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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



Item #d90sep35

"Open Systems Living in a Closed Biosphere: A New Paradox for the Gaia Debate," C. Barlow, T. Volk (Earth Sys. Group, Dept. Appl. Sci., New York Univ., New York NY 10003), BioSystems, 23, 371-384, 1990.

Introduces a "weaker" version of the Gaia hypothesis, that focuses on the persistence of life through time and readily lends itself to at least one form of test. The oceans, atmosphere, soils and biota constitute a complex system that maintains and adjusts matter cycling and recycling within the constraint of planetary closure, such that open-system forms of life can persist. Suggests several disciplines within the field of biology to test the theory.

Item #d90sep36

"Bistability of CCN Concentrations and Thermodynamics in the Cloud-Topped Boundary Layer," M.B. Baker (Dept. Atmos. Sci., Univ. Washington, Seattle WA 98195), R.J. Charlson, Nature, 345(6271), 142-145, May 10, 1990.

Explains that the observed near-constancy of cloud condensation nuclei concentrations in remote marine air is thought to be due to a balance of source and sink processes. Using a simple model of the marine cloud-topped boundary layer, solutions give two stable CCN concentration regimes. One corresponds to the low concentrations observed over the ocean, the other to the higher concentrations observed over land; each is dominated by different sink mechanisms. Both regimes have different optical properties that may be of climatic significance.

Item #d90sep37

"AVHRR Imagery Reveals Antarctic Ice Dynamics," R.A. Bindschadler (NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt MD 20771), P.L. Vornberger, Eos, 741-742, June 5, 1990.

Uses Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer imagery to reveal surprising characteristics of the dynamics of the West Antarctic ice sheet that may point to its possible collapse. This event could raise global sea level a total of 6 m at rates of over 30 mm per annum. (See RESEARCH NEWS, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Sep. 1990.)

Item #d90sep38

"Physical Conditions at the Base of a Fast Moving Ant-arctic Ice Stream," H. Engelhardt (Div. Geol. Planetary Sci., Calif. Inst. Technol., Pasadena CA 91125), N. Humphrey et al., Science, 57-59, Apr. 6, 1990.

Boreholes drilled to the bottom of ice stream B in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet show conditions that allow the rapid ice streaming motion to occur from basal sliding or from shear deformation of unconsolidated sediments that underlie the ice in a layer at least two meters thick. The mechanics of ice streaming play a role in the response of the ice sheet to climatic change.

Item #d90sep39

"Ship Trails and Ship Induced Cloud Dynamics," W.M. Porch (Los Alamos Nat. Lab., Los Alamos NM 87544), C.-Y.J. Kao, R.G. Kelley Jr., Atmos. Environ., 24A(5), 1051-1059, 1990.

Detailed image analysis of an exceptionally high resolution photograph of ship trails observed by the Apollo-Soyuz mission in July 1975 shows that these trails began as a brightening of background marine stratocumulus and eventually grew to a point where they generated a plume-like structure with clear regions on both sides. Preliminary numerical modeling to simulate the ship trails, using only the energy release from the ship, gave an indication of how that energy compares with the energy released by the latent heat of the nucleation process.

Item #d90sep40

"Perspectives on Aerosol Deposition to Natural Surfaces: Interactions between Aerosol Residence Times, Removal Processes, the Biosphere and Global Environmental Change," B.L.B. Wiman (Lund Inst. Sci. & Technol., Gerdagatan 13, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden), M.H. Unsworth et al., J. Aerosol Sci., 21(3), 313-338, 1990.

Summarizes the research needs in the areas of aerosol residence-time assessments, deposition modeling and understanding of aerosols in biogeochemistry, using a systems perspective of global environmental change. Feedback investigations should focus on a common goal, such as developing empirical and theoretical understanding of aerosol resuspension, transport and deposition for application in large-scale circulation models.

Item #d90sep41

"Modeling of Meltwater Infiltration in Subfreezing Snow," T.H. Illangasekare (Dept. Environ. Eng., Univ. Colorado, Boulder CO 80309), R.J. Walter Jr. et al., Water Resour. Res., 26(5), 1001-1012, May 1990.

The nature of meltwater infiltration will affect the timing of global sea level rise from global warming. If meltwater must penetrate vertically through cold glaciers sea level rise would be slow, but if appreciable lateral flow patterns develop large rises in sea level could occur in a matter of years. A mathematical model is developed which incorporates the processes that influence water flow and heat transfer in subfreezing snow; from this is developed a two-dimensional meltwater infiltration model.

Item #d90sep42

Comments and reply on "Major Volcanic Eruptions and Climate: A Critical Evaluation," J. Clim., 3(5), 587-590, May 1990.

Item #d90sep43

"An Assessment of the Impact of Volcanic Eruptions on the Northern Hemisphere's Aerosol Burden during the Last Decade," J.J. Michalsky (Atmos. Sci. Res. Ctr., 100 Fuller Rd., Albany NY 12205), E.W. Pearson, B.A. LeBaron, J. Geophys. Res., 95(D5), 5677-5688, Apr. 20, 1990.

Analyzes volcanic aerosol loading using optical depth data at five wavelengths derived from sunradiometry data. These data are tabulated, and inferences regarding size distribution of the volcanic aerosol are drawn. Results are compared with other data sets to establish the validity of ground-based techniques and inferences regarding strato-spheric transport are drawn.

Item #d90sep44

"Deep-Water Renewal in the Northern North Atlantic," R.R. Dickson (MAFF Fisheries Lab., Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0HT, UK), E.M. Gmitrowicz, A.J. Watson, Nature, 344(6269), 848-853, Apr. 26, 1990. Describes the first successful long-term measurement of the transport of the northern inflow component of the North Atlantic where it passes south along the Continental Slope off East Greenland.

Item #d90sep45

"Ventilation Rates of the Waters in the Nansen Basin of the Arctic Ocean Derived from a Multitracer Approach," P. Schlosser (Lamont-Doherty Geol. Observ., Columbia Univ., Palisades NY 10964), J. Geophys. Res., 95(C3), 3265-3272, Mar. 15, 1990. Presents the first full-depth profiles of 14C, tritium, 3He, 4He and neon from a station in the central Nansen Basin waters.

Item #d90sep46

"Space and Time Distribution of Glacier Mass-Balance in the Northern Hemisphere," A. Letréguilly (Wegener Inst. Polar- und Meeresforschung, Postfach 120161, 2850 Bremerhaven, FRG), L. Reynaud, Arctic Alpine Res., 22(1), 43-50, Feb. 1990. Proposes to test to what degree available mass-balance series of well-measured glacier areas can be used to extrapolate to unknown glaciers in the same vicinity.

Item #d90sep47

"Estimates of Antarctic Precipitation," D.H. Bromwich (Byrd Polar Res. Ctr., Ohio State Univ., Columbus OH 43210), Nature, 343(6259), 627-629, Feb. 15, 1990.

Precipitation fluctuations over Antarctica are a potentially important contributor to variations in global sea level. Uses two methods to determine net flux of water to the Ant-arctic surface. Two calculated estimates are in marked disagreement for the entire continent, but concur for the interior area between 80° S and the pole. Improvements in the climatological atmospheric data base should make possible reliable estimates of Antarctic precipitation variation.

Item #d90sep48

"On the Global Exchange of Mass between the Stratosphere and Troposphere," J.R. Holton (Dept. Atmos. Sci., AK-40, Univ. Washington, Seattle, WA 98195), J. Atmos. Sci., 47(3), 392-395, Feb. 1, 1990.

Applies the downward control principle to estimate for each hemisphere and season the averaged extratropical downward mass flux across the 100 mb level implied by the climatological data of Oort's 15-year climatology, and uses continuity to obtain an estimate for the upward flux across the tropical tropopause. The computed fluxes imply a 2.5-year turnover time for a global atmospheric layer above 100 mb.

Item #d90sep49

"The Use of Radiocarbon Measurements in Atmospheric Studies," M.R. Manning (Inst. Nuclear Sci., Dept. Sci. Ind. Res., Lower Hutt, New Zealand), Radiocarbon, 32(1), 37-58, 1990.

Presents atmospheric 14CO2 measurements made in New Zealand since 1954 and at various Pacific Ocean sites. The observed seasonal cycle conflicts with that predicted by a zonally averaged global circulation model. Discusses recent accelerator mass spectrometry measurements of atmospheric 14CH4 and the problems involved in determining the fossil fuel methane source.

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