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 11, NUMBER 6, JUNE 1998
OF GENERAL INTEREST
"Kyoto Protocol: The Unfinished Agenda," S.H. Schneider
(Dept. Biol. Sci., Stanford Univ., Stanford CA 94304; e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org), Clim. Change, 39(1), 1-21, May
The author, one of the relatively few scientists who participated at the
December 1997 Kyoto meeting, offers his personal views of the political
and social dynamics of the gathering, and discusses mechanisms needed to
address global warming in the long term.
"A Common-Sense Climate Index: Is Climate Changing Noticeably?
J. Hansen (NASA Goddard Inst. Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York NY
10025), M. Sato et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 95,
4116-4120, Apr. 1998.
Proposes an index of climate change based on practical climate
indicators such as heating degree days and the frequency of intense
precipitation. In most regions the index is positive, consistent with
predictions of global warming, but in most areas climate trends are too
small to stand out above the year-to-year variability. Predicts that the
global area with obvious climate change will increase notably in the next
few years. Shows that the growth rate of greenhouse gas climate forcing
has declined in recent years, which presents an opportunity to keep
climate change in the 21st century less than "business as usual"
"Implications of Televised News Coverage of Global Warming for
Organizational Decisions," M.E. Nitz (Inst. Politische Wissenschaft,
Univ. Hamburg, Allende Platz 1, 20146 Hamburg, Ger.), World Resource
Review, 10(2), 207-222, June 1998.
Convincing people and organizations of the IPCC conclusions that global
warming does exist and solutions are needed has proved difficult. Examines
what organizations are active in the global warming debate, where the
public gets most information about the issue, and theories that explain
the effect of organizations' communications on public opinion.
"Global Warming and the Stability of the West Antarctic Ice
Sheet," M. Oppenheimer (Environ. Defense Fund, 275 Park Ave. S, New
York NY 10010), Nature, 393(6683), 325-332, May 28, 1998.
If the ice sheet were to collapse completely, the global mean sea level
would rise 4-6 meters. The author reviews this potential instability and
how human-induced climate change could play a major role. Current policy
decisions relating to CO2 emissions could irreversibly affect the sheet in
the distant future. For instance, if global emissions follow any of the
IPCC IS92 scenarios over the 21st century, substantial thinning of the ice
sheet could result in the 22nd century, regardless of any subsequent
"Breakup and Conditions for Stability of the Northern Larsen Ice
Shelf, Antarctica," C.S.M. Doake (British Antarctic Survey, High
Cross, Madingley Rd., Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK), H.F.J. Corr et al., Nature,
391(6669), 778-780, Feb. 19, 1998.
Breakup of ice shelves is a widely regarded indicator of climate change.
Develops a numerical model of the stresses and strains in ice shelves,
calibrating it with data from the northern most section of the Larsen Ice
Shelf (Larsen A), which collapsed rapidly in January 1995. The larger
northern section, Larsen B, is approaching a similar situation, and if the
ice front retreats by a few more kilometers, it too is likely to enter an
irreversible, rapid disintegration.
"Deep-Sea Coral Evidence for Rapid Change in Ventilation of the
Deep North Atlantic 15,400 Years Ago," J.F. Adkins (Geochem. 62,
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observ., Rte. 9W, Palisades NY 10964), Science,
280(5364), 725-728, May 1, 1998.
Isotopic analysis of coral samples shows that the deep ocean changed on
decadal-centennial time scales during more rapid changes in the surface
ocean and the atmosphere.
"CO2-Induced Global Warming: A Skeptic's View of Potential
Climate Change," S.B. Idso (U.S. Water Conserv. Lab., 4331 E.
Broadway, Phoenix AZ 85040; e-mail: email@example.com), Clim. Res.,
10(1), 69-82, Apr. 9, 1998.
The author reviews his two decades of analyses of natural phenomena that
reveal how Earth's near-surface air temperature responds to surface
variations, which suggest that little net temperature change will result
from the current buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere. He is therefore
skeptical of predictions of significant warming by climate models, and
concludes that much more work on a wide variety of research fronts will be
required to properly resolve the issue.
Two related items in Nature, 392(6678), Apr. 23,
"The Past as Guide to the Future," G. Hegerl (Joint Inst. for
Study of Atmos. & Ocean, Univ. Washington, Seattle WA 98195; e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org), 758-759. Comments on the following paper,
which is an important step towards reconstructing space-time records of
historical temperature patterns and estimating the future impact of rising
"Global-Scale Temperature Patterns and Climate Forcing over the
Past Six Centuries," M.E. Mann (Dept. Geosci., Univ. Massachusetts,
Amherst MA 01003), R.S. Bradley, M.K. Hughes, 779-787. Pools various
high-resolution proxy records of climate with instrumental records and
compares results with records representing changes in greenhouse gas
concentrations, solar irradiance, and volcanic aerosols. Each of the
factors has contributed to the climate variability of the past 400 years,
with greenhouse gases emerging as the dominant force during the twentieth
century. Northern Hemisphere mean annual temperatures for three of the
past eight years are warmer than any other year since at least ad 1400.
"The Terrestrial Carbon Cycle: Implications for the Kyoto
Protocol," IGBP Terrestrial Carbon Working Group (Roy. Swed. Acad.
Sci., Box 50005, S-10405, Stockholm, Swed.; Attn.: W. Steffen; e-mail:
email@example.com), Science, 280(5368), 1393-1394, May 29,
Annex 1 countries of the Kyoto Protocol can meet their commitments in
part by increasing net carbon sequestration in terrestrial carbon sinks.
This article discusses a number of problems relating to the carbon budget
that will seriously limit the Protocol's effectiveness if not corrected.
Terrestrial carbon sinks can offset fossil fuel emissions only temporarily
(decades to a century), and are best viewed as buying valuable time to
address the most significant anthropogenic perturbation of the carbon
cyclefossil fuel emissions.
Three related items in Nature, 393(6682), May 21,
"The Carbon Equation," D.S. Schimel (NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder
CO 80307; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), 208-209. Compares and contrasts
the following two studies, which taken together, bring a renewed sense of
urgency to research on the future behavior of the Earth system, especially
the coupling of anthropogenic greenhouse gases to the climate and carbon
"Dynamic Responses of Terrestrial Ecosystem Carbon Cycling to
Global Climate Change," M. Cao (Dept. Environ. Sci., Univ. Virginia,
Charlottesville VA 22903), F.I. Woodward, 249-252. Uses a terrestrial
biogeochemical model, forced by simulations of transient climate change
with a GCM, to quantify the dynamic variations in ecosystem carbon fluxes
caused by fluctuations in CO2 and climate from 1861 to 2070. Predicts that
the global net ecosystem production will increase significantly, but this
response will decline as the CO2 fertilization effect becomes saturated
and is diminished by climatic factors.
"Simulated Response of the Ocean Carbon Cycle to Anthropogenic
Climate Warming," J.L. Sarmiento (Program in Atmos. & Ocean Sci.,
Princeton Univ., POB CN710, Princeton NJ 08544; e-mail:
email@example.com), T.M.C. Hughes et al., 245-249. Experiments with
a coupled atmosphere-ocean model of global warming for the period
1765-2065 show that the response of the biological community is difficult
to predict with present understanding. However, physical and biological
changes may already be occurring, and they could substantially affect the
ocean carbon sink over the next few decades.
"The Human Side of Global Change: The 1997 Open Meeting of the
Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Research Community,"
J. Jäger (IIASA, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria), Environment,
40(1), 25-26, Jan-Feb. 1998.
Summarizes a June 1997 meeting at IIASA in Austria, which showed the
broadening range of research on the topic in a large number of countries.
Special issue: "Transport Futures: Long-Term
Perspectives and Implications," S. Peake, Ed., Energy Policy,
25(14-15), Dec. 1997.
Contains an editor's introduction plus 14 papers spanning modeling,
technology and the behavioral dimensions of transport, energy and climate
Guide to Publishers
Index of Abbreviations