PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet SURVEY
------------

Dear CCNet subscriber and online reader,

While we are all eagerly waiting for Lord Sainsbury's response to the NEO
Task Force Report and its recommendations - the publication of which were
among the highlight of last year's developments in the field of NEO policies
- perhaps you could be so good and spare 3-5 minutes to answer the 15
questions of the annual CCNet survey listed below. I would very much
appreciate to hear about your views and thoughts about our international
network - now in its forth's year and with a steadily growing membership of
1000+.

The data, comments and responses will be published on CCNet.

Thank you for your help and interest.

Benny J Peiser
CCNet Moderator

PLEASE RETURN COMPLETED SURVEY TO

b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk


---------------------------
(1) Do you wish to continue your subscription

[ ] yes
[ ] no, please unsubcribe me from CCNet


(2) I read the CCNet

[  ] every day
[  ] from time to time
[  ] rarely
[  ] never


(3) Which are your main research areas/interests?
    (tick all appropriate boxes)

[  ] SOLAR SYSTEM ASTRONOMY
[  ] NEO research, etc.
[  ] GEOLOGY, impact craters, etc
[  ] BIOLOGY, evolution, origins of life, etc.
[  ] PALEONTOLOGY, mass extinctions, etc.
[  ] ARCHAEOLOGY, CLIMATOLOGY, societal evolution, etc.
[  ] SPACE SCIENCE, space exploration, etc.
[  ] SCIENCE JOURNALISM
[  ] OTHERS:



(4) With view of your scientific interests, how would you categorise the
CCNet?
    (tick all appropriate boxes)

[  ] very informative
[  ] too much popular, too little hard science
[  ] too much hard, too little popular science
[  ] very useful for my research
[  ] not really useful for my research
[  ] I find the abstracts service very helpful
[  ] quite interesting for its news and information
[  ] I don't like the news items from the mass media
[  ] should be strictly limited to NEO research
[  ] too much chit-chat and debates
[  ] there could be more scientific debate
[  ] Less posting of controversies
[  ] other comments...



(5) Do you feel that during the last 12 months the quality of the CCNet has

[  ] improved
[  ] remained the same
[  ] declined



(6) In view of the growing number of scientific mailing lists, web sites and
discussion groups, do you think the CCNet has become superfluous?

[  ] yes
[  ] no


(7) In what way do you think the CCNet differs from other science and
astronomy networks, websites and mailing lists?



(8) Which CCNet features do you find particularly valuable and/or
inappropriate?



(9) What do you think about the sceptical approach the CCNet takes with
regards to environmental and climate scares?



(10) Would you like to see any changes to the CCNet format?
    (tick all appropriate boxes)

 [  ] I like it just as it is
 [  ] information should be limited to NEO research
 [  ] information should also cover the astrobiology debates
 [  ] I am only interested in abstracts and new publications
 [  ] I am not interested in scientific debates
 [  ] it should include broad information about all aspects
      of neo-catastrophism and space exploration


(11) What do you think about the idea of setting up a special CCNet webite?


(12) If you think this might be a good idea, would you like to contribute
with reports, analysis or comments?


(13) Have you got any suggestions for change you feel might help to improve
the quality of CCNet?


(14) Do you sometimes use the internet archive of the CCNet
     at http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cccmenu.html ?

[  ] frequently
[  ] sometimes
[  ] seldom
[  ] never


15) In one or two sentences, what is your general view about the CCNet?


-----------------------------------------------
THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE.

Please return the completed questionnaire to
b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk


*

CCNet CLIMATE CHANGE & CLIMATE SCARES, 10 January 2001
------------------------------------------------------


"NOAA scientists announced today that the U.S. national temperature
during the November through December two-month period was the coldest
such period on record."
   --National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, 5 January
2001


"Although usually quick to inform the American public of what might
be happening to climate, now that the National Climatic Data Center
(NCDC) has data in-hand to prove that November and December 2000 are the
coldest on record, the national news media is not making much of the
story. What's going on? We haven't experienced weather like this since
1895!"
--Greening Earth Society, 8 January 2001


"But all this did not begin in November. The cooling in the USA
began as early as June last year when summer temperatures across the
eastern half of the US were well below normal, a cooling which
extended into the autumn. The NOAA put on a defensive smokescreen of spin in
the hope that the cooling would be temporary, constantly pointing to the
mild winter and warm spring which preceded the cooling early in
2000.  But now, months later, the cooling has persisted, raising the
possibility that we may be witnessing a periodic climate 'shift', the
last one being a warm shift around 1976-77."
John L. Daily, 9 January 2001


"Temperature data from scientific buoys scattered across the Pacific
Ocean are raising doubts about the validity of one of the most
important tools used by scientists to track global climate change."
--UniSci News, 9 January 2001



(1) RECORD COLD GRIPS MUCH OF THE NATION IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER: TWO-MONTH
PERIOD IS THE COLDEST ON RECORD IN THE UNITED STATES
    National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, 5 January 2001

(2) THE BIG FREEZE, OR WHY NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THE WEATHER NOW
    Greening Earth Society, 8 January 2001

(3) VALIDITY OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE STUDY TOOL DOUBTED
    UniSci News, 9 January 2001

(4) COLD IS KILLING AFGHAN REFUGEES
    Environmental News Network, 8 January 2001

(5) CHARITY CALLS FOR ACTION OVER 50,000 WINTER DEATHS
    The Daily Telegraph, 9 January 2001

(6) ICE SHEET LITTLE THREAT TO SEA LEVEL
    Virtual New York, 3 January 2001

(7) NEW TREE RING DATA PROVIDING CLUES TO TEMPERATURES IN ROCKIES FROM 1000
YEARS AGO
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(8) ONE-STOP SHOPPING FOR ICE CORE DATA AVAILABLE ON INTERNET
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(9) MICROSCOPIC LIFE PROVIDES CLUES ABOUT PAST CLIMATES
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(10) AND FINALLY: THE ICEMAN COMETH!
     John L. Daily, 9 January 2001

==============
(1) RECORD COLD GRIPS MUCH OF THE NATION IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER: TWO-MONTH
PERIOD IS THE COLDEST ON RECORD IN THE UNITED STATES

From National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 5 January 2001
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories/s557.htm

January 5, 2001 - NOAA scientists announced today that the U.S. national
temperature during the November through December two-month period was the
coldest such period on record. The scientists worked with data from the
worlds largest statistical weather database at NOAA's National Climatic Data
Center in Asheville, N.C.

Following the second coldest November on record in the U.S., below normal
temperatures continued to grip much of the nation in December. With an
average temperature of 28.9 F, December 2000 was the seventh coldest
December since national records began in 1895. Jay Lawrimore, chief of the
Climate Monitoring Branch at the National Climatic Data Center, said, "Two
months in a row of much below average temperatures resulted in the coldest
November-December U.S. temperature on record, 33.8 F." This broke the old
record of 34.2 F set in 1898. Near record cold temperatures for the same
period occurred most recently in 1985 and 1983, when the nation's average
temperature was 34.6 F and 34.8 F respectively, the 3rd and 5th coldest such
two-month periods on record.

FULL STORY at http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories/s557.htm

============
(2) THE BIG FREEZE, OR WHY NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THE WEATHER NOW

From Greening Earth Society, 8 January 2001
http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/Articles/2001/vca1.htm

Although usually quick to inform the American public of what might be
happening to climate, now that the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has
data in-hand to prove that November and December 2000 are the coldest on
record, the national news media is not making much of the story. What's
going on? We haven't experienced weather like this since 1895!

December's frigid temperatures resulted in the period from October through
December coming in as the fifth coldest such period in the record. The time
from July to December registered as a rather unremarkable twenty-first
coolest (or eighty-fifth warmest, if you prefer to think of these things in
terms of global warming).

Why are we making such a point of this? It was in November (with ten months
of data in hand) that the NCDC cobbled together a press release proclaiming
the first ten months of 2000 to be the warmest on record. We heard a lot
about that! Then the NCDC followed up in mid-December, with an announcement
that calendar year 2000 could fall between the fifth and twelfth warmest
year on record, depending upon the weather in the last half of December (see
Virtual Climate Alert #46 - December 21, 2000). And we heard much - but
somewhat less - about that. The full record of December's cold places the
full year, preliminarily, in twelfth place. Once the preliminary data's
inordinate bias toward the warmth in cities and towns is accounted for over
the next couple of months, don't be surprised if 2000 slips still further
down the climate change Hit Parade.

If you've followed Volume 1 (the first forty-six editions) of these Virtual
Climate Alerts, you know that the reason for 2000's ranking even that high
on the scale is due to record warmth last January and much of February. But,
as one can see from the July-December record, most of the year was below the
average rather than above it.

Figure 1 (http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/Articles/2001/vca1.htm) shows
geographic distribution of this year's anomalies. It holds considerable
scientific interest. Temperatures in the Southwest were way above average,
while those of the region between Georgia and Pennsylvania were fairly low.
This means there was a persistent jet-stream anomaly that dominated
virtually the entire year. Mid-atmospheric winds displayed a big northward
excursion over the West and a similar southward one over the East. What
caused it?

If you ask a climatologist, you're likely to get an answer that sounds
something like this, "It looks like a combination of the previous El Niņo,
the fading La Niņa, the current La Nada, and the Madden-Julien Oscillation
coupled with the recent sunspot maximum." In other words, "We don't have a
clue, but with an incoming Administration, we'll leave global warming out of
the equation for a while."

What is probably left for the spin-mongers to claim is that what we have
here is clear evidence that earth's weather is becoming more variable as the
globe warms. To that, we will respond in advance, "Hooey." It was a
relatively cool year, globally, by recent standards. Additionally, this
notion has been investigated extensively in papers written for the refereed
scientific literature. What we have found is that month-to-month (and
season-to-season) variability declines significantly as the planet warms.

Reference

Michaels et al., 2000. Analysis of trends in the variability of daily and
monthly historical temperature measurements. Climate Research, 10, 27-33.

===========
(3) VALIDITY OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE STUDY TOOL DOUBTED

From UniSci News, 9 January 2001
http://unisci.com/stories/20011/0109014.htm

Temperature data from scientific buoys scattered across the Pacific Ocean
are raising doubts about the validity of one of the most important tools
used by scientists to track global climate change.

The "lock step" link between sea water temperatures and air temperatures may
be less rigid than presently thought, according to data analyzed by
scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the Hadley
Center of the United Kingdom's Meteorological Office.

Results of their research are reported in the Jan. 1, 2001, edition of the
scientific journal, Geophysical Research Letters.

The supposed link between sea and air temperatures let climate scientists
use sea surface temperatures as a "proxy" for air temperature data over
large ocean areas for which air temperature data are not available, said Dr.
John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of UAH's Earth
System Science Center.

"The global surface temperature datasets -- the data that people commonly
use to track Earth's climate -- are a mixture of near-surface air
temperatures over land and sea water temperatures over the oceans," Christy
said.

Taking the sea surface data out of the global climate record would have a
significant impact on climate tracking and forecasts. When scientists take
sea surface temperatures out of the global temperature record for the past
20-plus years and replace them with air temperature data gathered by ships
and buoys, the global warming trend at Earth's surface drops by about
one-third -- from 0.19 to about 0.13 degrees Celsius per decade.

Using high-precision temperature data gathered by 19 buoys moored throughout
the tropical Pacific Ocean and monitored by NOAA's Pacific Marine
Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Christy, his British colleagues and a
Danish scientist compared long-term (8- to 20-year) trends for temperatures
recorded one meter below the sea surface and three meters above it.

"For each buoy in the Eastern Pacific, the air temperatures measured at the
three meter height showed less of a warming trend than did the same buoy's
water temperatures at one meter depth," Christy said. "These are from
thermometers separated vertically by only four meters and monitored at the
same time. And the Eastern Pacific plays an important role in global
temperature variations, through the El Niņo heating and La Niņa cooling
events."

In the Western Pacific, it was a "murky picture," Christy said, with little
correlation between water and air temperature changes. Buoy-by-buoy,
seasonal temperature variations in the sea water explained less than 40
percent of air temperature changes.

That means if seawater temperatures in the Western Pacific go up from one
season to the next, the air just above the sea surface doesn't necessarily
follow.

By comparison, water temperatures explained more than 90 percent of the air
temperature fluctuations in the Eastern Pacific.

Over the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean, buoy data shows a near-surface
seawater warming trend of 0.37 degrees Celsius per decade, while air
temperatures three meters above the surface were warming by only 0.25
degrees C per decade during the 20-year test period -- a change of 0.12
degrees C per decade in slightly more than 12 feet.

"It's odd that over the past eight to 20 years, the air just above the
surface isn't warming at the same rate that the sea water is," said Christy.

The supposed link between sea surface temperatures and air temperatures is
an integral part of both the historic surface temperature record and the
computerized models used to predict what Earth's climate might do in the
future.

Because reliable low-level air temperature data from over the oceans are
more scarce and more difficult to assess than water temperatures, scientists
monitoring Earth's climate have used sea surface temperatures as a proxy for
air temperatures, assuming that the two rise and fall proportionally.

"We found that in the short term, they go up and down essentially
simultaneously," said Christy. "Over the long term, however, we start to see
differences."

More than 20 years of data gathered by microwave sounding units on NOAA's
TIROS-N satellites shows global warming in the atmosphere from Earth's
surface up to approximately five miles to be about 0.045 degrees Celsius per
decade, a trend confirmed by data from "radiosonde" thermometers lifted
through the troposphere by helium balloons.

The apparent disagreement between climate trends at the surface and in the
troposphere has been the subject of an often heated scientific debate over
the validity of the two datasets. The buoy data offered the UAH/UKMO/Danish
research team a rare opportunity to test the accuracy of the
sea-water-for-air-temps proxy using scientifically calibrated, co-located
instruments.

By comparison, much of the historic sea water temperature record was
generated by military and commercial ships, which recorded the temperature
of sea water as it was taken aboard as an engine coolant. While calculated
into the temperature record as sea "surface" temperatures, most modern ships
draw in cooling water from as much as ten meters below the surface.

The authors looked at the tropicswide difference between the sea water
temperatures and upper air temperatures not only from the satellite data but
from balloons and global weather maps. All three records indicated the
tropical air between the surface and five miles actually cooled at a rate of
about 0.05 degrees C per decade, while the sea water was warming by about
0.13 degrees C per decade.

The tropicswide near-surface air temperature (from ships and buoys) warmed
at a rate in between the sea water and the upper air -- about 0.06 degrees C
per decade. These differences were all statistically significant. - By
Phillip Gentry

=========
(4) COLD IS KILLING AFGHAN REFUGEES

From Environmental News Network, 8 January 2001
http://www.enn.com/news/wire-stories/2001/01/01082001/ap_cold_41230.asp

Cold killing newest Afghan refugees

Monday, January 8, 2001
By Associated Press

Freezing temperatures are killing some of the 18,000 newest Afghan refugees
to Pakistan, many of whom have nothing but plastic sheets to pull over
themselves, the United Nations said Monday.
Yousuf Hasan, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees office
in Pakistan, said he watched a 3-month-old baby die on Saturday in one of
the refugee camps. Seven other refugees died last weekend in a makeshift
camp on the outskirts of Jalozai, The Jang newspaper reported.

"They are living out in the open," Hasan said. "The conditions are
appalling. Some of them are wrapping themselves in plastic sheets and in
bits and pieces of old clothes to try to keep warm."

FULL STORY at
http://www.enn.com/news/wire-stories/2001/01/01082001/ap_cold_41230.asp

===========
(5) CHARITY CALLS FOR ACTION OVER 50,000 WINTER DEATHS

From The Daily Telegraph, 9 January 2001
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=001800399222797&rtmo=VDJDqDkK&atmo=tttttttd&pg=/et/01/1/9/nwint09.html

By Celia Hall Medical Editor

NEARLY 50,000 more people died last winter than in the preceding autumn and
the following summer, most of them over the age of 75, a charity says today.

Help the Aged is urging the Government to adopt a radical programme to
tackle housing and heating in an attempt to reduce the number of winter
deaths. A report by Help the Aged and British Gas, to be published shortly,
will show that of the 50,000 excess deaths in the four months from December
1999 to March 2000, 20,000 were aged over 85 and 17,000 were 75 to 84.

Mervyn Kohler, the charity's head of public affairs, said: "It is terrible
that so many older people are still dying from cold-related illnesses.
"Every needless death is a private tragedy and a public disgrace. We are
looking for a determined policy backed up by adequate resources together
with community action to combat this ongoing scandal."

The report will show that for every drop of 1C below a temperature of 20C,
mortality increases by an average of two per cent. The deaths are associated
with the cold aggravating existing circulatory diseases which in turn lead
to strokes or heart attacks, says Help the Aged. Cold weather also
encourages the development of respiratory diseases such as bronchitis or
pneumonia.

FULL STORY at
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=001800399222797&rtmo=VDJDqDkK&atmo=tttttttd&pg=/et/01/1/9/nwint09.html

=========
(6) ICE SHEET LITTLE THREAT TO SEA LEVEL

From Virtual New York, 3 January 2001
http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=149230

GREENBELT, Md. Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Environmentalists are worried that the West
Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting but Robert Binschaldler, a glaciologist at
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., believes that that is
not the case.

"Our previous best estimates that the ice sheet was adding 1 millimeter per
year to global sea level are almost certainly too high," Binschaldler said
adding that the ice sheet "appears to be in a stage of near-zero retreat
now."

The state of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which covers an area the size of
Mexico, is crucial. It averages a thickness of 2,000 meters (6562 feet) and
could cause the global sea level to rise by as much as 5 meters (16 feet) if
it were to melt.

"This is one of the problems with possible global warming," said geologist
John Hollin of the University of Colorado. "The disintegration of the West
Antarctic Ice Sheet would be one of the big events because it could raise
the sea level so dramatically," he said.  The retreat of the West Antarctic
Ice Sheet has been a particular concern of scientists because unlike East
Antarctica, which is a land mass covered by ice, the West Antarctic ice
sheet sits below sea level on the sea floor.

"West Antarctica is really just a lot of ice tangled up in islands and
doesn't really melt per se, explained John Hollin, a University of Colorado
geologist. He said that as it retreats, it disintegrates into a mass of
icebergs. "It could be a problem if huge chunks of icebergs started coming
off at a massive rate, then the whole thing could disintegrate fairly
easily.

Hollin added that losing the West Antarctic would be devastating because it
could mean that large areas of land that are at or near sea-level, such as
parts of Florida and the Netherlands, would be covered with water.

New estimates of the size and bulk of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are based
on a new reconstruction of the ice sheet during the last glacial maximum
that occurred 20,000 years ago. Researchers believe the ice sheet was three
times as large as it is now and was still growing as recently as 8,000 years
ago.

Binshadler said the new evidence suggests that the ice sheet may have shrunk
in fits and starts and that changes in its size may be due to changes in the
underlying surface and surrounding water rather than climatic changes such
as global warming.

He suggests that the ice sheet which extends into the Ross Sea, may not have
experienced a linear retreat, but may instead have undergone a slow retreat,
followed by a rapid retreat, returning to it's current state of retreat
which he considers to be near-zero. Binshadler based his conclusions on
studies conducted by researchers at the University of Washington who used
ice-penetrating radar to analyze the subsurface of a 30 by 50-mile rise in
the ice sheet known as Siple Dome.

Binschadler also pointed out that new information regarding the history of
the ice sheet's growth and retreat make it difficult to predict how the ice
sheet will behave over time.  "What it will do in the future is uncertain,"
said Binschadler. "If it loses its hold on the present shallow bed, the
final retreat of the ice sheet could be very rapid.

But just how fast that could happen remains to be seen, according to
Hollins. He said conservative estimates suggest it would take several
hundred years to disintegrate even if it started to retreat now.

(Written by Cynthia Walker in Cleveland, Ohio)

Copyright 2000 by United Press International.
All rights reserved.

===========
(7) NEW TREE RING DATA PROVIDING CLUES TO TEMPERATURES IN ROCKIES FROM 1000
YEARS AGO

From Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

Contact:
Pat Viets, NOAA Satellite Service
(301) 457-5005, pviets@nesdis.noaa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/15/00

NOAA 2000-088

NEW TREE RING DATA PROVIDING CLUES TO TEMPERATURES IN ROCKIES FROM 1000
YEARS AGO, NOAA TELLS AGU

Tree rings are giving scientists new clues about the climate of the Central
and Northern Rockies that existed over the past 1000 years, Connie Woodhouse
of NOAA's Paleoclimatology Program told attendees of the American
Geophysical Union's fall meeting in San Francisco today.

Newly developed tree-ring chronologies from sites in Colorado, Wyoming,
Idaho, and Montana contain records of spring-summer temperatures. "This new
collection of long chronologies that extend from 700 to over 1000 years
fills in a gap between long, temperature-sensitive chronologies from the
Great Basin and Sierra Nevada to the southwest and from the Canadian Rockies
to the north," Woodhouse said.

The goal of this expanded network is to provide a more comprehensive picture
of past temperature variability in western North America over the last 1000
or more years through analysis of tree ring widths, ring densities, and cell
sizes from several species of trees.

Woodhouse and her colleagues, Peter Brown from Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring
Research, Inc., and Malcolm Hughes from the Laboratory of Tree-ring Research
at the University of Arizona, said that scientists have compared the new
chronologies with existing chronologies. The comparisons show, among other
things, several sustained cold events that are reflected in trees from the
southwestern U.S. to the Canadian Rockies. The most notable of these events
occurred in the mid-15th century.

More information is available at

     http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/paleo/recons.html

     http://www.rmtrr.org/

               and

     http://www.LTRR.Arizona.EDU/


==============
(8) ONE-STOP SHOPPING FOR ICE CORE DATA AVAILABLE ON INTERNET

From Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

Contact:
Pat Viets, NOAA Satellite Service
(301) 457-5005, pviets@nesdis.noaa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/15/00

NOAA 2000-090

ONE-STOP SHOPPING FOR ICE CORE DATA AVAILABLE ON INTERNET, NOAA SCIENTISTS
TELL AGU

Data from ice cores from glaciers and mountain summits allow scientists a
glimpse into the frozen past, providing valuable information about the
global climate that existed in recent years and thousands of years ago. Data
from these icy archives will soon be available at a one-stop shop on the
Internet, thanks to an agreement between two major data centers, Dr. C. Mark
Eakin, head of
NOAA's Paleoclimatology Program told attendees of the American Geophysical
Union's fall meeting in San Francisco today.

"A new partnership has been established to meet the needs of scientists to
obtain data, as well as to provide an organized, long-term archive for the
data," Eakin said. "The new Ice Core Gateway provides one-stop shopping from
which scientists, educators and the public can access ice-core research from
a variety of disciplines. It will also provide an easy way for scientists to
contribute their data to the data centers."

The data centers involved with the project are the NOAA Paleoclimatology
Program/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology and the National Snow and Ice
Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology, both located in Boulder, Colo.

Eakin and his colleagues David Anderson, Rob Bauer, Greg Scharfen, and Ted
Scambos presented the information about the new Web site to scientists
studying paleoceanography, paleoclimatology, and hydrology.

The new Web site will be available online at

     http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/paleo/icgate

===========
(9) MICROSCOPIC LIFE PROVIDES CLUES ABOUT PAST CLIMATES

From: Andrew Yee [mailto:ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca]

Contact:
Pat Viets, NOAA Satellite Service
(301) 457-5005, pviets@nesdis.noaa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/15/00

NOAA 2000-091

MICROSCOPIC LIFE PROVIDES CLUES ABOUT PAST CLIMATES, NOAA SCIENTIST TELLS
AGU

Microscopic plant and animal life is providing scientists clues about the
climate system that existed as long as 10,000 years ago, David M. Anderson
of NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center told attendees of the American
Geophysical Union's fall meeting in San Francisco today.

"The variability of sea ice and fresh water export from the Arctic via the
East Greenland Current is a fundamental aspect of the climate system, yet
little is known about how it varies from decade to decade or from one
millennium to the next," Anderson said. "We hypothesize that it might be
possible to reconstruct the presence of the East Greenland Current from the
stable isotope gradients recorded in foraminifers -- microscopic marine
animals whose calcite skeletons
are preserved in seafloor sediments."

Initial calibration studies reveal that both horizontal and vertical
gradients in oxygen and carbon isotopes are recorded in sediments, Anderson
said. By determining the composition of the sediments, scientists are able
to reconstruct ocean circulation patterns and produce a time series of
change much longer than the 100+ year instrumental record of climate. The
ultimate goal of this project is to understand the ocean's role in climate,
and to determine how the slowly changing aspects of our climate such as the
Arctic Oscillation and the thermohaline circulation could alter our climate
in the coming decades.

============
(10) AND FINALLY: THE ICEMAN COMETH!

From John L. Daily, 9 January 2001
http://www.microtech.com.au/daly/index.htm

The northern winter can no longer be dismissed as an isolated `cold snap'.
Right across the northern hemisphere, the story has been the same - freezing
cold, snow blizzards, and record-breaking low temperatures.

In the USA, the Great Lakes have been freezing over, requiring the use of
ice breakers to maintain shipping traffic. In December, two ships were stuck
in the icy Detroit River causing a two-day traffic jam for shipping. Lakes
Huron, Erie and Michigan have extensive areas of surface ice, with the
passage between Lakes Michigan and Huron requiring constant icebreaking to
keep the channel open.

The cooling was widespread with 43 states recording subnormal temps.
All-time state cold records were set in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Buffalo received its earliest 100 inch snow total ever at the start of this
month. The 13.4 inches of snow that fell in New York City's Central Park in
December made it the snowiest December since 1960.  This put the year as a
whole in New York at 53.8°F, about 1° below normal. Nine of the twelve
months of 2000 in New York were below normal, including a streak of 7
straight below normal months so far (apparently continuing into January). It
was the coldest December on record for Louisville and Paducha, Kentucky; the
second coldest on record for Evansville, Indiana, Akron and Toledo, Ohio,
and for Chicago (O'hare), where records go back to 1872. It was also the
second coldest at Kansas City, Missouri (since 1886), and at Minneapolis,
Minnesota. In "the nation's icebox" of International Falls, Minnesota, it
was in the top five coldest Decembers.

November and December in the U.S. was the coldest on record, averaging
33.8°F, breaking the previous record of 34.2°F set in 1898. According to the
National Climate Center, "The eastern and western United States will
experience additional cold outbreaks at least through March with periods of
moderation in between".

In Russia, a severe cold wave settled in over western Siberia and the Far
East, sending temperatures down as low as -70°F. The temperature, a 30-year
record, was recorded in the Kemerovo region about 1,800 miles east of
Moscow, while temperatures in much of the rest of Russia east of the Ural
Mountains were around -40°C. The Russian cold wave, which is expected to
last several more days, has put a strain on Russia's power plants and
heating stations.

Mongolia in central Asia has again been gripped by a `Zud', freezing
conditions which are deadly for the livestock upon which much of the
population is dependent. In sub-tropical Florida, farmers have found their
citrus trees under attack from the cold.

Even in the southern hemisphere, which is having its summer, highland
residents in Tasmania awoke on Christmas morning to a deep cover of snow.
Meanwhile an Australian Antarctic supply vessel, Polar Bird, found itself
trapped in sea ice for over 3 weeks at a time when we were all told that
summer sea ice at the poles was thinning.

But all this did not begin in November. The cooling in the USA began as
early as June last year when summer temperatures across the eastern half of
the US were well below normal, a cooling which extended into the autumn (or
'fall').

The NOAA put on a defensive smokescreen of spin in the hope that the cooling
would be temporary, constantly pointing to the mild winter and warm spring
which preceded the cooling early in 2000.  But now, months later, the
cooling has persisted, raising the possibility that we may be witnessing a
periodic climate `shift', the last one being a warm shift around 1976-77.

This latest shift in the global weather, coupled with an incoming US
administration which shows little interest in indulging the interests of the
greenhouse industry, leaves the hapless Kyoto Protocol dead in the water.
Only the European Union is mourning that document, as its terms, negotiated
and consented to by Al Gore, were tailored to suit the economic interests of
the Europeans. The party is now over.


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