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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 #d96sep1

"UV-B Increases (1979-1992) from Decreases in Total Ozone," J.R. Herman (Code 916, NASA-Goddard, Greenbelt MD 20771), P.K. Bhartia et al., Geophys. Res. Lett., 23(16), 2117-2120, Aug. 1, 1996.

Applied several refinements to data from the Nimbus-7 satellite TOMS (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer), including a new calibration and correction for reflection of UV by atmospheric clouds and aerosols, to estimate the trend of UV-B over the period. The linear trend of UV determined for various latitude bands is significantly positive poleward of about 40° latitude in both hemispheres, but somewhat moreso in the Southern Hemisphere due to Antarctic ozone depletion. Estimates corresponding values for UV biological impact on DNA, plants, and erythema (skin reddening). For example, the respective trends in exposure values at 45° N in April are 8.6%, 9.8%, and 5.1% per decade. Erythemal UV increases obtained here disagree with previous estimates of a decrease based on ground measurements (Scotto et al., 1988).

Item #d96sep2

"Widespread Increases in Low-Frequency Variability of Precipitation over the Past Century," A.A. Tsonis (Dept. Geosci., Univ. Wisconsin, Milwaukee WI 53201), Nature, 382(6593), 700-702, Aug. 22, 1996.

Examines the nature of time fluctuations in several global data sets of precipitation. Finds that the global mean precipitation has not changed, in agreement with other analyses, but fluctuations about the mean have increased significantly on decadal to multi-decadal time scales. Over the past century—during which climate warming has occurred—fluctuations on those time scales have made extremes more probable. This result is consistent with predictions from model simulations of global climate-warming scenarios.

Item #d96sep3

"The Challenges of Developing a Changing World," W.J. Shuttleworth, Dept. Hydrol. & Water Resour., Univ. Arizona, Tucson AZ 85719), Eos, 77(36), 347, Sep. 3, 1996.

The public and politicians perceive that the U.S. Global Change Research Program inhibits industrial and agricultural development. Today, however, global change research has made it possible to manage sustained development in a way that recognizes climate change. The U.S. program could encourage sustainable development by adopting several policy measures and refocusing some of its research. The core idea of this discussion is that human development is planned assuming not that climate is constant, but that climate alters little relative to the observed fluctuations over a period of about 30 years.

Item #d96sep4

"The Course of U.S. Responses to Global Change: Can't We Do Better?" R.G. Fleagle (Dept. Atmos. Sci., Box 351640, Univ. Washington, Seattle WA 98195), Clim. Change, 33(4), 447-452, Aug. 1996.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program has set a new standard for interagency research committees, but the institutions and procedures needed to deal successfully with both current and future global changes have not yet been put in place. The program needs: (1) a strong lead agency; (2) an effective secretariat located within the Office of Science and Technology Policy; and (3) higher status and visibility within Congress. These goals could be achieved within a broad reorganization of the environmental agencies, which would be timely on other grounds as well.

Item #d96sep5

"Enhancing Climatic-Change Information Sharing: An Editorial Essay," A. Henderson-Sellers (Royal Melbourne Inst. Technol., Melbourne, Australia), ibid., 453-457.

Discusses two essential components of sustained and successful exchange of climatic information: a (physical) information exchange mechanism, and a (social) commitment to continuing dialogue about the information exchange process. Proposes specific steps to improve communication in climate research, particularly the current situation in which climate modelers generate results of simulations in formats not easily used by other researchers or policy makers.

Item #d96sep6

"Global Surface Air Temperature in 1995: Return to Pre-Pinatubo Level," J. Hansen (NASA Goddard Inst. Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York NY 10025), R. Ruedy, M. Sato, Geophys. Res. Lett., 23(13), 1665-1668, June 15, 1996.

Updates a previous analysis with more recent data, and inclusion of marine temperatures. The global surface air temperature has increased about 0.5° C from the minimum of mid-1992, a year after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Since El Niņo warming was small in 1995, the solar cycle was near a minimum, and ozone depletion was near record levels, the observed high temperature supports the contention of an underlying global warming trend. The pattern of Northern Hemisphere temperature change in recent decades appears to reflect a change of atmospheric dynamics; increasing greenhouse gases are postulated as a cause. The data set is available on the Internet: Data/GISTEMP.

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