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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 #d94feb10

"Verification, Validation, and Confirmation of Numerical Models in the Earth Sciences," N. Oreskes (Dept. Earth Sci., Dartmouth Coll., Hanover NH 03755), K. Shrader-Frechette, K. Belitz, Science, 263(5147), 641-646, Feb. 4, 1994.

Examines the philosophical basis of the terms "verification" and "validation" as applied to simulation models, using examples from hydrology and geochemistry. Models can only be evaluated in relative terms, and their predictive value is always open to question. Their greatest value is heuristic, pointing to aspects of a system most in need of empirical study. Because models may confirm biases and support incorrect conclusions, they are most useful when they challenge existing formulations.

Item #d94feb11

Two related items from Nature, 367(6459), Jan. 13, 1994:

"Crops and Climate Change," J. Reilly (Econ. Res. Serv., 1301 New York Ave. NW, Washington DC 20005), 118-119. The finding of the following paper, that there is no "disaster threshold" for global food production under greenhouse warming, shifts the policy debate to attaining rates of change that are manageable through adjustment and relocation of agricultural production, in the portions of the world that would be affected most (mainly developing countries). It gives added reason for efforts to eliminate famine, which are needed regardless of climatic changes.

"Potential Impact of Climate Change on World Food Supply," C. Rosenzweig (NASA Goddard Inst. Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York NY 10025), M.L. Parry, 133-138. This global assessment recognizes the role of international trade in the adjustment of the world food system to changes in crop yields induced by climate change, by using a model of world food trade to estimate changes in food prices and the number of people at risk from hunger. Although a doubling of CO2 will lead to only a small decrease in global food production, developing countries are likely to bear the brunt of the problem.

Item #d94feb12

"Direct Anthropogenic Contributions to Sea Level Rise in the Twentieth Century," D.L. Sahagian (Dept. Geol. Sci., Ohio State Univ., Columbus OH 43210), F.W. Schwartz, D.K. Jacobs, Nature, 367(6458), 54-57, Jan. 6, 1994.

Global tide records indicate that sea level has been rising throughout the twentieth century. This analysis of human manipulation of the global water cycle concludes that the combined effects of groundwater withdrawal, surface water diversion and land use changes have caused at least a third of the observed rise, suggesting that climate-related effects must therefore be smaller than previously supposed.

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