February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 7, NUMBER 2, FEBRUARY 1994
- OF GENERAL INTEREST: CLIMATE CHANGE
Validation, and Confirmation of Numerical Models in the Earth
Sciences," N. Oreskes (Dept. Earth Sci., Dartmouth Coll.,
Hanover NH 03755), K. Shrader-Frechette, K. Belitz, Science, 263(5147),
641-646, Feb. 4, 1994.
Examines the philosophical basis of the terms
"verification" and "validation" as applied to
simulation models, using examples from hydrology and
geochemistry. Models can only be evaluated in relative terms, and
their predictive value is always open to question. Their greatest
value is heuristic, pointing to aspects of a system most in need
of empirical study. Because models may confirm biases and support
incorrect conclusions, they are most useful when they challenge
related items from Nature, 367(6459), Jan. 13,
"Crops and Climate Change," J. Reilly (Econ. Res.
Serv., 1301 New York Ave. NW, Washington DC 20005), 118-119. The
finding of the following paper, that there is no "disaster
threshold" for global food production under greenhouse
warming, shifts the policy debate to attaining rates of change
that are manageable through adjustment and relocation of
agricultural production, in the portions of the world that would
be affected most (mainly developing countries). It gives added
reason for efforts to eliminate famine, which are needed
regardless of climatic changes.
"Potential Impact of Climate Change on World Food
Supply," C. Rosenzweig (NASA Goddard Inst. Space Studies,
2880 Broadway, New York NY 10025), M.L. Parry, 133-138. This
global assessment recognizes the role of international trade in
the adjustment of the world food system to changes in crop yields
induced by climate change, by using a model of world food trade
to estimate changes in food prices and the number of people at
risk from hunger. Although a doubling of CO2 will lead to only a
small decrease in global food production, developing countries
are likely to bear the brunt of the problem.
Anthropogenic Contributions to Sea Level Rise in the Twentieth
Century," D.L. Sahagian (Dept. Geol. Sci., Ohio State Univ.,
Columbus OH 43210), F.W. Schwartz, D.K. Jacobs, Nature, 367(6458),
54-57, Jan. 6, 1994.
Global tide records indicate that sea level has been rising
throughout the twentieth century. This analysis of human
manipulation of the global water cycle concludes that the
combined effects of groundwater withdrawal, surface water
diversion and land use changes have caused at least a third of
the observed rise, suggesting that climate-related effects must
therefore be smaller than previously supposed.
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