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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

FROM VOLUME 9, NUMBERS 10-11, OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1996

PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS...
CLIMATE MECHANISMS & FEEDBACKS


Item #d96oct24

"Climate Controls on High Sea-Surface Temperatures," D.E. Waliser (Inst. Terrestrial & Planetary Atmos., State Univ. N.Y., Stony Brook NY 11794), World Resource Review, 8(3), 289-310, Sep. 1996.

The ocean has an immense mediating effect on the Earth's weather and climate, suggesting that our ability to predict surface temperature changes over land under a scenario of climate change will only come from an understanding of the climate controls on the surface temperatures over the oceans. This review summarizes the progress of research on the topic over the last five years, much of which rests on results from recent large-scale field and operational programs. Further progress hinges on continued support for such programs, especially for high-quality, long-record climate monitoring programs.


Item #d96oct25

Two related items from Nature, 382(6590), Aug. 1, 1996.

"Communication Between Oceans," A.L. Gordon (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observ., Rte. 9W, Palisades NY 10964), 399-400. The results of the following paper may settle the past 10 years of debate over the global ocean circulation pattern.

"An Estimate of Global Ocean Circulation and Heat Fluxes," A.M. Macdonald (College of Ocean & Atmos. Sci., Oregon State Univ., Corvallis OR 97331; e-mail: alison@oce.orst.edu), C. Wunsch, 436-439. Presents the first dynamically and kinematically consistent estimate of the magnitude and structure of global ocean circulation and its associated heat fluxes, derived by integrating hydrographic velocity data over the rapid spatial variations that they show. The simplest interpretation of the complex results shows two nearly independent cells.


Item #d96oct26

"Climate Change During the Last Deglaciation in Antarctica," P.A. Mayewski (Leibniz Lab. für Altersbestimmung und Isotopenforschung, Christian-Albrechts Univ., 24118 Kiel, Ger.), M.S. Twickler et al., Science, 272(5268), 1636-1638, June 14, 1996.

Compares rapid climate change events in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres based on examination of changes in atmospheric circulation developed from two ice cores. Cores from central Greenland and from a new site in East Antarctica display similar variability, suggesting that rapid climate change events occur more frequently in Antarctica than previously demonstrated.


Item #d96oct27

"Siberian CO2 Efflux in Winter as a CO2 Source and Cause of Seasonality in Atmospheric CO2," S.A. Zimov,..F.S. Chapin (Dept. Integrative Biol., Univ. Calif., Berkeley CA 94720), Clim. Change, 33(1), 111-120, May 1996.

Three years of monitoring show a consistent CO2 efflux from forest tundra of the Russian North throughout the year. Results provide one explanation for the observation that the highest atmosphere CO2 concentration and greatest seasonal amplitude occur over high latitudes, rather than mid-latitudes. Winter respiration, an exothermic process that produces enough heat to warm soils and promote further decomposition, probably contributed substantially to the winter CO2 efflux. Through this process, small changes in surface heat flux associated with global warming could release large quantities of organic carbon that are presently stored in permafrost.


Item #d96oct28

"A Tropospheric Ozone-Lightning Climate Feedback," R. Toumi (Dept. Phys., Imperial College, London SW7 2BZ, UK), J.D. Haigh, K.S. Law, Geophys. Res. Lett., 23(9), 1037-1040, May 1, 1996.

Tropospheric ozone is an important greenhouse gas, and one of its major sources in the upper troposphere are the nitrogen oxides produced by lightning. Recent work has shown that lightning frequency may be very sensitive to changes in the surface temperature. Experiments with a two-dimensional atmospheric model described here show the possibility of a positive climate feedback mechanism through ozone production by lightning.


Item #d96oct29

"Dynamic Ocean-Atmosphere Coupling: A Thermostat for the Tropics," D.-Z. Sun (NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), Z. Liu, Science, 272(5265), 1148-1150, May 24, 1996.

Records of past climates as well as modern observations suggest that the maximum tropical sea-surface temperature (SST) is somehow limited to below 305K; negative feedback from cirrus clouds has been proposed as a mechanism. This paper offers an alternative hypothesis, illustrated using a simple box model, involving dynamic coupling between atmospheric winds and ocean currents.


Item #d96oct30

"Methane Consumption by Montane Soils: Implications for Positive and Negative Feedback with Climate Change," M.S. Torn (Earth System Science, Univ. Calif., Irvine CA 92717), J. Harte, Biogeochem., 32(1), 53-67, Jan. 1996.

Three years of field observations of methane uptake in montane meadow soils, plus laboratory measurements indicate that soil drying may diminish methane sink strength, providing a mechanism for positive feedback between methane and climate warming, as suggested by ice core data.

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