February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 5, NUMBER 3, MARCH 1992
IPCC ASSESSMENT UPDATE
The scientific assessment working group of
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed on a supplement to
its 1990 assessment at a January meeting in China. While it does not advocate
any major changes in the original assessment, the group concluded that sulfate
aerosol haze in the lower atmosphere generated by industrial activities has
probably offset a large fraction of the global warming influence of greenhouse
gases to date, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. The conclusion, based
largely on research published by Charlson et al. in the January 24, 1992, issue
of Science (GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST, Prof. Pubs./Gen.
Interest, Feb. 1992), may help explain why the Earth has so far warmed less from
greenhouse gases than predicted by models.
The panel also accepted recent results indicating that the greenhouse
warming effect of CFCs is offset by the degree to which they thin the
stratospheric ozone layer (GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST, News, Dec.
1991), and concluded that the role of methane in global warming may be somewhat
less than previously thought. Calculations of global warming potentials were
revised, and several more reference scenarios developed. The report was
authorized by the full IPCC at a January meeting in Geneva, and constitutes part
of the IPCC contribution to the climate treaty negotiations in progress. Contact
the World Meteorological Organization, POB 5, 1211 Geneva 2, Switz.
See Science, pp. 682-683, Feb. 7, 1992 (includes discussion of the
history of research on the cooling effects of aerosols); New Scientist,
p. 17, Jan. 25; Global Environ. Change Rep., p. 5, Jan. 31; Intl.
Environ. Rptr., p. 35, Jan. 29.
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Index of Abbreviations