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A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
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Item #d95sep116

Polar ice trends: Scientists at the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Bergen, Norway, claim that the Arctic ice pack has been melting faster over the past two decades, and that sea ice around Antarctica is melting. The first result is presented in the July 13, 1995, issue of Nature (see Prof. Pubs./Gen. Interest/Trend Analyses in this Digest issue--Sep 1995); the second will be presented at a meeting in October and is discussed in New Scientist (p. 4, Aug. 12, 1995) and Science News (p. 123, Aug. 19, 1995).

Item #d95sep117

Ice sheet stability: New research supports the theory that the East Antarctic ice sheet has changed little over the past 15 million years, contrary to other evidence that the area supported trees and vegetation as recently as three million years ago. The results fuel an existing controversy over the stability of the ice sheet, which could raise sea level 60 meters if it were to melt. (See papers in Prof. Pubs./Gen. Interest/Climate Change Sci., this Digest issue--Sep. 1995; Science News, p. 87, Aug. 5, 1995; New Scientist, p. 16, Aug. 5, 1995.)

Item #d95sep118

CO2 impacts on forests: Results from the most realistic test yet of how elevated CO2 would affect the growth of forests were presented at a meeting of the Ecological Society of America last month. An 0.4 hectare plot of mature pines in North Carolina, fumigated throughout a growing season with elevated CO2 from towers, increased photosynthesis by 65 percent. An experiment to determine the forest response over three to five years begins in 1996. (See Science News, p. 101, Aug. 12, 1995; New Scientist, p. 14, Aug. 12, 1995.)

Item #d95sep119

Atmospheric chemistry newsletter: The first issue of IGACtivities Newsletter, which includes two articles relating to methane emission, is available from the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Core Project Office of the IGBP (MIT, Bldg. 24-409, Cambridge MA 02139; tel: 617 253 9887; fax: 617 253 9886; e-mail: An IGAC homepage has been launched on the World Wide Web at

Item #d95sep120

"Methyl Bromide under Scrutiny," J.H. Butler, Nature, pp. 469-470, Aug. 10, 1995. Summarizes the latest findings on the emission, transport and reaction of methyl bromide as discussed in two recent conferences. Despite a great increase in understanding recently, the budget of atmospheric methyl bromide remains uncertain.

Item #d95sep121

"Catching Plankton on Video," L. Spinney, New Scientist, p. 20, Aug. 12, 1995. Britain's Natural Environmental Research Council is funding two teams of researchers to develop optical techniques for rapid determination of plankton populations. One uses a video camera combined with the existing optical counter; the other uses a hologram.

Item #d95sep122

"From Russia with Love: U.S. Cloud Data," A. Lawler, Science, pp. 473-474, July 28, 1995. Under an agreement worked out in June, U.S. and Russian officials are considering opening their once top-secret archives to climate researchers in both nations. The Russian data could provide a consistent look at the extent and kinds of cloud cover over the last 30 years, and provide insight into the effects of pollution on cloud cover.

Item #d95sep123

"Mammals' Molars Warn of Global Shrinking," J. Hecht, New Scientist, p. 21, June 17, 1995. Results of examination of fossil teeth, presented at a meeting of the Geological Society of America, show that as temperatures fluctuated more than 50 million years ago, the size of small mammals living in a warm region of North America changed in step, and continued changes led to some extinctions. This has reinforced fears that global warming may have a similar impact on today's animal populations.

Item #d95sep124

"Sunlight could Recycle Greenhouse Gases," A. Coughlan, ibid., p. 22, Apr. 1. Swiss chemists have converted carbon dioxide and water into methane using only light and a simple catalyst. If the process can be scaled up successfully, it could be an effective way of turning the main greenhouse gas into a fuel. (See Saladin et al., J. Chem. Soc., Chem. Communications, No. 5, 533-534, 1995.)

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