February 28, 2007
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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 8, NUMBER 9, SEPTEMBER 1995
Polar ice trends: Scientists at the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing
Center in Bergen, Norway, claim that the Arctic ice pack has been melting faster
over the past two decades, and that sea ice around Antarctica is melting. The
first result is presented in the July 13, 1995, issue of Nature (see
Prof. Pubs./Gen. Interest/Trend Analyses in this Digest issue--Sep
1995); the second will be presented at a meeting in October and is discussed in
New Scientist (p. 4, Aug. 12, 1995) and Science News (p. 123,
Aug. 19, 1995).
Ice sheet stability: New research supports the theory that the East
Antarctic ice sheet has changed little over the past 15 million years, contrary
to other evidence that the area supported trees and vegetation as recently as
three million years ago. The results fuel an existing controversy over the
stability of the ice sheet, which could raise sea level 60 meters if it were to
melt. (See papers in Prof. Pubs./Gen. Interest/Climate Change Sci., this Digest
issue--Sep. 1995; Science News, p. 87, Aug. 5, 1995; New Scientist,
p. 16, Aug. 5, 1995.)
CO2 impacts on forests: Results from the most realistic test
yet of how elevated CO2 would affect the growth of forests were presented at a
meeting of the Ecological Society of America last month. An 0.4 hectare plot of
mature pines in North Carolina, fumigated throughout a growing season with
elevated CO2 from towers, increased photosynthesis by 65 percent. An experiment
to determine the forest response over three to five years begins in 1996. (See
Science News, p. 101, Aug. 12, 1995; New Scientist, p. 14, Aug.
Atmospheric chemistry newsletter: The first issue of IGACtivities
Newsletter, which includes two articles relating to methane emission, is
available from the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Core Project
Office of the IGBP (MIT, Bldg. 24-409, Cambridge MA 02139; tel: 617 253 9887;
fax: 617 253 9886; e-mail: erobbins@MIT.edu). An IGAC homepage has been launched
on the World Wide Web at http://web.mit.edu/igac/www/.
"Methyl Bromide under Scrutiny," J.H. Butler, Nature,
pp. 469-470, Aug. 10, 1995. Summarizes the latest findings on the emission,
transport and reaction of methyl bromide as discussed in two recent conferences.
Despite a great increase in understanding recently, the budget of atmospheric
methyl bromide remains uncertain.
"Catching Plankton on Video," L. Spinney, New Scientist,
p. 20, Aug. 12, 1995. Britain's Natural Environmental Research Council is
funding two teams of researchers to develop optical techniques for rapid
determination of plankton populations. One uses a video camera combined with the
existing optical counter; the other uses a hologram.
"From Russia with Love: U.S. Cloud Data," A. Lawler, Science,
pp. 473-474, July 28, 1995. Under an agreement worked out in June, U.S. and
Russian officials are considering opening their once top-secret archives to
climate researchers in both nations. The Russian data could provide a consistent
look at the extent and kinds of cloud cover over the last 30 years, and provide
insight into the effects of pollution on cloud cover.
"Mammals' Molars Warn of Global Shrinking," J. Hecht, New
Scientist, p. 21, June 17, 1995. Results of examination of fossil teeth,
presented at a meeting of the Geological Society of America, show that as
temperatures fluctuated more than 50 million years ago, the size of small
mammals living in a warm region of North America changed in step, and continued
changes led to some extinctions. This has reinforced fears that global warming
may have a similar impact on today's animal populations.
"Sunlight could Recycle Greenhouse Gases," A. Coughlan, ibid.,
p. 22, Apr. 1. Swiss chemists have converted carbon dioxide and water into
methane using only light and a simple catalyst. If the process can be scaled up
successfully, it could be an effective way of turning the main greenhouse gas
into a fuel. (See Saladin et al., J. Chem. Soc., Chem. Communications,
No. 5, 533-534, 1995.)
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