CCNet, 067/2000 - 9 June 2000


     "This document is an evangelistic statement about a coming
     apocalypse, not a scientific statement about the evolution of a
     complicated system with significant uncertainties."
           -- John Christy, climatologist at the University of

    YAHOO! News, 9 June 2000



    Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

    Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 

    R.N. Jones, CSIRO

    American Meteorological Society


From YAHOO! News, 9 June 2000

Rising Temps Forecast Changes

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - It's a grim forecast: Salmon quit running the
Columbia River as the cold water fish move farther north; sugar maples
in New England disappear; the barrier islands off the Carolinas are
swept away by higher seas.

These changes in landscape and ecosystem are but a few of the
projections outlined in the first-ever detailed "national assessment"
of what could be expected to occur in the United States - region by
region - if the nation's climate becomes 5 degrees to 10 degrees warmer
over the next 100 years.

The assessment, likely to be made public next week, is the product of
four years of study, numerous workshops and reviews by hundreds of
scientists both in and out of government who examined global warming's
likely regional impacts as well as its effect on human health,
agriculture, forests and coastal areas across the country.

Unlike other studies that have examined general global impacts, this
assessment was directed by Congress to focus on the United States

Critics argue the analysis is little more than guess work and that
computer climate models, heavily relied upon in the assessment,
cannot predict impacts on a regional basis.

"This document is an evangelistic statement about a coming apocalypse, 
not a scientific statement about the evolution of a complicated system
with significant uncertainties," John Christy, a climatologist at the
University of Alabama-Huntsville, wrote during a review of an early
draft of the 128-page overview.

Christy, who is among a group of scientists skeptical about the
likelihood of significant global warming, did not return telephone
calls seeking to know whether his views have changed about later

The overview report, a recent draft copy of which was obtained by The
Associated Press, acknowledges "significant uncertainties in the
science underlying climate-change impacts" particularly related to
human health. Still, it concludes "based on the best available
information, most Americans will experience significant impacts" from
the Earth's warming.

The forecast predicts "a complex mix of positive and negative impacts"
and concludes there may be surprises. "It is very likely that some
aspects and impacts of climate change will be totally unanticipated,"
the report says.

But the assessment predicts entire ecosystems likely will shift
northward as temperatures increase, and coastal areas will have to cope
with higher sea levels and the prospects of more frequent storms.
Cities will swelter in more frequent heat waves, and droughts will
become more likely in parts of the Midwest.

At the same time, the warmer, wetter climate will cause larger crop
yields for many farmers and cause tree growth to flourish in the
Northwest, although forests in the Southeast likely will break
into "a mosaic of forests, savannas and grasslands" and sugar maples
could disappear from the Northeast.

The warming will cause ocean levels to rise, causing barrier islands to
disappear and - when the geography allows - force wetlands and marshes
inland. But the Great Lakes are predicted to decline because of
increased evaporation, causing yet different problems.

Tree, fish and animal species will migrate northward everywhere.

In the Pacific Northwest, the salmon may shift farther north because of
the warmer streams and offshore waters and be replaced by warmer-water
species. And in Alaska the rising temperature is expected to cause
further thawing of permafrost, damaging roads and buildings.

Some coastal cities, faced with sea level rise and more frequent storm
surges, may have to redesign and adapt water, sewer and transportation
systems, the study says. It makes no attempt to estimate the costs of
such improvements.

An early draft of the overview summary was attacked in December as
having "an extreme, alarmist tone" on predicting impact on human
health. It since has been revised with more emphasis on the
uncertainties of predicting health impacts.

Nevertheless, the study says higher temperatures and increased rainfall
likely will exacerbate air pollution, saddle large cities with more
frequent and severe heat waves, and lead to the spread of waterborne or
insect-carrying diseases, including malaria in the Southeastern states.

In much of the country, winter will be much milder.. The result: fewer
opportunities to ski and more time for mountain hiking and other
mild-weather recreation. The warmer weather will reduce the mountain
snowpack, cutting summer runoff that feeds irrigation across much of
the West. More rain in the arid Southwest could bring new vegetation to
desert lands, but also more flash floods.

Copyright 2000, AP



June 6, 2000

Contact: Sharon Kanfoush
University of Florida

UF research shows Antarctic ice sheet was unstable in past warming

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- A research team led by University of Florida
geologists is the first to find evidence that parts of the Antarctic
ice sheet have undergone episodes of massive instability that appear to
correspond with periods of unusually warm temperatures in the Northern
Hemisphere during the last ice age.

The findings, which will appear in an article in the journal Science on
Friday, do not address the current debate over global warming and its
impact on the polar ice caps. But the research adds to a growing body
of evidence suggesting polar ice can undergo huge and rapid changes
that may be tied to climate, said Sharon Kanfoush, a UF graduate
student and lead researcher on the project.

"The fact that the ice sheet has behaved very dynamically in the past,
or undergone very rapid changes in the past, implies that such changes
are possible in the future," Kanfoush said.

Geologists have known for several years that the Northern Hemisphere
ice sheet has shed huge chunks of ice in the form of icebergs at
intervals of 1,000 years or more during the last period of glacial
advancement, which extended from about 60,000 to 20,000 years ago.
Researchers believe the ice sheet "calved" virtual armadas of icebergs
just before extreme climatic periods that, over Greenland, resulted in
as much as a 60-degree atmospheric temperature increases in 50 years.
The Northern Hemisphere ice sheet instability and subsequent warming
spikes have spurred considerable discussion and debate. Until the UF
work, however, no one had sought to broaden the issue by probing what
happened to the Antarctic ice sheet in the same glacial period, said
David Hodell, professor of geological sciences and the other UF
researcher on the team.

The team discovered that parts of the Antarctic ice sheet were unstable
during the warming spikes in the Northern Hemisphere.

Two factors may be at work, Hodell said. One, the higher temperatures
may have caused the Northern Hemisphere glaciers to melt, raising sea
levels and causing grounded ice in the seas near Antarctica to become
unstable. Alternatively, the higher temperatures may have altered the
circulation of global ocean currents, bringing more warm water to
Antarctica and causing its ice shelf to begin to break up.

Four massive icebergs broke off from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica
this spring, the latest of several iceberg events that have focussed
attention on global warming and its possible impact on Antarctica.
Hodell said the UF team's research has no direct bearing on the recent
events because the climate during the glacial-advancement period was
fundamentally different from the climate in the modern era of glacial

But Hodell added that if water temperature increases or rising sea
levels caused the Antarctic ice instability in the past, similar
increases could do the same today.

"You could make the analogy that finding these events during the last
glacial period suggests that these grounded ice shelves are inherently
unstable and susceptible to either temperature or sea level change," he

The team came to its conclusions based on analysis of sediment cores
from a series of sites in the southern Atlantic obtained on two
separate research cruises, including one cruise on the JOIDES
Resolution, a scientific research ship operated by the International
Ocean Drilling Program. The cores, samples of material from as far as
4,600 meters beneath the sea surface, contained large grains of quartz
derived from Antarctica as well as fragments of volcanic material. The
researchers concluded the minerals were deposited by melting icebergs
that had split off from Antarctica near the Weddell Sea, then drifted
north and east in the south Atlantic before melting. The Ocean Drilling
Program is an international research partnership of scientific
institutions and governments.

The other members of the research team are Christopher Charles and
Graham Mortyn, both with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the
University of California at San Diego; Thomas Guilderson of the
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif.; and
Ulysses Ninnemann of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia



Skeptical Climate Scientists Unite against IPCC

5 June 2000

By David Wojick

Last week's summit of skeptical climate scientists had harsh words for
the Third Assessment Report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (Electricity Daily, May 26). The scientists unanimously
claim that systematic errors and omissions, pervade the draft TAR.

A Capitol Hill crowd of about 150 heard the international group of
scientists pour on the criticism. The IPCC is deliberately ignoring
important science, and skewing what they do consider, the group says.

Several startling revelations came out at the meeting. Norway's Tom
Segalstad reported that early ice core analyses found preindustrial
carbon dioxide levels well over present amounts, indicating that there
may not in fact be a significant CO2 increase at all. "But," Segalstad
says, "these findings have been dropped from subsequent studies,
beginning about 1985, perhaps because they are not politically

Segalstad also noted that in order to get the "politically correct" low
CO2 levels in the ice cores to link up properly with more recent
atmospheric measurements, the age estimates had to be changed
significantly. "They decided the air in the ice was 95 years younger
than the ice it was in," he quips. Segalstad told Electricity Daily
that he has been harassed and threatened in Norway for making such

Prof. Fred Singer, who organized the summit, reported that tree ring
data does not show any warming in the last century, contradicting the
surface thermometer record.

Several speakers noted that there is no known way that the surface
temperature can be rising while the atmospheric temperature, as
measured by satellites, is not warming. "Greenhouse gas warming
must first occur high in the air, not near the ground. In fact,
atmospheric warming could increase evaporation and actually cool the
surface, but we see none of that," American scientist
Hugh Ellsaesser explains.

According to New Zealand's Vincent Gray, "The IPCC tries to prove that
the satellite and balloon records are wrong. It is much more likely
that these records are correct and the surface data are wrong." He
added, "The increased surface temperatures in the record are mostly in
cold climates in the dead of winter when we would expect the local heat
effect to be most prominent."

Germany's Peter Dietze presented his own alternative model which he
says incorporates many features ignored by the IPCC. According to
Dietze the IPCC errors are so gross that a relatively simple model is
sufficient to estimate their magnitude. "The IPCC's best guess for
warming due to CO2 doubling is a factor of 4 to 6 too high"

David Wojick, who chaired one of the panels, sums up the event saying
"if these scientists are right, then the IPCC's errors and omissions
are disgraceful." He notes that the 1000 page TAR itself, at the very
end, says "In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In
climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing
with a coupled non-liner chaotic system, and therefore that the
prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible." Wojick
quips that - "The IPCC should read its own last


From Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

1 June 2000

How Do Human Activities Affect Earth's Climate? Bob Dylan Said It Best:
The Answer is Blowin' in the Wind

"The effect of radiative forcing by anthropogenic aerosols is one of
the largest sources of uncertainty in climate prediction."  So wrote
Satheesh and Ramanathan (2000) in the 4 May issue of Nature in 
summarizing the results of their study of the effects of human-induced
pollution of the atmosphere over the tropical northern Indian Ocean.
Taking a cue from our father's long-standing quest to utilize "natural
experiments" to quantify the effects of various climate-perturbing
phenomena (Idso, 1998), the two researchers determined the clear-sky
radiative consequences of the December-to-April northeastern low-level
monsoonal flow of air that transports anthropogenic aerosols, including
sulphates, nitrates, organics, soot and fly ash, from the Indian
sub-continent and the south Asian region literally thousands of
kilometers over the entire north Indian Ocean and as far south as 10° S

So what did Satheesh and Ramanathan learn about the radiative
consequences of these aerosols?  In their own words, "mean clear-sky
solar radiative heating for the winters of 1998 and 1999 decreased at
the ocean surface by 12 to 30 Wm-2," which they suggested would likely
lead to a sizeable reduction of evaporation from the ocean's surface
and a significant decrease in the hydrologic cycle over a large portion
of the planet.  However, they also noted that the increased absorption
of solar radiation by the anthropogenic haze might be capable of
"burning off" low-level trade-wind cumulus clouds, which would allow
more solar radiation to reach and warm the ocean surface, counteracting
the consequences of the first perturbation.

Eight days later, in the 12 May issue of Science, Ackerman et al.
(2000) verified the speculations of Satheesh and Ramanathan regarding
low-level cumulus cloud burn-off. From data obtained over the same
oceanic region, they concluded that the anthropogenic haze of 1998
likely reduced fractional cloud coverage there by 25%, and that the
even heavier haze of 1999 may have reduced it by 40%.

These are large effects.  In fact, Schwartz and Buseck (2000) note that
the anthropogenic aerosol-induced clear-sky radiative forcing found by
Satheesh and Ramanathan is "three to seven times as great as global
average longwave (infrared) radiative forcing by increases in
greenhouse gases over the industrial period - but opposite in sign." 
Yet enhanced by the cloud burn-off effects of the aerosols, the total
warming effect may approach the magnitude of the cooling effect,
depending on a number of assumptions about the chemical and physical
characteristics of the aerosols.

The upshot of all these findings, in the words of Schwartz and Buseck,
is that "unfortunately for those who would like a quick and accurate
assessment of anthropogenic climate forcing over the industrial period,
the studies … demonstrate that there is much to be learned before such
an assessment can confidently be given."

Clearly, as all involved in these studies have unhesitatingly affirmed,
we are far from knowing even the sign of the net anthropogenic impact
on climate since we began to mine and burn coal, gas and oil in
prodigious quantities. Yet whoever is responsible for the ultimate
synthesis of the massive IPCC reports continues to claim that the
balance of evidence suggests a human impact on earth's climate over
this period, which is further claimed to be an unprecedented warming of
the globe.

Where is the attention of these folks to the findings of studies such
as these, which clearly demonstrate that we are not yet anywhere close
to being able to make such a stunning determination?  In contemplating
this question, all we can do is shake our heads and ask, Where's

Dr. Craig D. Idso

Dr. Keith E. Idso
Vice President

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.

Idso, S.B.  1998.  CO2-induced global warming: a skeptic's view of
potential climate change.  Climate Research 10: 69-82.

Satheesh, S.K. and Ramanathan, V.  2000.  Large differences in tropical
aerosol forcing at the top of the atmosphere and Earth's surface. 
Nature 405: 60-63.

Schwartz, S.E. and Buseck, P.R. 2000. Absorbing phenomena. Science 288:

Copyright © 2000.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global


From Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

The Greenland Ice Sheet and Sea Level Rise of the Last Interglacial

Cuffey, K.M. and Marshall, S.J.  2000.  Substantial contribution to
sea-level rise during the last interglacial from the Greenland ice
sheet.  Nature 404: 591-594.

Hvidberg, C.S.  2000.  When Greenland ice melts.  Nature 404: 551-552.

What was done

Previous model estimates of the Greenland ice sheet's contribution to
sea level rise during the last interglacial were one to two meters. 
Cuffey and Marshall reevaluated these estimates based on a
recalibration of oxygen-isotope-derived temperatures from central
Greenland ice cores.

What was learned

The results of Cuffey and Marshall's model analysis suggest that the
Greenland ice sheet was much smaller during the last interglacial than
previously thought. Melting of the ice sheet, they estimate,
contributed somewhere between four and five and a half meters to sea
level rise.

What it means

One of the major concerns of believers in CO2-induced global warming is
that rising global temperatures may result in the rapid melting and
collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. However, according to
Hvidberg, Cuffey and Marshall's results imply that "high sea levels
during the last interglacial should not be interpreted as evidence for
extensive melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and so challenges
the hypothesis that the West Antarctic is particularly sensitive to
climate change." Nevertheless, the possibility exists that sea levels
in the present interglacial may rise to the height of those of the last
interglacial as a result of a major shrinking of the Greenland ice
sheet. Such a scenario does not bode well for coastal populations, but
Cuffey and Marshall estimate that the widespread melting of the
Greenland ice sheet took place over the course of a few millennia,
which, according to Hvidberg, draws a "less dramatic picture than the
suggested collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, with its
accompanying rapid increase in sea level."

Reviewed 1 June 2000
Copyright © 2000. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global


R.N. Jones: Analysing the risk of climate change using an irrigation
demand model. CLIMATE RESEARCH, 2000, Vol.14, No.2, pp.89-100


Due to the high degree of uncertainty accompanying projections of
greenhouse-induced climate change, specific impacts cannot be predicted
with any accuracy. At best, a range of projected climate change bounded
by its high and low extremes can be used to produce a range of impacts,
results that are often too broad to be of practical use in planning for
adaptation and mitigation. However, by addressing outcomes in the
initial stages of an impact assessment through the construction of
user-defined thresholds, it is possible to identify outcomes that
should either be avoided, in the case of a negative impact, or aimed
for, in the case of a positive impact. By quantifying these thresholds
as functions of key climatic variables, and creating projections for
these variables that take account of a comprehensive range of
quantifiable uncertainties, the risk of threshold exceedance can be
analysed. This information can then be used in a risk assessment to
identify windows for adaptation, describing the timing and degree of
adaptation needed to prevent 'dangerous' climate change occurring for a
particular activity. This procedure is illustrated through the use of
an irrigation demand model for perennial pasture, based on data
collected from a farm in northern Victoria, Australia. Seasonal
water-use is used to estimate an annual farm cap of 12 M1 ha(-1) based
on the annual water right. The exceedance of this farm cap in 50% of
years is taken to represent a critical threshold beyond which the
farmer cannot adapt. The method of risk analysis utilises projected
ranges of regional rainfall and temperature change, combined with a
sensitivity analysis, to construct risk response surfaces. Monte Carlo
sampling is used to scale 100 yr of weather-generated data to calculate
the probability of the annual farm cap being exceeded across ranges of
temperature and rainfall change projected at 10 yr intervals from 2000
to 2100. Based on the model projections of changing water demand, some
degree of adaptation is indicated by 2030, although the theoretical
critical threshold is not approached until 2050. This procedure
represents a considerable advance in 'bottom up' studies where the
impact on a specific activity is being addressed. It provides a basis
for the planning of adaptation measures and can potentially contribute
to the assessment of dangerous climate change as required by the UN
Framework Convention for Climate Change. Copyright 2000, Institute for
Scientific Information Inc.


From The American Meteorological Society

Symposium held at the 81st AMS Annual Meeting 14—19 January 2001,
                 Albequerque, New Mexico

Every year our nation seems to experience more weather extremes and
record heat. Is this the impact of global warming or just the effects
of natural climate variability? Have we experienced such extremes in
the past? What are the societal impacts of climate variability? Can
some of this variability be forecast, and if so, how can this
information be used to mitigate the impacts of weather-related natural
disasters and to derive economic and social benefits?

The past few decades have seen an explosion of research in a variety of
fields into these topics, and answers to some of these questions are
slowly coming into view. The ocean plays a central role in producing
climate variations and enabling seasonal and longer-term forecasts.
This variability also has strong impacts on marine ecosystems and in
the coastal zone where much of our population has moved in recent
years. The past decades of research have led to routine seasonal
forecasts that are primarily based on an understanding of the El
Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomena. What will the future hold?
One can anticipate that only the surface has been scratched in terms of
using this technology and understanding in diverse applications and in
continued improvements to the forecasting capability.

This multidisciplinary symposium focuses on many of the questions
raised in the previous paragraph. It is organized around invited and
solicited papers with extensive use of poster sessions for recent
research results. Sessions are organized by timescale, that is, taking
an end-to-end look at the ocean’s role in producing societal impacts
through impacting climate variability for the distant past
(paleoclimates), the present (which is being impacted by seasonal to
interannual and decadal climate variability), long-term trends, and the
future under different global change scenarios.

The intent is to bring together experts from climate science,
oceanography, and users from social and economic sectors to assess the
lessons learned from the past and present climate for the future.
Topics to be discussed include future requirements for ocean observing
systems; main research threads that need to be followed, which are
increasingly becoming more interdisciplinary; the status and future of
climate information and forecasts; and what modes on interaction should
be developed between users and producers of climate information. Of
special interest would be contributions that help put in perspective
the climate extremes the United States has experience over the past few
years, for example, record-setting monthly and seasonal temperatures,
extreme events, an apparent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity,
and enhanced drought activity.

Oral presentations should offer to review or summarize any of the major
topic areas and these will be drawn both from invited and solicited
papers. Poster presentations should contain more focused, cutting-edge
research contributions. Contributions are encouraged in the following
end impacts areas:

* climate and the fall of civilizations,
* droughts through the ages,
* use of climate information for disaster mitigation and economic
* climate impacts in the coastal zone,
* impacts on marine ecosystems,
* impacts on ecosystems and health, and
* the potential societal impacts of global change.

In the areas of climate variability, contributions are sought for
paleoclimate reconstruction of the ocean–atmosphere system; abrupt
regime shifts; the major modes of climate variability such as ENSO, the
Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Arctic Oscillation (the North Atlantic
Oscillation); climate forecast system; and coupled systems for assessing
global change. For the role of the ocean, contributions are sought for
the role of the ocean in producing climate variations on all the
timescales, the role of the ocean in the carbon cycle, requirements for
ocean observing system required to understand and document global
climate variability, the global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment,
systems to assess change in the coastal oceans, and trends toward
interdisciplinary observing systems. Solicitations are also sought for
topics that might not have been mentioned but are in the spirit of the


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