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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 7, JULY 1997

PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS...
OF GENERAL INTEREST


Item #d97jul1

"Evidence for Human Influence on Climate from Hemispheric Temperature Relations," R.K. Kaufmann (Ctr. for Energy & Environ. Studies, Boston Univ., 675 Commonwealth Ave., Boston MA 02215; e-mail: kaufmann@bu.edu), D.I. Stern, Nature, 388(6637), 39-44, July 3, 1997.

Application of standard statistical approaches used in the field of econometrics to the historical record of temperature indicates a statistical dependence of Northern Hemisphere temperature on Southern Hemisphere temperature. This relationship, which has strengthened since 1865, can be explained by the climatic effects of anthropogenic trace gases and sulfate aerosols and may be a fingerprint of the spatial and temporal pattern of human activities. Model simulations of the historical atmosphere produce a similar pattern.


Item #d97jul2

"Targets for Stabilization of Atmospheric CO2," C. Azar (Inst. Physical Resour. Theory, Chalmers-Göteborg Univ., 412 96 Göteborg , Swed.), H. Rodhe, Science, 276(5320), 1818-1819, June 20, 1997.

Even though establishing acceptable stabilization levels is difficult for physical scientists, avoiding the problem leaves decision makers and social scientists in an even more difficult position. Greater participation in the debate is needed from physical scientists. This note offers some insights to the problem by comparing expected changes in equilibrium temperature obtained from a simple model, with some measures of the natural variability in global temperature. Tentatively concludes that international policy should aim to stabilize CO2 in the range of 350 to 400 parts per million by volume.


Item #d97jul3

"Trends in the Surface Meridional Temperature Gradient," A.I. Gitelman (Dept. Statistics, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh PA 15213), J.S. Risbey et al., Geophys. Res. Lett., 24(10), 1243-1246, May 15, 1997.

The meridional temperature gradient across the middle latitudes drives most weather disturbances and is a fundamental indicator of climate. The authors apply an operational measure of this gradient to a 110-year temperature record, and find a significant decreasing trend over that period. They do not attempt to determine a particular cause for this result, but discuss why they think further study is worthwhile.


Item #d97jul4

"Aerosols and Climate: Anthropogenic Emissions and Trends for 50 Years," M.E. Wolf (Radian Intl., 10389 Old Placerville Rd., Sacramento CA 95827; e-mail: marty_wolf@radian.com), G.M. Hidy, J. Geophys. Res., 102(D10), 11,113-11,121, May 27, 1997.

Describes a global inventory of anthropogenic particulate emissions for the period 1990-2040, including both primary particulate emissions and secondary contributions from atmospheric chemical reactions, particularly those involving SO2. Emissions worldwide, which are dominated by fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning, are projected to grow by a factor of 1.5 to 2.5 by 2040, largely from fossil fuel combustion in the developing countries. Present anthropogenic emissions appear to be a small fraction of emissions from natural sources, but could rival them by 2040. The resulting increased haziness will alter the radiation budget of the Earth, in a spatially non-uniform way.


Item #d97jul5

"Industrial Agriculture--Driving Climate Change?" P. Bunyard," P. Bunyard, The Ecologist, 26(6), 290-298, Nov.-Dec. 1996.

Most agronomists argue that human societies can weather climate change without drastic changes to industrialized patterns of farming. These claims, however, overestimate the industry's own contribution to climate change. Besides emissions caused by agricultural production, the principal impact lies in land degradation (e.g., draining wetlands and deforestation), which in turn leads to increased disruption of the hydrological cycle, and to conditions where terrestrial vegetation may be losing its ability to modulate climate. The future direction of agriculture is critical; we should be looking at ways of producing food without destroying soil fertility. Accompanying columns address climate change and food production, agricultural emissions of greenhouse gases, equity and emission controls, and the vulnerability of farmers to climate change.

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