February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 8, AUGUST 1997
GENERAL INTEREST AND POLICY
"Earth Summit North and South-Building a Safe House in the Winds of
Change," J. Roddick (Ctr. Latin American & Caribbean Studies,
York Univ.),Global Environ. Change, 7(2), 147-165, July
At the 1992 Earth Summit, the usual model of international environmental
regulation based on binding commitments that has been favored by northern
governments gave way to alternative strategies involving community-based
forms of action, the participation of non-governmental actors, and
voluntary reporting. However, the Commission on Sustainable Development is
finding this approach hard to implement, and the old model of negotiation
designed to produce more and more barely enforceable international
agreements is surfacing, even as the climate convention fails to reduce
northern energy consumption. This article examines the growing coalition
of southern countries, recently joined by Brazil and India, and their role
in negotiations on climate and sustainable development.
"Maximum and Minimum Temperature Trends for the Globe," D.R.
Easterling (Natl. Clim. Data Ctr., NOAA, Asheville NC 28801), B. Horton et
al.,Science, 277(5324), 364-367, July 18, 1997.
This study expands a similar one published several years ago that
examined data from the U.S., China and the Soviet Union, by including the
Southern Hemisphere and by examining the data for artifacts such as might
be caused by urban growth. Results indicate that the diurnal temperature
range is continuing to decrease in most parts of the world, that urban
effects on globally and hemispherically averaged time series are
negligible, and that circulation variations in parts of the Northern
Hemisphere appear to be related to the diurnal temperature range. A number
of factors, such as increases in cloudiness, are probably contributing to
the observed trend.
Special section: Human Dominated Ecosystems, Science, 277(5325),
457 and 485-525, July 25, 1997. In addition to the following, this section
contains articles on fisheries, biodiversity, agriculture and ecosystems,
coral reefs, and ecosystem management:
"The Scientific Underpinning of Policy," G.H. Brundtland
(Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister, Norway), 457. Emphasizes
the need to seek scientifically sound policies nationally and
internationally, particularly concerning resource management.
"Human Domination of Earth's Ecosystems," P.M. Vitousek (Dept.
Biol. Sci., Stanford Univ., Stanford CA 94305), H.A. Mooney et al.,
494-499. Introduces the section, demonstrating that by several measures
(including greenhouse gases, nitrogen deposition, and land surface
alteration), we now live on a human-dominated planet. We need to reduce
the rate at which we alter the Earth system, accelerate our efforts to
understand ecosystems and how they are being altered, and accept
responsibility for managing the planet.
"Forests as Human-Dominated Ecosystems," I.R. Noble (Biol.
Sci., Australian National Univ., Canberra 0200, Australia), R. Dirzo,
522-525. Discusses how even lightly managed or unmanaged forests are in
fact human-dominated ecosystems. Management strategies for sustainable
forestry are being developed, but there is a need for further interaction
among foresters, ecologists, community representatives, social scientists,
"Climate Control Requires a Dam at the Strait of Gibraltar,"
R.G. Johnson (Dept. Geol. & Geophys., 108 Pilsbury Hall, 310 Pilsbury
Dr. SE, Univ. Minnesota, Minneapolis MN 55455),Eos: Trans. Amer.
Geophys. Union, 78(27), 277, 280-281, July 8, 1997.
The title statement of this paper extends an hypothesis concerning
changes in ocean circulation that triggered the most recent glaciation. By
this scenario, Milankovitch (Earth orbital) variations set the stage for
the last glaciation, but an essential trigger was salination of the
Mediterranean as freshwater input decreased, altering the North Atlantic
circulation to encourage ice sheet growth. We may be approaching a repeat
of this condition, since human activities have drastically reduced
freshwater input to the Mediterranean, and hydrological changes associated
with CO2 warming could do so also. To avoid this possibility,
the author proposes a dam across the Strait of Gibraltar that would
control saline outflow. This might also stave off sea level rise from the
melting of Antarctic ice sheets, which is sensitive to alterations in deep
ocean circulation that would be generated by increased salinity in the
Southern Ocean. Discusses social and economic implications of the proposed
project and its timing.
"The 1995 Chicago Heat Wave: How Likely Is a Recurrence?" T.R.
Karl (Natl. Clim. Data Ctr., NESDIS, NOAA, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville NC
28801; e-mail: email@example.com), R.W. Wright,Bull. Amer. Meteor.
Soc., 78(6), 1107-1119, June 1997.
Puts the unprecedented deadly heat wave of July 1995 into historical
perspective through a statistical examination of extremes in apparent
temperature (combined air temperature and humidity) in the observational
record. Concludes overall it is unlikely that the macroscale climate of
heat waves in the Midwest or Chicago is changing.
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