PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 41/2001 - 14 March 2001
------------------------------


"I wish to be brief and only confirm that the IAU  will, of course,
continue to work with the UK Task Force and all relevant bodies to
facilitate the comprehensive international study of the NEO issue
advocated by the TF and the IAU itself. The IAU understands that time
is needed to organise such an effort and appreciates the initiative of the
UK Government in undertaking the relevant international political
consultations."
-- Hans Rickman, IAU General Secretary


"Politicians, government officials, astronomers and other
distinguished guests visited Armagh Observatory today to participate in a
ceremony marking a unique event: the International Astronomical Union has
announced that two asteroids are to be named after the City of Armagh and
the Armagh Observatory. The simultaneous naming of two asteroids for a city
and its observatory is a unique event and a recognition of the high esteem
in which Northern Irelandıs astronomers are held by the international
astronomical community."
Armagh Observatory, 14 March 2001


(1) IAU STATEMENT ON RESPONSE TO NEO TASK FORCE REPORT
    Hans Rickman <rickman@iap.fr>

(2) ST PATRICKıS GIFT TO ARMAGH
    Jacqueline Mitton <aco01@dial.pipex.com>

(3) THE END IS MIR: MILITARY CHIEF'S OVERREACTION ADDS TO JAPANESE ANXIETY
    The Associated Press, 13 March 2001

(4) IS RUSSIA'S PLAN TO KILL MIR UNSAFE? RUSSIAN SPACE EXPERTS DISCUSS
DEORBIT RISKS
    Space.com, 13 March 2001

(5) MYSTERIES GALORE ON MOONS OF MARS
    Space.com, 13 March 2001

(6) WORLD BANK: MARKET INCENTIVES FOR NATURAL CATASTOPHE MITIGATION
INVESTMENT
    World Bank

(7) GOING WHERE NO TANK HAS GONE BEFORE
    The Washington Post, 13 March 2001

(8) MAD COWS, FOOT & MOUTH & GHOST TELESCOPES
    Jonathan Tate <fr77@dial.pipex.com>

(9) THE UK GOVERNMENT RESPONSE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE U.S. EXPERIENCE
    Andy Smith <astrosafe@yahoo.com>

(10) COMETS, ASTEROIDS & THE GALACTIC PLANE
     Andy Nimmo <andy-nimmo@ntlworld.com>

(11) COMETARY ASTRONOMY
     Giovanni Sostero <giovanni.sostero@elettra.trieste.it>

==============
(1) IAU STATEMENT ON RESPONSE TO NEO TASK FORCE REPORT

From Hans Rickman <rickman@iap.fr>

I wish to be brief and only confirm that the IAU  will, of course, continue
to work with the UK Task Force and all relevant bodies to facilitate the
comprehensive international study of the NEO issue advocated by the TF and
the IAU itself. The IAU understands that time is needed to organise such an
effort and appreciates the initiative of the UK Government in undertaking
the relevant international political consultations.

Hans Rickman, IAU General Secretary

==========
(2) ST PATRICKıS GIFT TO ARMAGH

From Jacqueline Mitton <aco01@dial.pipex.com>

Issued by Armagh Observatory, 12 March 2001

Politicians, government officials, astronomers and other distinguished
guests visited Armagh Observatory today to participate in a ceremony marking
a unique event: the International Astronomical Union has announced that two
asteroids are to be named after the City of Armagh and the Armagh
Observatory.

These asteroids were discovered in July 1987 by one of the USAıs leading
asteroid hunters, Dr Eleanor "Glo" Helin, and the announcement of the names
follows a visit of Dr Helin to Armagh last August.

The first asteroid, numbered 10501, is called "Ardmacha", after the ancient
name of the City of Armagh. The second, numbered 10502, is called
"Armaghobs", after the Armagh Observatory. The citations read:

"The City of Armagh is steeped in history. It is the ecclesiastical capital
of Ireland and home of the venerable Armagh Observatory. Tradition relates
that St Patrick chose what used to be called Ard Macha as the centre of his
mission in Ireland, building his main church on one of the seven hills of
Armagh in 445."

And

"Armagh Observatory, founded in 1790 by Archbishop Richard Robinson, is a
modern astronomical research institute with a rich heritage that includes
T.R. Robinsonıs cup-anemometer, Dreyerıs NGC Catalogue, Lindsayıs
Armagh-Dunsink-Harvard telescope, and the work of the Estonian astronomer
E.J. Öpik."

The simultaneous naming of two asteroids for a city and its observatory is a
unique event and a recognition of the high esteem in which Northern
Irelandıs astronomers are held by the international astronomical community.
That named after the City of Armagh, Ardmacha, is a main-belt asteroid that
revolves around the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It is
estimated to be about 10 kilometres across. That named after the
Observatory, Armaghobs, is a Mars-approaching object with a slightly more
unstable orbit meaning that it could possibly collide with the Earth in the
very distant future. It is about 5 kilometres in size.

Armagh Observatory has a long association with investigations of the solar
system in general, and minor planets in particular. The naming of these two
minor planets brings to more than a dozen the number of asteroids associated
with Armagh or the Armagh Observatory, a highly exceptional tally. Ten have
been named after past or present members of staff of the Armagh Observatory
and Planetarium. Among them are Ernst Öpik, Research Associate from 1948 to
1981 and Acting Director 1974­1976, Patrick Moore, the first Director of the
Armagh Planetarium, and astronomers David Asher, Fabio Migliorini, Bill
Napier, and the Director, Mark Bailey.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John McFarland at the Armagh Observatory
(Tel.: 028-3752-2928, FAX: 028-3752-7174); e-mail jmf@star.arm.ac.uk. For
Armagh Observatory details, see http://www.arm.ac.uk/

==========
(3) THE END IS MIR: MILITARY CHIEF'S OVERREACTION ADDS TO JAPANESE ANXIETY

From The Associated Press, 13 March 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010313/wl/japan_mir_fear_1.html
 
Mir Re-Entry Worries Japanese

By GARY SCHAEFER, Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) - Japan's military chief said Tuesday that he will postpone his
first meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and stay at home
next week in case something goes wrong when Russia scraps the Mir space
station (news - web sites).

Defense Agency Chief Toshitsugu Saito said he put off next week's trip to
prioritize "crisis-management concerns" including Mir's re-entry, agency
spokesman Isao Oseto said. Saito had planned to leave Japan on March 18 and
meet with Rumsfeld the next day.

The postponement was the latest in a series of high-profile moves by
Japanese authorities trying to reassure a jittery public.

Russian space officials have repeatedly said the Mir poses no significant
threat to Japan, the last populated area it is scheduled to pass over in its
final, low orbit before breaking up above the Pacific Ocean.

Russia plans to take the 15-year-old Mir out of orbit on March 20 in a
controlled, fiery plunge into the Pacific between Australia and Chile.

Most of the 150-ton station is expected to burn up in the atmosphere, but
Russian officials estimate 1,500 fragments weighing a total of up to 27 tons
could reach the Earth's surface.

With Japan's news media full of what-if scenarios and Prime Minister Yoshiro
Mori (news - web sites)'s crisis-management record under attack in
Parliament, the government has come under pressure to take every possible
precaution.

Earlier this month, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to
Tokyo to seek reassurances that Japan would receive ``prompt and complete
information'' about the splashdown.

The government is still smarting from criticism of its reaction to the
accidental sinking of a Japanese trawler by a U.S. submarine near Hawaii,
which killed nine people.

Both allies and political enemies criticized Mori for finishing a round of
golf after receiving reports that several high school students had gone
missing in the accident.

The news over the weekend that Russia has taken out $200 million in
insurance policies against Mir-related damages added to the jitters.

Copyright 2001, The Associated Press

===========
(4) IS RUSSIA'S PLAN TO KILL MIR UNSAFE? RUSSIAN SPACE EXPERTS DISCUSS
DEORBIT RISKS

From Space.com, 13 March 2001
http://www.msnbc.com/news/543786.asp
 
By Simon Saradzhyan
SPACE.COM
 
MOSCOW, March 13 -   The Mission Control Center in Korolyov chose to shorten
and simplify the Mir deorbiting plan in an effort to minimize risks, despite
safety concerns expressed by an independent think tank.   

RATHER THAN begin deorbiting the station once it reached an altitude of 155
miles (250 kilometers), the center opted for a new plan that provides for a
controlled descent of the outpost once it passes the 137-mile
(220-kilometer) mark, the center's chief ballistics expert Nikolai Ivanov
told Space.com. Between March 11 and 12, the 15-year-old station dropped by
a little more than a mile (2 kilometers) to an orbit of 152.6 miles (245.6
kilometers).

However, officials at the Russian Aviation and Space Agency and experts at
the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies believe
the station's lower altitude may impact the Mission Control Center's ability
to control the engine burns necessary to bring the station back to Earth.

The station is to pass the 137-mile mark sometime on March 19 and will hit a
designated area in the Pacific Ocean 1,200 to 1,500 miles (1,930 and 2,415
kilometers) east of Australia either on March 20 or in the early hours of
March 21, Ivanov said. He said these two dates "can shift back or forth by
one or two days."

The center booted up Mir's main computer on Monday in order to run a series
of tests prior to the planned deorbiting of the outpost. According to Viktor
Blagov, deputy flight control chief at Korolyov, the station has been
descending by an average of more than a half-mile (0.8 kilometer) a day over
the last week.
           
The recently selected plan provides for the station to be sunk in one day
rather than three as initially planned, according to Ivanov and Blagov.

The plan was selected at a March 6 meeting in Moscow of space station
specialists chaired by Yuri Koptev, the director general of Russia's space
agency. It provides for the Progress supply ship, which docked with Mir in
January, to be used for three braking impulses, rather than four as
previously announced, to slow the aged station so it drops out of orbit,
Ivanov said.

Once Mir hits the 137-mile mark, the center will verify that the Progress
cargo ship's engines are pointed in the exact opposite direction of the
station's flight path, according to Ivanov. 
 
When it reaches this altitude, Mission Control in Korolyov will wait for Mir
to pass above the equator at 20 degrees east longitude. They will watch the
station over another 14 orbits before firing the cargo ship's engines - the
first of the so-called braking impulses. The second impulse will occur
during the 16th orbit, Ivanov said.

The center will then wait for the station to descend to an altitude of 130
miles (210 kilometers) before firing the engines of the cargo ship again
somewhere above Africa for a third and final time.

This impulse will last some 20 minutes and end while the station still
remains within Mission Control's zone of radio reception. It will then take
the station anywhere between 45 and 60 minutes to crash into the Pacific
Ocean, according to the new plan.
      
DEBATING THE RISK

"We have chosen this scheme because it allows us to use standard schemes
without shifting back and fourth between inertial and orbital modes. It is
safer that way," Ivanov said, though he would not elaborate on why the new
plan is safer.

According to one of Koptev's staff, the new scheme was chosen because the
Russian space agency and Mission Control doubted whether there would be
enough fuel in the Progress tanks for an additional impulse if anything went
wrong during implementation of the previous three-day deorbiting plan. "The
reason is that we need more fuel," the space agency official told Space.com.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the deorbit plan has "some
risk" since the atmosphere is thicker at an altitude of 137 miles than at
155 miles. There is a possibility that this could make it more difficult for
Mission Control to orient the station for the first impulse.

Experts at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies also
believe that the lower Mir descends, the more difficult it will be to
control the station.
 
"It is easier to aim and calculate the descent trajectory at higher
altitudes, whereas trying to orient the station at 137 miles may prove too
be difficult," the center told Space.com on Monday in a written statement.

According to Ivanov, however, the Korolev center can keep the station under
control as long as it remains above 124 miles (200 kilometers). "Only lower
can such problems begin," he said.

However, Ivanov admitted that the center has never tried to issue descend
commands to stations, such as Salyut, at 137 miles in the past, opting to
begin the deorbiting sequence at higher altitudes. The Korolyov control
center lost contact with the Salyut 7 station in 1991 as it orbited Earth
unmanned.

As a result, the station's solar-power panels lost their orientation toward
the sun, and Salyut 7 froze before the Korolyov center could send an
emergency crew to the station. 
 
Unable to send a rescue team, Korolyov controllers could not keep fragments
of the 40-ton spacecraft from crashing in the Argentine Andes near the
Chilean border.

According to Ivanov, there is a 2 percent chance that Mir will veer off and
crash outside the designated area, which is 3,000 miles (4,830 kilometers)
long and 300 miles (480 kilometers) wide.

And if Mir goes into an uncontrolled dive, there would be a 10 percent
chance that debris would crash on land, including a 1.7 percent chance that
it would hit the continental United States, according to estimates of Koptev
televised in Moscow on Feb. 2.

Whatever happens to Mir after it drops below 125 miles (200 kilometers), the
Korolyov center will know only after the fact, Ivanov said. Mission Control
has no means to download telemetry after the third and final impulse, but he
hopes the U.S. military and the European Space Agency will keep tracking Mir
further and feed data to the center.
      
'WE WILL NOT SEE IT'

"Fortunately or unfortunately, we will not see it," Ivanov said. It will be
the U.S. Army station at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands that will
be the last to track Mir as it begins its fiery re-entry into Earth's
atmosphere.

Deorbiting of the station will be rather spectacular, according to Nikolai
Anfimov, director general of the Central Machine-Building Scientific
Research Institute, which incorporates the Korolyov control center.  

The station will start disintegrating somewhere between 55 to 70 miles (90
and 115 kilometers) in altitude, Anfimov said at a recent press conference
in Moscow.

He said the station would rapidly heat up as it enters the planet's
atmosphere. The heat and friction will first tear away the station's solar
panels and cause its fuel tanks to explode.

Then, said Blagov, Mir's hermetic modules will be splintered, torn away from
each other to disintegrate as the station plunges deeper into the
atmosphere. Most of the fragments will burn up before hitting the water.

Some parts, however - such as the heat-resistant spherical gas tanks, parts
of the station's engines and some of its gyrodines - will probably survive
the overheated plunge and smash into the ocean, he said.

Up to 1,500 fragments, weighing a total of 13 to 19 tons will survive the
planned burning dash through the Earth's atmosphere and hit the surface,
said Ivanov.
      
İ 2001 Space.com. All rights reserved.

==========
(5) MYSTERIES GALORE ON MOONS OF MARS

From Space.com, 13 March 2001
http://www.msnbc.com/news/543777.asp
  
Scientists try to make the case for missions to Phobos, Deimos    

By Robert Roy Britt
SPACE.COM
 
March 13 -  With the recent surprise landing of a robotic probe on asteroid
Eros and missions scheduled regularly to focus on Mars, some say it's time
to dust off plans to send a spacecraft to the Red Planet's two mysterious
moons. Phobos and Deimos, shadowed by the Red Planet's celebrity status,
have a spotty history of exploration.
 
A 1988 UNMANNED Soviet mission to Phobos disappeared inexplicably. And a
robotic venture proposed to NASA, called Aladdin, did not make the cut in
1999 and is shelved for now. Two previous Mars missions - the Viking orbiter
and Mars Global Surveyor - went out of their way to obtain pictures of
Phobos and Deimos. But NASA's Mars Odyssey, scheduled to launch in April,
will give the moons nary a wink or nod.

Researchers say that after back-to-back failed missions to Mars, pressure is
understandably intense to keep Odyssey focused on the primary objective.
NASA cannot afford to lose another spacecraft, especially on some scientific
side trip.
           
But those who study Phobos and Deimos see them as destinations, not detours.

"There is no object in the solar system that is not worth studying, but
those moons suffer from being so close to such an interesting planet, and
they've always taken a back seat," said Philip Christensen of Arizona State
University, who has used Mars Global Surveyor images to make limited studies
of Phobos.
      
UNSOLVED MYSTERIES

In the 24 years since the Viking orbiter returned the first closeups of the
moons, revealing them to be odd-shaped lumpy objects, scientists have
learned almost nothing about them, Christensen laments. Despite his own
research and efforts of others, "we're not progressing," he said. 
 
Scientists still don't know if the moons were created along with the birth
of Mars, or if they are asteroids that were captured later. Their
composition remains unknown. Mars Global Surveyor passed within 200 miles of
Phobos, and showed that the moon had been pounded to powder by countless
collisions with smaller space rocks. But how, with virtually no gravity,
does Phobos hold on to this dusty debris?

Answers to these questions and others would improve basic models of the
formation and evolution of planets and of our solar system. And others want
to know if the moons are rich in valuable metals or substances that could be
used for spacecraft propulsion.

To get these answers, researchers say we need to chip away at the rocks.

"Asteroids and small moons are tough to study remotely," Christensen told
Space.com, "because they're so churned up and so bombarded by everything
from the solar wind to micrometeorites to large objects that slam into them.
And it's not clear what the outer meter or so of the surface is telling us
about the interior."

While Philip Christensen would be thrilled with almost any mission to Phobos
or Deimos, another longtime space innovator has specific plans for the
little moons. Fred Singer, president of the Science & Environmental Policy
Project, has argued for the past two years for a human mission to one of the
Martian satellites.  

[Phobos, a lumpy Martian moon, has a huge crater that's about half as wide
as the whole world. The Stickney Crater is in the upper left quarter of this
image from Mars Global Surveyor.]

"They are neglected," Singer said in a telephone interview. "People have
talked only about Mars. To me, these moons are interesting in their own
right. That's not to say Mars is not interesting, but I think the moons
deserve equal consideration." But who wants to be the first astronaut to
say, "I landed on Phobos!"?

Actually, Singer contends that the best mission to Mars starts at Deimos,
the outermost of the two satellites. Take a traveling research vessel
stuffed with a half-dozen humans and strap it to Deimos for six months, he
suggests. Then use the moon - an odd-shaped object with an average diameter
of 8 miles that orbits 12,400 miles from Mars - as a shield against cosmic
rays and solar storms.

From the relatively safe perch high above the Red Planet, the crew would
send robotic probes to the surface of Mars and control them in real-time
(whereas the distance between Earth and Mars creates a long communications
delay). And instead of enduring months of red dust on the harsh Martian
surface, a small team could make a quick weekend sortie to the surface to do
those things only humans can do. Like making that first footprint in red
dust.
      
But why dock at Deimos, instead of going straight to Mars? "It's cheaper. It
can be done faster, sooner," said Singer, who is also a researcher at George
Mason University and whose study of the orbit and origin of Phobos and
Deimos dates back to the 1960s. "It's safer, much safer," he continues. "And
you can get more information about Mars by exploring it from Deimos than you
can by landing on the surface."

For one thing, the scheme would avoid the need to build a costly Mars base,
required to shield the crew from deadly radiation. And sidling a large
spacecraft up to a low-gravity moon is a lot less costly than setting down
on Mars, a maneuver that requires a lot more fuel, adding costly weight to a
mission.

And Singer says that from Deimos, scientists could deploy a series of
robotic probes to the Martian surface just as easily as they could from
Mars. Each probe's destination and mission would be determined by what was
learned from previous probes.
      
LESSON FROM NEAR  

The NEAR spacecraft landing on asteroid Eros in February illustrates the
potential of a mission to Phobos and Deimos, Singer says.

But NEAR was just a robot. Isn't sending humans an incredible undertaking?

"Phobos and Deimos are much easier to get to than Eros, and much easier to
land on," Singer said, "so it is a very viable proposition."

A landing would be aided by the fact that the moons are locked into stable
orbits and rotations. Eros, on the other hand, was tumbling through space
less predictably and made a tricky target.

Meanwhile, the crew could do some serious science on Deimos itself. Singer
points out that Phobos and Deimos are similar to Eros in size and
appearance. "One wonders if they have any connection," he said.

And now that there is some data on Eros' composition, thanks to NEAR, a
comparison could be made. If the objects are similar, it would be strong
evidence that Phobos and Deimos are in fact asteroids that were snagged into
orbit by Mars' gravitational tug.
      
NOTHING LIKE BEING OUT THERE

Christensen, a geologist by training, says putting humans on Deimos makes
sense, and scientists could "learn a lot" about Mars by studying the Red
Planet from above. Chipping away at Deimos wouldn't be a bad thing, either.

"We may never really know the story of these moons, and what they're made of
and what their interior is like, until we go and land on them," Christensen
said. "There's nothing like being out there with a hammer and a hand lens
and doing real geology, being able to pick up the rock and look at it."
     
Mars' dynamic duo

* Phobos orbits just 3,700 miles from Mars, on average. No moon in our solar
system is closer to its host planet. And it is getting closer. The
14-mile-wide moon is snuggling up to Mars at a rate of 6 feet every 100
years. In about 50 million years, the moon will crash into Mars. Or,
scientists say, the gravitational force of the Red Planet might tear the
moon apart. If that happens, the shreds of Phobos could form a ring around
Mars, similar to the rings around Saturn.
More about Phobos from Space.com

* Deimos is the smaller and more distant of the two Martian moons, with an
average diameter of 8 miles and an orbit that is 12,400 miles away, on
average. On the surface of Deimos, the acceleration of gravity is less than
0.1 percent that of Earth. But like Phobos, Deimos has been able to develop
landforms.

Copyright 2001, Space.com

===========
(6) THE WORLD BANK MARKET INCENTIVES FOR NATURAL CATASTOPHE MITIGATION
INVESTMENT

From the World Bank
http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/urban/dis_man/mimi/index2.htm

VISION STATEMENT

World Bank lending for emergencies has increased greatly over the last
decade (to about $8.8 billion) in response to both sudden onset events
(e.g., earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and forest fires)
and slow onset events, such as droughts, in every region of Bank
involvement. Some examples of World Bank assistance for natural disasters
currently under preparation or implementation include: El Niño-related
projects in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, and Peru;
projects in response to forest fires in Brazil, Central America and Mexico;
an earthquake and floods project in Turkey; an earthquake project in India;
and a Caribbean Disaster Mitigation and Reinsurance Project.

In the past, components of Bank-funded projects designed to reduce further
vulnerability to natural disasters and include prevention and mitigation
have not always received the attention they deserve. The Bank's Disaster
Management Facility (DMF) was established to address this issue and to
mainstream disaster prevention and mitigation initiatives into all Bank
activities. A key activity of the DMF is the Market Incentives for
Mitigation Investment (MIMI) project, aimed at promoting market incentives
for risk reduction.

Project Objectives

The MIMI project aims to mobilize the considerable resources of the World
Bank Group (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA and ICSID) and the insurance and
reinsurance community, creating a partnership to apply the tools of
commercial loss management to the design and maintenance of critical
development investments. This development of World Bank and member country
operational capacity would save Bank resources and protect future
investments in physical infrastructure and facilities. The privatization of
disaster risk, where applicable, would allow governments to shift funding
from the current emergency relief and reconstruction activities to more
effective and sustainable disaster mitigation investment. Particular
attention is devoted to ensure that the poorest groups -- being the most
vulnerable -- are included in the initiative.

Project Elements

MIMI is composed of the following components designed to promote market
incentives for risk reduction:

Post-disaster Mitigation Intervention Team (PMIT) to promote insurance
industry, government, and private sector participation in disaster
prevention and mitigation through, inter alia, IES (Insurance Emergency
Services); Consultation Meeting with representatives of the insurance and reinsurance
industry to discuss market incentives and mechanisms for risk reduction;
Development of potential new lending instruments;
Raising the profile of the world's leading reinsurance groups in the World
Bank through participation at Bank Annual Meetings;
Pilot Country Studies on Market Incentives for Disaster Prevention; and
Regional Conferences on Incentives for Risk Reduction.
Partnership with the Private Sector

MIMI's overarching objective of promoting sustainable development by
reducing losses from natural disasters which impact client communities and
local industries in developing economies will be achieved by identifying and
implementing the most appropriate financial sector mechanisms and
instruments for this purpose. In this connection, the MIMI project will
assemble a select partnership group with the global reinsurance industry to
develop balanced understandings and concrete proposals for mobilizing
investment for future loss reduction.

The World Bank, in collaboration with public and private sector partners,
will coordinate and convene studies to analyze client country gaps in the
hazard management and mitigation and to seek solutions germane to these
objectives. This will cover the promotion of public policy initiatives
including insurance sector development through regulatory reform and
modernization of financial and insurance legislation and institutions in
client countries. A primary goal in this effort will be to reduce the
impediments to the development of insurance and other financial mechanisms
by which the private sector could assume an increasing role, particularly in
the areas of mitigation compliance and of disaster coverage and financing.

The MIMI program will identify both industry and public policy obstacles to
further development and investment in the insurance sector, with particular
attention to the possible mechanisms for market-driven risk sharing
arrangements to handle catastrophic losses, as are already being tested in
some of the industrialized countries. In addition, it will examine the scope
of public facilities and infrastructure investments which might be conducive
to combining traditional public sector self-insurance, with underwritten
coverage as a potential risk management tool. Given the World Bank's
attention to policy measures which would facilitate such market
developments, its will engage country authorities and the local private
sector to determine which would be the most appropriate mechanisms and
arrangements to put in place for managing current and future disaster risks.

Private sector partners of the MIMI program will provide valuable expertise,
information, and support to assist in the research, examination of
alternative mechanisms, and potential policy development work. Participating
institutions will be invited to join World Bank missions in the pilot
country studies, as well as to participate in regional mitigation investment
meetings, and share in the development of feasibility analyses and policy
recommendations being considered under the MIMI program. In addition,
participating organizations will also be invited to attend a roundtable
conference on insurance as a mechanism for disaster loss reduction at the
World Bank's 1999 Annual Meetings, and to attend insurance sector fora in
client developing countries as part of the effort to increase insurance
market presence for risk management purposes in disaster-prone regions.

Pilot Country Studies

Pilot country studies are tentatively planned for Mexico and India. The
pilot studies will be testing grounds for the approach, which will be
replicated in other countries and regions. The studies will examine the
following issues:

Disaster loss experience and vulnerability to sudden and slow onset
disasters.
Institutional and regulatory structure: Regulations related to natural
hazards/disasters and risk reduction; and regulations for the insurance
industry.
Structure of the insurance sector for casualty insurance: primary and
reinsurance.
Role of the insurance sector in motivating mitigation investment: risk-based
premium and public education.

Role of public policy to support the insurance industry in mitigation.
The role of the global reinsurance industry in risk reduction.
The role of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in risk reduction.
The Regional conferences will provide a forum to analyze the studies and
serve as vehicles to discuss policy changes needed in the country based on
the pilot study and review the need for additional future pilot country
studies.

PARTNERSHIP WITH THE PRIVATE SECTOR

MIMI's overarching objective of promoting sustainable development by
reducing losses from natural disasters which impact client communities and
local industries in developing economies will be achieved by identifying and
implementing the most appropriate financial sector mechanisms and
instruments for this purpose. In this connection, the MIMI project will
assemble a select partnership group with the global reinsurance industry to
develop balanced understandings and concrete proposals for mobilizing
investment for future loss reduction.

The World Bank, in collaboration with public and private sector partners,
will coordinate and convene studies to analyze client country gaps in the
hazard management and mitigation and to seek solutions germane to these
objectives. This will cover the promotion of public policy initiatives
including insurance sector development through regulatory reform and
modernization of financial and insurance legislation and institutions in
client countries. A primary goal in this effort will be to reduce the
impediments to the development of insurance and other financial mechanisms
by which the private sector could assume an increasing role, particularly in
the areas of mitigation compliance and of disaster coverage and financing.

The MIMI program will identify both industry and public policy obstacles to
further development and investment in the insurance sector, with particular
attention to the possible mechanisms for market-driven risk sharing
arrangements to handle catastrophic losses, as are already being tested in
some of the industrialized countries. In addition, it will examine the scope
of public facilities and infrastructure investments which might be conducive
to combining traditional public sector self-insurance, with underwritten
coverage as a potential risk management tool. Given the World Bank's
attention to policy measures which would facilitate such market
developments, its will engage country authorities and the local private
sector to determine which would be the most appropriate mechanisms and
arrangements to put in place for managing current and future disaster risks.

Private sector partners of the MIMI program will provide valuable expertise,
information, and support to assist in the research, examination of
alternative mechanisms, and potential policy development work. Participating
institutions will be invited to join World Bank missions in the pilot
country studies, as well as to participate in regional mitigation investment
meetings, and share in the development of feasibility analyses and policy
recommendations being considered under the MIMI program. In addition,
participating organizations will also be invited to attend a roundtable
conference on insurance as a mechanism for disaster loss reduction at the
World Bank's 1999 Annual Meetings, and to attend insurance sector fora in
client developing countries as part of the effort to increase insurance
market presence for risk management purposes in disaster-prone regions.

=========
(7) GOING WHERE NO TANK HAS GONE BEFORE
 
From The Washington Post, 13 March 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/politics/fedpage/A60350-2001Mar12.html
 
By Richard Morin and Claudia Deane

Bound by gravity no longer, the Cato Institute is taking its libertarian
philosophy to new heights. Let the think tank race to space begin.

This Thursday, the tank is holding a conference on "Space: The Free-Market
Frontier," keynoted by former House member, informal Bush science adviser
and lobbyist Bob Walker.

"Space commercialization -- and even private citizens in space -- was
basically a stillborn revolution. It never took off because of the
government's involvement," said Cato's Edward Hudgins, who is organizing the
event. "At a time when the new administration is rethinking space policy, we
think it's time to . . . consider how we can unleash the dynamics of the
market in the space sector."

Conference participant Rick Tumlinson of the Space Frontier Foundation wants
to establish a "near frontier" and a "far frontier." In this scenario, the
space to and including the moon would be the purview of commercial
interests, while NASA would be banished (sic!) to the rest of the solar
system and beyond (still a pretty roomy playing field).

James Dunstan, vice president of LunaCorp, a company that hopes to put a
commercial rover on the moon, will focus on the tricky business of
developing a property rights regime in space. Specifically, how could you
legally go about owning a position in orbit? Or a part of the moon?

Then there are the truly futuristic ideas, such as "collecting energy in
space and transmitting it back to Earth in the form of microwave or laser
beams." Sound too far out? The concept has been around for years, and
conference co-sponsor ProSpace was just shopping it on the Hill in recent
weeks, Hudgins said.

"This is 2001," said Hudgins. "This is the year that, not only in science
fiction but in the popular mind, we couldn't have imagined that we wouldn't
have space stations and moon bases. But we don't. What happened?"

Copyright 2001, Washington Post

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

(8) MAD COWS, FOOT & MOUTH & GHOST TELESCOPES

From Jonathan Tate <fr77@dial.pipex.com>

Benny, 

Firstly, it tragically appears that this description could soon be applied
to any country in Europe. 

I thank Alain for his kind words, but Spaceguard UK is, and has always been
a team effort. There are, of course, key players - they know who they are,
so I won't embarrass them by listing them (or embarrassing myself by missing
someone out!), but the entire membership plays a crucial role, and everyone
involved should take pride in what has been achieved so far. But we have not
finished yet - no cash is in the bank, and no metal has been cut.

Alain raises two valuable points, as I understand it. Firstly it is
essential to convince key people that the impact hazard is real; low
probability, but dangerously real in that the consequences are unthinkable.
Once the bosses (in our case, Lord Sainsbury, the science minister) are
convinced, it is surprising how many of their staff are suddenly convinced
as well! However, it's one thing to have politicians "on-line", but quite
another to persuade their advisors that your case warrants action. And this
leads to the second point. 

As a layman, I am staggered by the indifference of the astronomical
community. Indeed, indifference in some cases verges on hostility. Now, this
is, in one way understandable. If your entire career is bound up in studying
distant galaxies, you really don't want something as parochial as asteroids
to steal your funding. After all, the whole NEO thing is rather "practical",
and not real research in the purest sense. It can hardly be as important as
measuring red shifts and looking for dark matter. And who controls the
funding for astronomical programmes? Precisely those people with their own
axes to grind.

And it's not only the professionals either! On occasions I have posted news
items on various astronomical newsgroups to be met by stunning indifference.
This is my failure in not getting the message across in the right way. I can
fix this one (how I don't yet know, but it will come to pass in time), but I
am at a loss to know what to do about the professionals. I suppose that the
"blunt instrument" is to point out that the majority of science funding
comes from the public purse, i.e. the man in the street through taxation.
Now, I wonder what "Joe Public" is more interested in - the impact hazard or
the more esoteric aspects of astronomical research? We have dinosaurs, big
explosions and spaceships on our side! It will be fascinating to see how the
new "Spaceguard Centre" is received when it opens later in the year.
Already a number of organisations involved in Public Understanding of
Science have been in touch, and they are being very encouraging and
supportive - they can see the opportunities for public education in a
multitude of scientific disciplines. I wonder whether PPARC and the BNSC
will see it in the same light - I hope so, because The Spaceguard Centre
could save them a lot of effort and money!

If the pronouncements of the British government are to be believed, and I
have no reason to doubt the minister (though I reserve judgement on some of
his advisors), the UK will be discussing the impact hazard with European
governments in the next few months. Having taken the public stance that they
have, I doubt whether they will give other European governments the
opportunity to laugh at the British; after all, the undisputed facts are on
our side. So, the only reasons that can be given for not supporting the UK
in this are:

* NEO scientists have falsified data (and, by implication, so did the UK NEO
Task Force). Our advisors know better, and assure us that we don't have to do anything.
* The British government are so stupid that they have had the wool pulled
over their eyes.
* We don't care about the security of our people, because this is a
catastrophe that probably won't happen while we are in power.

I expect that there are more, but it's getting late!

So, where can we go from here? There is no point in a "foreigner" trying to
influence a foreign government. It is also very difficult for someone
reliant on government funding to be as awkward as is sometimes necessary. If
I worked for PPARC or the BNSC I would have been sacked years ago!  This is
also the reason that the Spaceguard Centre will remain an independent
organisation.  However, the key is to enlist the aid of charismatic,
energetic politicians who have the vision to see the veracity of the
arguments. I have said on many occasions, without the enthusiastic support
of Lembit Opik and Lord Tanlaw we would have got nowhere in the UK. So, we
need to identify individuals in European nations who can take up the "Opik
cloak" in their own countries.  At the same time, organisations like ESO and
ESA need to be made aware of the moves afoot, and the benefits of becoming
involved. The UK government will help here, but a groundswell of public
support always helps!

As for asteroid "scares", well the IAU and the rest of us are still spinning
our wheels on this one! I do have a plea however - and putting it this far
down a long and boring article is a really dumb thing to do - can you real
astronomers keep me informed of unusual events? On a few occasions I have
been ambushed by the media asking about things that I am unaware of. Just a
quick two lines of e-mail would be most gratefully received!

Anyway, given some time I believe that the Spaceguard Foundation can work in
Europe in the same way that SGUK works in the UK. After the summer I hope to
have some more time to devote to the widening of the net, but, in the main
it will be up to the individuals and public in particular countries to
persuade those in power to listen. This may sound contradictory: the SGF can
lobby, but, in the end can only act as a support mechanism for national
efforts.

All the best

Jay Tate
Spaceguard UK

P.S. By the way, any ideas on what "real work" I can do with a 13" f10
apochromatic refractor?

=============
(9) THE UK GOVERNMENT RESPONSE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE U.S. EXPERIENCE

From Andy Smith <astrosafe@yahoo.com>

Hello Benny and CCNet,

We have enjoyed the last few newsletters and are especially happy to hear
that Ed Grondine is O.K. Here are a few thoughts about Ed's latest inputs
and the U.K. activities.

U.S. Experience

The U.S. Congress' awareness of and interest in planetary defense started a
little over a decade ago, in response to the initiatives which followed the
near-miss of Earth by 1989FC and a few other events. A decade of technical
meetings followed and the frustrations expressed, by those of us who could
clearly see the danger, were very similar to the frustrations now being
expressed in the U.K.

These large government systems move slowly but we are clearly headed toward a
good international program and it is both fitting and proper that the enlightened global
public provide much of the early leadership. We are delighted to see so many of the
outstanding pieces coming into place...like the international Spaceguard
Foundation; the Russian Spaceshield Foundation; the activities of the
Australian, French, German, Italian, Japanese, U.K. and other groups;
NEOdys; the Morrison news services; the excellent MPC information and data
handling programs; the NASA/JPL NEO Office; the U.S.Air Force, NASA and
Department of Energy programs; the IAU NEO groups; the Japanese Asteroid
Facility; Michael Paine's excellent reports; the work being done by the
members of the AIAA, the Planetary Society and other professional groups;
Arthur Clark's prophetic and profound writings - spanning more than four
decades; Clark Chapman's terrific writings; the many good books by many in
our group; the U.K. expert and advocate initiatives; the Chinese Asteroid
Facility; the U.S. Asteroid Facilities and on and on. A World Program is
happening and it is being moved-along by lots of volunteers, from around the
World. We applaud and appreciate you all and we salute our British
colleagues.

We think one of the greatest needs is to continue to inform and educate
policy makers. So many of them... clearly the vast majority.. do not
understand the dangers, risks and consequences of a major impact and they
are not aware of the things we can and should do to prepare to prevent an
impact, if we can, or to survive one, if we must.

Knowledge and Responsibility

The knowledge of great danger carries great responsibility and each of us,
in this small but select CCNet group, should have trouble sleeping at night...and we
do [I'm sorry - but I have no troubles whatever :-), BJP]. Many of us think of
nothing else [let's not go OTT, shall we?] but this challenge and together,
we are making an international program happen...thanks, in large measure, to
the internet and to the CCNet.

Planetary Protection Alliance (PPA)

The initial areas of PPA activity include:

(1)Continuing to provide information to policy makers,

(2)Promoting the coordination of the global asteroid hunting programs and
the operational funding needed for maximum effectiveness.

(3) Promoting the construction and operation of at least one dedicated Super Terrestrial
Asteroid Telescope (STAT), ASAP. This is the concept introduced by the U.S. National
Academies of Science and the National Research Council, in the report called
"Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium". In the report, this
telescope is called the Large-Aperture Synoptic Survey Telescope or LSST.
With the LSST and all of the excellent existing asteroid telescopes and
teams, we can find the 100,000 plus NEO in a decade, instead of the
estimated 300 years. We also support the early deployment of an orbiting
early-warning system.

(4) Promoting the development of plans for near-term, quick-reaction
emergency asteroid/comet interception and deflection, using available
hardware. The emphasis, in this effort, is on the identification and
development of the hardware and software needed to quickly (months instead
of years) assemble and operate these off-the-shelf systems. We also
encourage the participation of international engineering teams, like the Sea
Launch Team, in this effort because these teams are familiar with the
assembly and operation of multi-national component space launch and flight
systems.  

(5) The development of civil emergency preparedness programs. Special
emphasis, in this activity area, is given to plans for the rapid evacuation
of the coastal cities and to inexpensive emergency food storage (grain,
dried beans, etc.). This activity is being worked closely with the emergency
preparedness organizations and agencies.

(6) The conduct and encouragement of research activities aimed at the better
understanding of impact effects, mass extinctions, low-temperature
agriculture, etc.

(7) Discussion  and drafting of a Planetary Protection Treaty (proposed as
Amendment #1 to the Space Treaty of 1967).

(8) Promoting communication improvement, within the global and
multi-diciplinary technical community (to include more translations).

We plan an organizational PPA meeting, following the International Space
Development Conference, in Albuquerque, in late May (probably at the Hilton
Hotel, on the afternoon of the 28th.) and everyone is invited.

Cheers

Andy Smith

==============
(10) COMETS, ASTEROIDS & THE GALACTIC PLANE

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

Dear Dr Peiser,

E.P.Grondine askes, "But what if these extinction collisions are caused by
asteroids on the one hand, and by comets on the other? Is it possible that
the gravitational consequnces of the passage through the galactic plane have
altered the orbits of both classes of objects on a
roughly 26 million year basis?"

Some years back, I had to do some computer modelling on this very subject,
and the answer is that it is not only possible but inevitable to at least
some extent that there will be gravitational consequences throughout our
Solar System.

Chances of major orbital disturbances will vary according to the velocity
with which our Solar System crosses the plane. I don't have the actual
figures to hand, but for the sake of explanation, let's say that we cross at
'x' kps or thereabouts, and due to the size of our Solar System it takes us
say 'y' years for it all to cross, then for the first half 'y' of those
years, first the Oort Cloud Comets in the forefront, then Kuiper Belt
Objects, followed by planets, moons, and in time asteroids, will switch from
accelerating with the Sun to decelerating relative to it - while all those
coming along behind, including the Sun, are still accelerating. Once the Sun
itself crosses, then it is decelerating upwards with the forward objects,
but the rearward objects are still accelerating downwards towards it from
behind.

The velocity change from acceleration to deceleration may not amount to
much, but it is the fact that there is a change that will cause a resulting
mishmash of movement that in turn will almost certainly cause gravitational
events that again in turn may well result in some of those bodies of any or
all of those types diving into the inner Solar System. Collisions would not
be inevitable, but certainly much more likely in such circumstances.

Best wishes, Andy Nimmo.

===========
(11) COMETARY ASTRONOMY

From Giovanni Sostero <giovanni.sostero@elettra.trieste.it>

Dear Benny,

together with some friends I'm dedicated to comet observations. We have
small telescopes (apertures ranging from 0.2 to 0.5m) plus CCDs, some
cometary (narrowband interferential) and standard (BVRI photometric)
filters. We are already contributing with our photometry to the I.C.Q., and
with our astrometry to the M.P.C. I'm wondering now if our data could be of
any more interest for professional astronomers.

One question for you: do you know any professional that could:

i) address us to the most interesting topics of this field (e.g.
morfological studies of cometary comae instead of photometry, etc.)?
ii) could benefit from a direct collaboration with us?

Thank you in advance,
Giovanni Sostero (Remanzacco Observatory, Italy)

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*

CCNet CLIMATE SCARES & CLIMATE CHANGE, 15 March 2001
----------------------------------------------------


"It's been a long, harsh winter in the United States. But in Russia,
where people are used to cold, this has been one of the worst ever. There
are record lows and a mounting death toll. Extreme cold has blasted
Russia into the coldest winter in a century. From Siberia
to the Far East there have been bone-chilling temperatures of minus
60 degrees - 30 degrees below normal. In a place where life is harsh
at any time, now it's a battle just to survive. [...] Now, this energy
crisis is sparking a political one. Residents like Svetlana and Galina
are so angry that they tried to block the Trans Siberian Railway, demanding
heat and power. Angry too, President Vladimir Putin fired Russia's energy
minister and accused regional leaders of condemning people to death." 
--Dana Lewis, MSNBC, 12 March 2001

 
"A comparison of satellite data from 1970 and 1997 has yielded what
scientists say is the first direct evidence that so-called greenhouse
gases are building up in Earth's atmosphere and allowing less heat to
escape into space. The study contains no evidence on whether Earth's
surface temperature is actually increasing. In fact, whether this greenhouse
effect will lead to global warming or global cooling is unclear, the
scientists said."
--Alex Dominguez, Associated Press, 14 March 2001



(1) RUSSIA'S COLDEST WINTER IN A CENTURY 
    MSNBC, 12 March 2001

(2) DIRECT EVIDENCE FOR INCREASED GREENHOUSE GASES IN THE EARTH ATMOSPHERE
    EurekAlert, 14 March 2001

(3) GRENNHOUSE EFFECT SAID TO BE PROVED
    Yahoo! News, 14 March 2001

(4) INCREASE IN GREENHOUSE GASES SEEN FROM SPACE
    Reuters, 15 March 2001

(5) DOES THE EARTH HAVE AN ADAPTIVE INFRARED IRIS?
    Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: Vol. 82, No. 3, pp.
417-432.

(6) "THE PLANET IS WARMING UP!"
    CO2 Science, 14 March 2001

===============
(1) RUSSIA'S COLDEST WINTER IN A CENTURY 

From MSNBC, 12 March 2001
http://www.msnbc.com/news/541482.asp

By Dana Lewis

NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT

It's been a long, harsh winter in the United States. But in Russia, where
people are used to cold, this has been one of the worst ever. There are
record lows and a mounting death toll. Extreme cold has blasted Russia into
the coldest winter in a century.
 
FROM SIBERIA to the Far East there have been bone-chilling temperatures of
minus 60 degrees - 30 degrees below normal.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed with severe frostbite cases - doctors left
with no choice but to amputate toes and fingers.

In a place where life is harsh at any time, now it's a battle just to
survive. Even in Galina's apartment the temperature is below freezing.
Heating pipes that circulate water first froze, and then the radiators
exploded. "We're freezing," she says. "As long as I've lived I've never seen
such a winter."

Her family huddles in the only room with heat - a coal burning stove to warm
hands and food and dry laundry. The rest of the apartment is like a
refrigerator. The walls are coated in ice.

Other families have no running water. Svetlana and her husband Alexander and
daughter sleep together in one bed, in winter coats. An old electric heater
provides little comfort. Most of Alexander's $20 a month salary goes towards
buying gas to keep the stove burning through the night.

Why are people here freezing and in the dark? The power grid is so old; it
collapsed with the surge in demand. And they ran low on coal. Some areas
have been in the dark for 20 hour stretches. At the main power plant in
Vladivostock, a city with 750,000 people, trains carry emergency shipments
of coal. 
 
This fall only a quarter of the needed coal supplies arrived. The plant
director says it's only enough to heat the city for day or two at a time and
predicts blackouts could last till spring.

It's more than just a case of cold weather, local authorities are now being
blamed for a critical shortage of emergency heating supplies and the
prosecutor has taken out charges of criminal negligence against 17 power
company executives.
      
POLITICS AND PUTIN

Now, this energy crisis is sparking a political one. Residents like Svetlana
and Galina are so angry that they tried to block the Trans Siberian Railway,
demanding heat and power.

Angry too, President Vladimir Putin fired Russia's energy minister and
accused regional leaders of condemning people to death.

"Where are the resources? Where are the reserves?" Putin demanded. Putin has
sent in emergency troops to turn the heat back on. But it's a difficult
mission. At one school that's been closed since before Christmas, the
generator won't start and there are miles of frozen and ruptured pipes that
must be replaced.

So there's still no end to the bitter old for tens of thousands of families
like Galina's, who have ice creeping up the walls and not enough coal to
burn tonight.

Copyright 2001, MSNBC

===========
(2) DIRECT EVIDENCE FOR INCREASED GREENHOUSE GASES IN THE EARTH ATMOSPHERE

From EurekAlert, 14 March 2001
http://www.eurekalert.org/releases/icstm-fdo031601.html

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 14 MARCH 2001 AT 14:00 ET US

Contact: Taslima Khan
taslima.khan@ic.ac.uk
44-20-7594-6712
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

First, direct observational evidence of a change in the Earth's greenhouse
effect between 1970 and 1997

Scientists from Imperial College, London, have produced the first direct
observational evidence that the earth's greenhouse effect increased between
1970 and 1997.

Writing today in the journal Nature (1), researchers in the Department of
Physics show that there has been a significant change in the Earth's
greenhouse effect over the last 30 years, a finding which is consistent with
concerns over so-called 'radiative forcing' of the climate (2).

Previous studies in this area have depended on theoretical simulations
because of the lack of data. However the Imperial team reached their
conclusions after analysing data collected by two different earth-orbiting
spacecraft, in 1970 and 1997.

Comparison between the two data sets has unequivocally established that
significant changes in greenhouse gas emissions from the Earth have caused
the change to the planet's greenhouse effect over this time period.

Professor John Harries, the lead author of the paper says: "These unique
satellite spectrometer data collected 27 years apart show for the first time
that real spectral differences have been observed and that they can be
attributed to changes in green house gases over a long time period."

The team examined the infrared spectrum of long-wave radiation data from a
region over the Pacific Ocean, and also over the whole globe. They
discovered significant differences in the levels of atmospheric methane,
carbon dioxide, ozone and chlorofluorocarbons 11 and 12 between the data,
collected in 1970 and 1997.

"The scientists found that by taking the difference between the two sets of
data for the same region, they observed the change in the outgoing longwave
radiation, and therefore a change in the greenhouse trapping by the
atmosphere."

Although the two experiments were flown on separate spacecraft, 27 years
apart, the team showed that their comparison of outgoing infrared long-wave
radiation spectra is valid. Even allowing for the different spatial and
spectral resolutions of the two instruments, there are significant changes
in the spectra of the greenhouse gases of the Earth, over this time period.

The team took a number of steps to ensure that their data was reliable. The
effects of cloud cover were effectively removed by using a cloud-clearing
algorithm. The resulting two datasets were of comparable resolution and
representative of clear-sky conditions. To reduce 'noise' in the data, the
team selected several regions of the globe and calculated clear-sky average
spectra. To avoid seasonal artefacts they used only selected data from the
same 3-month period (April - June).

Dr Helen Brindley, second author on the paper says: "Through our modelling
studies using independent knowledge of the atmospheric state we have shown
that the magnitude of the changes observed can only be explained by
long-term changes in the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane,
and chlorofluorocarbons."

Professor Harries described the next challenges for the team: "The next step
is to assess whether these data can provide information about changes in not
only the greenhouse gas forcing, but the cloud feedback, which is a response
of the cloud field to that forcing.

"We must also work to test agreement with the general circulation models (3)
used in climate change experiments. These use basic knowledge of expected
changes in climate forcing (for example changes in greenhouse gas amounts,
solar constant) to predict the climate response.

"Since these are the models used to predict future climate, and influence
policy decisions, it is imperative that they can accurately simulate
measurements of what is considered to be the driving mechanism behind
climate change.

"We are only at the beginning of making use of these spectral observations.
Much more information is locked up in the data that we have. This provides a
strong motivation for the launch of similar instruments to monitor the state
of our climate."


###
For further information, please contact:

Dr Helen Brindley
Space and Atmospheric Physics Group
Blackett Laboratory
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Prince Consort Road
London, SW7 2BZ
Phone: 44-0-207-594-7665
Fax: 44-0-207-594-7900
Email: h.brindley@ic.ac.uk

Taslima Khan
Science Information Officer
Imperial College Press Office
Telephone: 44-0-20-7594-6712
Fax: 44-0-20-7594-6700
Email: taslima.khan@ic.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

1. Nature paper: 'Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the Earth's
outgoing longwave radiation spectra in 1970 and 1997.'

Authors: John E. Harries, Helen E. Brindley, Pretty J. Sagoo and Richard J.
Bantges. Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College, London

The data, treatment and analysis, and the model simulations were performed
in the Department of Physics at Imperial College, using computing facilities
of the Space and Atmospheric Physics Group.

The data was collected in 1970 by a NASA instrument (IRIS - InfraRed
Interferometric Spectrometer), on the Nimbus 4 spacecraft, between April
1970 and January 1971. From October 1996, the Interferometric Monitor of
Greenhouse Gases (IMG) instrument, on board the Japanese ADEOS satellite,
produced about 9 months of global observations of the spectrum of outgoing
longwave radiation.

2. Radiative forcing is a measure of the climate effect of greenhouse gases.
It is defined as: the change in average net radiation at the top of the
atmosphere because of a change in either solar or infrared radiation, where
net radiation is the difference between the net solar and the net infrared
components.

3. General circulation models are widely used in the scientific community as
tools to represent and predict current and future climate.

4. Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine is an independent
constituent part of the University of London. Founded in 1907, the College
teaches a full range of science, engineering, medical and management
disciplines at the highest level. The College is the largest applied science
and technology university institution in the UK, with one of the largest
annual turnovers (UKP339 million in 1999-2000) and research incomes (UKP176
million in 1999-2000). Web site at www.ic.ac.uk

==============
(3) GRENNHOUSE EFFECT SAID TO BE PROVED

From Yahoo! News, 14 March 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010314/sc/greenhouse_gases_1.html
 
By ALEX DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press Writer

A comparison of satellite data from 1970 and 1997 has yielded what
scientists say is the first direct evidence that so-called greenhouse gases
are building up in Earth's atmosphere and allowing less heat to escape into
space.

The study contains no evidence on whether Earth's surface temperature is
actually increasing. In fact, whether this greenhouse effect will lead to
global warming or global cooling is unclear, the scientists said.

That is because the greenhouse effect could start a cycle in which more
clouds are formed, stopping the sun's energy from reaching Earth's surface
in the first place, said John Harries, who led the study.

Scientists have long theorized that carbon dioxide and other waste gases are
increasing the trapping of heat close to Earth in what is called a
greenhouse effect.

Harries and his colleagues at London's Imperial College compared readings of
infrared light from the Earth's surface and found less was escaping into
space in 1997, specifically in the wavelengths known to be absorbed by
greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and ozone.

``We're absolutely sure, there's no ambiguity: This shows the greenhouse
effect is operating and what we are seeing can only be due to the increase
in the gases,'' Harries said.

Evidence was also found of smaller increases in chlorofluorocarbons,
refrigerants blamed for destroying the ozone layer that protects Earth from
ultraviolet radiation.

The study was reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

Atmospheric scientists not involved in the study said the satellite data
provide concrete confirmation that greenhouse gases are building up.

The findings come as the political debate intensifies over whether global
warming is a real danger.

A report released in January in China by an international panel predicted
global temperatures could rise as much as 10.5 degrees over the next
century, primarily because of pollution.

American and European environmental officials, however, have not been able
to agree on how to implement the 1997 Kyoto Protocol (news - web sites),
which calls for reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.

On Tuesday, President Bush (news - web sites) backed away from a campaign
pledge to regulate carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants, saying
mandatory controls would lead to higher electricity prices.

In the British study, the researchers compared data from the Japanese ADEOS
satellite, which produced about nine months of data starting in 1996, and
NASA (news - web sites)'s Nimbus 4 satellite between April 1970 and January
1971. Only clear-sky readings of the atmosphere over the central Pacific
were compared.

Drew Shindell, an atmospheric physicist at NASA's Goddard Institute for
Space Studies in New York, said the research should end the debate over the
greenhouse effect, but not over how to address the problem.

"One of the main things that cause people to be skeptical of global warming
is the lack of that real, definite connection between greenhouse gases and
the planet getting warmer," Shindell said. "This really gives concrete
evidence for the first time that greenhouse gases are changing the energy
balance of the planet."

He added: "I think for the people who would like to see the Kyoto Protocol
enacted this will strengthen their argument. The others might say, `Well,
yes, there's a greenhouse effect. But maybe it's really, really little, and
maybe there are other things that compensate.'"

While the greenhouse effect supposedly causes warming, that in turn
increases water vapor in the atmosphere, which affects the formation of
clouds, which can reflect the sun's energy back into space. The net effect
could be cooling, but more research is needed, Harries said.

"The effect of clouds on the planet is very complex, and frankly we don't
understand it," Harries said.

Scientists will have more opportunities to compare infrared data following
the launch by NASA later this year of a new satellite carrying the first of
the next generation of infrared instruments.

On the Net:

Harries' laboratory: http://www.highview.co.uk/00/34/003480.htm

NASA Goddard: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/radiation/

Copyright 2001, Yahoo! News

===========
(4) INCREASE IN GREENHOUSE GASES SEEN FROM SPACE

From Reuters, 15 March 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010314/sc/environment_climate_dc.html

By Patricia Reaney

LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists dispelled any lingering doubts about the
increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere Wednesday with new evidence
from satellites orbiting the Earth.

Until now researchers have depended on ground-based measurements and
theoretical models to gauge the change in greenhouse gases, believed by
scientists to be the cause of global warming and major climate disruption.

New sets of data taken 27 years apart from two satellites orbiting the Earth
have now provided the first observational evidence from space of a rise in
greenhouse gases.

"We've seen greenhouse gas increases that we can link to a change in
outgoing long-wave radiation, which is believed to force the climate
response," said Dr. Helen Brindley, an atmospheric physicist at Imperial
College in London.

By comparing the two sets of data, Brindley and her colleagues have shown a
change in greenhouse gas emissions from Earth over 27 years which is
consistent with ground-based measurements.

Real Differences Over 27 Years

The comparison of the data, reported in the science journal Nature, shows
real differences over 27 years in the outgoing long-wave radiation which can
only be due to greenhouse gases.

The scientists compared data for a region over the Pacific Ocean and the
entire globe to calculate the differences in the levels of atmospheric
methane, carbon dioxide (CO2), ozone and chlorofluorocarbons.

"Because we know where in the spectrum certain greenhouse gases are
observed, when we look at the changes between the two periods we can say
that change is due to changes in CO2 or methane," Brindley said in a
telephone interview.

"There has been quite a significant change over the past 30 years,
particularly in methane."

One of the most powerful greenhouse gases, methane, is emitted from landfill
sites and disused mines.

The scientists took into account the influence of clouds and seasonal
variations, so the changes they observed could only be explained by
long-term changes in greenhouses gases, they said.

"It's the first time that we have seen observationally that these changes
are really having an effect on the radiative forcing of the climate," said
Brindley.

Radiative forcing is the measure of the climate effects of greenhouse gases.

"Since these are the models used to predict future climate and influence
policy decisions, it is imperative that they can accurately simulate
measurements of what is considered to be the driving mechanism behind
climate change," said Professor John Harries, the first author of the Nature
study.

Without significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, scientists
estimate the Earth's temperature and sea levels will rise, leading to
increased flooding and drastic climate changes.

Industrialized nations agreed to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases
under a plan agreed in Kyoto, Japan in 1997 but talks in the Hague in
November to finalize details broke down.

Copyright 2001, Reuters

===========
(5) DOES THE EARTH HAVE AN ADAPTIVE INFRARED IRIS?

From Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: Vol. 82, No. 3, pp.
417-432.
http://ams.allenpress.com/amsonline/?request=get-abstract&issn=1520-0477&volume=082&issue=03&page=0417

Does the Earth Have an Adaptive Infrared Iris?
Richard S. Lindzen
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Ming-Dah Chou and Arthur Y. Hou
Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt,
Maryland

ABSTRACT

Observations and analyses of water vapor and clouds in the Tropics over the
past decade show that the boundary between regions of high and low
free-tropospheric relative humidity is sharp, and that upper-level cirrus
and high free-tropospheric relative humidity tend to coincide. Most current
studies of atmospheric climate feedbacks have focused on such quantities as
clear sky humidity, average humidity, or differences between regions of high
and low humidity, but the data suggest that another possible feedback might
consist of changes in the relative areas of high and low humidity and
cloudiness. Motivated by the observed relation between cloudiness (above the
trade wind boundary layer) and high humidity, cloud data for the eastern
part of the western Pacific from the Japanese Geostationary Meteorological
Satellite-5 (which provides high spatial and temporal resolution) have been
analyzed, and it has been found that the area of cirrus cloud coverage
normalized by a measure of the area of cumulus coverage decreases about 22%
per degree Celsius increase in the surface temperature of the cloudy region.
A number of possible interpretations of this result are examined and a
plausible one is found to be that cirrus detrainment from cumulus convection
diminishes with increasing temperature. The implications of such an effect
for climate are examined using a simple two-dimensional radiative-convective
model. The calculations show that such a change in the Tropics could lead to
a negative feedback in the global climate, with a feedback factor of about
-1.1, which if correct, would more than cancel all the positive feedbacks in
the more sensitive current climate models. Even if regions of high humidity
were not coupled to cloudiness, the feedback factor due to the clouds alone
would still amount to about -0.45, which would cancel model water vapor
feedback in almost all models. This new mechanism would, in effect,
constitute an adaptive infrared iris that opens and closes in order to
control the Outgoing Longwave Radiation in response to changes in surface
temperature in a manner similar to the way in which an eye's iris opens and
closes in response to changing light levels. Not surprisingly, for
upper-level clouds, their infrared effect dominates their shortwave effect.
Preliminary attempts to replicate observations with GCMs suggest that models
lack such a negative cloud/moist areal feedback.

İ Copyright by American Meteorological Society 2001

=========
"THE PLANET IS WARMING UP!"

From CO2 Science, 14 March 2001
http://www.co2science.org/edit/v4_edit/v4n11edit.htm

How do we know? Because someone who apparently dislikes the reports of
peer-reviewed science journal articles we post on our web site says so. Does
he have a better source of knowledge than we do? It's hard to say, but it
sure is easier to come by. All you have to do, he says, is "open your eyes"
because "the evidence is all around us."

Well, we thought, maybe there is an easier way to get to the bottom of the
whole global warming mess. Maybe we can just look around and see that it's
here.  So, being wed to the web, we thought we'd begin by checking out a
number of internet news sources to see what's happening around this
sweltering world of ours.

Our first stop was MSNBC, where we found a story by NBC News correspondent
Dana Lewis, who reports that "extreme cold has blasted Russia into the
coldest winter in a century."  From Siberia to the Far East, he says, there
have been bone-chilling temperatures some 30 degrees below normal, making it
"a battle just to survive." On the nightly television news, in fact, NBC's
Tom Brokaw said the political fallout of the inability of Russian officials
to cope with the disaster has reached all the way to the top of the
government, with President Putin firing Russia's energy minister and
accusing regional leaders of "condemning people to death," all because of
their failure to supply the populace of the regions worst hit by the cold
with the fossil fuels needed to produce warmth and electricity. As
correspondent Lewis asks, "why are people here freezing and in the dark?"
And as we would add, "especially if we are experiencing the warmest period
of the last thousand years, and since global warming is supposed to be the
most pronounced of all in Siberia." Clearly, something is rotten in more
than Denmark!

Checking a little further, we came across a report by Red Cross staff writer
Stephanie Kriner, who wrote about some other recent cold-induced disasters.
She reports that in the first week of January of this year, many people died
"as a result of a bitter cold front sweeping across northern India," which
brought "the coldest temperatures to hit the region in several years."
Kriner notes that the same cold front also swept into Pakistan, threatening
the lives of hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees. In China, she says,
"the worst winter weather conditions in decades" have left many people dead,
and that Barbara Wetsig of the American Red Cross fears thousands of other
people "are at risk of frostbite, hypothermia and starvation," especially
"the poor, homeless, elderly and children."  In fact, Kriner says that the
Inner Mongolian Branch of the Russian Red Cross estimates that "up to 1.35
million people are affected."  She also reports that "the worst snowstorm in
50 years" had stranded "tens of thousands of herders and their livestock" in
Inner Mongolia, that "blizzards have paralyzed South Korea" in what weather
forecasters there were describing as "the worst snowstorm in 20 years," and
that the Central Asian state of Kazakhstan has been subjected to "its
coldest winter weather in 40 years."

Two years earlier it was also especially cold.  Writing in The Times
Newspaper of 29 January 1999, Birgitte Hygen, reported that Scandinavians
were feeling the wrath of old man winter: "A severe cold snap has hit much
of Scandinavia, gripping Norway, Sweden and Finland in some of the lowest
temperatures recorded here this century."  In Northern Norway, the
temperature fell to minus 56°C, "the lowest for 100 years," while at
Karasjok, high in the Arctic Circle, it fell to minus 51.2°C, just
two-tenths of a degree short of the all-time record set in 1886.

MetLink International reports from that period were also enlightening.  One
of the network's respondents said that "the lowest temperature of the
century in Finland" was registered on January 27th in a village named
Kittila.  How cold was it?  There are reports that television reporters in a
city of comparable cold threw cups of warm water into the air and the water
"became a cloud of ice crystals before reaching the ground."  In terms most
of us are more familiar with, the temperature was a minus 51°C.  Then, in a
"cold weather update" the following day, a new low record temperature was
reported - minus 57°C - in another Finnish village.

Back in the United States, we also have a new record to crow about.  Last
November and December the country recorded its lowest two-month average
temperature ever.  That's right, the coldest such temperature that has ever
been measured in the 48 contiguous U.S. states, which is really an
accomplishment, considering that the buildup of urban heat islands that has
occurred over the past century or more has produced a several-degree warming
bias that has to be overcome merely to put modern thermometers on an equal
footing with those in use a hundred-plus years ago.  Viewed in this light,
the new low temperature record of the United States is incredibly
impressive.

So what do we see when we look around us?  At a time when we're told the
world is hotter than it's ever been in the past thousand years, we find
temperatures that are colder than they've ever been over the entire past
century of supposedly unprecedented global warming.  Furthermore, we find
these record low temperatures all around the world.  Yes, the man who
prompted our writing of this editorial was at least partly right; people
really do need to "open their eyes," for the evidence truly is "all around
us." As an impeccably astute observer of the human condition once suggested,
he that hath eyes to see, let him see.

Dr. Craig D. Idso
Dr. Keith E. Idso
 
Copyright İ 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


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