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Item #d92nov16

"The Hydrological Cycle and Its Influence on Climate," M.T. Chahine (Jet Propulsion Lab., Pasadena CA 91109), Nature, 359(6394), 373-380, Oct. 1, 1992.

This review demonstrates how over the past 10 years it has become clear that inadequate understanding of the hydrologic cycle--the cycling of water in the oceans, atmosphere and biosphere--is the main cause of uncertainties in assessing the effects of global-scale perturbations to the climate system. An integrated program of fundamental research and education in hydrological science is needed, rather than the current fragmented studies in engineering, geography, meteorology and agricultural science. New instrumentation and methods of data collection are also necessary.

Item #d92nov17

"Irregular Glacial Interstadials Recorded in a New Greenland Ice Core," S.J. Johnsen (Geophys. Inst., Univ. Copenhagen, Haraldsgade 6, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark), H.B. Clausen et al., Nature, 359(6393), 311-313, Sep. 24, 1992.

(See Res. News, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--Nov. 1992.) Previous Greenland ice cores have suggested the existence of irregular but well defined episodes of relatively mild climate (interstadials) during the last glaciation, but results have been uncertain due to the possibility of artifacts related to disturbed stratification. Results from a deeper core, which avoids this possibility, confirm the previous results. Interstadials lasted from 500 to 2000 years; their irregular occurrence suggests complexity in the North Atlantic Ocean circulation.

Item #d92nov18

"Irregular Oscillations of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet," D.R. MacAyeal (Dept. Geophys. Sci., Univ. Chicago, 5734 W. Ellis Ave., Chicago IL 60637), Nature, 359(6390), 29-32, Sep. 3, 1992.

Model simulation suggests that sporadic and perhaps chaotic collapses of the ice sheet have occurred throughout the past one million years. The irregular behavior is due to the slow equilibration time of the distribution of basal till, which lubricates ice-sheet motion. Predictions of future collapse of the ice sheet in response to global warming must take into account its past history, and whether present basal till distribution predisposes the sheet to rapid change. The hypothesis that snow-accumulation rates increase when the climate warms does not contradict the hypothesis that future warming could cause a collapse.

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