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 5, NUMBER 5, MAY 1992
Global carbon balance: Recent papers published in the April 3, 1992,
issue of Science shed more light on the whereabouts of about four
billion tons of carbon that had not been accounted for in the annual global
carbon budget. (See Prof. Pubs./Gen. Int, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST
issue--May 1992.) As discussed in an overview article on p. 35, this is the
difference between the estimated emissions of CO2 and the amount known to stay
in the atmosphere, that is causing CO2 concentrations to rise. A paper by Quay
et al. estimates that the oceans absorb about two billion tons; another by
Kauppi et al. suggests some of the rest may be stored by increasing biomass in
Ocean currents alter climate: Ocean sediment cores provide evidence
that a radical shift in deep-ocean currents over 12,000 years ago helped
terminate the last ice age. See Charles and Fairbanks (Nature, Jan. 30,
1992) in Prof. Pubs./Paleoclimatology, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST
issue--May 1992, and Sci. News, p. 69, Feb. 1.
EOS plan sent to Congress: Sent to Congress in March 1992 was a
smaller, cheaper version of the NASA Earth Observing System, designed to fly on
smaller satellites and emphasize global climate change research. However,
critics say the order of planned satellite launches is a result of convenience
rather than a response to the most pressing climate change questions. (See "Smaller,
But Still Controversial," C. Anderson, Nature, p. 370, Apr. 2,
1992.) For a summary of the specific instruments to be launched between 1998 and
2002 see Eos, p. 154, Apr. 7, 1992.
CO2 in Biosphere 2: The carbon cycle is the focus of research in
Biosphere 2, a closed ecosystem including humans in the Arizona desert. CO2
levels soared after the ecosystem was sealed last fall and a chemically based
CO2 recycler was installed, but it was turned off in January after CO2 levels
stabilized in December. Critics of the venture consider Biosphere 2 merely a
public relations extravaganza, but a scientific advisory committee is attempting
to better define research goals. (See New Scientist, pp. 12-13, Apr. 4,
1992, in Periodicals/Gen. Interest, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--May
1992.) Japan will have a similar closed ecosystem completed in 1995 (New
Scientist, p. 22, Jan. 25).
"Unmasking a Shifty Climate System," R.A. Kerr, Science,
pp. 1508-1510, Mar. 20, 1992. Research by oceanographers and climatologists has
revealed abrupt, decades-long shifts in the atmosphere-climate system that could
indicate the nature of climate change in the future. A composite of 40
environmental variables indicates a jump to a new state in the Pacific Ocean
occurred in 1976. Also discusses the Great Salinity Anomaly, which appeared in
the North Atlantic in 1968.
"Signs of Global Warming Found in Ice," R. Monastersky, Sci.
News, p. 148, Mar. 7, 1992. Lonnie Thompson, an Ohio State University
glaciologist, testified at a Senate committee hearing that high-altitude
glaciers in the tropics and temperate latitudes show signs of accelerated
climate change in recent decades, with African and Peruvian glaciers shrinking
at record rates. It is not clear whether the warming inferred is related to
"Scientists Say Ozone Depletion Could Affect Productivity of Plants,"
Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 227-228, Apr. 22, 1992. Based on research
showing UV-B damage to plants, conducted at the Australian National University
and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO),
several scientists strongly urge breeding programs to develop strains of plants
with enhanced tolerance to UV-B, and preservation of tropical forest gene pools.
"Volcanic Disruption," J. Horgan, Sci. American, pp.
28-29, Mar. 1992. Recent findings on the effects of Mount Pinatubo volcanic dust
on the ozone layer.
"Gaps Loom in Satellite Data," P. Aldhous, Nature, p.
662, Feb. 20, 1992. Leading atmospheric scientists argued in Washington recently
for a series of new environmental monitoring satellites. Without them, serious
gaps in data on ozone depletion and global climate may open up in 1995, when the
U.S. Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite stops functioning. A similar satellite
planned by Germany, which would have filled the gap, will probably be abandoned
because of budget problems. Adding to the situation is a decision made by Japan
in late February to postpone its Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (ibid.,
p. 99, Mar. 12).
In recent issues of Eos (the Amer. Geophys. Union weekly):
"West Antarctic Ice Coring: A High-Resolution Study of Climate Change,"
R.B. Alley, pp. 115-116, Mar. 17, 1992. Results of an open workshop (Miami,
Florida, Oct. 1991).
"Antarctica and Global Change Research," G. Weller, p. 116, ibid.
Results of a workshop (Bremerhaven, Germany, Sep. 1991) sponsored by the
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) to develop an international
"Continental Isotopic Indicators of Climate Studied," W.E. Benson,
pp. 122-123, ibid. Results of the AGU Chapman conference held in Jackson
Hole, Wyoming, June 1991.
"Borehole Temperatures Record Changing Climate," H. Pollack, p.
55, Feb. 4, 1992. A brief summary with references of this technique, which is
the basis of a global paleotemperature survey being planned by scientific
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Index of Abbreviations