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Global Climate Change Digest

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



Item #d92feb67

Three groups compiling global surface temperature records--the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NOAA's Climate Analysis Center, and the U.K. Meteorological Office (with the University of East Anglia)--all have found 1991 to be the second warmest year on record. The warmest year was 1990, while 1988 is third. Were it not for the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June, 1991 might have been warmer. Pinatubo added particles to the stratosphere that should cool the globe by an estimated 0.5 degrees centigrade for over a year, an amount equal to all the warming of the past 100 years. (Science, p. 281, Jan. 17, 1992; Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 5-6, Jan. 17.)

James Hansen of the Goddard Institute pointed out that injection of particles provides a good test of global climate models, which should be able to represent the cooling influence of Pinatubo. At December's American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, he said the main effect of the cooling will be to delay by several years the time when global warming from greenhouse gases becomes evident (New York Times, p. C4, Dec. 24, 1991). Details of the timing and extent of the cooling are discussed in "Pinatubo Cooling Will Test Greenhouse Models," New Scientist, p. 20, Jan. 11.

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