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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
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Item #d97apr38

"Antarctica: Warnings from the Ice," E. Linden, Time, pp. 55-59, Apr. 14, 1997.

The conventional wisdom is that climate change will be gradual and moderate. But what if it is sudden and extreme? If climate change brings about a large rise in sea level, the principle immediate cause will be the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which could raise sea level nearly 20 feet. Current research on the ice sheet aimed at understanding its behavior in the past and in the future suggests that this possibility is remote but is nevertheless a concern.

Item #d97apr39

"The Rising Seas," D. Schneider, Scientific American, pp. 112-117, Mar. 1997.

Predictions that greenhouse warming of the ice caps will raise sea levels and flood the land may be unduly alarmist. The extent and speed of the ocean's rise are still difficult to predict. Changes in the frequency and intensity of violent storms may be a much greater threat.

Item #d97apr40

"Ice-Cold in Paris," S. Rahmstorf, New Scientist, pp. 26-30, Feb. 8, 1997.

The author, a climate modeler, explains why global warming could bring to Europe a nasty surprise-an era of freezing winters. Circulation of water in the deep Atlantic brings warm surface water close to Europe, moderating its climate. Evidence from the past suggests that this process could change.

Item #d97apr41

Two items in Earth magazine, Dec. 1996:

"A Millenium of Climate," T.M.L. Wigley, pp. 38-41. Presents a climatologist's historical perspective on the human understanding of climate since A.D. 1000, and most recently, human impacts on climate. We can now be sure that some portion of the recent global warming has been caused by humans; future changes are in store, but their magnitude remains uncertain. The author is optimistic that we can avoid or adapt to unwanted climate change without serious economic disruption.

"Warming Shifts Growing Season," J. Spizzirri, pp. 11-12. A research team led by Charles Keating of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has found that the peak of the growing season in the Northern Hemisphere has advanced by a week since the mid-1970s.

Item #d97apr42

"Lure of the Rings," F. Pearce, New Scientist, pp. 38-42, Dec. 14, 1996.

The study of tree ring sequences on long timescales can reveal general trends such as the natural pattern, range and variability of global temperature variations. This information could help determine whether human activity has started to warm the planet. Discusses research by Keith Briffa and his colleagues at the University of East Anglia, which is part of an international tree-ring reconstruction of the year-by-year temperature history of northern Europe and Asia over the past 10,000 years.

Item #d97apr43

"The Mother Lode of Natural Gas: Methane Hydrates Stir Tales of Hope and Hazard," R. Monastersky, Science News, pp. 298-299, Nov. 9, 1996. (See Global Climate Change Digest RESEARCH NEWS, Jan. 1997.)

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