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Item #d95dec69

Biosphere 2, the enclosed ecological laboratory in the Arizona desert constructed by Texas billionaire Ed Bass, announced a five-year agreement that will give Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory control over the facility's scientific and educational initiatives. Bass will provide operating expenses for the five-year period, but the facility will move toward self-support from research funding and educational and visitor programs. Researchers plan to study how different ecosystems respond to changes in climate and CO2 level. (See Science, p. 1111, Nov. 17, 1995; New Scientist, p. 5, Nov. 18, 1995.)

Item #d95dec70

Coral reef bleaching spread in the western Caribbean as water temperatures exceeded 30° C this summer. A National Science Foundation panel concluded in 1991 that global warming was not the cause of bleaching observed in recent years, but coral reef ecologist Peter Glynn says more data is needed before a role for climate change can be dismissed. (See Science, p. 919, Nov. 10, 1995.)

Item #d95dec71

Methane extraction: The Japan National Oil Corporation is planning an $87 million feasibility project which could result in the extraction of methane hydrates from beneath the Sea of Japan by 1999. Success would mean a domestic energy source for Japan, but the risks include the release of methane to the atmosphere. (See Scientific American, pp. 36-37, Aug. 1995.)

Item #d95dec72

"How Much Can We Rely on Forests for Carbon Sequestration?" Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, Nov. 23, 1995.

Synthesizes results of several recent studies of regional forest carbon dynamics, and compares results to estimates for the Northern Hemisphere as a whole indicating that temperate forests constitute a net annual terrestrial carbon sink as high as 3.5-5.0 billion tons. Emphasizes a study of Canadian forests by Kurz and Apps. The reliability of the forest sink for sequestering carbon from the atmosphere is questioned.

Item #d95dec73

"Axe Sharpened for Climate Research," K. Kleiner, New Scientist, p. 5, Oct. 21, 1995. Republicans pushed a bill through the U.S. House of Representatives that would sharply curtail climate change research. Critics say the Republicans are ideologically opposed to all research into climate change.

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