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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 6, JUNE 1997

PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS...
GENERAL INTEREST AND COMMENTARY


Item #d97jun1

"Are We Seeing Global Warming?" K. Hasselmann (Max Planck Inst. Meteor., Bundesstr. 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Ger.; e-mail: klaus.hasselmann@drkz.de), Science, 276(5314), 914-915, May 9, 1997. An enhanced version, with links to other resources, is available to Science Online subscribers at http://www.sciencemag.org.

Discusses what is needed to answer this controversial question. Although they are still significant, differences among greenhouse warming simulations of global climate models has decreased from 50% to 20% in the past few years. The inherent statistical uncertainties in the detection of anthropogenic climate change can be expected to subside only gradually in the next few years, as the predicted signal emerges from natural variability. It would be unfortunate if the current debate over this ultimately transitory issue detracts from the far more serious long-term problem of global warming once the signal has been unequivocally detected.


Item #d97jun2

"Comments on 'Open Letter to Ben Santer,'" K. Ya. Kondratyev (Russian Acad. Sci., Res. Ctr. Ecol. Safety, 18 Korpusnaya St., 197042 St. Petersburg, Russia), Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78(4), 689-691, Apr. 1997.

The author, who began research on the greenhouse effect 50 years ago, argues for greater integrity and openness in the IPCC process to avoid the type of controversy that surrounds the Second IPCC Assessment. He defends Frederick Seitz, who authored a June 1996 editorial critical of the assessment in the Wall Street Journal, and suggests a serious and quiet face-to-face roundtable discussion involving "dissidents" on the issue.


Item #d97jun3

"Atmospheric Science and Public Policy," J.W. Zillman (Australian Bur. Meteor., 150 Lonsdale St., Melbourne, Vic. Australia), Science, 276(5315), 1084-1086, May 16, 1997.

Atmospheric science is under unprecedented public and political scrutiny, which threatens its many achievements and local and global benefits. Comments on the accomplishments of the two IPCC climate change assessments, and on proposals to restrict the free international exchange of meteorological data. Specifies six commitments needed from governments, international agencies and scientists to maintain the contribution of atmospheric science to the formulation of sound public policy.


Item #d97jun4

"Science Under Siege," Environment, 39(4), 3-5, 40-42, May 1997.

Two outspoken critics of the "science by consensus" approach to climate change, Patrick Michaels and Fred Singer, counter an article by U.S. House Representative George Brown. (See Global Climate Change Digest, PROF. PUBS./GEN. INTEREST & POLICY, Apr. 1997.) Brown argued that the views of such skeptics are being exploited for political purposes. This commentary also includes responses by Kevin Trenberth, a lead IPCC assessment author, and Rep. Brown himself, who concludes that this discussion only reaffirms his belief that policymakers and scientists need to do a better job of distinguishing debates over truly scientific issues from disagreements over policy.


Item #d97jun5

"The Value of the World's Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital," R. Costanza (Ctr. Environ. & Estuarine Studies, Univ. Maryland, Box 38, Solomons MD 20688; e-mail: costza@cbl.cees.edu), R. d'Arge et al., Nature, 387(6630), 253-260, May 15, 1997. For supplementary information consult www.nature.com Web site.

The services of ecological systems and the natural capital stocks that produce them contribute to human welfare, and represent part of the total economic value of the planet. This study gathers a large amount of information from scattered sources and presents it in a form useful for ecologists, economists, policy makers and the general public. For 16 biomes, estimates the current economic value of 17 ecosystem services, including regulation of climate and atmospheric composition. The global total is in the range of $16-54 trillion per year, with an average of $33 trillion, compared to a global total gross national product of around $18 trillion per year. This crude estimate is probably a minimum, but it could improve systems of national accounting, can indicate the relative importance of ecosystems services, and should stimulate further research.


Item #d97jun6

"Temperature Effects on the Acidity of Remote Alpine Lakes," S. Sommaruga-Wögrath,..R. Psenner (Inst. Zool. & Limnol., Univ. Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria; e-mail: roland.psenner@uibk.ac.at), Nature, 387(6628), 64-67, May 1, 1997.

A study of 57 remote, high-elevation lakes in the Alps shows that between 1985 and 1995, lake pH and the concentrations of sulfate, base cations and silica have increased, contrary to trends in atmospheric input. Proposes that the changes likely result from a 1 ;C increase in air temperature since 1985, and concludes that climate warming is a determining factor for water chemistry in remote alpine lakes.


Item #d97jun7

"The Power of Biomass," A. Kendall (Sch. of Geog., Univ. Leeds, Leeds LS2 9TJ, UK), A. McDonald, A. Williams, Chem. & Industry, pp. 343-345, May 5, 1997.

Discusses international developments in biomass energy research and demonstration. Although biomass is not the ultimate power source, it provides developing and industrialized countries a feasible alternative to traditional fossil fuels without causing significant shifts in their energy industries.


Item #d97jun8

"Climate Assessment for 1996," M.S. Halbert (Clim. Prediction Ctr., NCEP/NOAA, W/NP52, NSC, Rm. 605, 5200 Auth Rd., Camp Springs MD 20746), G.D. Bell, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78(5), S1-S49, May 1997.

This seventh in a series of annual climate assessments uses detailed color graphics to update global trends in temperature, precipitation, circulation anomalies, stratospheric ozone and trace gases. Estimated global mean temperature dropped in 1996, but was still among the 10 warmest since 1860. Also gives regional climate highlights.


Item #d97jun9

"How Much Food Will We Need in the 21st Century?" W.H. Bender, Environment, 39(2), 7-11, 27-28, Mar. 1997.

Relatively little attention has been devoted to the issue of the demand for food, yet focusing on demand rather than supply suggests ways of feeding more people with less environmental damage.


Item #d97jun10

"Water Allocation in a Changing Climate: Institutions and Adaptation," K.A. Miller (Environ. & Societal Impacts Group, NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), S.L. Rhodes, L.J. MacDonnell, Clim. Change, 35(2), 157-177, Feb. 1997.

The time has come for innovative thinking on how our water allocation institutions should function to improve our capacity to adapt to the uncertain but potentially large impacts of global climate change on regional water supplies. Analysis of past and present institutional change indicates several elements of future water policies that would reduce the potential for disputes and resource degradation.


Item #d97jun11

"An Evaluation of Climate/Mortality Relationships in Large U.S. Cities and the Possible Impacts of a Climate Change," L.S. Kalkstein (Ctr. Clim. Res., Dept. Geog., Univ. Delaware, Newark DE 19716), J.S. Greene, Environ. Health Perspectives, 105(1), 84-93, Jan. 1997.

Applies a new, more sophisticated climatological procedure to evaluate climate/mortality relationships as they now exist, and to estimate how predicted global warming may alter those values. Analysis of 44 large cities shows that mortality would increase dramatically in summer and decrease slightly in winter, resulting in a sizable net increase of weather-related mortality.


Item #d97jun12

"Comparison of Global Climate Change Simulations for 2 CO2-Induced Warming-An Intercomparison of 108 Temperature Change Projections Published Between 1980 and 1995," K. Kacholia (Environ. Res. Div., Argonne Natl. Lab., 9700 S. Cass Ave., Argonne IL 60439), R.A. Beck, ibid., 35(1), 53-69, Jan. 1997.

Compiles predictions based primarily on research using climate models (radiative-convective, energy balance, and general circulation models or GCMs). The average predicted change is +2.62 ;C, with a range of 0.16 to 8.7 ;C. GCMs tend to predict slightly higher values than the other models. Although recent work continues to reveal important uncertainties in the nature of global atmospheric interactions, estimates of climate sensitivity have remained relatively constant over the period and continue to validate the need for a global policy relating to the human influence on global climate.

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