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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d98jul1

"The Multilateral Ozone Fund of the Montreal Protocol," R. Falkner (New College, Oxford OX1 3BN, UK),Global Environ. Change, 8(2), 171-175, July 1998.

Reviews the Fund as an institution. While many of the hopes of developing countries remain unfulfilled, the creation of the Fund represents an important symbolic victory for the South that has helped to guarantee world-wide support for the Protocol. Its success suggests that North-South divisions need not necessarily prevent the international community from addressing clearly defined environmental problems.

Item #d98jul2

"Pleistocene Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet," R.P. Scherer (Dept. Earth Sci., Uppsala Univ., Villavagen 16, S-752 36 Uppsala, Swed.; e-mail:, A. Aldahan et al.,Science, 281(5373), 82-85, July 3, 1998.

Several glacial sediment samples recovered from beneath the ice sheet contain diatoms that formed no earlier than 750,000 years ago, and high levels of beryllium-10. These findings confirm earlier results that indicate the ice sheet collapsed in the recent geologic past. [A news article in the same issue (pp. 17, 19) discusses the implications of the work, discussing concern over the possibility of a future collapse of the ice sheet, which could raise sea level six meters.]

Item #d98jul3

"Continuing Decline in the Growth Rate of the Atmospheric Methane Burden," E.J. Dlugokencky (NOAA-CMDL, 325 S. Broadway, Boulder CO 80303), K.A. Masarie et al.,Nature, 393(6684), 447-450, June 4, 1998.

Measurements from a global sampling network suggest that, assuming constant OH concentration, global annual methane emissions have remained nearly constant during the period 1984-1996, and that decreasing growth rate in atmospheric methane reflects an approach to steady state on a timescale comparable to methane's atmospheric lifetime. If methane sources and OH concentration continue to remain constant, methane mixing ratios should increase slowly from today's 1,730 nmol/mol to about 1800 nmol/mol, with little change in methane's contribution to the greenhouse effect.

Item #d98jul4

"Logging and Tropical Forest Conservation," I.A. Bowles, R.E. Rice (Conservation Intl., 2501 M St. NW, Washington DC 200037; e-mail:, et al.,Science, 280(5371), 1899-1900, June 19, 1998.

To encourage sustainable forest management (SFM), the World Bank is considering lifting its 1991 policy that bars investments in logging operations in primary tropical forests. Yet a controversy is growing over whether SFM is useful as a conservation strategy. This paper argues against a headlong rush to change policy, and for carefully monitored experiments to understand the real prospects for SFM.

Item #d98jul5

"Influence of Mediterranean Outflow on Climate," S. Rahmstorf (Potsdam Inst. for Climate Impact Res., POB 60 12 03, 14412 Potsdam, Ger.),Eos, Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, 79(24), 281-282, June 16, 1998.

Responds to a previous article by Johnson, which warned that human activities are decreasing the freshwater flow into the Mediterranean Sea, and could prompt a drastic change in the North Atlantic circulation. (See Global Climate Change Digest, Prof. Pubs./Gen. Interest and Policy, Aug. 1997.) Concludes that any such human influence would be small compared to the direct effect of changing precipitation patterns over the North Atlantic resulting from both manmade and natural climatic change.

Item #d98jul6

"Trace-Gas Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming: Underlying Principles and Outstanding Issues," V. Ramanathan (Scripps Inst. Oceanog., 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla CA 92093; e-mail:,Ambio, 27(3), 187-197, May 1998.

Reviews developments that transformed the global warming problem from concern over increasing CO2 alone, to concern over other greenhouse gases as well, such as CFCs, methane, nitrous oxide, and tropospheric ozone. Prediction of regional and transient effects requires understanding of several important issues: (1) aerosol and stratospheric ozone effects; (2) responses of clouds and storm tracks; (3) the cause of excess solar absorption in clouds; and (4) upper tropospheric water vapor feedback.

Item #d98jul7

"The 'Rio Process': The Politics and Substantive Outcomes of 'Earth Summit II,'" A. Jordan (Ctr. Social & Econ. Res. on the Global Environ., Univ. E. Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK; e-mail:, H. Voisey,Global Environ. Change, 8(1), 93-97, Apr. 1998.

Comments on the June 1997 U.N. General Assembly session on sustainable development. The outcome disappointed many, but environmentalists can draw some encouragement from the whole experience. For the first time in a general assembly, nongovernmental representatives participated fully; and the European Union reinforced its position as the environmental leader in the international stage.

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