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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 #d95sep15

"A Large Northern Hemisphere Terrestrial CO2 Sink Indicated by the 13C/12C Ratio of Atmospheric CO2," P. Ciais (CMDL, NOAA, R/E/CG1, 325 Broadway, Boulder CO 80303), P.P. Tans et al., Science, 269(5227), 1098-1102, Aug. 25, 1995.

Uses measurements of isotope ratio to quantify the net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere by the oceans and by terrestrial plants. Finds a strong terrestrial sink in the temperate latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere in 1992 and 1993, roughly equal to half the global fossil fuel emissions for those years. The challenge now is to identify the processes that would cause the terrestrial biosphere to absorb CO2 in such large quantities.

Item #d95sep16

"Oceanic Transport and Storage of Carbon Emissions," A.A. Keller (Electric Power Res. Inst., POB 10412, Palo Alto CA 94303), R.A. Goldstein, Clim. Change, 30(4), 367-395, Aug. 1995.

Experiments with a detailed global carbon cycle model (GLOCO) show that upwelling velocity in the ocean is an important factor determining the rate of carbon storage in the ocean; experiments to reduce the uncertainty in this parameter would be valuable. Examination of the release of carbon in the middle of the ocean thermocline compared with release to the atmosphere shows that oceanic burial of a significant fraction of carbon emissions may be an important management option for limiting the buildup of atmospheric CO2. To stabilize CO2 at 450 ppmv with no ocean burial, the rate of emissions has to be cut drastically after the year 2010; ocean burial of two gigatons of carbon per year allows for a smoother transition to alternative energy sources.

Item #d95sep17

"Latitudinal Gradient of Atmospheric CO2 Due to Seasonal Exchange with Land Biota," A.S. Denning (Dept. Atmos. Sci., Colorado State Univ., Ft. Collins CO 80521), I.Y. Fung, D. Randall, Nature, 376(6537), 240-243, July 20, 1995.

Uses a full atmospheric GCM with an advanced representation of CO2 transport near the ground to show that the interhemispheric gradient of CO2 imposed by seasonal terrestrial biota is nearly half as strong as that imposed by fossil fuel emissions. This result implies that CO2 sinks in the Northern Hemisphere must be stronger than previously suggested.

Item #d95sep18

"Atmospheric Inputs of Dissolved Organic Nitrogen to the Oceans," S. Cornell (Sch. Environ. Sci., Univ. E. Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK), A. Rendell, T. Jickells, ibid., 243-246.

Analyses show that dissolved organic N is an ubiquitous and significant component of precipitation, even in remote marine areas. The results indicate that the human impact on the global N cycle (and hence marine primary productivity and carbon burial) may be larger than has been thought.

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