February 28, 2007
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A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 4, APRIL 1997
"Antarctica: Warnings from the Ice," E. Linden, Time,
pp. 55-59, Apr. 14, 1997.
The conventional wisdom is that climate change will be gradual and moderate.
But what if it is sudden and extreme? If climate change brings about a large
rise in sea level, the principle immediate cause will be the collapse of the
West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which could raise sea level nearly 20 feet. Current
research on the ice sheet aimed at understanding its behavior in the past and in
the future suggests that this possibility is remote but is nevertheless a
"The Rising Seas," D. Schneider, Scientific American,
pp. 112-117, Mar. 1997.
Predictions that greenhouse warming of the ice caps will raise sea levels
and flood the land may be unduly alarmist. The extent and speed of the ocean's
rise are still difficult to predict. Changes in the frequency and intensity of
violent storms may be a much greater threat.
"Ice-Cold in Paris," S. Rahmstorf, New Scientist, pp.
26-30, Feb. 8, 1997.
The author, a climate modeler, explains why global warming could bring to
Europe a nasty surprise-an era of freezing winters. Circulation of water in the
deep Atlantic brings warm surface water close to Europe, moderating its climate.
Evidence from the past suggests that this process could change.
Two items in Earth magazine, Dec. 1996:
"A Millenium of Climate," T.M.L. Wigley, pp. 38-41. Presents a
climatologist's historical perspective on the human understanding of climate
since A.D. 1000, and most recently, human impacts on climate. We can now be sure
that some portion of the recent global warming has been caused by humans; future
changes are in store, but their magnitude remains uncertain. The author is
optimistic that we can avoid or adapt to unwanted climate change without serious
"Warming Shifts Growing Season," J. Spizzirri, pp. 11-12. A
research team led by Charles Keating of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
has found that the peak of the growing season in the Northern Hemisphere has
advanced by a week since the mid-1970s.
"Lure of the Rings," F. Pearce, New Scientist, pp.
38-42, Dec. 14, 1996.
The study of tree ring sequences on long timescales can reveal general
trends such as the natural pattern, range and variability of global temperature
variations. This information could help determine whether human activity has
started to warm the planet. Discusses research by Keith Briffa and his
colleagues at the University of East Anglia, which is part of an international
tree-ring reconstruction of the year-by-year temperature history of northern
Europe and Asia over the past 10,000 years.
"The Mother Lode of Natural Gas: Methane Hydrates Stir Tales of Hope
and Hazard," R. Monastersky, Science News, pp. 298-299, Nov. 9,
1996. (See Global Climate Change Digest RESEARCH NEWS, Jan. 1997.)
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