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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d93sep113

Studies of Greenland ice cores and of coral reefs have already shown that rapid climatic fluctuations were commonplace during the last two glacial periods. (See Research News, Global Climate Change Digest, p. 112, July-Aug 1993). However, further research shows that such rapid temperature changes were also common during the interglacial that separated the last two glacial periods, termed the Eemian, in sharp contrast to the relatively stable temperatures that have characterized the present interglacial (the Holocene). (See Professional Publications, General Interest -- Science in this issue).

This surprising finding poses questions relating to future climate. Why have temperatures been comparatively stable during the present interglacial? Could rising levels of greenhouse gases induce rapid climatic fluctuations similar to those observed during the preceding interglacial? These questions and the research leading to them are discussed in feature articles in New Scientist (pp. 29-33, Aug. 28), Chem. Eng. News (pp. 23-25, Aug. 2) and Global Environ. Change Rep. (pp. 1-3, July 22). Shorter items appeared in Science (p. 292, July 16) and Science News (p. 36, July 17).

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