 2SZ, UK), R.J. Allam et al., 363-367. Most smoke from the fires will remain in the lowest kilometer of the troposphere. Beneath the plume, daylight is severely reduced and daytime temperatures drop. Changes in the Asian summer monsoon and in stratospheric ozone concentrations are unlikely.

Item #d91jul4

"Increasing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Environmental Decisions: Benefit-Cost Analysis and Effluent Fees--A Critical Review," L. Lave (Dept. Econ., Carnegie-Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh PA 15213), H. Gruenspecht, J. Air Waste Mgmt. Assoc., 41(5), 680-693, Apr. 1991.

Evaluates and summarizes the related literature, noting that environmental decisions are complicated by pervasive uncertainty and the lack of consensus on goals and tradeoffs. Economic analysis of pollutant abatement does not contradict what thoughtful non-economists have concluded; rather it provides a much sharper focus. Used thoughtfully for exploring uncertainties and values, it is extremely helpful in managing environmental programs, though application is difficult.

Item #d91jul5

"Changing Ozone--Evidence for a Perturbed Atmosphere," S.A. Penkett (Atmos. Chem., Univ. E. Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK), Environ. Sci. Technol., 25(4), 631-635, Apr. 1991.

There is compelling evidence that O3 concentrations in the Northern Hemisphere are increasing steadily, principally from transport and biomass burning. Although this will ameliorate losses in the stratosphere to some extent, more damage will be caused to vegetation and the vertical atmospheric temperature profile will be influenced. Discusses regional and background O3 formation, regional O3 exposure levels, and international studies.

Item #d91jul6

"Use of Satellite Data to Constrain the Model-Calculated Atmospheric Lifetime for N2O: Implications for Other Trace Gases," M.K.W. Ko (Atmos./Environ. Res. Inc., 840 Memorial Dr., Cambridge MA 02139), N.D. Sze, D.K. Weisenstein, J. Geophys. Res., 96(D4), 7547-7552, Apr. 20, 1991.

Satellite measurements of N2O in the stratosphere and mesosphere, in combination with calculations from a chemical-dynamical model, indicate that previous models may have underestimated the magnitude of vertical transport over the tropics and that the calculated lifetimes for N2O and CFC source gases could be 30% shorter than previously reported. A shorter CFC lifetime would imply a more rapid decrease in atmospheric Cl content, once the CFC emissions stop, making it possible to reach the pre-ozone hole values of 2 ppbv as early as 2045. Determination of the lifetime of CFC-11 is particularly important, since it is used to define ozone depletion potentials, chlorine loading potentials and greenhouse warming potentials for CFC replacements.

Item #d91jul7

"Methane and Nitrous Oxide Fluxes in Native, Fertilized and Cultivated Grasslands," A. Mosier (Agric. Res. Service, USDA, POB E, Ft. Collins CO 80522), D. Schimel et al., Nature, 350(6316), 330-332, Mar. 28, 1991.

Measurements of CH4 uptake and N2O emissions in native, nitrogen-fertilized and wheat-growing prairie soils indicate that nitrogen-fertilization and cultivation can both decrease CH4 uptake and increase N2O production, thereby contributing to the increasing atmospheric concentrations of these important greenhouse gases.

Item #d91jul8

"The Sustainable Biosphere Initiative: An Ecological Research Agenda--A Report from the Ecological Society of America," J. Lubchenco, A.M. Olson et al., Ecology, 72(2), 371-412, 1991. Address reprint requests to Ecol. Soc. Amer., Pub. Affairs Off., 9650 Rockville Pike, S-2503, Bethesda MD 20814.

Authored by 16 members of the society's Committee for a Research Agenda for the 1990s. Documents a major assessment to define research priorities in terms of both advancement of the field and the potential for improving the human condition. (See Research News, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--July 1991.)

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