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 2, FEBRUARY 1996
GLOBAL CHANGE SCIENCE
Star Witnesses to the History of Earth's Climate," M. Simons, The New
York Times, p. C4, Dec. 19, 1995.
Glaciologists see high ice-fields as key indicators of warming and cooling,
and more accurate than climate models. However the behavior of glaciers in the
world is complicated. Although as much as one-half of the volume of ice has
vanished in the European Alps over the last century, the glaciers of
Scandinavia, Greenland, Iceland and New Zealand are growing. This may not be at
all contradictory; if the Earth is warming, precipitation will be greater, and
more snow and ice will appear in the polar regions.
"Some Like It HotThriving
Tunicates May Help Clear the Air of Excess CO2," W.W. Gibbs,
Scientific American, pp. 28-29, Dec. 1995.
The fate of about two billion tons of CO2 produced each year is
unknown. One possible sink may be gelatinous, tubelike zooplankton called salps,
which eat phytoplankton and thrive in warmer waters, and whose presence in the
warmer Southern Ocean has increased over the past 40 years. Their feces, rich in
carbon, sink very quickly into the deep ocean and are buried on the sea floor.
Since salps proliferate as water temperatures rise, they may provide a feedback
mechanism as CO2 levels in the atmosphere increase.
"The Big Thaw,"
J. Horgan, ibid., pp. 18-20, Nov. 1995.
Reports on studies of the Antarctic ice sheet during the Pliocene epoch that
have implications for predictions of the stability or dynamism of the ice sheet
W.S. Broecker, ibid., p. 62 ff., Nov. 1995.
Geologic records show that the Earth's weather patterns have sometimes
changed dramatically in a decade or less. The flow of heat through the oceanic
conveyer belt, particularly in the Atlantic, may be a critical factor
determining climate patterns. Researchers are now beginning to understand what
triggered past temperature swings and to assess the possibility that we are
poised for another.
Influences of Clouds," Y. Baskin, Discover, pp. 62-69, Sep. 1995.
Clouds absorb radiation to such an extent that without them we can't
understand today's weather or tomorrow's climate.
Observations Substantiate Global Warming Models," B. Hileman, Chem.
Eng. News, pp. 18-23, Nov. 27, 1995.
A comprehensive review of the latest developments in the science of global
warming. (This article is also available on the World Wide Web:
Ancient Climate and Fossil Fuels," L. van Dam,
Technology Rev., pp. 10-11, May-June 1995.
Abrupt shifts in temperature of 8° -10° F in as little as 20
years occurred 10,000-100,000 years ago and appear correlated with the oceanic
conveyor belt. Researchers are looking at paleoclimatic records of the belt's
behavior during the last time (127,000 and 118,000 years ago) when the Earth was
at least as warm as it is today. They are trying to determine if the deep water
oceanic circulation patterns, and therefore climate, changed suddenly during
"Back to Basics:
Is Our Climate Changing?" R.A.S. Ratcliffe,
Weather, pp. 54-57, Feb. 1995.
Presents an overview of climate change over the past million years and
factors influencing today's climate. The scientific consensus is that a gradual
rise of global mean temperature is probable in the next 50 years, but this rise
may be irregular and liable to interruption or temporary reversal by major
volcanic eruptions. So far it is not possible to distinguish any rise in
temperature from natural variability.
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