February 28, 2007
GCRIO Program Overview
Our extensive collection of documents.
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 4, NUMBER 5, MAY 1991
GENERAL INTEREST AND POLICY
New Publication: Climate Research will cover basic and
applied research relating to present, past and future climate; effects of human
societies and organisms on climate; effects of climate on the ecosphere. A Call
for Papers instructs researchers to submit manuscripts to the nearest
regional editor: V. Meentemeyer (N. & S. Amer.), Dept. Geog., 204 GGS Bldg.,
Univ. Georgia, Athens GA 30602; G. Esser (Europe and Africa), IIASA, A-2361
Laxenburg, Austria; T. Oikawa (Asia & Pacific), Inst. Biol. Sci., Univ.
Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305, Japan. Annual subscriptions (3 issues in Vol. 1)
cost DM 285 and are available from Inter-Research, POB 1120, W-2124
Ameling-hausen, Ger. (tel: 04132 7 27).
"Revised Projection of Future Greenhouse Warming," M.E.
Schlesinger (Dept. Atmos. Sci., Univ. Ill., 105 S. Gregory Ave., Urbana IL
61801), X. Jiang, Nature, 350(6315), 219-221, Mar. 21, 1991.
Updates projections of greenhouse warming to the year 2100 originally made
for the IPCC report using a simple climate/ocean model. A delay of 10 years in
initiating a 20-year transition from the IPCC business-as-usual scenario to any
other IPCC scenario has only a small effect on the projected warming in 2100.
Although this penalty for a 10-year delay is small, research should be
accelerated so that we do not squander the time that nature has provided for
obtaining a realistic understanding of the problem. Results are sensitive to a
key parameter representing the warming of the polar ocean relative to that of
the nonpolar ocean.
"New Measurement of the Rate Coefficient for the Reaction of OH with
Methane," G.L. Vaghjiani, A.R. Ravishankara (Aeronomy Lab., NOAA, 325
Broadway, Boulder CO 80303), ibid., 350(6317), 406-409, Apr. 4,
The main loss process for atmospheric methane (an important greenhouse gas,
whose tropospheric concentration is increasing) is reaction with OH. The
measured rate coefficient for this reaction in carefully controlled experiments
was found to be smaller than currently accepted values. Results indicate a 25%
longer CH4 lifetime.
"The Greenhouse Index," Environment, 33(2), 2-5,
42-44, Mar. 1991. Three commentaries and a reply by Hammond et al. concerning
political, ethical and technical questions relating to their proposed index of
greenhouse gas contributions from individual countries. (Global Climate
Change Digest, Prof. Pubs./Gen. Interest & Policy, Apr. 1991)
Environ. Sci. Technol., 25(4), Apr. 1991.
"Greenhouse Gases and Global Change: International Collaboration,"
T. Rosswall (Roy. Acad. Sci., S-104 05 Stockholm, Swed.), pp. 567-573. Discusses
the respective roles, sponsorship, timetables, costs, and studies of the World
Climate Research Program and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, and
the linkages between them. The knowledge obtained will be the key to success in
the wise use of the Earth's resources for generations to come.
"Living in a Terrarium: Reflections on the Second World Climate
Conference," V.D. Phillips (Natural Energy Inst., Univ. Hawaii at Manoa,
Honolulu HI 96822), pp. 574-578. Suggests basic research needed to fill critical
gaps in knowledge of global warming; explores the relationship between green
plants and climate control, and discusses using green plants to remediate global
warming. If we act as though we live in a terrarium and recognize there is no "away"
in which to dump increasing wastes or to which we can escape when overcrowded,
we will have begun to make progress.
"Probing Planetary Pollution from Space," J. Fishman (Atmos. Sci.
Div., NASA-Langley, Hampton VA 23665), pp. 612-621. Reviews data obtained from
space-borne instruments that have measured CO and tropospheric O3. Looks at the
DIAL (DIfferential Absorption Lidar) system, currently being developed, that
could provide vertical and spatial details (such as for ozone and aerosols) that
cannot be obtained using standard, passive detectors.
"Stratospheric Ozone in the 21st Century--The Chlorofluorocarbon
Problem," F.S. Rowland (Dept. Chem., Univ. Calif., Irvine CA 92717), pp.
622-628. Reviews the scientific understanding of ozone depletion and effects of
CFCs on climate. Predicts that the maximum concentration of tropospheric CFCs
can be expected about a decade after CFCs are phased out; the maximum
stratospheric effect will arrive an additional 5-10 years into the future
(between 2015 and 2020).
Special Issue: "Environmental Economics," Ambio,
20(2), Apr. 1991. Elisabeth Kessler, in an introductory editorial,
states that environmental economics aims to integrate ethics, ecology and
economics in an attempt to define the conditions necessary for achieving
sustainable development. Following are three of the 12 articles exploring that
theme for a variety of topics.
"Environmental Economics and the Developing World," D. Pearce
(Univ. College, Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, UK), K.-G. Mäler, pp. 52-54.
Environmental economics can address resource degradation in the developing world
by helping to explain resource use and degradation, measuring its impacts, and
designing policies to combat degradation.
"The Economics of Tropical Forest Degradation," E.B. Barbier
(London Environ. Econ. Ctr., 3 Endsleigh St., London WC1H 0DD, UK), J.C.
Burgess, A. Markandya, pp. 55-58. One of the major reasons that tropical forests
are being cleared at an annual rate of 7.1 million hectares is that many of
their functions are undervalued by those responsible for their management and
use. Examines the economic factors contributing to deforestation in Brazil,
Indonesia and Zaire, and discusses the potential role of forest preservation to
control the greenhouse effect. Paradoxically, the emergence of the greenhouse
effect could be a potential savior of tropical forests.
"Allocating Responsibility for Global Warming: The Natural Debt Index,"
K.R. Smith (Environ. & Policy Inst., East-West Ctr., Honolulu HI 46848), pp.
95-96. The excess CO2 emitted per person can be viewed as part of our natural
debt, resulting from consumption of environmental resources faster than they
naturally regenerate. Since the present economic status of most countries has
been achieved partly by incurring natural debts, it seems fair to establish
indices that reflect an expectation that nations should pay back the debt in the
same proportion as it was borrowed.
Global Environ. Change, 1(2), Mar. 1991.
"Risk Management for Global Environmental Change," T. O'Riordan
(Environ. Sci., Univ. E. Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK), S. Rayner, pp. 91-108.
Examines the changing nature of the issue, and how the disciplines of risk
analysis and management are responding to the new challenges offered. Suggests
ways to classify global risks and recommends approaches to science and policy
"The Conflict over Global Warming," V.A. Mohnen (ASRC, SUNY,
Albany NY 12222), W. Goldstein, W.-C. Wang, pp. 109-123. Many western
governments dissent from the view that models are not yet adequate to guide
policy decisions and insist that a 20% reduction in CO2 should be achieved
within 15 years. A consensus is emerging in the scientific community to endorse
a "no regrets" policy that involves buying various kinds of "insurance"
against future global warming.
"Policy-Oriented Climate Impact Assessment," M. Meo (Sci. &
Publ. Policy Prog., Univ. Oklahoma, Norman OK 73091), pp. 124-138. Presents
results of a policy-oriented climate impact assessment for the Tennessee Valley
Authority's reservoir system and the Apalachicola Bay. Assessments draw upon
biophysical impacts calculated from models of an atmospheric doubling of CO2.
Identifies options and weighs prospects for institutional adaptation.
"UNU [United Nations University] Monitor," pp. 157-163. Reports on
several activities of the UNU-sponsored program, "Human Dimensions of
Global Change," including these workshops and conferences: Developing
Country Perspective on Global Warming (Montebello, Canada); Ethics and
Environmental Politics (Borca di Cadore, Italy); International Law and
Global Change (The Hague, Netherlands); Methodological Issues in Global
Modelling (Mexico City).
"Climate Change--A Response Strategy," pp. 164-166. An edited
version of a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister, Wellington,
New Zealand, Aug. 4, 1990. It outlines principles, targets and tasks of the New
Zealand Climate Change Program.
"Economic Aspects of Global Change," R. Sedjo (Resour. for the
Future, Washington, D.C.) pp. 166-167. Reports on Conference on Global
Change: Economic Issues in Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources (Dec.
19-21, Washington, D.C.).
Nature, 350(6316), Mar. 28, 1991.
"Breakup of Antarctic Ice," H.J. Zwally (Lab. Hydrospheric Proc.,
NASA-Goddard, Greenbelt MD 20771), p. 274. It is tempting to see the breakup of
the Wordie Ice Shelf (next paper) as a sign of impending doom. To determine
whether or not this is so will require continued observation of changes in
Antarctic ice shelves and grounded ice sheets and measurements of their volume
"Rapid Disintegration of the Wordie Ice Shelf in Response to
Atmospheric Warming," C.S.M. Doake (British Antarctic Survey, Madingley
Rd., Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK), D.G. Vaughan, pp. 328-330. Presents satellite
images to document the breakup, apparently related to a local warming trend
recorded in mean annual air temperatures. Substantial additional warming would
be required before similar processes could initiate breakup of the Ross and
Filchner-Ronne ice sheets.
"Aircraft Sulphur Emissions," D.J. Hofmann (Dept. Phys., Univ.
Wyoming, Laramie WY 82071), ibid., 349(6311), 659, Feb. 21,
1991. Stratospheric sulfate aerosol may be increasing by 5% per year. One source
could be sulfur emitted by jet aircraft flying in the 11-12 km region. If this
proves to be correct, and if increasing air traffic were to make greater use of
the stratosphere, then they would have to burn sulfur-free fuel.
"Nitrogen Oxide Emissions from Air Traffic," R.A. Egli (Etzel
str. 15, CH-8200, Schaffhausen, Switz.), Chimia, 44(11),
369-371, Nov. 1990.
Aviation consumes about 13% of the world's fuel used in transportation and
produced 2.75 million tons of NOx in 1987. Air traffic is the main NOx source
between 9 and 13 km. These emissions can lead to an important increase in
tropospheric O3, but when emitted into the lower stratosphere, they can lead to
stratospheric O3 depletion.
Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 72(1), Jan. 1991.
"The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on the Great Lakes," J.B.
Smith (Off. Policy, US EPA, Washington DC 20460), pp. 21-28. Studies
commissioned by the U.S. EPA found that doubling atmospheric CO2 concentrations
could lower Great Lakes water levels by 0.5-2.5 m, reduce ice cover by 1-2.5
months, lengthen shipping seasons while increasing shipping and dredging costs,
reduce dissolved oxygen levels in shallow basins, and increase fish
productivity. Measures should be taken now to anticipate and mitigate these
"Global Change, a Catalyst for the Development of Hydrologic Science,"
P.S. Eagleson (MIT, Cambridge MA 02139), pp. 34-43. Hydrologic science should be
recognized and pursued as a separate and distinct geoscience that cuts across
traditional atmospheric, oceanic and solid earth sciences. The initiatives
proposed here are intended to complement existing research and education
"Policy Statement of the American Meteorology Society on Global Climate
Change," pp. 57-59. The statement addresses such points as the scientific
debate and the likelihood that global warming is or will be taking place.
Primary research needs include comprehensive, long-term, consistent observations
of key variables; studies focusing on linkages and interactions among components
of the Earth system; studies focusing on climate variability; substantially
greater computational resources dedicated to global change research.
"Paper, Pollution and Global Warming: Unsustainable Forestry in
Finland," R. Isomäki (Coalition for Environ. & Develop., Ympäristökeskus,
Hietaniemenkatu 10, 00100 Helsinki, Finland), The Ecologist, 21(1),
Commercial forestry has replaced natural forests with uniform plantations.
This threatens many species with extinction and disrupts the livelihood of the
Sami people. Draining of vast areas of Finnish peatlands for forestry has
resulted in huge increases in CO2 emissions because the organic matter
decomposes more rapidly. The related paper and pulp industries are also very
"Factors That May Influence Responses of the U.S. Transportation
Sector to Policies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions," E.L. Hillsman
(Ctr. Global Environ. Studies, Oak Ridge Nat. Lab., POB 2008, 4500N, MS-6206,
Oak Ridge TN 37831), F. Southworth, Transport. Res. Record, No. 1267,
1990. Published by Transport. Res. Bd., Nat. Res. Council, Washington, D.C.
Although technical options to reduce CO2 emissions exist, policies must
recognize the fragmentation of responsibility for key transportation activities
and the need to coordinate decision making. Some of the diverse groups include
vehicle suppliers, transportation service suppliers, consumers, fuel suppliers,
and infrastructure developers.
"Humankind in the Biosphere," M.F. Price (NCAR, POB 3000,
Boulder CO 80307), Global Environ. Change, 1(1), 3-13, Dec.
1990. Examines the evolution of international interdisciplinary research
programs, identifies obstacles to their development, and suggests future
directions. The interactions of humankind with other elements of the biosphere
"Research and Policy Review 33. Why Is More Notice Not Taken of
Economists Prescriptions for the Control of Pollution?" N. Hanley (Dept.
Econ., Univ. Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland), Environ. & Planning,
A22(11), 1421-1439, Nov. 1990.
Economists have been too narrow in their focus on efficiency as an
appropriate objective function for legislators and pressure groups, and numerous
problems are associated with bringing in incentive-based policies for
controlling pollution. However, permitting flexibility in emission reductions
across sources with the associated cost savings is still sufficiently attractive
that more research should be given to modeling such policies in specific
"Government Regulation and the Development of Environmental Ethics
under the Clean Air Act," M. Bern, Ecol. Law Quart., 17,
Using the first two decades of the U.S. Clean Air Act as an example, this
paper explores the possibility that its approach to environmental regulation,
with emphasis on "rational" economic decision making and technological
solutions, is responsible for generating attitudes that prevent individuals from
recognizing their roles in reducing environmental degradation.
"Computer Simulation of the Global Climatic Effects of Increased
Greenhouse Gases," W.M. Washington (NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), T.W.
Bettge, G.A. Meehl, Intl. J. Supercomputer Applic., 4(2), 5-19,
Summer 1990. Describes an animated video (and the scientific principles used to
develop it) of the climate system and possible climate change associated with
increased greenhouse gases.
Computers in Physics, May-June 1990. Special issue on modeling the
environment. (See also Sci. Amer. article, Periodicals, this Global
Climate Change Digest issue--May 1991.)
"High Performance Computing and the Grand Challenge of Climate
Modeling," R.M. Chervin (NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), pp. 234-239.
Scientists at NCAR have adapted models of the global atmosphere and ocean for
multiprocessor application so that a variety of computationally intensive
projects are feasible and reasonable on today's supercomputers. A longer-term
goal will be to prepare for the next generation of supercomputers with larger
main memories, different memory hierarchy structures and more processors. When
the multi-tasked atmosphere and ocean models can be coupled, a powerful climate
model for studying global change will result.
"Computer Simulation of the Greenhouse Effect," W.M. Washington
(NCAR), T.W. Bettge, pp. 240-246. Gives the basic equations used in the NCAR
model for the Earth's atmosphere, describes simulation of present and
CO2-enriched climates, and discusses future tasks.
"Looking Ahead to EOS: The Earth Observing System," J. Dozier
(Dept. Geog., Univ. Calif., Santa Barbara CA 93106), pp. 248-259. Describes the
two polar-orbiting platforms to be launched beginning in 1997, the Data and
Information System and the research program. Lists the names, affiliations and
specific projects for EOS investigators.
Guide to Publishers
Index of Abbreviations