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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

FROM VOLUME 6, NUMBER 3, MARCH 1993

NEWS...
RESEARCH NEWS


Item #d93mar121

Antarctic ice sheet stability: Evidence that the West Antarctic ice sheet overlies volcanic activity, and could become unstable independent of any climate changes, is presented in the Feb. 11 Nature ("Active Volcanism beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and Implications for Ice-Sheet Stability," D.D. Blankenship, R.E. Bell et al., Nature, 361(6412), 526-529, Feb. 11, 1993.). (See extensive article in Science News, pp. 104-107, Feb. 13 1993)


Item #d93mar122

Chlorine and the ozone hole: Recent observations from the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite are considered overwhelming evidence that anthropogenic chlorine compounds are responsible for seasonal ozone depletion over Antarctica. The key finding, presented at the December meeting of the American Geophysical Union, is that the total amount of chlorine observed equals the amount known to be coming from chlorofluorocarbons. See Science News, p. 429, Dec. 19/26 1992; Earth, p. 10, May 1993.


Item #d93mar123

Plants and soils could raise CO2 levels as a transient response to global warming, according to a model study reported in the Feb. 11 Nature. An observational study in the same issue shows that CO2 release has already occurred in the Arctic as a result of recent warming there (See: "Carbon Reserves Released?" R.S. Webb, J.T. Overpeck, 497-498; "Recent Change of Arctic Tundra Ecosystems from a Net Carbon Dioxide Sink to a Source," W.C. Oechel, S.J. Hastings et al., 520-523; and "The Transient Response of Terrestrial Carbon Storage to a Perturbed Climate," T.M. Smith, H.H. Shugart, 523-526) (See also Science News, p. 100, Feb. 13 1992.)


Item #d93mar124

A different observational analysis reported in the Jan. 28 Nature concludes that indications of Arctic warming over the past four decades are absent. Whether this outcome conflicts with the predictions of climate models is discussed in a related article in that issue, and in Science News, p. 70, Jan. 30.


Item #d93mar125

Ozone chemistry without clouds: A paper in the Jan. 7 Nature ( "Evidence for Heterogeneous Reactions in the Antarctic Autumn Stratosphere," J.G. Keys, P.V. Johnston et al., Nature, 361(6407), 49-51, Jan. 7, 1993.) presents evidence of heterogeneous reactions on background aerosols in the absence of polar stratospheric clouds.


Item #d93mar126

Electricity from algae: A British engineer has developed a generating system fueled by a species of pond alga, which uses no fossil fuels and releases no CO2 to the atmosphere. A 600 kW pilot plant is planned, funded by the U.K. Dept. of Trade & Industry. (See Chem. Eng. News, pp. 29-30, Feb. 8 1993; New Scientist, p. 18, Jan. 16 1993.)


Item #d93mar127

New process for methane: In the Jan. 15 issue of Science, two groups report methods for catalytic conversion of methane that could render methane a rival to petroleum as a fuel and a chemical feedstock, and could put an end to the wasteful practice of burning natural gas at oil fields. (See discussion on p. 311 of that issue, and papers on pp. 340 and 343.)


Item #d93mar128

"Quieter Sun Will Lead to Deeper Ozone Hole," J. Gribbin, New Scientist, p. 16, Feb. 13. Statistical analysis of ozone data indicates that the declining phase of the sunspot cycle over the next few years will intensify ozone depletion (see "Components of Interannual Ozone Change Based on Nimbus 7 TOMS Data," L.L. Hood, J.P. McCormack, 2309-2312.


Item #d93mar129

"Pinatubo Global Cooling on Target," R.A. Kerr, Science, p. 594, Jan. 29. Year-end temperature reports for 1992 show that James Hansen's computer prediction of a 0.5·C global cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic cloud was accurate. However, most scientists are not yet ready to accept his contention that greenhouse warming will become obvious in the next few years.


Item #d93mar130

"Global Warming Trend Interrupted in 1992," B. Hileman, Chem. Eng. News, p. 7, Jan. 25. Discusses the combined effects of Mt. Pinatubo and El Niņo on global temperature. The latest El Niņo is ending very slowly, but may be gone by spring. (See also Science News, p. 53, Jan. 23 1993.)


Item #d93mar131

"Old Idea May Solve Climate Conundrum," R. Monastersky, Science News, p. 133, Aug. 29. Research described in the August issue of Geology revives an old theory involving coral reefs to account for atmospheric CO2 fluctuations recorded in ice cores (see "Return of the Coral Reef Hypothesis: Basin to Shelf Partitioning of CaCO3 and Its Effect on Atmospheric CO2," B.N. Opdyke, J.C.G. Walker, Geology, 20(8), 733-736, Aug. 1992.)

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