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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 #d96dec21

"New Approaches Raise Questions About Future Sea Level Change," M. Baltuck (NASA Hdqtrs., Code YS, Washington DC 20546), J. Dickey et al., Eos, 77(40), 385, 388, Oct. 1, 1996.

Surveys current developments in the study of sea level change, based on an international, interdisciplinary workshop (Key Biscane, Fla., Nov. 1995), where conventional thinking on the topic was challenged. Previous approaches have been too narrow; a systems approach is needed, particularly the incorporation of the solid Earth sciences. An estimated residual 0.8 mm/year of current sea level rise is attributable to the melting of high-latitude ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, but such rapid melting is contrary to the impression of many researchers and to climate model predictions of increased greenhouse gases.

Item #d96dec22

Two items in Clim. Dynamics, 12(8), 535-544, June 1996:

"Redistribution of Sea Level Rise Associated with Enhanced Greenhouse Warming: A Simple Model Study," W.W. Hsieh (Dept. Oceanog., Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z4, Can.), K. Bryan, 535-544. Uses a simple linearized shallow-water model, which neglects important physical effects but has a much higher horizontal resolution and provides a clearer dynamical interpretation. Results suggest that sea level rise due to greenhouse warming could be far from uniform over the globe and hence difficult to estimate from coastal tide gauge stations.

"The Steric Component of Sea Level Rise Associated with Enhanced Greenhouse Warming: A Model Study," K. Bryan (Atmos. & Ocean Sci., Sayre Hall, Princeton Univ., Princeton NJ 08544), 545-555. Simulation of a 1% per year rise in atmospheric CO2 over a century, made with the coupled GFDL ocean-atmosphere general circulation model, indicates marked warming of the upper ocean. These results are used to study the rise in sea level caused by increased ocean temperatures and changes in ocean circulation. An average rise in sea level of 15 ± 5 cm is predicted by the time CO2 doubles. Heating anomalies are greatest in the subpolar latitudes, resulting in a weaker thermohaline circulation.

Item #d96dec23

"The Economic Cost of Greenhouse-Induced Sea Level Rise for Developed Property in the United States," G. Yohe (Office of Academic Affairs, Wesleyan Univ., 237 High St., Middletown CT 06579), J. Neumann et al., Clim. Change, 32(4), 387-410, Apr. 1996.

Gives estimates for the range of sea level rise trajectories now thought to be most likely. For instance, along a 50-cm rise (through the year 2100), transient costs in 2065 are estimated to be $70 million (undiscounted, but measured in constant 1990 dollars). Overall, results reported here are nearly an order of magnitude lower than those published prior to 1994. They incorporate the cost-reducing potential of natural, market-based adaptation in anticipation of the threat of rising seas, and the efficiency of discrete decisions to protect or not to protect small tracts of property, that will be made as needed in the future.

Item #d96dec24

"Coastal Megacities and Climate Change," R.J. Nicholls (Sch. Geog., Middlesex Univ., Queensway, Enfield, Middlesex EN3 4SF, UK), GeoJournal, 37(3), 369-379, 1995. (One of nine papers in a special issue on "Disaster Vulnerability of Megacities.")

Rapid urbanization is expected to produce 20 coastal megacities (population exceeding eight million) by 2010, mainly in the developing world. They are at risk to the impacts climate change, including accelerated global sea-level rise and changing storm frequency. Because impacts vary significantly for each coastal megacity, each requires independent assessment. Recommends, in contrast to historical precedent, a proactive approach towards coastal hazards and changing levels of risk with time. Low-cost measures to maintain or increase future flexibility of response to climate change need to be identified and implemented as part of an integrated approach to coastal management.

Item #d96dec25

"Assessing the Economic Cost of Greenhouse-Induced Sea Level Rise: Methods and Application in Support of a National Survey," G. Yohe (Office of Academic Affairs, Wesleyan Univ., 237 High St., Middletown CT 06579), J. Neumann, H. Ameden, J. Environ. Econ. & Mgmt., 29(3), Part 2, S78-S97, Nov. 1995.

This paper is written in support of a new round of sea level rise damage estimates, which will more accurately portray the complication of including future development and adaptation along the U.S. coastline. It describes a procedure designed to overcome the shortcomings of earlier work. The method is illustrated with applications to Charleston, South Carolina. Discusses the important policy ramifications of replacing the earlier estimates based on vulnerability with more appropriate economic cost estimates.

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