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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 12, NUMBER 3, MARCH 1999

JOURNAL ARTICLES...
GENERAL INTEREST


Item #d99mar1

° “Relative Impacts of Human-Induced Climate Change and Natural Climate Variability,” M. Hulme et al., Nature 397, 688-691 (1999).

Two indicators of climate change, wheat production and river flow, were modeled in two ways: (1) with an extension of observed climate variability (for which seven possible scenarios were produced) and (2) with projected climate changes expected to occur under 0.5% and 1.0% annual increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration. The results from the two modelings were then compared to see if any difference could be discerned between the increased-CO2 climate and the natural-variability climate for the year 2050. Under the greenhouse scenario, river flow was greater in northern Europe and less in southern Europe than that expected with natural variability. Wheat production showed only a slight increase under greenhouse conditions unless theoretical CO2-fertilization effects were factored in, in which case yields were significantly increased across Europe.


Item #d99mar2

“Biophysical Stratification of the Amazon Basin,” S. D. Prince and M. K. Steininger,Global Change Biology 5 (1), 1-22 (1999).

Precipitation, temperature, radiation, normalized-difference vegetation index, surface moisture, and other variables were studied to determine their relationships with annual net radiation, latent heat, and net primary productivity across the humid tropical zone of South America and to identify the most important variables to measure during the upcoming Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia and to allow effective field-site selection for the project.


Item #d99mar3

“Climate Change and Health: Challenges for an Interdisciplinary Approach,” J. A. Patz,EM: The Air & Waste Management Association’s Magazine for Environmental Managers 35-41 (March 1999).

Climate change can have significant impacts on health because of rising temperature, rising sea level, increasing extremes in the hydrologic cycle (floods and drought), and ozone depletion. Rising temperatures can have direct health consequences: increased cardiovascular mortality and ground-level ozone (during heat waves), a potent lung irritant. Both vector-borne (malaria and encephalitis) and water-borne (diarrheal) diseases increase during extreme weather events. Climate change affects both water resources and agriculture (changes in soil quality; incidence of plant diseases, weeds, and insects; and humidity- and heat-induced food spoilage). It also poses a long-term and complex public-health challenge that warrants new cross-cutting research strategies and modeling tools to conceptually represent interrelated systems and to identify knowledge gaps.


Item #d99mar4

“Who Benefits from Climate Forecasts?” A. Pfaff, K. Broad, and M. Glantz,Nature 397, 645-646 (1999).

The Peruvian fishing sector was studied. In 1997, it accounted for more than $1 billion in foreign exchange earnings and about 70,000 jobs, but the industry was battered by the 1997-1998 El Niño because of the intrinsic limitations of the forecasts and because of how (and to whom) the forecasts are disseminated. The study found that climate forecasts reach Peru largely in English over the Internet. Farmers and small-operation fishermen learn of them through local media that remove caveats about the probabilistic nature of the forecasts and insert their own conclusions about likely fishing mortalities or crop yields. Large fishing companies, on the other hand, use unmediated or self- interpreted information to anticipate fish movements, allowing them to make large catches even during periods of stress on fish stocks.

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