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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 #d97mar56

"Biomass Burning and the Atmosphere: Accomplishments and Research Opportunities," A.M. Thompson (NASA-Goddard, Code 916, Greenbelt MD 20771; e-mail:, Atmos. Environ., 30(19), i-ii, Oct. 1996. [The author's group has a web site at]

The number of field experiments devoted to biomass burning is increasing, largely through the impetus of BIBEX (Biomass Burning Experiment), a core project of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry component of IGBP. Reviews progress and recommends two needed strategies: (1) process experiments must be designed with a better modeling framework; (2) more attention is needed on remote sensing, especially by incorporating existing capabilities into process studies.

Item #d97mar57

"Historical Biomass Burning: Late 19th Century Pioneer Agriculture Revolution in Northern Hemisphere Ice Core Data and Its Atmospheric Interpretation," G. Holdsworth (Arctic Inst. of North America, Univ. Calgary, Calgary AB T2N 1N4, Can.; e-mail gholdswo@acs., K. Higuchi et al., J. Geophys. Res., 101(D18), 23,317-23,334, Oct. 27, 1996.

Ice core data from Yukon and Greenland from about 1750 to 1950 show a clear atmospheric signal of an episode of biomass burning between about 1850 and 1910, which has been referred to elsewhere as the Pioneer Agriculture Revolution. The relationships of this finding to other types of climatic data are explored. It appears that factors associated with the burning, such as changes in surface albedo and atmospheric dust and smoke, caused local cooling and temporarily negated any radiative gas greenhouse warming.

Item #d97mar58

Special issue: J. Geophys. Res., 101(D19), Oct. 30, 1996. Contains 59 papers on the Southern Tropical Atlantic Region Experiment (STARE): TRACE A and SAFARI. TRACE A (Transport and Atmospheric Chemistry near the Equator-Atlantic), a collaboration between Brazil and NASA, investigated emissions from source regions in Brazil and the transport and photochemical processing of the emitted trace gases over the continent and the tropical South Atlantic. A complementary study, SAFARI (Southern African Fire-Atmosphere Research Initiative), put together by a consortium of African, European and American scientists, looked at emissions from fires and soils in southern Africa, the meteorology over the subcontinent, and the ecological impact of fires in the African savannas.

Item #d97mar59

"Climate Implications of Biomass Burning Since the 19th Century in Eastern North America," J.S. Clark (Dept. Botany, Duke Univ., Durham NC 27708), B.J. Stocks, P.J.H. Richard, Global Change Biology, 2(5), 433-442, Oct. 1996.

Recent predictions that tropospheric aerosols have counterbalanced greenhouse warming assume aerosol emissions were low before 1850 and then increased dramatically with industrialization of the Northern Hemisphere and biomass burning in the tropics. This analysis of the lake sediment record of emissions across North America indicates that aerosols could have actually decreased during the 20th century, suggesting that the offset hypothesis requires further analysis using different assumptions of past emissions. [The following entry relates to this topic.]

Item #d97mar60

"First Estimates of the Radiative Forcing of Aerosols Generated from Biomass Burning Using Satellite Data," S.A. Christopher (Inst. Atmos. Sci., South Dakota Sch. of Mines & Technol., Rapid City SD 57701; e-mail: sundar@, D.V. Kilche et al., J. Geophys. Res., 101(D16), 21,265-21,273, Sep. 27, 1996.

Most previous studies have estimated the radiative impact of aerosols from biomass burning by using some form of the radiative transfer equation. This study measures the quantity using a combination of data from two satellite instruments (AVHRR and ERBE), and finds net radiative forcing of about -36 W m-2 for areas with heavy aerosol loading, and about -16 W m-2 for optically thin aerosols.

Item #d97mar61

"Concentrations of Tropospheric Ozone from 1979 to 1992 over Tropical Pacific South America from TOMS Data," Y. Jiang, Y.L. Yung (Div. Glaciol. & Planetary Sci., Calif. Inst. Technol., Pasadena CA 91125), Science, 272(5262), 714-716, May 3, 1996.

Satellite measurements indicate that tropospheric ozone increased by 1.48 ± 0.40 percent per year over South America and the surrounding oceans. An increase in biomass burning in the Southern Hemisphere can account for this trend.

Item #d97mar62

"Climatology and Trends of Tropospheric Ozone over the Eastern Pacific Ocean: The Influences of Biomass Burning and Tropospheric Dynamics," J.H. Kim (Earth System Sci. Div., NASA/Marshall Space Flight Ctr., Huntsville AL 35812; e-mail:, Geophys. Res. Lett., 23(25), 3723-3726, Dec. 15, 1996.

Analyzes tropospheric ozone climatology derived from satellite measurements in conjunction with meteorological and biomass-burning data. In the latitude band 2° N-22° S, ozone shows strong seasonal variation that is well correlated with the biomass burning season over southern tropical South America. Positive trends over the 14 years analyzed are strongest in the tropical Southern Hemisphere.

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