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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 #d92mar1

"Potential Climate Impact of Mount Pinatubo Eruption," J. Hansen (NASA Goddard Inst. Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York NY 10025), A. Lacis et al., Geophys. Res. Lett., 19(2), 215-218, Jan. 24, 1992. (See also Prof. Pubs./Mt. Pinatubo Eruption, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--Mar. 1992.)

A preliminary assessment using the GISS global climate model indicates that stratospheric aerosols created by the eruption will cause a dramatic but temporary break in recent global warming trends. The cooling will peak in late 1992, and should overwhelm global warming associated with an El Niņo that appears to be developing. Discusses the effect of the predicted global cooling on such practical matters as the severity of the Soviet winter and the dates of cherry blossoming.

Item #d92mar2

"The View from 1996: A Future History on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change," R.C. Rockwell (Exec. Dir., Inter-univ. Consortium for Political & Social Res., Univ. Michigan, Ann Arbor MI 48109), R.H. Moss, Environment, 34(1), 12-18; 33-38, Jan.-Feb. 1992.

This planning document, written as a history, was created to survey interesting questions for social science research on global environmental change, to consider the institutions that will be important in doing the research, and to identify institutional and programmatic impediments. Much of the discussion centers on the IGBP System for Analysis, Research and Training (START), the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (HDGEC) program of the International Social Science Council, and the World Climate Research Program.

Item #d92mar3

"U.S.-Japanese Space Relations at a Crossroads," J.M. Logsdon (Dir., Space Policy Inst., G. Washington Univ., Washington DC 20052), Science, 255(5042), 294-300, Jan. 17, 1992.

There are a number of scientific, Earth observation and public service communication missions under discussion between the U.S. and Japanese technical communities and governments; Japan is particularly interested in contributing its space capabilities to global change research. The United States needs to develop a strategy with respect to future U.S.-Japan space relations that balances national security and scientific and economic interests. This requires an accurate understanding of the character and content of the Japanese space effort.

Item #d92mar4

"Will Greenhouse Warming Lead to Northern Hemisphere Ice Sheet Growth?" G.H. Miller (INSTAAR, Univ. Colorado, Boulder CO 80309), A. de Vernal, Nature, 355(6357), 244-246, Jan. 16, 1992.

Examination of the age and distribution of glacial sediments over the past 130 thousand years, together with marine and terrestrial proxy records of climate, suggest that initial ice-sheet growth at the beginning of the last glacial cycle occurred at high northern latitudes under climatic conditions similar to the present. Results support the idea that expected greenhouse warming, coupled with decreasing summer insolation, may lead to more snow deposition than melting at high northern latitudes, and thus to ice-sheet growth.

Item #d92mar5

"Leaking Gas and Greenhouse," R. Herbert (British Gas, 152 Grosvenor Rd., London SW1V 3JL, UK), ibid., p. 196. Letter arguing that accelerated replacement of gas mains would not be an effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, contrary to the conclusion of a previously published paper.

Item #d92mar6

"On the Evaluation of Ozone Depletion Potentials," S. Solomon (Aeronomy Lab., NOAA, 325 Broadway, Boulder CO 80303), M. Mills et al., J. Geophys. Res., 97(D1), 825-842, Jan. 20, 1992.

Observations of methane, CFC-11 and ozone losses are used, along with insights from models and observations regarding the relationships among tracers, to develop a semi-empirical framework for evaluating depletion potentials. The potentials for compounds with relatively long stratospheric lifetimes such as HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b are likely to be larger than predicted by gas phase chemical models; for compounds with short lifetimes, such as CCl4 and CH3CCl3, gas phase models likely overestimate depletion potentials.

Item #d92mar7

"Increase in Global Atmospheric Concentrations of Mercury Inferred from Measurements over the Atlantic Ocean," F. Slemr (Fraunhofer Inst. Atmos. Environ. Res., Kreuzeckbahnstr. 19, D-8100 Garmish-Partenkirchen, Ger.), E. Langer, Nature, 355(6359), 434-437, Jan. 30, 1992.

While previous analyses of dated soil, peat bog and lake-sediment records indicate that deposition of atmospheric mercury may have doubled since the beginning of the nineteenth century, this conflicts with most mercury budgets, in which natural sources dominate. Measurements presented here spanning 1977-1990 indicate that atmospheric mercury has increased 1.46% per year in the Northern Hemisphere, and suggest that anthropogenic rather than natural sources are more important.

Item #d92mar8

"Global Warming: Evidence for Asymmetric Diurnal Temperature Change," T.R. Karl (NCDC-NOAA, Fed. Bldg., Asheville NC 28801), G. Kukla et al., Geophys. Res. Lett., 18(12), 2253-2256, Dec. 1991.

Yearly and monthly mean maximum and minimum surface temperatures compared for large areas of the U.S., the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China show that most of the warming observed over the past four decades can be attributed to an increase of mean minimum (mostly nighttime) temperatures. Mean maximum temperatures show little change. The causes are uncertain, but some evidence suggests that changes in cloud cover play a direct role. Results imply either that climate model projections of greenhouse warming are improperly representing the relative changes in mean maxima and minima, or that the observed warming in a considerable portion of the Northern Hemisphere landmass is significantly affected by factors unrelated to an enhanced greenhouse effect from human activities. (See ibid., 19(2), 219, Jan. 24, 1992, for corrections to figures and tables in this paper.)

Item #d92mar9

Polar Ozone Depletion. Can. J. Phys., 69(8-9), Aug.-Sep. 1991, contains six papers on ozone depletion as part of a special issue on Earth observations. Three are listed below; the other three are in the Stratospheric Ozone section.

"Possible Influence of Long-Term Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in the Tropical Pacific on Global Ozone," W.D. Komhyr (ARL, NOAA, R/E/AR4, 325 Broadway, Boulder CO 80303), S.J. Oltmans et al., 1093-1102.

Explores a negative correlation between June-August sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, and late October total ozone at the South Pole. The downward trend in ozone observed over the globe in recent years may have been at least partly meteorologically induced. Since ozone has a lifetime ranging from hours to years in different portions of the atmosphere, changes in atmospheric dynamics have the potential for changing total ozone abundance.

"Global Ozone Trends from a Reanalysis of TOMS Data," W.F.J. Evans (Environ. Resour. Studies, Trent Univ., Peterborough, Ont. K9J 7B8, Can.), F.E. Bunn, A.E. Walker, 1103-1109.

Correction of satellite measurements of total ozone for a -0.70% annual drift shows that global ozone depletion occurred at a rate of 0.224% per year over the period 1979-1988. Depletion is most rapid in the southern polar zone, remaining well above the global rate even during the absence of the ozone thinning phenomenon (0.47% per year). This decrease is alarmingly greater than predicted by scenario models.

"Polar Ozone Depletion: Current Status," G.S. Henderson (Dept. Geol., Univ. Toronto, Toronto, Ont. M5S 3B1, Can.), J.C. McConnell et al., 1110-1122.

Reviews scientific understanding of the springtime depletion observed to occur severely over the Antarctic and in a much weaker fashion over the Arctic. Concludes that adherence to the revised Montreal Protocol should result in reduced polar ozone depletion, but the time constant for the atmosphere to return to pre-CFC levels is 60-100 years.

Item #d92mar10

Two items from Space Power, 10(2), 1991:

"Solar Power Satellites--Energy Source for the Greenhouse Century," M.I. Hoffert (Dept. Appl. Sci., New York Univ., 26-36 Stuyvesant St., New York NY 10003), S.D. Potter, 131-151.

Application of an energy-CO2-economics model shows an energy shortfall if energy demands are to be met while limiting CO2 emissions. Consideration of photovoltaics, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion and solar power satellites shows that satellites are the most feasible alternative. Analysis shows that 2.45 GHz technology is more promising for solar power satellites than laser or 35 GHz technologies.

"Project Phoenix--Confronting Global Warming with Solar Power," C.L. Owen (Inst. Design, Illinois Inst. Technol., 10 W. 35th St., Chicago IL 60616), 157-184. Describes a plan for constructing satellites 9 km in diameter in lunar orbit from material obtained on the Moon, and towing them into geosynchronous orbit.

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