February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 5, NUMBER 11, NOVEMBER 1992
"The Hydrological Cycle and Its Influence on Climate," M.T.
Chahine (Jet Propulsion Lab., Pasadena CA 91109), Nature, 359(6394),
373-380, Oct. 1, 1992.
This review demonstrates how over the past 10 years it has become clear that
inadequate understanding of the hydrologic cycle--the cycling of water in the
oceans, atmosphere and biosphere--is the main cause of uncertainties in
assessing the effects of global-scale perturbations to the climate system. An
integrated program of fundamental research and education in hydrological science
is needed, rather than the current fragmented studies in engineering, geography,
meteorology and agricultural science. New instrumentation and methods of data
collection are also necessary.
"Irregular Glacial Interstadials Recorded in a New Greenland Ice
Core," S.J. Johnsen (Geophys. Inst., Univ. Copenhagen, Haraldsgade 6, 2200
Copenhagen N, Denmark), H.B. Clausen et al., Nature, 359(6393),
311-313, Sep. 24, 1992.
(See Res. News, this GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE DIGEST issue--Nov. 1992.)
Previous Greenland ice cores have suggested the existence of irregular but well
defined episodes of relatively mild climate (interstadials) during the last
glaciation, but results have been uncertain due to the possibility of artifacts
related to disturbed stratification. Results from a deeper core, which avoids
this possibility, confirm the previous results. Interstadials lasted from 500 to
2000 years; their irregular occurrence suggests complexity in the North Atlantic
"Irregular Oscillations of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet," D.R.
MacAyeal (Dept. Geophys. Sci., Univ. Chicago, 5734 W. Ellis Ave., Chicago IL
60637), Nature, 359(6390), 29-32, Sep. 3, 1992.
Model simulation suggests that sporadic and perhaps chaotic collapses of the
ice sheet have occurred throughout the past one million years. The irregular
behavior is due to the slow equilibration time of the distribution of basal
till, which lubricates ice-sheet motion. Predictions of future collapse of the
ice sheet in response to global warming must take into account its past history,
and whether present basal till distribution predisposes the sheet to rapid
change. The hypothesis that snow-accumulation rates increase when the climate
warms does not contradict the hypothesis that future warming could cause a
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