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 9, NUMBER 8, AUGUST 1996
A new "fingerprint?" Newly published research involving
several climate models is being described by some scientists as the closest
demonstration yet of a human influence on recent climate. (See lead papers in
Prof. Pubs./Of Gen. Interest, this Digest issue--Aug. 1996.) The study
compared model predictions of the combined effects of CO2, anthropogenic sulfate
aerosols, and declining levels of stratospheric ozone, on air temperature in
both the troposphere and the stratosphere, over the period 1963-1987. This work
and reservations expressed by some other scientists are discussed in Science,
p. 34, July 5.
Growing season altered: Atmospheric measurements newly reported by
Charles D. Keeling and colleagues indicate that the Northern Hemisphere growing
season begins a week earlier than it did just 20 years ago. The researchers
attribute this and other alterations in the CO2 cycle to the response of
vegetation to recent temperature increases. (See paper in Prof. Pubs./Of Gen.
Interest, this Digest issue--Aug. 1996, and Science News, p. 21,
July 13; New Scientist, p. 7, July 13; The New York Times, p.
C8, July 16.)
Sea level error: NASA scientists have discovered a computer error
which reduces by a factor of two the estimate of global sea level rise over the
past several years based TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite measurements. The new estimate
of 1-3 mm per year is now consistent with results from tide gauges. See (all
1996): The New York Times, p. C4, July 30; New Scientist, p. 13,
Aug. 3; Global Environ. Change Rep., p. 6, Aug. 9.
"Did Water Vapor Drive Climate Cooling?" M. Carlowicz, Eos,
pp. 321-322, Aug. 13, 1996. In a lecture presented at the AGU Spring Meeting,
geochemist Wallace Broecker proposed that water vapor, particularly in the
tropics, is the only atmospheric component capable of warming and cooling the
Earth on a short time scale.
"Colonial Legacy Unlocks Arctic Secrets," V. Kiernan, New
Scientist, p. 12, July 20, 1996. Unique, detailed records of hunting and
fishing catches kept when Greenland was a colony of Denmark could provide clues
about how the Arctic marine ecosystem might respond to global warming.
"Greenland's Ice Holds Key to Climate Puzzle," V. Kiernan, New
Scientist, p. 7, July 6, 1996. A European team has started drilling a third
ice core on the Greenland ice cap, intended to resolve conflicting conclusions
from the GISP2 and GRIP ice cores concerning climatic fluctuations in the period
113,000 to 125,000 years ago. This is a key issue for climatologists because
climatic conditions today are thought to parallel that period.
"Sizable Temperature Rise Would Affect [Asia's] Grain Output..,"
Intl. Environ. Rptr., p. 459, May 29, 1996. Findings of the first
comprehensive study of global warming's impacts on Asian agriculture were
released in July. Conducted by the Japanese Environment Agency's National
Institute for Environmental Studies and Nagoya University, the study concludes
that India's winter wheat production could fall by 60 percent, and China's corn
production by 40 percent, if average global temperature rises 2.5° C.
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