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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 #d95may11

"Radiative Flux Opens New Window on Climate Research," R.T. Pinker (Dept. Meteor., Univ. Maryland, College Pk. MD 20742), I. Laszlo et al., Eos, 76(15), 145, 155, Apr. 11, 1995.

Discusses how the combination of satellite observations and atmospheric modeling has provided information on the radiative flux at the top and bottom of the atmosphere, which has a variety of research uses for geophysicists, agronomists, environmentalists and others.

Item #d95may12

"The Seasons, Global Temperature, and Precession," D.J. Thomson (AT&T Bell Labs, Murray Hill NJ 07974), Science, 268(5207), 59-67, Apr. 7, 1995.

(See Research News.) Statistically analyzes the structure of the annual or seasonal cycle in temperature time series since the year 1659, using complex demodulation. The results have several implications for interpretation of the Earth's temperature record, including that solar variability cannot be the sole cause of the temperature increase observed over the last century. About 1940, the phase patterns of the previous 300 years began to change; the average change in phase is now coherent with the logarithm of atmospheric CO2 concentration. Other results suggest that the effects of increasing greenhouse gases may be worse than previously thought.

Item #d95may13

"A New Challenge: Assessing Tropospheric Ozone as a Climate Gas," V.A. Mohnen (Quality Assurance Ctr., Fraunhofer Inst. for Atmos. Sci., IFU—Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Ger.), W. Goldstein, W.-C. Wang, Atmos. Environ., 29(5), 641-642, Apr. 1995. (The first of a series of columns on "Research Directions." To contribute to a future column, or comment on a previous one, contact A.S. Lefohn, ASL Assoc., 111 N. Last Chance Gulch, S. 4A, Helena MT 59601.)

Past assessments of ozone have focused on the planetary boundary layer and the stratosphere; now ozone in the free troposphere is beginning to receive renewed attention. An unprecedented level of international cooperation and guidance must come from atmospheric chemists if a research/monitoring network is to meet the needs of GCM modelers and policy makers. If future increases in precursor gases and UV-B radiation are inevitable, higher quality global data must be developed to document and understand changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere and to improve trend analysis.

Item #d95may14

"Carbonyl Sulfide: No Remedy for Global Warming," S.J. Taubman (GFDL, POB 308, Princeton NJ 08542), J.F. Kasting, Geophys. Res. Lett., 22(7), 803-805, Apr. 1, 1995.

The cooling effect of enhanced stratospheric aerosol following the Mt. Pinatubo eruption led to speculation about deliberately enhancing the layer with carbonyl sulfide (OCS) emissions, to offset greenhouse warming. Calculations with a one-dimensional photochemical model show that any attempt to use OCS as a permanent solution to global warming could result in depletion of global average ozone by at least 30%. To achieve cooling of 4° C, rainwater pH would fall to 3.5-3.8, and the ambient ground-level OCS level would be above 10 ppmv—an unsafe level for humans.

Item #d95may15

"Comparison of Longterm Greenhouse Projections with the Geologic Record," T.J. Crowley (Dept. Oceanog., Texas A&M Univ., College Sta. TX 77843), K.-Y. Kim, ibid., 22(8), 933-936, Apr. 15, 1995.

Used a 1D energy balance model and an upwelling-diffusion ocean model to explore the temperature response to extreme cases of unrestricted and severely restricted greenhouse gas increases, and compared the results against revised estimates of global temperature change over the last 100 million years. Suggests that regardless of emission scenario or system sensitivity, future greenhouse warming will be large, even on a geologic scale.

Item #d95may16

"Terrestrial Ecosystems and the Carbon Cycle," D.S. Schimel (NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), Global Change Biology, 1(1), 77-91, Feb. 1995.

Presents key results from an assessment for the IPCC, and presents detail beyond that assessment on procedures used to approximate flux uncertainties. Lack of knowledge about positive and negative feedbacks from the biosphere is a major factor limiting credible simulations of future atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Contains extensive references and lists critical areas for future research.

Item #d95may17

"Estimating Global Changes in Precipitation," M. Hulme (Clim. Res. Unit., Univ. E. Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK), Weather, 50(2), 34-42, Feb. 1995.

Summarizes the problems of establishing a global-mean record of precipitation spanning the instrumental period, a considerably more difficult task than estimating surface air temperature. The much larger natural variation of precipitation in space and time is a major problem, and also makes interpretation of estimated changes more difficult. Finding signals of human-induced climate change in the precipitation record will remain an intractable problem for some years to come.

Item #d95may18

Special issue: Environ. Pollut., 83, 1994. Represents the proceedings of a conference on climate change held in Bad Dürkheim, Germany, June 1992, organized by Elsevier Science Publishers to assess the current state of knowledge of atmospheric processes; discuss the effects of climate change on the biological processes in terrestrial ecosystems; and determine future research needs. Contains 23 papers from authors in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Canada, and Portugal, beginning with "Climate of the Earth: An Overview," pp. 3-21, by M.B. McElroy (Dept. Earth Sci., Harvard Univ., Cambridge MA 02138). The remaining papers are in the following sections: Global Climate: Past and Present; Stratosphere-Troposphere Interactions; Global Climate—Models and Predictions; Impacts of Global Change on Terrestrial Vegetation: Carbon Dioxide, UV-B Radiation and Ozone; Impacts of Global Change on Terrestrial Ecosystems: An Integrated Assessment.

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