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 10, NUMBER 7, JULY 1997
OF GENERAL INTEREST
"Evidence for Human Influence on Climate from Hemispheric
Temperature Relations," R.K. Kaufmann (Ctr. for Energy & Environ.
Studies, Boston Univ., 675 Commonwealth Ave., Boston MA 02215; e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org), D.I. Stern, Nature, 388(6637), 39-44, July 3,
Application of standard statistical approaches used in the field of
econometrics to the historical record of temperature indicates a statistical
dependence of Northern Hemisphere temperature on Southern Hemisphere
temperature. This relationship, which has strengthened since 1865, can be
explained by the climatic effects of anthropogenic trace gases and sulfate
aerosols and may be a fingerprint of the spatial and temporal pattern of human
activities. Model simulations of the historical atmosphere produce a similar
"Targets for Stabilization of Atmospheric CO2," C. Azar (Inst.
Physical Resour. Theory, Chalmers-Göteborg Univ., 412 96 Göteborg ,
Swed.), H. Rodhe, Science, 276(5320), 1818-1819, June 20, 1997.
Even though establishing acceptable stabilization levels is difficult for
physical scientists, avoiding the problem leaves decision makers and social
scientists in an even more difficult position. Greater participation in the
debate is needed from physical scientists. This note offers some insights to the
problem by comparing expected changes in equilibrium temperature obtained from a
simple model, with some measures of the natural variability in global
temperature. Tentatively concludes that international policy should aim to
stabilize CO2 in the range of 350 to 400 parts per million by volume.
"Trends in the Surface Meridional Temperature Gradient," A.I.
Gitelman (Dept. Statistics, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh PA 15213), J.S.
Risbey et al., Geophys. Res. Lett., 24(10), 1243-1246, May 15,
The meridional temperature gradient across the middle latitudes drives most
weather disturbances and is a fundamental indicator of climate. The authors
apply an operational measure of this gradient to a 110-year temperature record,
and find a significant decreasing trend over that period. They do not attempt to
determine a particular cause for this result, but discuss why they think further
study is worthwhile.
"Aerosols and Climate: Anthropogenic Emissions and Trends for 50
Years," M.E. Wolf (Radian Intl., 10389 Old Placerville Rd., Sacramento CA
95827; e-mail: email@example.com), G.M. Hidy, J. Geophys. Res., 102(D10),
11,113-11,121, May 27, 1997.
Describes a global inventory of anthropogenic particulate emissions for the
period 1990-2040, including both primary particulate emissions and secondary
contributions from atmospheric chemical reactions, particularly those involving
SO2. Emissions worldwide, which are dominated by fossil fuel combustion and
biomass burning, are projected to grow by a factor of 1.5 to 2.5 by 2040,
largely from fossil fuel combustion in the developing countries. Present
anthropogenic emissions appear to be a small fraction of emissions from natural
sources, but could rival them by 2040. The resulting increased haziness will
alter the radiation budget of the Earth, in a spatially non-uniform way.
"Industrial Agriculture--Driving Climate Change?" P. Bunyard,"
P. Bunyard, The Ecologist, 26(6), 290-298, Nov.-Dec. 1996.
Most agronomists argue that human societies can weather climate change
without drastic changes to industrialized patterns of farming. These claims,
however, overestimate the industry's own contribution to climate change. Besides
emissions caused by agricultural production, the principal impact lies in land
degradation (e.g., draining wetlands and deforestation), which in turn leads to
increased disruption of the hydrological cycle, and to conditions where
terrestrial vegetation may be losing its ability to modulate climate. The future
direction of agriculture is critical; we should be looking at ways of producing
food without destroying soil fertility. Accompanying columns address climate
change and food production, agricultural emissions of greenhouse gases, equity
and emission controls, and the vulnerability of farmers to climate change.
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Index of Abbreviations