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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 #d97feb78

The fingerprint question: A study published in the July 4, 1996, issue of Nature by Benjamin Santer et al. offered evidence of a "fingerprint" of human activity in the pattern of air temperatures observed in this century. Now Santer, a contributor to the IPCC assessment and the focus of some recent controversy over the IPCC process, has with his coauthors responded in Nature to two separate attacks on the study. (See PROF. PUBS./OF GEN. INTEREST, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Feb. 1997.)

The lead author of one the attacks is Patrick Michaels, editor of World Climate Report, a bi-weekly critique of research developments funded by the Western Fuels Association, that has frequently discussed problems with identifying such a fingerprint. It is clear from the Feb. 3 issue of that publication that Michaels is not convinced by the reponse of Santer et al. in Nature, citing it as a typical example of how mainstream climate researchers are able to cleverly evade challenges to their work. (World Climate Report may be reached at POB 455, Ivy VA 22945; e-mail:

According to an article in Global Environ. Change Rep. (pp. 4-5, Jan. 17, 1997), Santer and colleagues will soon submit for publication in Geophysical Research Letters a more detailed rebuttal to the points raised in Nature, and are developing new versions of their analysis which can better examine the type of uncertainty they involve.

Item #d97feb79

Future ocean carbon uptake could be as little as half the present value if climate warms, according to a climate model study at Princeton University, contributing to the future rise of atmospheric CO2. (See Sarmiento paper in PROF. PUBS./OF GEN. INTEREST, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Feb. 1997.) Climate models used by the IPCC have assumed that CO2 uptake by the oceans would stay constant. (See New Scientist, p. 16, Nov. 30, 1996.)

Item #d97feb80

Satellite vs. surface temperature: Reasons for the difference in recent trends between surface temperatures and those measured by satellite are examined in a new study, which concludes that there are important physical differences in the two quantities measured, and that the two approaches are not inconsistent. (See Hurell paper, PROF. PUBS./OF GEN. INTEREST, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Feb. 1997.)

Item #d97feb81

Cloud seeds discovered: New airborne measurements presented at the fall AGU meeting reveal an unexpected abundance of cloud-forming particles well above the cloud layer over the ocean, providing a missing piece of the puzzle about how climate works. (See New Scientist, p. 17, Dec. 21-28, 1996.)

Item #d97feb82

Aerosol program plan: In part because its importance to the climate system, the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Project of the IGBP is going to emphasize aerosol research. The Focus on Atmospheric Aerosols program plan of the IGBP is available at the IGAC Core Project Office, MIT Bldg. 24-409, Cambridge MA 02139 (e-mail:; WWW:

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