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 6, JUNE 1996
acid rain & UV interaction: In February, Schindler et al. reported how
acidification can lead to the increased penetration of UV light in lakes (see
Global Climate Change Digest, Research News, Mar. 1996) Now another
study shows how the lower lake levels that could occur with climate change could
also increase UV penetration. (See two related papers Nature papers in
Prof. Pubs./Of Gen. Interest, this Digest issue--June 1996.)
Ozone will begin to
recover in the stratosphere after about 1998 as anthropogenic chlorine and
bromine concentrations peak there. (See first paper in Prof. Pubs./Of Gen.
Interest, this Digest issue--June 1996, and New Scientist, p. 7,
June 8, 1996.)
cycle: Evidence from deep-sea sediments and ice cores suggests that the
Earth's climate exhibits a natural temperature fluctuation with a period of two
to three thousand years. The Little Ice Age may have been the manifestation of
the latest cooling cycle, but the cycle is irregular enough that even if it was,
it is not clear whether we are now entering a phase of natural warming. (See
New Scientist, p. 15, Jan. 6, 1996, and O'Brien paper in Prof.
Pubs./Paleoclimatolgy, this Digest issue--June 1996.)
compared: Results from the two independent cores drilled in the Greenland
ice cap were compared at a workshop last September that is summarized in Eos
(pp. 209-210, May 28, 1996) and in Nature (see Peel paper, Prof.
Pubs./Paleoclimatolgy, this Digest issue--June 1996). One outcome was
evidence for the high sensitivity of the Arctic regions to climate change.
Thirty-Year-Old Experiment Could Prove or Disprove Global Warming," D.A.
Walker, Eos, p. 191, May 14, 1996. Thirty years ago, the Navy conducted
experiments on sound propagation in the mid-Pacific Ocean. If the tests were
repeated, the original data would provide a baseline to determine if the ocean
has warmed. This could be the most cost-effective method for providing
scientists with rapid and reliable evidence for or against global warming. The
author, an earth scientist at the University of Hawaii who wants to carry out
the work, asserts he has been hampered by arcane Navy rules regarding formerly
classified data, as discussed in New Scientist, p. 11, May 25, 1996.
Begins Fight for Credibility," C. Macilwain, Nature, p. 275, Mar.
28, 1996. Columbia University has assumed full management of the Biosphere 2
complex in Arizona, and will begin a modest program of controlled experiments in
biogeochemistry and plant physiology, including effects of elevated CO2
on plants. The research advisory panel favored this approach over more
qualitative ecosystem studies, at least at the present. (See also "Secrets
from Another Earth," G. Walker, New Scientist, pp. 31-35, May 18,
"Land Use and
Land Cover Change: An Analysis," D. Skole, IGBP Newsletter, pp.
4-7, No. 25, Mar. 1996. The chair of the scientific steering committee of this
IGBP Core Project gives an overview of its recently published science plan.
(Contact IGBP Secretariat, Royal Swed. Acad. Sci., Box 50005, S-104 05
Rival Big City Smoke," F. Pearce, New Scientist, p. 4, May 18,
1996. Tropospheric ozone formation in parts of the Southern Hemisphere resulting
from biomass burning can reach levels that rival those in large Northern
Hemisphere cities. The problem was discussed by atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen
at a conference called by the European Commission's environmental research
program, which is concerned about loss of funds for European climate
researchers. But Crutzen said the money should be spent on research in the
tropics; failure to do so and to involve Third World scientists could undermine
future climate treaties. (See next entry.)
for Climate Research," F. Pearce, ibid., p. 7, May 25. At a meeting
called to celebrate European achievements in climate research, a stream of
scientists and officials warned of an impending collapse in budgets for studies
of climate and the global environment. Governments are no longer interested in
global environmental issues because economic concerns dominate.
"A Skeptic Asks,
Is It Getting Hotter, Or Is It Just the Computer Model?" W.K. Stevens, The
New York Times, pp. C1, C8, June 18, 1996. Profiles Richard Lindzen of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a highly accomplished atmospheric
scientist who has become an outspoken greenhouse skeptic. His position is based
largely on a distrust of climate models, particularly the manner in which they
handle the effects of water vapor in the atmosphere.
"Living Sea Walls
Keep Floods at Bay," F. Pearce, New Scientist, p. 7, June 1, 1996.
A study of the sea defenses around the Gulf of Tonking in Vietnam, conducted by
researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Mangrove Ecosystems
Research Center in Hanoi, shows that mangroves are more effective than concrete
at keeping out the sea.
"Great Plains or
Great Desert? A Sea of Dunes Lies in Wait," W.K. Stevens, The New York
Times, pp. C1, C9, May 28, 1996. New evidence presented at a meeting of the
American Quaternary Association indicates that there have been several times
during the Holocene when drought was more severe on the American Great Plains
than during the 1930s Dust Bowl days. These conditions were seen most recently
in the 18th and 19th centuries, before the region was heavily settled, and could
conceivably be touched off again by a period of warming, either natural or
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