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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 #d96feb49

"Glaciers Are Star Witnesses to the History of Earth's Climate," M. Simons, The New York Times, p. C4, Dec. 19, 1995.

Glaciologists see high ice-fields as key indicators of warming and cooling, and more accurate than climate models. However the behavior of glaciers in the world is complicated. Although as much as one-half of the volume of ice has vanished in the European Alps over the last century, the glaciers of Scandinavia, Greenland, Iceland and New Zealand are growing. This may not be at all contradictory; if the Earth is warming, precipitation will be greater, and more snow and ice will appear in the polar regions.

Item #d96feb50

"Some Like It Hot—Thriving Tunicates May Help Clear the Air of Excess CO2," W.W. Gibbs, Scientific American, pp. 28-29, Dec. 1995.

The fate of about two billion tons of CO2 produced each year is unknown. One possible sink may be gelatinous, tubelike zooplankton called salps, which eat phytoplankton and thrive in warmer waters, and whose presence in the warmer Southern Ocean has increased over the past 40 years. Their feces, rich in carbon, sink very quickly into the deep ocean and are buried on the sea floor. Since salps proliferate as water temperatures rise, they may provide a feedback mechanism as CO2 levels in the atmosphere increase.

Item #d96feb51

"The Big Thaw," J. Horgan, ibid., pp. 18-20, Nov. 1995.

Reports on studies of the Antarctic ice sheet during the Pliocene epoch that have implications for predictions of the stability or dynamism of the ice sheet today.

Item #d96feb52

"Chaotic Climate," W.S. Broecker, ibid., p. 62 ff., Nov. 1995.

Geologic records show that the Earth's weather patterns have sometimes changed dramatically in a decade or less. The flow of heat through the oceanic conveyer belt, particularly in the Atlantic, may be a critical factor determining climate patterns. Researchers are now beginning to understand what triggered past temperature swings and to assess the possibility that we are poised for another.

Item #d96feb53

"Under the Influences of Clouds," Y. Baskin, Discover, pp. 62-69, Sep. 1995.

Clouds absorb radiation to such an extent that without them we can't understand today's weather or tomorrow's climate.

Item #d96feb54

"Climate Observations Substantiate Global Warming Models," B. Hileman, Chem. Eng. News, pp. 18-23, Nov. 27, 1995.

A comprehensive review of the latest developments in the science of global warming. (This article is also available on the World Wide Web:

Item #d96feb55

"Of Seashells, Ancient Climate and Fossil Fuels," L. van Dam, Technology Rev., pp. 10-11, May-June 1995.

Abrupt shifts in temperature of 8° -10° F in as little as 20 years occurred 10,000-100,000 years ago and appear correlated with the oceanic conveyor belt. Researchers are looking at paleoclimatic records of the belt's behavior during the last time (127,000 and 118,000 years ago) when the Earth was at least as warm as it is today. They are trying to determine if the deep water oceanic circulation patterns, and therefore climate, changed suddenly during that period.

Item #d96feb56

"Back to Basics: Is Our Climate Changing?" R.A.S. Ratcliffe, Weather, pp. 54-57, Feb. 1995.

Presents an overview of climate change over the past million years and factors influencing today's climate. The scientific consensus is that a gradual rise of global mean temperature is probable in the next 50 years, but this rise may be irregular and liable to interruption or temporary reversal by major volcanic eruptions. So far it is not possible to distinguish any rise in temperature from natural variability.

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