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Global Climate Change Digest

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



Item #d91may1

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).

Item #d91may2

"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Updates projections of greenhouse warming to the year 2100 originally made for the IPCC report using a simple climate/ocean model.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.

Item #d91may3

"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, 1991.

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.

Item #d91may4

"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)

Item #d91may5

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).

Item #d91may6

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.

Item #d91may7

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 evaluations.

"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.).

Item #d91may8

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 changes.

"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.

Item #d91may9

"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.

Item #d91may10

"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.

Item #d91may11

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 effects.

"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 activities.

"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.

Item #d91may12

"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), Jan.-Feb. 1991.

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 energy intensive.

Item #d91may13

"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.

Item #d91may14

"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 is emphasized.

Item #d91may15

"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 situations.

Item #d91may16

"Government Regulation and the Development of Environmental Ethics under the Clean Air Act," M. Bern, Ecol. Law Quart., 17, 539-580, 1990.

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.

Item #d91may17

"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.

Item #d91may18

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.

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