February 28, 2007
GCRIO Program Overview
Our extensive collection of documents.
Archives of the
Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 12, NUMBER 2, FEBRUARY 1999
Prices and page numbers may be approximate. Obtain reports or further
information from sources named in parentheses at the end of each citation;
addresses are listed at the end of this section.
Capacity of U.S. Climate Modeling to Support Climate Change Assessment
Activities, Climate Research Committee, National Research Council, 78
pages, 1999, $18.00 (National Academy Press).
Although the United States pioneered much of the research related to
global climate change, this NRC report points out that the nation has
fallen behind other countries in marshalling the computer hardware and
software needed to execute climate simulations. U.S. researchers have a
fundamental theoretical understanding of the dynamics of climate and the
processes that must be represented by these climate models, but they lack
the computational power to apply this knowledge. The centers for
climate-change modeling and weather forecasting have shifted to Europe
(specifically the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in
Reading, England), Canada, Germany, and Australia. Furthermore, the United
States fails to coordinate efforts of the research activities it currently
supports at such centers of excellence as the National Center for
Atmospheric Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory. What is needed is an integrated national strategy that will
leverage the available resources to focus the research effort to produce
advances more rapidly and effectively.
Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade,
Committee on Global Change Research and Board on Sustainable Development,
National Research Council, 1999, 610 pp., $54.95 (National Academy Press).
This volume encourages a renewed commitment to understanding global
change and sets a direction for research in the decade ahead. Through case
studies, the book explores what can be learned from the lessons of the
past 20 years and what are the outstanding scientific questions.
- Research imperatives and strategies for investigators in the areas
of atmospheric chemistry, climate, ecosystem studies, and human
dimensions of global change
- The context of climate change, including lessons to be gleaned from
- Human responses to projected global change
- Implications for a global observing system driven by the scientific
To describe it in general terms, this report offers a comprehensive
overview of global change research to date and provides a framework for
answering urgent questions.
Specifically, the committees were charged with reviewing the status of
the U.S. Global Change Research Programand identifying the critical
scientific questions that the Program needs to address. They took a broad
overview of this charge and addressed three main questions:
- Are not the causes of global change sufficiently clear, allowing the
Program to now concentrate on the science of mitigation measures?
- What strategy is appropriate for resolving the remaining scientific
uncertainties about environmental change?
- How can that strategy be implemented in terms of programs?
In response, they produced a long list of findings that included a
catalog of scientific tasks that should be carried out and a series of
observations about the nature of technology that needs to be developed and
applied. They also developed a list of hard-hitting recommendations for
the USGCRP. In brief, they advised:
- Research priorities and resource allocations must be reassessed and
sharply focused on the unanswered scientific questions identified by the
- The USGCRP should be restructured to address understanding the Earths
carbon and water cycles; characterizing climate change; and elucidating
the links among radiation, dynamics, chemistry, and climate.
- The scientific strategy must be reassessed to identify and obtain
accurate data on carefully selected key variables.
- The Program must employ technical innovation more aggressively.
- The Programs data systems must be made flexible, reflect
responsibility for data character, provide open access to the scientific
community and the public, and rapidly evolve to incorporate
- The Program must foster the development and application of models at
the temporal and spatial scales needed to probe and understand the Earth
- Climate Change Scenarios for the United Kingdom: Scientific
Report, U.K. Climate Impacts Progr. Tech. Rept. 1, M. Hulme and G.
J. Jenkins, 80 pp., 1998, free (Climatic Research Unit, Norwich); Climate
Change Scenarios for the United Kingdom: Summary Report, Mike Hulme
and Geoff Jenkins, 16 pp., 1998, free (Climatic Research Unit, Norwich);
also available as PDF files on the World Wide Web at
The reports present a new set of weather projections and climate
scenarios for the United Kingdom prepared by the U.K. Climate Impacts
Programme. The purpose of these scenarios is to facilitate a common and
integrated approach in the assessments of climate-change effects that
researchers throughout the region are preparing. Four scenarios were
developed on the basis of one set of Hadley Centre computer-modeled
climate experiments. The four scenarios span a range of
greenhouse-gas-emission scenarios and different climate sensitivities. The
results of the computer modelings indicate global warming rates of between
0.16 and 0.35° C per decade with associated increases in sea level of
2 to 10 cm per decade. The scenarios suggest that warming over the United
Kingdom will be more rapid in the Southeast than in the Northwest and that
winters will likely be wetter. Changes in climate variability and extreme
events are likely to be important. For example, a greater risk of
flooding, very severe winter gales, and more days with maximum
temperatures above 25° C are predicted. Other possibilities include:
- A summer as hot as 1997 could occur four times a decade by 2080.
- Dry weather in the Southeast and wet weather in the Northwest are
likely in the spring and summer.
- A summer with rainfall 50% lower than current levels could occur
once a decade (such a summer currently occurs only once a century).
- A Powerful Opportunity: Making Renewable Electricity the
Standard, Steven L. Clemmer, Alan Nogee, and Michael Brower, 35 pp.,
1999, $10.00 (Union of Concerned Scientists); also available on the
World Wide Web at
Congress is in the process of deregulating the electricity utility
industry, and lawmakers have introduced a variety of proposals for
gradually increasing the percentage of the nations electricity that
is generated from renewable resources (i.e., wind, solar, biomass, and
geothermal wells). The amounts proposed range from 4% in 2010 to 20% in
2020. This report examines the costs and benefits of achieving the
proposed targets. It concludes that the United States could increase the
share of electricity that it generates from renewable sources to about 10
times the current levels during the next two decades and still see a 13%
decrease in electricity prices while making a major contribution to
meeting U.S. commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
Climatic Research Unit, Univ. East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, U.K.; tel:
01603 592089; fax: 01603 507784; WWW:
National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC,
20418; tel: 800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313; WWW:
Union of Concerned Scientists, UCS Publications, Dept. N, 2 Brattle Sq.,
Cambridge, MA, 02238-9105; tel: 617- 547-5552; fax: 800-479-3731; e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org; WWW: http://www.ucsusa.org.
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