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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

FROM VOLUME 12, NUMBER 3, MARCH 1999

WEB-BASED INFORMATION

Global Temperature Anomalies

As data are received from thousands of land and sea observation sites worldwide, scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center automatically update the Global Historical Climatology Network database to maintain a global climate perspective in near-real time. Although many parts of the globe are inaccessible, long-term mean temperatures are calculated by interpolating over such areas in a manner that takes into account factors like the decrease in temperature with elevation. By adding the long-term monthly mean temperature for the Earth to each anomaly value, NOAA creates a time series that approximates the temperature of the Earth and how it has been changing with time. The data are used to calculate and archive databases for

  • Monthly global land temperature anomalies
  • Annual global land temperature anomalies
  • Monthly global ocean temperature anomalies
  • Annual global ocean temperature anomalies
  • Monthly global (land and ocean combined into an anomaly) index
  • Annual global (land and ocean combined) anomalies

All anomalies are calculated relative to the long-term (1880 to 1997) mean. The numeric tables for 1880 to 1999 are available on the Web at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ol/climate/research/1998/anomalies/anomalies.html.

Long-Lead Climate Outlooks

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center maintains a continuous watch on short-term climate fluctuations, analyzes them, and predicts long-lead weather and climate. These efforts are designed to assist users in coping with such climate- related problems as food supply, energy allocation, and water resources. At its Web site at http://www.nnic.noaa.gov/cpc/, the Center makes the results of its analyses available, often in graphic form. There, one might find displays concerning

  • Current monthly/seasonal forecast
  • Strong La Niña
  • Latest cold-phase ENSO advisory
  • El Niño/La Niña tutorial
  • Example of how a seasonal forecast is made
  • "Probability of Exceedence" Forecast
  • Daily Precipitation Monitoring
  • U.S. Snow Update
  • U.S. Energy Savings

FY-2000 U.S. Climate-Change Budget

Resources for the Future has made the full text of President Clinton’s FY-2000 Climate-Change Budget (touted as a $4.1 billion dollar effort to reduce the threat of global warming) available on its Weathervane site (http://www.weathervane.rff.org/features/feature058.html) as an 827-kB downloadable PDF.

Carbon Sinks Listserve

The Climate Action Network has a working group that is addressing the issue of carbon sinks, such as forests and agricultural soils. They have set up a nonsecure listserve that is open to all interested agriculture/forestry/climate groups for posting articles and discussion. The address is climate-agriculture@igc.org. Additional information is available from Hodayah Finman of the Environmental & Energy Study Institute, tel: 202-662-1886, fax: 202-628-1825, e-mail: hfinman@eesi.org.

EPA Global Warming Website Expands

The U.S. EPA's global warming website has expanded. The new material relates global climate change to outdoor recreation and wildlife (how climate change may affect a specific state, national park, or wildlife species), public health (reports, articles, brochures, and a slide-show presentation for medical and public-health professionals), state and local governments (how states and communities have reduced emissions and saved money, a listing of state greenhouse-gas inventories, and a description of the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign), business (saving money by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, an insurance-industry primer, green-power marketing, and renewables), coastal zones (sea-level reports and strategies for mitigation and adaptation), and meteorology (the latest climate-change updates and links to Web resources for meteorologists). These new sections can be reached at www.epa.gov/climatechange by clicking on "Stakeholders."

EPA Database on U.S. Power Plants

The EPA has compiled the Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database, which provides data on the emissions and fuel sources for 4800 electric plants and 2000 generating firms in the United States. The database expresses emissions per unit of electricity, which allows direct comparison of environmental attributes from plant to plant. For example, emissions of NOx, SO2, and CO2 are stated in pounds per million Btu and pounds per Mwh. The database’s URL is http://www.epa.gov/acidrain/egrid/egrid.htm.

Disaster Planning

Arkwright Mutual Insurance Company operates a “SmartSite” on the Web at www.arkwright.com that leads the user through a series of discussions and decisions in managing risk so that extreme weather or threats of crisis do not always have to be disastrous. SmartSite’s Disaster Planning Center provides a wealth of advice to help better assess, control, and mitigate exposure. It includes a section on weather planning that gives disaster-prevention tips related to a range of weather conditions. This crisis planning center also provides links to a variety of disaster-planning resources on the Internet.

Economic Costs of Extreme Weather

The National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Extreme Weather Sourcebook at http://www.dir.ucar.edu/esig/HP_roger/sourcebook reports decades of data on the costs of damages from hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes in the United States and its territories. All of the values are expressed in constant 1997 dollars to simplify comparisons among extreme-weather impacts and among states or regions. The Sourcebook ranks states and U.S. territories in order of economic losses from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and all three events combined. A dollar figure for the average annual cost in each category for each state also is provided. Although the database provides an excellent appraisal of past events, these historical costs should not be used to predict what future damages might be.

Climate Talk

The terminology used in discussions of climate-change policy is defined and explained in a series of essays by Marina Cazorla of Resources for the Future. The essay tracks and describes the evolving and emerging vocabulary of climate-change policy, including the sometimes-subtle distinctions between flexibility mechanisms and Kyoto mechanisms, Annex I and Annex B countries, joint implementation and activities implemented jointly, and convergence and graduation. The essay is at http://www.weathervane.rff.org/features/feature059.html.

Green Energy Newsletter

Issue No. 6 of Leonardo Academy's Green Energy Project Newsletter addresses emissions trading, emission allowances, emission reduction credits, and offsets. It can be viewed or downloaded from the Cleaner and Greener Program's Website at http://www.cleanerandgreener.org/GEP-NLS.htm.

  • Guide to Publishers
  • Index of Abbreviations

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