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 9, NUMBER 2, FEBRUARY 1996
Climatic Change, 31(2-4), Dec. 1995, is a special issue
edited by T.R. Karl comprising 24 papers on the development of the Global
Climate Observing System (GCOS). The papers are based on a January 1995
international planning workshop of about 100 scientists held in Asheville, North
Carolina, which emphasized detection of anthropogenic climate change and its
potential impacts. A hardbound edition is available from the publisher: Kluwer
Academic Publishers, 101 Philip Dr., Norwell MA 02061 (617 871 6600) in US/Can.;
elsewhere: Distribution Ctr., POB 322, 3300 AH Dordrecht, Neth.
Climate Observing System (GCOS)," T. Spence (GCOS Joint Planning Off., c/o
World Meteor. Organization, C.P. 2300, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switz.), J. Townshend,
Introduces the special issue and reviews the origin of GCOS, recently
established by the World Meteorological Organization and several other
organizations to ensure that needed observations and information on
climate-related issues are obtained and made available to the nations of the
world. GCOS will not directly make observations or generate data products, but
will rather encourage, coordinate and otherwise facilitate observations and data
products which must be made by national or international organizations in
support of their own requirements and common goals. Its success is critical, as
it will provide the observational basis of national and international climate
Climate Monitoring by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)," T. Karl
(Natl. Clim. Data Ctr., NOAA, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville NC 20081), F.
Bretherton et al., 135-147.
Outlines the topics and general recommendations of the workshop. Two overall
conclusions emerge. First, adequate long-term monitoring will continue to be
critically dependent on a partnership among network operators, data managers,
analysts and modelers; multi-purpose observing systems used for operations,
research and monitoring are likely to provide the most cost-effective way of
meeting needs. Second, GCOS should use the workshop recommendations in an
opportunistic sense; they should be implemented as early as possible at
appropriate windows of opportunity.
". . .Report of
Breakout Group AClimate Forcings and Feedbacks," C. Miller (Natl.
Environ. Satellite, Data and Info. Serv., NOAA, 1315 East-West Hwy., Silver
Spring MD 20910), F. Bretherton, 149-162.
Topics addressed were greenhouse gases, radiation budget, water vapor,
aerosols, clouds, precipitation, tropospheric ozone, and solar radiation.
". . .Report of
Breakout Group BClimate Responses and Feedbacks," K.E. Trenberth
(NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), 163-180.
Major topics were atmospheric monitoring, satellite temperature data,
surface marine observations, ocean observations, the cryosphere, and
". . .Report of
Breakout Group CClimate Impacts," W.E. Easterling (Dept. Agricultural
Meteor., Univ. Nebraska, Lincoln NE 68583), 181-184.
Summarizes the highest priority data needs for impact assessment.
General Aspects of Climate Observing
for Long-Term Climate Monitoring," T.R. Karl (address above), V.E. Derr et
Virtually every monitoring system and data set requires better data quality,
continuity and homogeneity if we expect to conclusively answer questions of
interest to both scientists and policy makers. The continued degradation of
conventional surface-based observing systems in many countries (both developed
and developing) is an ominous sign; satellite-based observing platforms alone
will not, and cannot, provide all the necessary measurements. For satellite
measurements to be useful in long-term climate monitoring, many more steps must
be taken to avoid the problems of data inhomogeneity that are now common.
Scientific Centered Climate Monitoring System," J.D. Mahlman (GFDL, POB
308, Princeton NJ 08542), 223-230.
Stresses the need for developing a partnership between theoretical/modeling
researchers and observational data analysts, a process that could take a decade
or more to fully develop.
Climate Monitoring and Extreme Events," N. Nicholls (BMRC, POB 1289K,
Melbourne Vic 3001, Australia), 231-246.
Discusses a number of factors that make the detection of trends in the
frequency of extreme events very difficult. If, in the future, we are to answer
the question "are extreme weather events becoming more frequent?" we
must establish and protect high-quality stations capable of monitoring the most
important extreme events, and ensure that changes affecting the recording of
such events are meticulously documented.
Long-Term Monitoring of Global Climate Forcings and Feedbacks," J. Hansen
(NASA Goddard Inst. Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York NY 10025), W. Rossow
et al., 247-271.
Focuses on the potential contribution of a series of inexpensive small
satellites, but also discusses the need for complementary climate process
studies and ground-based measurements. Some of these measurements could be made
inexpensively by students, providing both valuable climate data and science
Changes as Simulated in Time-Slice Experiments," U. Cubasch (Deutches
Klimarechenzentrum GmbH, Bundesstr. 55, 20146 Hamburg, Ger.), J. Waszkewitz et
Examines regional characteristics of climate change by comparing 30-year
climate model simulations made at the present CO2 level, and at
double and triple that level. Results suggest regions of the world in which
observational studies should be intensified, and how the observational data
should be evaluated.
Specific Aspects of Climate Observing
Changes of Clouds," W.B. Rossow, B. Cairns, 305-347.
"On Detecting Long-Term Changes in Atmospheric Moisture," W.P.
"Long-Term Observations for Monitoring of the Cryosphere," J.E.
"Satellite Monitoring of Global Land Cover Changes and Their Impact on
Climate," R. Ramakrishna, R. Nemani, S.W. Running, 395-413.
"Long-Term Observations of Land Surface Characteristics," C.F.
"Atmospheric Circulation Climate Changes," K.E. Trenberth,
"Temperature Above the Surface Layer," J.R. Christy, 455-474.
"An Ocean Observing System for Climate. The Conceptual Design,"
N.R. Smith, G.T. Needler, and the Ocean Observing System Development Panel,
"Observational Evidence of Interannual to Decadal-Scale Variability of
the Subsurface Temperature-Salinity Structure of the World Ocean," S.
Levitus, J. Antonov, 495-514.
"Monitoring Sea Level Changes," V. Gornitz, 515-544.
"Land Surface TemperaturesIs the Network Good Enough?" P.D.
"Marine Surface Temperature: Observed Variations and Data Requirements,"
D.E. Parker, C.K. Folland, M. Jackson, 559-600.
"Documenting and Detecting Long-Term Precipitation Trends: Where We Are
and What Should Be Done," P. Ya. Groisman, D.R. Legates, 601-622.
Climate Impacts and Climate Monitoring
Leading Climate Indicators for Impact Assessment," W.E. Easterling (Dept.
Agric. Meteor., Univ. Nebraska, Lincoln NE 68583), R.W. Kates, 623-648.
Indexes of leading climate indicators of impacts may be usable knowledge for
consumers and may provide guidance to the global observing community concerning
the types of data and information that users need. Suggests five classes of
indexes. Two are already available from the U.S. National Climatic Data Center:
the Climate Extremes Index (CEI), and the Greenhouse Climate Response Index
(GCRI). Also proposes indexes of Hazard Warning, Ecosystem Health, and Energy
Demand and Renewable Energy Resources.
Guide to Publishers
Index of Abbreviations