February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, MARCH 1997
A CENTURY OF CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH
Special issue: Ambio, 26(1), Feb. 1997. Henning
Rodhe and Robert Charlson are guest editors for this collection of papers, which
were presented at a workshop (Stockholm, Apr. 1996) organized by the Royal
Swedish Academy of Sciences and the International Meteorological Institute. The
workshop commemorated the centenary of the publication by Swedish scientist
Svante Arrhenius of a fundamental paper, "On the Influence of Carbonic Acid
in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground," the first attempt to
quantify the influence on the Earth's surface temperature of changes in the
atmospheric concentration of CO2. This special issue contains summaries of most
of the workshop's presentations, which constitute a summary of our current
"Svante Arrhenius and the Greenhouse Effect," H. Rodhe (Dept.
Meteor., Stockholm Univ., S-10691 Stockholm, Swed., e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org),
R. Charlson, E. Crawford, 2-5.
An introductory paper summarizing the most significant achievements of
Arrhenius on the topic. Also provides a realistic explanation of the fundamental
physical processes contributing to the greenhouse effect.
"Arrhenius's 1986 Model of the Greenhouse Effect in Context,"
E. Crawford (Inst. d'Histoire des Sciences, 7 rue de l'Univ., F-67000
Strasbourg, France), 6-11.
The model arose from debates in the Stockholm Physics Society concerning the
causes of the Ice Ages; immediate reactions to to it related to that problem.
Only since the 1970s has the work of Arrhenius received much wider attention due
to the concern over global warming resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.
"Carbon Dioxide Warming of the Early Earth," G. Arrhenius
(Scripps Inst. Oceanog., La Jolla CA 92093), 12-16.
The author of this paper, a grandchild of Svante Arrhenius, discusses in
detail the latter's theories regarding the role of CO2 in the early development
of the Earth's atmosphere.
"A Review of the Contemporary Global Carbon Cycle and as Seen a
Century Ago by Arrhenius and Högbom," M. Heimann (Max Planck Inst.
Meteor., Bundestr. 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Ger.; e-mail: email@example.com), 17-24.
Reviews some current observational constraints to addressing two fundamental
problems concerning the global carbon cycle: its response to anthropogenic
perturbations, and feedbacks resulting from climate change. Compares this with
the problems as seen by Arrhenius and his colleagues 100 years ago.
"Direct Climate Forcing by Anthropogenic Sulfate Aerosols: The
Arrhenius Paradigm a Century Later," R.J. Charlson (Dept. Atmos. Sci., Box
351640, Univ. Washington, Seattle WA 98195), 25-31.
Reviews the historical development of the understanding and quantification
of direct aerosol effects on climate. Compares the respective approaches to
these problems, which were both developed in Sweden, albeit almost a century
"Palaeoclimate Sensitivity to CO2 and Insolation," A. Berger
(Inst. d'Astronomie & Geophys., Univ. Catholique, 2 Chemin du Cyclotron,
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belg.), M.-F. Loutre, 32-37.
Uses experiments with the Louvain-la-Neuve two-dimensional climate model to
explain why and how solar energy received on Earth varies on the geological time
scale, and to account for the relative roles of that insolation forcing and
feedbacks related to albedo and water vapor.
"Greenhouse Effect, Atmospheric Solar Absorption and the Earth's
Radiation Budget: From the Arrhenius-Langley Era to the 1990s," V.
Ramanathan (Ctr. Atmos. Sci., Scripps Inst. Oceanog., La Jolla CA 92093), A.M.
Evaluates the model of Arrhenius in view of a century of further research on
the Earth's radiation budget and supporting fields such as quantum mechanics.
Arrhenius' model was remarkably successful and remains an excellent reference
work for learning the approach of using direct observations for modeling.
Discusses two constructs of the model that were not recognized by earlier
studies, and reviews results of studies from the 1950s and 1960s.
"Early Development in the Study of Greenhouse Warming: The Emergence
of Climate Models," S. Manabe (GFDL, POB 308, Princeton NJ 08542), 47-51.
This account of climate model development by one of the world's foremost
modelers emphasizes work from the 1960s to the present.
"Assessing the Treatment of Radiation in Climate Models," A.
Slingo (Hadley Ctr., Meteor. Off., London Rd., Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 2SY,
Discusses how radiation modeling schemes can now be compared with
observations, and some of the issues those comparisons have raised. Highlights
work at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting and results of
the Hadley Centre Climate Model.
"A Numerical Simulation of Anthropogenic Climate Change," L.
Bengtsson (Max Planck Inst. Meteor., Bundestr. 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Ger.),
Presents results of a specific transient climate change experiment at high
spatial resolution, carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology,
Hamburg, and discusses how it evolved from the pioneering study by Arrhenius.
"Climate Research: The Case for the Social Sciences," H. von
Storch (Inst. Hydrophys., GKSS Res Ctr., Geesthacht, Ger.), N. Stehr, 66-71.
The history of climate impacts research has been dominated by the doctrine
of "climate determinism," which holds that a region's climate
influences human social conduct, attitudes and abilities. A more realistic form
of impact research is needed as a basis for policy concerning anthropogenic
climate change. Rejects the view that the problem should be handled with an "optimal
control" approach that merely balances abatement costs against damage
costs. Instead, impact research must recognize the interactions between society
and climate by drawing extensively on social science expertise. Social
scientists could help understand the process by which society constructs
climate-related knowledge and beliefs, the dynamics of social preferences, and
even the role of natural scientists (who are influenced by various subjective
and social mechanisms).
"From Arrhenius to Megascience: Interplay Between Science and Public
Decisionmaking," A. Elzinga (Dept. Theory of Sci. & Res., Univ. Göteborg,
S-412 98 Göteborg, Swed.), 72-80.
The majority of the paper focuses on Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius and
the major themes in his ideal of science: what constitutes a good scientific
explanation; how science ideally develops; and the relationship between research
and decision-making in society. These views of 100 years ago are then used as
background to examine the complex intertwining of research and politics that
developed after World War I. Discusses how policy determination of scientific
agendas introduces an organized social dimension, in which the drive for
consensus may contradict the ideal of a "Darwinian struggle of hypotheses"
advocated by Arrhenius. Offers a model of mutually-reinforcing credibility
cycles, linking science and politics, for understanding the social dynamics of
scientific climate change research.
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