PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 22/2002 - 13 February 2002
-------------------------------


"British astronomers are facing a cash squeeze with many of them
being unable to carry out front-line research. This is the warning
from the recently established Astronomy Grant Panel (AGP), the body that
awards money for research projects on behalf of the Particle Physics and
Astronomy Research Council (PParc). Just over half of research proposals
that were rated as world-class received money, something that the AGP
says is a matter for "grave concern".
--David Whitehouse, BBC, 12 February 2002


"Recent CCNet articles, such as the very informative one by Ed
Grondine, have noted the small size of the US budget relative to the
size of the problem. In parallel, recent European press articles have
noted the scale of the US military budget, which is about to exceed the
sum of the military budgets of the next 15 nations. This led me to wonder
how the US Spaceguard budget compared with others. I have a suspicion
that the US budget is greater than the sum for the next 150 nations.
Perhaps the bigger budget problem lies outside the US."
--Nigel Holloway, The United Kingdom Atomic Energy
Authority, 13 February 2002


(1) BRINGING NEOs INTO FOCUS
    Astronomy & Geophysics

(2) UK ASTRONOMY FUNDING SQUEEZE
    BBC News Online, 12 February 2002

(3) TWO MAJOR SATELLITE BREAKUPS NEAR END OF 2001
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(4) WHEN LIFE WAS HELL
    DISCOVER Vol. 23 No. 3 (March 2002)

(5) EXPLODING STAR STRAFED EARTH
    Nature Science Update, 12 February 2002

(6) 2ND ANNOUNCEMENT ACM2002
    ACM2002 Organising Committee <acm2002@dlr.de>

(7) US SPACEGUARD BUDGET
    Nigel Holloway <nigel.holloway@ukaea.org.uk>

(8) WHO IS WHO WHERE?
    Andy Nimmo <andy-nimmo@ntlworld.com>

(9) AND FINALLY: CASTLES IN THE SEA
    The Guardian, 6 February 2002


=============
(1) BRINGING NEOs INTO FOCUS

>From Astronomy & Geophysics - The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society,
February 2002, Vol 43:1, pp.1.14/15

Duncan Steel and Mark Bailey report on the well-attended December 2001 G
Discussion Meeting whose subject was near-Earth objects.

The Geological Society rooms were brimming on 14 December 2001, not only
with Fellows but also numerous guests. The latter represented the British
Interplanetary Society, the Planetary Society and the mass media, plus the
European Space Agency and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.
Obviously something unusual was afoot.

The government and public support science because they anticipate that
something positive and useful will derive from such research. This may be a
novel invention or new knowledge; thus economic gains, enhanced quality of
life, and national prestige.

Science also delivers positives through double negatives. Forensic science
leads to a positive by helping reduce crime, while medical research produces
positives by alleviating disease: both double negatives. Studies of
near-Earth objects (NEOs) can do likewise.

By identifying the next potential NEO impact we can ameliorate its effects,
or maybe obviate it altogether. But lots of warning time is needed and that
is where astronomy comes in. We must scour the skies, catalogue all
Earth-approaching asteroids above a certain size and see whether one has our
number on it. We must do this soon. The dinosaurs could not see their doom
coming, but we can.

Multifarious aspects

The meeting began with Duncan Steel (Salford University) describing reasons
for investigating NEOs. Asteroids and comets are of interest to us in their
own right. Each represents a little world worthy of exploration.

Over the next decade space probes will visit a clutch of NEOs. If we are to
decipher the cratered surfaces of planets and moons, we must understand the
projectiles shaping them. Impacts on the Moon and Mars have delivered us
free samples -lunar and martian meteorites -and so may be involved in
panspermia. NEOs have been central in the Earth's evolution, both
geologically and biologically. To understand debris disks around distant
stars, what we see orbiting our own star must first be explained. Finally,
when humankind starts to colonize space, the best source of raw materials
will be NEOs, composed of metals, rock, organic chemicals and water. NEOs,
then, provide many opportunities for all UK astronomy and space science, the
general theme of the meeting.

Telescopic views

The first five papers addressed remote observations, each in a different
way. Alan Fitzsimmons (Queen's University Belfast) reviewed present UK
ground-based capabilities for NEO study. Although with the joining of ESO
the suite of UK telescopes will change, current instrumental assets could
make vital contributions to NEO monitoring. For example, at present the
sizes of NEOs found by us search teams can only be estimated crudely from
their brightnesses, but individual albedos and hence sizes could be
determined using UKIRT.

NEO search systems differ from conventional telescopes because the targets
traverse the sky quickly, typically at one degree per day. Rapid coverage of
wide areas to faint limiting magnitudes is needed, but long integration
times gain nothing. Peter Wheadey (Leicester University) described the
Widefield Automated Survey Programme (WASP). This comprises four
off-the-shelf camera lenses imaging a ten-degree field onto CCD detectors,
reaching magnitude 16 with 30-second exposures. The anticipated data rate is
huge, several terabytes per year; many small NEOs passing close by the Earth
should be found.

Telescopic study was one of several aspects of NEO research at the Open
University summarized by John Zarnecki. Others include investigations of
lunar crater morphologies rendering impactor directions (detailed in a
poster by David Wallis), a proposed fireball camera network in Western
Australia to identify meteorite-dropping events, and the ATLAS proposal. The
latter, involving several UK groups, aims to discover and explore NEOs using
combined ground- and spaced-based techniques, as oudined in a poster by
Paulo D' Arrigo (Astrium Ltd) and others. Zarnecki also described a
satellite proposal entitled SIMONE, involving researchers from QinetiQ; the
target is a primitive NEO (a carbonaceous asteroid).

Sarah Dunkin (RAL) took NEO searches off-planet. The BepiColombo orbiter,
arriving at Mercury in 2012, should carry a 20 cm aperture camera for an
asteroid search. Those bodies spending their lives mostly inside our orbit,
the Atens and the suspected apoheles, are difficult to spot. From Mercury we
can obtain a better survey of that NEO population.

Wyn Evans (Oxford University) also examined a space-based search system. The
GAIA mission, for launch in 2010, will conduct a solar system census,
mapping about a thousand comets and a million asteroids, plus a billion
galactic stars. Because GAIA can look near-sunward, it will also find
apoheles, plus the Earth Trojans which, if they exist, would be the most
accessible objects in space. On the other hand, GAIA cannot go very faint
and so will detect few asteroids smaller than 1 km in size.

Taking a closer look

>From far away, NEO data collection is limited. To know precisely what we are
dealing with we must get in close. Are NEOs like meteorites, or something
different? Are they mostly monoliths, or rubble piles? Are some asteroids
extinct or dormant comets, or all orphans from the main belt? To answer such
questions we must conduct a reconnaissance, sending spacecraft to a range of
NEOs.

Phil Palmer (Surrey University) described small satellite missions to NEOs,
each costing less than £15 m including launch. The benchmark system has a
120 kg wet weight, 20 kg payload, and solar thermal propulsion with
hydrazine expellant. Short-duration missions of 200-300 days were examined.
Potential targets are plentiful, because many NEOs are now known.

Apostolos Christou (Armagh Observatory) continued the same theme. He showed
there to be hundreds of NEOs with required delta-vees below those necessary
for Venus or Mars missions, some down to 0.2 km/sec. Flight times are as low
as 50 days, with about one launch opportunity per week. Lunar gravitational
assists would reduce the required thrusts, meaning lower propellant masses
and larger payloads. Several rendezvous {as opposed to fly-by) missions,
allowing extended close-up study, were identified with delta-vees down to
1.4 km/sec.

Past impacts on Earth can tell us much. Iain Gilmour (Open University)
discussed geochemical investigations of terrestrial impact sites and
described the European Science Foundation's IMPACT programme. This umbrella
involves ways in which our planet {and its inhabitants) has responded to
cataclysmic impacts; scientists from the biological, geological and other
disciplines have been involved, quite apart from astronomers. Activities
focus on specific workshops held about twice a year (pssri.open.ac.uk/ESFI).

Additional posters were presented by Catherine Dandy (QUB) and co-workers on
the colours of NEOs; Roger Dymock on UK amateur astronomers' observational
capabilities; Ivan Grey (Kent University) on laboratory impact experiments;
and Duncan Steel (Salford University) on the Anglo-Australian Near-Earth
Asteroid Survey.

Responding to the risk

How significant is the NEO impact hazard? How does it compare with other
low-probability, large-consequence risks that people (and hence governments)
take seriously? Here we are talking about meltdowns of nuclear power plants
like Chernobyl, extreme storms and tsunamis, phenomenal earthquakes and the
like.

Nigel Holloway (a member of Spaceguard UK), who has expertise in major risk
assessments, discussed these questions and showed that while there are
greater individual hazards (you are more likely to die in a car crash), NEO
impacts rank surprisingly high. The long-term averaged death rate from
impacts for the whole world is about 6000 per year, rather more than
jetliner crashes kill. This greatly exceeds the expected rates for nuclear
reactor failures, both in terms of individual death probabilities and also
deaths per event, yet we spend billions on reactor safety and essentially
nothing on identifying dangerous NEOs. Since global nuclear arsenals were
cut back, NEO impacts remain the only agent capable of killing billions in a
single catastrophe (apart from, say, a very unlikely nearby supernova).

Benny Peiser (Liverpool JMU) described the history of asteroid and comet
scares in the mass media. This is not a new phenomenon. In 1910 widespread
panic stemmed from warnings that the Earth would pass through Comet Halley's
tail, the gullible believing they would be poisoned. More recently impacts
have become a perennial media favourite, not all stories being solidly based
either in the information supplied to journalists, or the use made of it.

The final major contribution came from Colin Hicks (Director General,
British National Space Centre), who addressed the subject of government
policy and future plans for NEOs. He began by noting that "there is no doubt
whatsoever that NEOs are dangerous", and continued by detailing the recent
history of action by HM Government, including the Task Force report
published late in 2000 and developments thereafter. On the day preceding the
meeting a question was asked in the House of Commons regarding the
implementation of the NEO Task Force recommendations, the reply
being that news of the next steps would be made public shortly. The UK has,
however, come forward to lead a United Nations group looking at
international co-ordination of NEO studies, and in the same respect is
playing a leading role in putting this subject on the agenda within the
OECD's Global Science Forum.

Concluding remarks then followed from Mark Bailey (Armagh Observatory),
before the meeting adjourned so as to join the monthly Astronomy and
Geophysics Meeting at the Scientific Societies' Lecture Theatre in Savile
Row.

International speakers

To conclude the day's discussions on NEOs we were privileged to host two
international speakers who gave their talks at the main meeting.

Hans Haubold {UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, Vienna) spoke on United
Nations Initiatives on NEOs, indicating that this subject has engaged the UN
for some years. There was a specific NEO conference at the UN Headquarters
in New York in 1995; the UNISPACE III conference in 1999 considered the NEO
problem; and in March 2001 the UN co-sponsored a workshop in Seville on the
impact hazard. In the future Haubold looked forward to continued rapid
developments, especially with the UK having agreed to take a leading role.

Marcello Coradini {Coordinator of Solar System Missions, European Space
Agency) discussed ESA's contribution to the understanding of NEOs and their
related problems. As noted at the start of this report, NEOs catch the
headlines largely because of the impact hazard, but they also represent
potential benefits, plus they deserve scientific study in their own right.
ESA is involved centrally in this work, ranging from the NEO camera planned
for BepiColombo and the potential of GAIA for surveying asteroids and
comets, through to the Rosetta probe to Comet Wirtanen, due for launch in
2003. NEOs are an international problem; ESA is taking a pan-European
approach to addressing what needs to be done.

Duncan Steel, Joule Physics Laboratory, University of Salford; Mark Bailey,
Directol; Armagh observatory, College Hill, Armagh.

Copyright 2002, Royal Astronomical Society. The permission by the editor of
A&G to post this report on CCNet is kindly acknowledged.

================
(2) UK ASTRONOMY FUNDING SQUEEZE

>From the BBC News Online, 12 February 2002
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1816000/1816283.stm

By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse

British astronomers are facing a cash squeeze with many of them being unable
to carry out front-line research.

This is the warning from the recently established Astronomy Grant Panel
(AGP), the body that awards money for research projects on behalf of the
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PParc).

Just over half of research proposals that were rated as world-class received
money, something that the AGP says is a matter for "grave concern".

Some astronomers are pressing PParc to find more money in the future. Others
are saying that perhaps Britain has too many astronomers, and that some of
them should raise money from non-governmental sources.

In the recent round of research grant allocations 94 projects were
considered worthy of being supported, but the money available meant that
only about half were funded.

"With deep regret and disappointment, we were unable to fund many scientific
projects," said the AGP.

Life-blood

In recent years there has been a decline in the number of astronomy projects
that PParc has been able to support.

Professor Mike Bode of Liverpool John Moores University, who is chairman of
the AGP, told BBC News Online: "We really need a large injection of cash
into the grant line. Basically PParc needs an uplift."

According to Professor Bode, there are two reasons why British astronomers
find themselves short of cash.

Even though the amount of research money has kept pace with inflation, there
has been a big increase in demand for research money, and the cost of each
project has increased as well.

Scientists are concerned because they see such research grants as the
"life-blood" of academic research.

However, some observers of Britain's scientific scene say that the cash
problem is a self-inflicted one.

"Behind this problem is the fact that fewer students want to do physics at
university," said one insider.

"This has resulted in universities using the popular appeal of astronomy to
entice students on to courses."

Swelling ranks

The result of this approach has been a 40% increase in the number of
full-time astronomers in the UK over the past five years. No other area of
science has seen such an increase in numbers.

Professor Bode said: "A lot of these new astronomers are as a result of the
big research groups, such as London, Cambridge and Oxford, expanding.

"But a lot of them are from the smaller universities, which previously had
only a small physics department, adding an astronomer to their ranks so they
can say to prospective students that they do astronomy."

One astronomer was privately worried about this trend: "Some of the courses
offered by these universities are in my view underhand.

"They have little academic value. We'll be having degree courses in
astronomy and gastronomy next!

"But it does mean that everyone wants a share of the nation's astronomy
research money and, frankly, there is not enough to go around," he added.

What happens next for British astronomers is uncertain but expecting a big
increase in research money may be a forlorn hope.

Some have suggested that a sea-change is occurring in the way astronomy is
funded.

"If astronomy is so popular that it attracts students then why should it not
attract private funding or funding from other areas of academia?" said one
astronomer.

"It's curious that after years of keeping themselves to themselves
astronomers have suddenly discovered schools and education and the money in
that."

Copyright 2002, BBC

==============
(3) TWO MAJOR SATELLITE BREAKUPS NEAR END OF 2001

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

[From January 2002 issue of ORBITAL DEBRIS QUARTERLY NEW, NASA JSC]

Two Major Satellite Breakups Near End of 2001

Two major satellite breakups, the worst in 20 months, occurred just four
weeks apart in the fourth quarter of 2001, both producing in excess of 300
large fragments. Two other lesser breakup events brought the total number of
satellite fragmentations to nine for the year, a
rate not matched since 1998.

On 21 November a Russian satellite, Cosmos 2367 (International Designator
1999-072A, US Sat. No. 26040), experienced a significant fragmentation while
in an orbit just 30 km above the International Space Station (ISS), i.e.,
411 km mean altitude for Cosmos 2367 and 382 km for ISS. Approximately 200
debris were detected by normal US Space Surveillance Network (SSN)
operations, while special sensor observations several days after the event
indicated that another 100 or more smaller debris were also in orbit. These
debris were concentrated in the orbital regime of 200-500 km, but some were
thrown into orbits with apogees above 1000 km.

Approximately 40% of the debris were immediately thrown into orbits which
crossed the orbit of ISS. Immediately upon notification of the breakup, the
Orbital Debris Program Office undertook an effort to characterize the
probable debris cloud and to assess the risks posed by it not only to the
ISS but also to the imminent STS-108 mission. Naval Space Command,
headquartered in Dahlgren, Virginia, spearheaded the effort to identify the
individual debris and to develop initial
orbital parameters for each. Throughout Thanksgiving and the following
weekend, NASA and Naval Space Command personnel worked to gain a better
insight into the extent of the newly created debris cloud.

The STS-108 mission, then planned for launch on 29 November, raised new
safety issues. The Space Shuttle is not as well protected from small debris
impacts as ISS. Specific concerns were STS-108 overall mission risks, EVA
risks, risks associated with boosting ISS during the mission, and risks
associated with special Space Shuttle attitudes planned during independent
flight. Fortunately, these new risks were assessed to be within NASA
guidelines.

Cosmos 2367 was the latest in the Cosmos 699 series of 3-metric-ton
spacecraft which began in 1974. To date 20 of these spacecraft have
undergone one or more fragmentation episodes with the number of debris
generated usually on the order of 100 or more. Most of the events have
occurred at relatively low altitudes, resulting in relatively rapid decay of
the debris. In the case of Cosmos 2367 some of the debris should remain in
orbit for many months.

About three weeks after the Cosmos 2367 breakup, the 12-year-old Molniya
3-35 spacecraft (International Designator 1989-043A, US Sat. No. 20052)
fragmented during catastrophic orbital decay on 14 December while passing
over the Southern Hemisphere. About two dozen pieces were detected with most
reentering immediately. Some debris appear to have remained in orbit for a
few more revolutions before falling back to Earth.

On 19 December the eighth breakup of the year resulted in a severe
fragmentation of an Indian PSLV fourth stage (2001-049D, US Sat. No. 26960),
which had been in orbit for only two months. Within two days of the event
approximately 200 debris with orbits stretching from 200 to 1100 km had been
identified. By 27 December the number of tracked debris surpassed 300. The
event marked the first breakup of an Indian satellite.

This was the sixth flight of the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) which
had successfully inserted the main payload, the Indian TES (Technology
Experiment Satellite) spacecraft, into a sun-synchronous orbit along with a
small German satellite called BIRD. A second piggyback satellite from
Belgium, PROBA, was placed into a slightly elliptical orbit after the
deployment of TES and BIRD. The 900 kg stage was in an orbit of 550 km by
675 km with an inclination of
97.9 deg at the time of the event.

The cause of the PSLV breakup is under investigation. A potential energy
source for the fragmentation may be residual hypergolic propellants. The
release of all residual propellants and compressed fluids at the end of
launch vehicle stage and spacecraft operations is highly recommended by US
Government agencies as well as many space-faring nations around the world.
To date no satellite which has been successfully passivated in this manner
is known to have suffered a breakup.

The final fragmentation of the year appears to have occurred late on 24
December when a 10-year-old Ariane 4 orbital stage generated several pieces
of debris. The stage (1991-075B, US Sat. No. 21766) had placed the Intelsat
601 spacecraft into a geosynchronous transfer orbit on 29 October 1991. The
orbit of the stage at the time of the event was 230 km by 28,505 km with an
inclination of 7.2 deg. The extent of the fragmentation was still being
evaluated at the close of 2001.

============
(4) WHEN LIFE WAS HELL

>From DISCOVER Vol. 23 No. 3 (March 2002)
http://www.discover.com/mar_02/breakhell.html

by Josie Glausiusz

The infant Earth was a harsh place for life to begin. The oceans were
covered with ice, the climate was as forbidding as modern Antarctica. And
every few tens of millions of years, giant asteroids barreled into the
planet, boiling away the oceans and veiling the globe with clouds of
vaporized rock. Each impact would have sterilized the surface, yet evidence
shows life survived the bombardment. Geophysicist Norman Sleep of Stanford
University theorizes that early organisms endured in an unusual
sanctuary-deep underground or out in space-and repopulated the surface when
conditions improved.

Studies of lunar craters indicate Earth was struck by 15 to 20 huge
asteroids, each about 150 miles wide, between 4.5 billion and 3.8 billion
years ago, when the first solid evidence of life appears. But Sleep's
research reveals that chemical conditions below Earth's surface were
suitable for heat-loving microbes that derive energy from hydrogen and
methane. Called thermophiles, they still thrive in hot springs and ocean
vents. During the heavy bombardment, thermophiles could have holed up a half
mile underground, where temperatures hover around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hardy microbes might also have been able to survive being blasted into space
and returning millennia later.

Thermophiles are primitive organisms that lie at the roots of two of the
three major branches of life, Bacteria and Archaea. That primacy suggests to
Sleep that these hardy hangers-on gave rise to all the other living things
that later overtook Earth. The diverse set of genes they carry implies that
the thermophiles have evolved considerably from simpler life-forms that came
before them. Sleep thinks life probably began almost as soon as Earth
formed, enduring repeated crises while brutal conditions kept weeding out
the weaklings. "The last common ancestor of present life is an incredibly
complicated organism already; it looks like a survivor," he says.

© Copyright 2002 The Walt Disney Company. Back to Homepage.

==============
(5) EXPLODING STAR STRAFED EARTH

>From Nature Science Update, 12 February 2002
http://www.nature.com/nsu/020211/020211-2.html

A supernova may have caused mass extinction two million years ago.

12 February 2002
PHILIP BALL

The explosion of a dying star could have ended much of marine life on Earth
two million years ago. The supernova could have strafed the Earth's
atmosphere with cosmic rays, severely damaging the ozone layer and exposing
living organisms to high levels of the Sun's hazardous ultraviolet rays, US
researchers propose1.

This idea dates back to the 1950s, but now Narciso Benítez of Johns Hopkins
University in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues have come up with the
first plausible evidence. Their proposal remains tentative, but is
consistent with what is known about the likelihood of nearby stellar
explosions and the telltale signatures of these events on our planet.

Supernovae are the death throes of large stars. When such stars run out of
fuel for nuclear fission, they collapse under their own gravity, heat up
rapidly and explode, releasing huge amounts of matter and energy.
Fortunately for us, such outbursts are rare: the most recent one in our own
galaxy was spotted in 1604, and was too far away to pose any risk. Several
supernovae have been observed more recently in other galaxies.

One-fifth of all supernovae occur in large groups of relatively young stars
that are thought to have coalesced from the same gas cloud. One such cluster
in our own galaxy is the Scorpius-Centaurus association, which comprises
three subgroups of stars.

Two million years ago many marine creatures died off suddenly all over the
planet. No one knows why.
 
Each subgroup would have generated supernovae at different times: about 10,
7 and 2 million years ago, say Benítez' group. The most recent episode could
have included a supernova as little as 130 light years from Earth. This is
not close enough to fry our planet. But it would have left a mark that the
researchers think has already been found.

Three years ago, scientists in Germany reported high concentrations of
iron-60 in two layers of ocean rock, dated at about 0-3 and 4-6 million
years old2. Iron-60 is a rare form produced on Earth by nuclear reactions
involving cosmic rays, such as those that supernovae generate.

Putting these arguments together, Benítez' team proposes that the most
recently formed iron-60 layer could be the result of a nearby supernova in
the Scorpius-Centaurus association around two million years ago. The
supernova could have left another signature - in the fossil record.

Two million years ago, many marine creatures, such as bivalve molluscs, died
out suddenly all over the planet. As mass extinctions go, this was a mild
one. But no one knows what caused it.

Benítez and his colleagues think that a nearby supernova at this time could
have showered the Earth with cosmic rays. These charged subatomic particles
collide with atoms in the air, initiating chemical reactions. Copious cosmic
rays are thought to produce nitrogen monoxide, which can destroy ozone
molecules.

The researchers calculate that a supernova 130 light years away could have
thinned the ozone layer by up to 60 per cent, exposing marine organisms to
ultraviolet rays from the Sun. This could have killed off plankton, and
thence the molluscs that live off them.

To support this hypothesis, astronomers now need to find the smoking gun:
remnants of ancient supernovae in nearby star clusters.
 
References
Benítez, N., Maíz-Apellániz, J. & Canelles, M. Evidence for nearby supernova
explosions. Physical Review Letters, 83, 081101, (2002).
Knie, K. et al., Indication for supernova produced 60Fe activity on Earth.
Physical Review Letters, 83, 18 - 21, (1999).
 
© Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2002
 
=============
(6) 2ND ANNOUNCEMENT ACM2002

>From the ACM2002 Organising Committee <acm2002@dlr.de>

Dear colleagues and friends of Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors!

Please consult the following URL for the latest information on the
conference ACM2002 to be held in Berlin July 29 - Aug. 2:

http://www.dlr.de/ACM2002/

This constitutes the 2nd Announcement for ACM2002. Our new web pages contain
information on the scientific program, registration, abstracts, the
conference location, etc. We have chosen to use electronic means only for
all communications and therefore ask you to support us by spreading
information on ACM2002 as widely as possible to those colleagues who may be
interested.

In particular we would like to draw your attention to the link from our
webpage to the call from the editors for contributions for the COMET II
book.

We look forward to seeing you in Berlin!

The Local Organising Committee,
   ACM2002@dlr.de

============================
* LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR *
============================

(7) US SPACEGUARD BUDGET

>From Nigel Holloway <nigel.holloway@ukaea.org.uk>

Dear Benny,

Recent CCNet articles, such as the very informative one by Ed Grondine, have
noted the small size of the US budget relative to the size of the problem.
In parallel, recent European press articles have noted the scale of the US
military budget, which is about to exceed the sum of the military budgets of
the next 15 nations. This led me to wonder how the US Spaceguard budget
compared with others. I have a suspicion that the US budget is greater than
the sum for the next 150 nations. Perhaps the bigger budget problem lies
outside the US.

NJH

=============
(8) WHO IS WHO WHERE?

>From Andy Nimmo <andy-nimmo@ntlworld.com>

Who is Who Where? - the list begins to grow...

Dear Dr Peiser,

Further to my e-mail published in CCN on 30th January, in which I followed
up Dr Duncan Steel's suggestion to draw up a list of political leaders world
wide, I have now posted the following on our SDC web sites:

Hi Everyone,

Just a note to say I've now put up the revised political list in the
Campaigns folder in our Files section. We now have e-mail addresses and/or
web sites relating to presidents, prime ministers, and/or science ministers
in 45 countries on the list. Any advance? Do YOU know somebody we haven't
yet got on the list? If so, please e-mail me now and I'll add them to next
week's update.

I particularly wish to thank Dr Michael Martin-Smith of Space Age Associates
who has done most of the research for this list so far. Well done Michael -
an excellent job!

Best wishes, Andy. ( andy-nimmo@ntlworld.com )

The sites on which to find the list are at:
http://www.smartgroups.com/groups/sdcv
and
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SpaceDevelopmentCouncil

As I said before, all members of CCNet should feel free to use this facility
as and when you feel it to be necessary. Also, if any of YOU know an address
to add to the list, do please get in touch and I'll add it in.

Best wishes, Andy Nimmo (SDC Chairman)

============
(9) AND FINALLY: CASTLES IN THE SEA

>From The Guardian, 6 February 2002
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4350493,00.html

Is Graham Hancock bonkers? His theories on the origins of civilisation have
been dismissed by archaeologists as rubbish. But as he tells Stephen Moss, a
discovery off the coast of India may prove him right

Stephen Moss

Graham Hancock doesn't look mad as he sprawls in an armchair in his small,
neat house in Kennington, south London. But his critics would say
appearances deceive: he is either a lunatic, a charlatan, or both. Hancock
has spent the past 10 years writing books and producing TV programmes which
argue that everything we are told about ancient history is wrong:
civilisation didn't start in Sumeria and Egypt around 3,500 BC; it began
10,000 years before in great cities which subsequently suffered a cataclysm.

He first expounded the thesis in 1995 in Fingerprints of the Gods (the echo
of Erich Von Daniken's pro-alien Chariots of the Gods is unfortunate). It
was restated in Heaven's Mirror, a glossy book produced to coincide with a
Channel 4 series in 1998. His arguments were treated with derision. In 1999
the BBC's Horizon did a demolition job that was applauded by archaeologists
and assorted Hancock-haters. But, undeterred, he is back with another
Channel 4 series and a vast tablet of a book, called Underworld, that
attempts to provide the evidence for his lost civilisation.

So, Graham, I hear you are bonkers. "It seems that people talk to me with a
preconception about what I am," he says, "and then whatever I say or do
doesn't make any difference.There are several preconceptions. One is that
I'm a lunatic-fringe train-spotter with an absurd enthusiasm for something
ridiculous in the past. The other is that I'm a rather sinister fellow who
is misleading the public."

The 51-year-old former journalist pleads not guilty on both counts. "I'm not
an academic; I'm not an archaeologist. I'm a writer, communicating ideas to
the public. There is a model of how the past is and a lot of academic
archaeology is about refining the model. It's not about changing the model
radically. I'm not aware of any current which is about radically changing
the model. It's just me, really."

Hancock's first "mystery" book - a quest for the lost Ark of the Covenant -
was The Sign and the Seal in 1992, and he seems to see himself as an Indiana
Jones figure, kicking against the constraints of academia, thinking the
unthinkable. He doesn't believe in Von Daniken's intergalactic missionaries,
but chides me for making fun of them. "It's odd that invoking the
possibility of alien influences should itself be a sign of madness," he
says. "I don't see the need for it to explain history on earth, but I can't
see any reason why the universe shouldn't be full of life."

Whereas archaeologists start with objects, Hancock starts with ideas - in
this case, the idea of the flood. "We have 600 flood myths around the
world," he says. "Archaeologists tell us these are meaningless; all they
represent are psychological archetypes - memories of birth, in the case of
the flood - or exaggerations of local river floods. I thought, OK, we can
say that, but suppose they are true - that they are our memory of what
happened at the end of the Ice Age?

"The other thing that almost always goes with these myths is the notion of
an antediluvian civilisation - something which existed before the flood and
was destroyed by it. I couldn't see any good reason why these universal
myths shouldn't be a memory of that event, yet I found that this idea hadn't
been explored."

Hancock has moved his argument on in Underworld by focusing on what he
claims are former coastal settlements in India, south-east Asia and the
Mediterranean, submerged when sea levels rose dramatically at the end of the
Ice Age, between 17,000 and 7,000 years ago. These, he says, were the sites
of his lost civilisation. He learned to dive to research the book and has
spent much of the past five years exploring the submerged "ruins" (Hancock's
detractors argue that they are more likely to be natural features).

"We cannot claim to know the entire human story when an area of 10m square
miles - an area the size of South America and the US - was flooded at the
end of the Ice Age," he says. "It's important to understand how different
the world was during the Ice Age - enormous ice caps across northern Europe,
extremely dry and cold and inhospitable in the interior. The places where
people would naturally go to live through an episode like that would be the
coast. A classic example is the Persian Gulf, which was completely dry until
12,000 years ago. It was a wonderful refuge from the Ice Age world."

Hancock complains that marine archaeology has been obsessed by shipwrecks
rather than settlements. "Archaeologists argue that there is nothing to find
underwater except more of the same," he says. I can't help feeling that
their scepticism is justified: it surely isn't feasible that these ancient
civilisations existed solely on the coast. Hancock's reply, as to so much
else, is why not? "I understand the logic which says they should have left
traces inland," he says, "but you can't deduce from that that it isn't worth
looking underwater. I'm somebody who explores extraordinary possibilities,
not ordinary ones."

Last month, Hancock's possibility became a little more feasible when India's
National Institute of Ocean Technology announced that it had discovered
ruins of an ancient city 25 miles off the coast of Gujarat. "Now that we
have a clear probability of large cities at the bottom of the Gulf of Cambay
and other structures in south-east India that are 9,000 to 10,000 years old,
the logic goes away," he says. "Logic, which has dissuaded academics from
pursuing marine archaeology, could be confounded by fact."

Hancock is not crowing just yet, because it has not so far been possible for
divers to investigate the Cambay site. But even his adversaries now accept
that if this is a 7,000-year-old city (the area was flooded at least 7,000
years ago), they will have to tear up their textbooks. "If the case is made,
then it means that the foundations are out of the bottom of archaeology,"
says Hancock, with only the hint of a smile. "Goodbye Sumeria, goodbye the
Fertile Crescent, hello Cambay."

Underworld is a more reasoned book than his earlier investigations. It still
has the Indiana Jones sense of personal quest, but is better sourced and
more cautious. "I said things in the early 90s that I wouldn't say now," he
admits. "They were done with passion, but they were also done hastily and
were wrong, dead wrong. I can see that now."

Hancock has modified his concept of a global civilisation that sank without
trace and now propounds the idea of a number of maritime cultures, many of
them interlinked, which succumbed to inundation as the ice caps melted. He
has introduced a degree of gradualism into his hypothesis - not that it is
likely to do him much good with the academy. Or with literary editors, for
that matter: his books are routinely bracketed with wacky mind/body/spirit
titles - filed not under history, but hysteria.

Maybe that's the place for them, but Hancock doesn't strike me as a wacko,
or as someone eager to grow rich on the gullibility of the public. He's an
autodidact who hit on a notion a decade ago and has spent his time since
looking for evidence to support it. This approach is inherently
anti-academic - the danger is that you will bend the evidence to fit the
thesis - but those unexplained ruins on the floor of the Gulf of Cambay just
might prove that, for once, the lunatic was right all along.

· Graham Hancock's new series, Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, begins on
Channel 4 on Monday. Underworld is published by Michael Joseph on February
14 (£18.99).

Copyright 2002, The Guardian

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*

CCNet CLIMATE SCARES & CLIMATE CHANGE - 13 February 2002
--------------------------------------------------------


"After examining 22 years of satellite measurements, NASA
researchers find that more sunlight entered the tropics and more heat
escaped to space in the 1990s than in the 1980s. Their findings
indicate less cloud cover blocked incoming radiation and trapped outgoing
heat. "Since clouds were thought to be the weakest link in predicting future
climate change from greenhouse gases, these new results are unsettling,"
said Dr. Bruce Wielicki of NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton,
Va. Wielicki is the lead author of the first of two papers about this
research appearing in the Feb. 1, issue of "Science." "It suggests that
current climate models may, in fact, be more uncertain than we had thought,"
Wielicki added. "Climate change might be either larger or smaller
than the current range of predictions." 
--Chris Link, NASA Langley Research Center


"The fact that the authors found "the models tend to underestimate
persistence while overestimating trends" implies, in their words,
"that the models exaggerate the expected global warming of the
atmosphere," and that it therefore "cannot be excluded that the
global warming in the next 100 yr will be less pronounced than predicted by
the models," which is a kinder way of saying that the models are probably
way off-base."
--CO2 Science Magazine, 13 February 2002


(1) CLIMATE MODELS IN DEEP TROUBLE: FEWER CLOUDS FOUND IN TROPICS
    Andrew Yee [mailto: ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca ]

(2) 'DEEP CONVECTION' VINDICATED
    John-Daly.com, 10 February 2002

(3) A NEW TEST FOR CLIMATE MODELS
    CO2 Science Magazine, 13 February 2002

(4) THE CASE FOR SOLAR FORCING OF CLIMATE
    CO2 Science Magazine, 13 February 2002

(5) EARTH'S "THERMOSOLARSTAT"
    CO2 Science Magazine, 13 February 2002

(6) ANTARCTIC ICE: IS IT GROWING OR SHRINKING?
    CO2 Science Magazine, 13 February 2002

===============
(1) CLIMATE MODELS IN DEEP TROUBLE: FEWER CLOUDS FOUND IN TROPICS

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

Chris Rink
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton VA
(757) 864-6786, c.p.rink@larc.nasa.gov

Julia Cole
NASA Langley Research Center
(757) 864-4052

Goddard Institute for Space Studies
(212) 678-5500

For Release: January 31, 2002

RELEASE NO. 02-009

FEWER CLOUDS FOUND IN TROPICS

NASA scientists discover new evidence of climate change

After examining 22 years of satellite measurements, NASA researchers find
that more sunlight entered the tropics and more heat escaped to space in the
1990s than in the 1980s. Their findings indicate less cloud cover blocked
incoming radiation and trapped outgoing heat.

"Since clouds were thought to be the weakest link in predicting future
climate change from greenhouse gases, these new results are unsettling,"
said Dr. Bruce Wielicki of NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
Wielicki is the lead author of the first of two papers about this
research appearing in the Feb. 1, issue of "Science."

"It suggests that current climate models may, in fact, be more uncertain
than we had thought," Wielicki added. "Climate change might be either larger
or smaller than the current range of predictions."

The observations capture changes in the radiation budget -- the balance
between Earth's incoming and outgoing energy -- that controls the planet's
temperature and climate.

The previously unknown changes in the radiation budget are two to four times
larger than scientists had believed possible. The reason why and the degree
to which it changed are surprising scientists and create a powerful new test
for climate models.

Inspired by this puzzle, a research group at NASA Goddard Institute for
Space Studies (GISS) developed a new method of comparing the satellite
observed changes to other meteorological data.

"The new method is a conceptual breakthrough in how we analyze data," said
Anthony Del Genio, a scientist at GISS and co-author of the companion paper.


"What it shows is remarkable," said Wielicki. "The rising and descending
motions of air that cover the entire tropics, known as the Hadley and Walker
circulation cells, appear to increase in strength from the 1980s to the
1990s. This suggests that the tropical heat engine increased its speed."

The faster circulation dried out the water vapor that is needed for cloud
formation in the upper regions of the lower atmosphere over  the most
northern and southern tropical areas. Less cloudiness formed allowing more
sunlight to enter and more heat to leave the tropics.

In response, several of the world's top climate modeling research groups
agreed to take on the challenge of reproducing the tropical cloud changes.
But the climate models failed the test, predicting smaller than observed
variability by factors of two to four.

"It's as if the heat engine in the tropics has become less efficient using
more fuel in the 90s than in the 80s," said Wielicki. "We tracked the
changes to a decrease in tropical cloudiness that allowed more sunlight to
reach the Earth's surface. But what we want to know is why
the clouds would change."

The results also indicate the tropics are much more variable and dynamic
than previously thought.

"The question is, if this fluctuation is due to global climate change or to
natural variability," said Del Genio. "We think this is a natural
fluctuation, but there is no way to tell yet."

While the current 22-year radiation budget record -- the longest and most
accurate ever compiled -- is still too short to pinpoint a cause, the newly
discovered change acts as a standard by which to measure future improvements
in cloud modeling.

"A value of this research is it provides a documented change in climate and
a target for climate models to simulate," said Del Genio.

[NOTE: Images and a movie supporting this release are available at
http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/ceres/press_release/release_0201.html]

===========
(2) 'DEEP CONVECTION' VINDICATED

>From John-Daly.com, 10 February 2002

Two new papers in the February 1st edition of Science (Wielicki et al.
p.841,  and Chen et al., p.838) report that tropical cloudiness decreased
during the 1990s, and the NASA authors are at a loss to know why. [This NASA
media release (see below) gives a summary]

Orthodox greenhouse industry theory says - CO2 warms the oceans, which
causes more evaporation, which puts more water vapour (the dominant
greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere, and more clouds. The extra vapour warms
the ocean further, causing even more warming, more evaporation, more clouds,
and so on until the final warming becomes up to 6 times larger than the
initial CO2 warming which triggered it. A neat and simple formula for
Armageddon, based on an unproved `positive feedback' from CO2. In that way,
the models can make a hot greenhouse mountain out of what is really just a
lukewarm CO2 molehill.

But nature has thrown all that in the air. Tropical cloudiness has been
decreasing as measured by infra-red detectors mounted on satellites. Since
the outgoing radiation from the earth must equal what comes in from the sun
(Thermal Equilibrium), any increase in outgoing infra-red radiation must
come at the expense of decreased visible light radiation, namely the
reflected light from cloud tops. In other words, there are less cirrus
clouds especially, and by inference less water vapour in the tropical
atmosphere.

Hugh W. Ellsaesser, an atmospheric scientist with a distinguished career
(and now a global warming skeptic), predicted this very outcome in 1984
(Atmos. Env. 18, 431-434, 1984) by pointing out that CO2 warming would
intensify `deep tropical convection', the huge thunderheads that so
characterise the tropics. The result would be that while the small updraft
zone would increase its moisture, the increased convective activity would
dry out the air in the much larger subsidence zone, making for less
cloudiness, and - wait for it - less water vapour in the subsidence zone.
This drastically weakens the greenhouse effect there.  Ellsaesser saw this
process as effectively cancelling out the slight warming effect of CO2. He
based his claim, not on theory or modelling, but on the measured effect of
the big 1982-83 El Niño which intensified deep tropical convection and made
the subsidence zones drier.

Ironically, soon after Ellsaesser's paper was published, one of these latest
paper's co-authors, Anthony Del Genio, claimed Ellsaesser was wrong [Nature,
351, 382-385, 1991]. Del Genio arrived at this conclusion by running
Ellsaesser's scenario on a climate model, finding that the model could not
reproduce the `deep convection' drying effect reported by Ellsaesser. In
keeping with the `models are reality' mindset, Del Genio promptly dismissed
Ellsaesser's claims.

Now, Del Genio has co-authored a study which completely vindicates
Ellsaesser. Even the title of this latest study, "Evidence for Strengthening
of the Tropical General Circulation in the 1990s", accurately describes the
very process which Ellsaesser first outlined. According to Del Genio in the
paper "Equatorial convective regions have intensified in upward motion and
moistened, while both the equatorial and subtropical subsidence regions have
become drier and less cloudy."  - exactly as stated by Ellsaesser back in
1984. It prompted the co-author of the companion paper, Bruce Wielicki, to
comment - "Since clouds were thought to be the weakest link in predicting
future climate change from greenhouse gases, these new results are
unsettling. It suggests that current climate models may, in fact, be more
uncertain than we had thought."

I hate to say we told you so, but we told you so. The `Deep Convection'
mechanism was perfectly sound at the time Ellsaeser described them. It's
taken all that time to vindicate them, and by the very scientist who led the
original scientific attack on Ellsaesser. These latest findings also
vindicate Richard Lindzen's `Iris Effect' which postulates a similar
mechanism involving cirrus cloud formation.

============
(3) A NEW TEST FOR CLIMATE MODELS

>From CO2 Science Magazine, 13 February 2002
http://www.co2science.org/journal/2002/v5n7c1.htm

Reference
Bunde, A., Havlin, S., Koscielny-Bunde, E. and Schellnhuber, H.-J. 2001.
Long term persistence in the atmosphere: global laws and tests of climate
models. Physica A 302: 255-267.

What was done
Using newly-developed advanced methods from statistical physics, i.e.,
wavelet techniques and detrended fluctuation analysis - which the authors
say "are able to distinguish between trends and persistence" - they compare
the output of several atmosphere-ocean (AO) general circulation models
(GCMs) against real-world characteristics of these latter two phenomena,
i.e., climatic trends and persistence.

What was learned
Based on their earlier work in this area, the authors determined that "a
universal long range power law correlation may exist which governs
atmospheric variability at all spatiotemporal scales." In their current
paper, this conclusion was vindicated using real-world temperature data from
a number of places around the world, enabling them to conclude that "the
power law behavior can serve as an ideal test for climate models." When
several prominent AOGCMs were given this test, however, they displayed "wide
performance differences and actually fail[ed] to reproduce the universal
power law behavior of the persistence."

What it means
The fact that the authors found "the models tend to underestimate
persistence while overestimating trends" implies, in their words, "that the
models exaggerate the expected global warming of the atmosphere," and that
it therefore "cannot be excluded that the global warming in the next 100 yr
will be less pronounced than predicted by the models," which is a kinder way
of saying that the models are probably way off-base.
 
Copyright © 2002. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 

==============
(4) THE CASE FOR SOLAR FORCING OF CLIMATE

>From CO2 Science Magazine, 13 February 2002
http://www.co2science.org/journal/2002/v5n7c2.htm

Reference
Bjorck, S., Muscheler, R., Kromer, B., Andresen, C.S., Heinemeier, J.,
Johnsen, S.J., Conley, D., Koc, N., Spurk, M. and Veski, S. 2001.
High-resolution analyses of an early Holocene climate event may imply
decreased solar forcing as an important climate trigger.  Geology 29:
1107-1110.

What was done
The authors assembled a wide range of lacustrine, tree-ring, ice-core and
marine records that reveal a Northern Hemispheric - and possibly global -
cooling event of less than 200 years duration with a 50-year cooling-peak
centered at approximately 10,300 years BP. They then searched for signs of
various forcing factors that might have been the cause of this dramatic
climatic excursion.

What was learned
The onset of the cooling event broadly coincided with rising 10Be fluxes,
which are indicative of either decreased solar or geomagnetic forcing; and
since the authors note that "no large magnetic field variation that could
have caused this event has been found," they postulate that "the 10Be
maximum was caused by distinctly reduced solar forcing."  They also note
that the onset of the Younger Dryas is coeval with a rise in 10Be flux, as
is the Preboreal climatic oscillation.

What it means
Although the case for reduced solar irradiance being the cause of the
cooling event at 10,300 years BP is by no means iron-clad, the several
temporal correspondences between fluctuations in 10Be flux and shifts in
hemispheric/global climate recorded in the geologic record of the Holocene
is an important empirical push in that direction.  Just a couple more nudges
and we should arrive at the seemingly inevitable conclusion that earth's
climate on sub-Milankovitch timescales is tightly coupled to variable solar
activity.
 
Copyright © 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


============
(5) EARTH'S "THERMOSOLARSTAT"

>From CO2 Science Magazine, 13 February 2002
http://www.co2science.org/edit/v5_edit/v5n7edit.htm

Earth's "ThermoSolarstat":
Does It Protect Coral Reefs During Periods of High Temperature and Solar
Radiation?

Many students of the subject have suggested that the combination of high
temperature and intense solar radiation is a sure-fire recipe for deadly
bleaching in corals (Brown, 1997).  Although light is an absolute
requirement for the growth and survival of the symbiotic dinoflagellate
algae or zooxanthellae that inhabit their coral hosts, Hoegh-Guldberg (1999)
has rightly noted that light "becomes a liability under conditions of higher
than normal temperatures."

Since most people are not expecting the luminosity of the sun to radically
intensify any time soon, those who love to worry about things environmental
have consequently zeroed in on CO2-induced global warming as their favorite
major threat to coral reefs ... and to everything else of real or imagined
value.  In fact, the hype surrounding the subject has grown so intense that
Buddemeier (2001) has actually declared - and in a scientific article, no
less - that because of anticipated CO2-induced increases in future sea
surface temperatures, "coral reefs are doomed" and that their total demise
will be essentially complete "probably within the next few decades."

Although a host of less-esoteric natural and anthropogenic disturbances
could well cause corals to experience a dramatic decline in vitality in
future decades - if not in a few years (see Coral Reefs in our Subject
Index) - we think that theories linking their predicted demise to the upward
trend in the air's CO2 content will never be vindicated.  Why?  Because the
earth appears to possess what we have chosen to call a "ThermoSolarstat,"
i.e., an amazingly effective meteorological mechanism that jumps into
operation to suppress the intensity of solar radiation to which corals are
exposed when dangerously-high water temperatures are approached, and which
thus also tends to suppress increases in water temperature that are prompted
by increases in the intensity of any thermal forcing factor, such as the
currently-popular CO2-augmented greenhouse effect.

How does the mechanism - which is composed of at least two major components
- work?  According to Hoegh-Guldberg (1999), 29.2°C is the threshold water
temperature above which significant bleaching can be expected to occur in
many tropical corals. However, as Sud et al. (1999) have demonstrated in
elucidating the functioning of the first of the ThermoSolarstat's two
primary components (based on data obtained from the Tropical Ocean Global
Atmosphere Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment), deep atmospheric
convection is typically initiated whenever sea surface temperatures (SSTs)
reach a value of about 28°C, so that an upper SST on the order of 30°C is
rarely exceeded.

Initially, according to this concept, the tropical ocean acts as a net
receiver of energy in its warming phase; but as SSTs reach 28-29°C, the
cloud-base airmass is charged with sufficient moist static energy for the
clouds to reach the upper troposphere. At this point, the billowing cloud
cover reduces the amount of solar radiation received at the surface of the
sea, while cool and dry downdrafts produced by the moist convection tend to
promote ocean surface cooling by increasing sensible and latent heat fluxes
at the air-sea interface that cause temperatures there to decline.

This "thermostat-like control," as Sud et al. describe it, tends "to
ventilate the tropical ocean efficiently and help contain the SST between
28-30°C," which is essentially a fluctuating temperature band of ±1°C
centered on the bleaching threshold temperature of 29.2°C identified by
Hoegh-Guldberg.  This particular component of the atmosphere's
ThermoSolarstat, i.e., the component that creates towering cumulonimbus
clouds at the appropriate critical SST, also greatly reduces the flux of
solar radiation received at the surface of the sea, thereby providing a dual
approach to relieving the two main stresses (solar and thermal) that may be
experienced by corals that are teetering on the brink of potentially
irreversible bleaching.

Some other intriguing observations also point to the existence of a natural
phenomenon of this nature.  Satheesh and Ramanathan (2000), for example,
determined that polluted air from south and southeast Asia absorbs enough
solar radiation over the northern Indian Ocean during the dry monsoon season
to heat the atmosphere there by 1-3°C per day at solar noon, thereby greatly
reducing the intensity of solar radiation received at the surface of the
sea.  Ackerman et al. (2000), however, calculated that this atmospheric
heating would decrease cloud-layer relative humidity and reduce
boundary-layer mixing, thereby leading to a 25-50% drop in daytime cloud
cover relative to that of an aerosol-free atmosphere, which could well
negate the surface cooling effect suggested by the findings of Satheesh and
Ramanathan. But in a test of this hypothesis based on data obtained from the
Extended Edited Cloud Report Archive, Norris (2001) determined that daytime
low-level ocean cloud cover (which tends to cool the water surface) not only
did not decrease from the 1950s to 90s, it actually increased ... in both
the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and at essentially all hours of the
day.

Commenting on this finding, Norris remarked that "the observed all-hours
increase in low-level cloud cover over the time period when soot aerosol has
presumably greatly increased argues against a dominant effect of soot solar
absorption contributing to cloud 'burn-off'."  Hence, he says, "other
processes must be compensating," one of which, we suggest, could well be the
one described by Sud et al.

Another process - and our proposed second component of earth's
ThermoSolarstat - is the "adaptive infrared iris" phenomenon that has been
described by Lindzen et al. (2001).  Working with upper-level cloudiness
data obtained from the Japanese Geostationary Meteorological Satellite and
SST data obtained from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction,
the inquisitive atmospheric scientists found a strong inverse relationship
between upper-level cloud area and the mean SST of cloudy regions, such that
the area of cirrus cloud coverage (which tends to warm the planet)
normalized by a measure of the area of cumulus coverage (which tends to cool
the planet) decreased about 22% for each 1°C increase in the SST of the
cloudy regions.

"Essentially," state the scientists, "the cloudy-moist region appears to act
as an infrared adaptive iris that opens up and closes down the regions free
of upper-level clouds, which more effectively permit infrared cooling, in
such a manner as to resist changes in tropical surface temperatures."  So
substantial is this phenomenon, Lindzen et al. are confident it could "more
than cancel all the positive feedbacks in the more sensitive current climate
models," which are routinely used to predict the climatic consequences of
projected increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration and equally routinely -
but uncritically - used by people bent on changing the way the world does
business on the basis of the climate catastrophes forecast by those models.

All this is well and good; the meteorological aspects of the ThermoSolarstat
are clearly supported by significant bodies of real-world data.  But is
there any real-world evidence the ThermoSolarstat has actually been
instrumental in preventing coral bleaching that would otherwise have
occurred during periods of unusually high thermal stress?  The answer, or
course, is yes; and it comes in an important paper published just a couple
of months ago, wherein Mumby et al. (2001) examined long-term meteorological
records from the vicinity of the Society Islands, which provide what they
call "the first empirical evidence that local patterns of cloud cover may
influence the susceptibility of reefs to mass bleaching and subsequent coral
mortality during periods of anomalously high SST."

With respect to the great El Niño of 1998, Mumby and his colleagues
determined that SSTs in the Society Islands sector of French Polynesia were
above the 29.2°C bleaching threshold for a longer period of time (two
months) than in all prior bleaching years of the historical record.
However, mass coral bleaching, which was extensive in certain other areas,
was found to be "extremely mild in the Society Islands" and "patchy at a
scale of 100s of km."

What provided the relief from extreme sun and heat, without which, Mumby et
al. have concluded, "mass bleaching would have occurred"?  As he and his
associates describe it, "exceptionally high cloud cover significantly
reduced the number of sun hours during the summer of 1998," much as one
would have expected earth's ThermoSolarstat to have done in the face of such
anomalously high SSTs.  The marine scientists also note that extensive
spotty patterns of cloud cover, besides saving most of the coral they
studied, "may partly account for spatial patchiness in bleaching intensity
and/or bleaching-induced mortality in other areas."

Although the ThermoSolarstat cannot protect all of earth's corals from
life-threatening bleaching during all periods of anomalously high SSTs, it
apparently protects enough of them enough of the time to insure that
sufficiently large numbers of corals survive to perpetuate their existence,
since living reefs have persisted over the eons in spite of the continuing
recurrence of these ever-present environmental threats.  And perhaps that is
how it has always been, although as noted in our Editorial The Coral
Conundrum, there are currently a host of unprecedented anthropogenic forces
of site-specific origin that could well be weakening the abilities of some
species to tolerate the types of thermal and solar stresses they have
successfully "weathered" in the past.

Dr. Sherwood B. Idso
President  Dr. Keith E. Idso
Vice President 

References
Ackerman, A.S., Toon, O.B., Stevens, D.E., Heymsfield, A.J., Ramanathan, V.
and Welton, E.J.  2000. Reduction of tropical cloudiness by soot.  Science
288: 1042-1047.

Brown, B.E. 1997. Coral bleaching: causes and consequences.  Coral Reefs
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Copyright © 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


==============
(6) ANTARCTIC ICE: IS IT GROWING OR SHRINKING?

>From CO2 Science Magazine, 13 February 2002
http://www.co2science.org/journal/2002/v5n7c3.htm

Reference
Joughin, I. and Tulaczyk, S. 2002. Positive mass balance of the Ross Ice
Streams, West Antarctica.  Science 295: 476-480.

What was done
The authors used spatially-dense estimates of ice-flow velocity obtained
from synthetic aperture radar to assess the mass balance of the Ross Ice
Streams of West Antarctica.

What was learned
In the words of the authors, their results indicate that "contrary to
earlier estimates, the mass balance of this sector of the West Antarctic Ice
Sheet is positive." Instead of a previously assumed ice mass deficit of 20.9
gigatons per year, they found evidence for an ice mass accumulation of 26.8
gigatons per year.  This build-up of ice was not the result of
climate-driven changes in ice accumulation or melt, but was rather a
consequence of internal ice stream dynamics, which seem to be slowing the
flow rates of many of the ice streams. Ice Streams A and B, for example,
have been decelerating at an average rate of 5 meters/year every year since
1974; while Ice Stream C completely stagnated fully 150 years ago and has
been growing thicker ever since.

What it means
In the words of the authors, "the positive imbalance we observe and the
trend toward a potentially larger imbalance are evocative of an ice sheet in
advance rather than in retreat."  Such an observation, if it continues to
hold true, would be dramatic indeed; for the West Antarctic ice sheet has
been retreating for several thousand years.  Hence, as the scientists say,
"if the current positive imbalance is not merely a part of decadal- or
century-scale fluctuations, it represents a reversal of the long-term
Holocene retreat."

It is interesting to note, in this regard, that the prior
several-thousand-year retreat of the West Antarctic ice sheet is
indisputably of natural origin. But what about its recent possible
turn-around to a state of advance? If the order of these events had been
reversed, i.e., if there had been a several-thousand-year advance of the
West Antarctic ice sheet followed by a possible transition to retreat, you
can bet your bottom dollar (or euro) that the climate alarmists of the world
would be angrily jumping up and down doing everything imaginable to condemn
the burning of fossil fuels for the new threat this CO2-emitting activity
posed to the world's low-lying islands and continental coasts, which
behavior would indeed have a modicum of reasonableness associated with it.
To do so now, however, in the face of the absolute opposite course of
history, is an abject denial of physical reality. Yet climate alarmists will
continue to do just that; for it is one of the defining characteristics of
this rare breed of bird that reality just doesn't cut it, especially when it
comes to getting the people of the world to submit themselves to the will of
a self-anointed group of seers who knows, far better than we, what's best
for us.
 
Copyright © 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change



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