PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet CLIMATE SCARES & CLIMATE CHANGE, 4 July 2001
--------------------------------------------------


"All computer models fail to factor in the (inevitable) invention of
newer, better technologies, changing social customs, or the discovery of
new resources. The notion that a system as complex as a single storm
can be meaningfully modelled with a Pentium chip, or even a bank of
Crays, is absurd; to claim to have modelled the entire biosphere is to
declare oneself a fool, one short step above someone who thinks Myst is a
real world."
--Spider Robinson, The Globe and Mail, 30 June 2001


"The best we can do is to see how global climate and the environment
are changing, keep comparing that with predictions, adjust the models
and gradually increase our confidence. Only that will distinguish our
predictions from those of fortunetellers."
-- Syrukuro Manabe, The New York Times, 3 July 2001


"A team of researchers led by the Georgia Institute of Technology
has found a surprisingly high level of an air-purifying chemical (or
oxidizing agent) in the near-surface atmosphere over the South Pole.
The finding has implications for interpreting historical global
climate records stored in Antarctic ice cores."
--Jane Sanders, National Center for Atmospheric Research


"The importance of the facts presented in these papers resides in
the demonstration that the warming of the earth since the termination of
the Little Ice Age is not at all unusual or different from other
climate changes of the past millennium and beyond, when atmospheric CO2
concentrations were quite stable, much lower than at present, and obviously
not responsible for the observed variations in climate, which suggests
that the warming of the past century or so need not be due to the
contemporaneous increase in atmospheric CO2. In this regard, Tyson
et al. make a point of noting that the Little Ice Age coincided with a
period of low solar activity, while the Medieval Warm Period coincided with
a period of high solar activity, suggesting that there may be a solar
forcing involved in the development and sustaining of these climatic
regimes."
--CO2 Science Magazine, 4 July 2001


(1) NASA SELECTS PROPOSALS TO STUDY CARBON CYCLE & CARBON SINKS
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(2) NEW FINDINGS SUGGEST THAT ICE-CORE RECORDS MAY BE FLAWED
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(3) PIONEERING EXPERIMENTS TESTING EFFECTS OF GREENHOUSE GASES ON CROPS
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(4) WATER VAPOUR AND CLOUDS COUNTERACT GLOBAL WARMING
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(5) CLIMATE RESEARCH: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL
    The New York Times, 3 July 2001

(6) TROPOSPHERIC OZONE AND CLIMATE FORCING
    CO2 Science Magazine, 4 July 2001

(7) TEMPERATURE TRENDS: AFRICA
    CO2 Science Magazine, 4 July 2001

(8) RAINFALL TRENDS IN EAST ASIA
    CO2 Science Magazine, 4 July 2001

(9) EFFECTS OF INCREASED ATMOSPHERIC CO2 ON GRASSLAND
    CO2 Science Magazine, 4 July 2001

(10) CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH AT ARMAGH OBSERVATORY
     Armagh Observatory, 15 June 2001

(11) HOW FORESTS, CROPLAND AND PASTURE RECYCLE CARBON
     Greening Earth Society, 29 June 2001

(12) COMMENTARY OF THE WEEK: THE ISLE OF THE DEAD - 160 YEARS ON
     John-Daly.com, 1 July 2001

(13) METHANE & SNOWBALL EARTH
     S. Fred Singer <singer@sepp.org>

(14) AND FINALLY: GLOBAL WARMING - COMPUTER MODELS ARE JUST SLEIGHT OF HAND
     The Globe and Mail, 30 June 2001


=========
(1) NASA SELECTS PROPOSALS TO STUDY CARBON CYCLE & CARBON SINKS

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

David E. Steitz
Headquarters, Washington, DC               July 3, 2001
(Phone:  202/358-1730)

RELEASE:  01-129

NASA SELECTS PROPOSALS TO STUDY EARTH'S ENVIRONMENT

What element do some researchers jokingly call the "triple whammy" or the
"complete trifecta"? It's carbon -- not only the very basis of life, but
also the principal source of fossil fuel energy supporting the economy and a
key factor in controlling global climate.

NASA will learn much more about the global carbon cycle through 80 research
grants valued at approximately $50 million over the next three years that
will look at everything from forest health in the U.S. to the role oceans
play as the planet's "air filters."

Carbon-containing molecules are a key factor in global warming -- carbon
dioxide and methane are the two most important "greenhouse gases" that can
affect temperatures around the world. Combustion of fossil fuels, use of
land for agriculture or industry, and human interaction with the environment
all play a part in how Earth's climate "behaves." Through these awards,
researchers will take advantage of the unique vantage point of space and
space-age technology to look at the planet and how the global climate works.


"These proposals represent the leading edge of research on the carbon cycle
and how it affects our climate. The Administration is committed to providing
sound science to government and industry leaders upon which decisions about
human stewardship of the Earth can be made," said Dr. Ghassem Asrar,
Associate Administrator for Earth Science, NASA Headquarters, Washington,
DC.

"We know that about half of the carbon dioxide released by humans is
absorbed by Earth's oceans and lands. These investigations will help
scientists and policy-makers better understand if this will be true in the
decades to come," Asrar said.

"A solid understanding of how carbon cycles act among land, atmosphere and
oceans will provide a vital key to reliable projections of carbon levels of
the future, and hence a better understanding of what role humans are playing
in Earth's climate system. Combined with advances in computational-modeling
capabilities, and in teaming with other government agencies and
international partners, NASA will advance short-term and seasonal weather
forecasting capabilities and create an accurate projection of longer-term
climate change around the globe. This research also will benefit our
short-term weather and seasonal-prediction capabilities," Asrar said.

The grants will go to researchers at universities, government laboratories
and other organizations and will investigate virtually all aspects of the
carbon cycle. Scientists will use everything from advanced computers,
satellites and lasers to aircraft and other conventional tools to carry out
these studies. Applications scientists will extend the benefits of this
research to a variety of end users. NASA received 288 proposals in response
to the research announcement made in 2000.

A complete listing of the research projects and their principal
investigators can be found on the Internet at: http://research.hq.nasa.gov/

More information on NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research
effort dedicated to understanding how human-induced and natural change
affects the global environment,
can be found at: http://earth.nasa.gov

=============
(2) NEW FINDINGS SUGGEST THAT ICE-CORE RECORDS MAY BE FLAWED

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

RESEARCH NEWS & PUBLICATIONS OFFICE
Georgia Institute of Technology
430 Tenth Street, N.W., Suite N-116
Atlanta, Georgia 30318 USA

MEDIA RELATIONS CONTACTS:
Jane Sanders
404-894-2214   Fax: 404-894-6983
E-mail: jane.sanders@edi.gatech.edu
or
John Toon
404-894-6986   Fax: 404-894-4545
E-mail: john.toon@edi.gatech.edu

TECHNICAL CONTACTS:
Doug Davis
Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
404-894-4008; E-mail: douglas.davis@eas.gatech.edu
or
Fred Eisele
National Center for Atmospheric Research
303-497-1483; E-mail: eisele@ucar.edu

Writer: Jane Sanders

June 18, 2001

Another Antarctic Atmosphere Surprise: Scientists Find Evidence of Highly
Oxidizing Environment Over the South Pole

More than 15 years after the discovery of an ozone hole in the stratrosphere
over the Antarctic, the remote continent is yielding another atmospheric
surprise.

A team of researchers led by the Georgia Institute of Technology has found a
surprisingly high level of an air-purifying chemical (or oxidizing agent) in
the near-surface atmosphere over the South Pole. The finding has
implications for interpreting historical global climate records stored in
Antarctic ice cores.

The summertime 24-hour average value of the primary atmospheric oxidant --
known as the hydroxyl (OH) radical -- at the South Pole is higher than that
estimated from OH measurements recorded at the equator. The researchers will
report their findings this fall in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.


The OH radical is widely recognized as vital to scrubbing pollution and
naturally occurring chemicals from the air throughout the globe; it prevents
a buildup of toxic levels of these substances.

"What we now know is that the near-surface atmospheric zone called the mixed
layer (from the surface upward to between 20 to 200 meters) is a highly
oxidizing environment at the South Pole," says Doug Davis, one of the lead
researchers and a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Earth and
Atmospheric Sciences. "Equally exciting, we are beginning to see evidence
that a lot of this oxidizing chemistry is also occurring down in the
snowpack. Thus, once things get buried in the snow, there continues to be
active chemistry -- including oxidation -- that could further modify
chemical species before they are trapped in the ice in their final chemical
forms."

This finding suggests that glacio-chemists -- who study climate change based
on an analysis of trace chemicals trapped in polar ice -- have to be far
more careful in their interpretation of Antarctic ice cores, says Davis,
whose research team is funded by the National Science Foundation. Changes in
some chemical species buried may continue for another five to 10 years after
they are trapped in the snowpack. Davis expects that scientists will soon
focus more attention on this topic.

"Snow release of nitric oxide, which leads to the formation of OH, can in
principle occur anywhere globally where there are accumulations of nitrate
ions in ice and there is also solar radiation," Davis says. "Other
researchers have found evidence of this phenomenon in Summit, Greenland, and
Alert, Canada. What makes the South Pole unique is that the levels of nitric
oxide and other nitrogen oxides are nearly an order of magnitude higher than
anywhere else.

"But any significant elevation of nitric oxide at any snow-covered location
should result in an enhancement of OH," Davis adds. "And, anytime you are
producing higher levels of OH, it means this chemistry is having some local
or regional impact. The final global impact from this chemistry, however, is
still unknown."

At the South Pole, researchers recorded OH radical levels over a 24-hour
period; the average measurement was about 2 X 10**6 molecules per cubic
centimeter of air several days during their December 1998 to January 1999
expedition and again from December 2000 to January 2001. These measurements
are nearly an order of magnitude higher than what they originally expected
to find based on their Antarctic coastal measurements of nitric oxide, Davis
says.

To measure OH, the scientists used the selected-ion chemical-ionization mass
spectrometer (SICIMS) technique, which in the early 1990s became the first
sensitive method for measuring this radical. Georgia Tech Adjunct Professor
Fred Eisele, the other lead researcher for this project, developed the
SICIMS technique at Tech. Eisele is also a senior research associate at the
National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

To measure nitric oxide (NO), researchers used the well-established
chemiluminescence technique with modifications to improve its sensitivity by
an order of magnitude. Nitric oxide, also a radical, is a byproduct of
internal combustion engines. But Davis and his co-workers believe NO is
formed at the South Pole when ultraviolet radiation interacts with nitrate
ions. Scientists are not certain about the source of the nitrate, but it
could originate from stratospheric denitrification processes and the
long-range transport of nitric acid formed at low latitudes during
electrical storms.

Although the factors that cause NO levels at the South Pole to exceed 550
parts per trillion by volume of air (pptv) are still under investigation,
Davis believes the most important factor is the atmospheric mixing depth at
the South Pole. This depth seems to be highly variable at the pole and is
sometimes no more than 25 meters above the surface. The Davis team's latest
results indicate large fluctuations in atmospheric levels of NO without
major changes in NO levels within the snowpack.

Elevated levels of NO (20 to 550 pptv) in the near-surface atmosphere react
with the hydroperoxyl radical -- a less reactive oxidizing agent than OH --
and are converted to OH and nitrogen dioxide. The latter reacts with OH to
produce nitric acid, which can return to the snow, thus forming a closed
cycle.

"It's not that this is new chemistry," Davis explains. "Most of the time in
the background remote atmosphere where NO levels are typically less than 10
pptv, a large fraction of the hydroperoxyl radical reacts with itself and
creates hydrogen peroxide, which is lost to the surface. But at the South
Pole, in the presence of this large source of nitric oxide, the hydroperoxyl
radical predominantly reacts with NO to generate the more reactive OH
radical. Everybody tends to associate nitric oxide levels with combustion,
thus the South Pole is one of the last places on earth that you might expect
to find nitric oxide in such large concentrations."

Davis and his colleagues discovered the high NO and OH radical levels in
their funded research project to study sulfur chemistry. The project, called
ISCAT, for the Investigation of Sulfur Chemistry in the Antarctic
Troposphere, began in 1994 with an expedition to Palmer Station on the
Antarctic Palmer Peninsula. Specifically, the scientists are working to more
fully understand the oxidation of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) under the cold
conditions and high latitudes of Antarctica. This information will also help
glacio-chemists better interpret sulfate and methane sulfonate
concentrations incorporated into the continent's 400,000-year-old ice
records, Davis says.

Sulfate is a chemical signature for both southern hemispheric volcanic
activity and major fluctuations in phytoplankton populations in the Southern
Ocean that surrounds Antarctica. Phytoplankton lead to the release of DMS
from the ocean, part of which is oxidized by OH to sulfate. Methane
sulfonate is formed only from DMS.

Antarctic ice cores have revealed clear evidence of major volcanic activity
in the Southern Hemisphere, and together with methane sulfonate, evidence of
glacial and interglacial periods in the earth's climate history. The level
of DMS is a chemical indicator of biomass production in the Southern Ocean,
which, in turn, reflects both water temperature and solar radiation, Davis
explains. So a more comprehensive understanding of DMS chemistry around and
on the Antarctic should provide valuable information in studying past
climate changes, he adds.

Based on the results of the sulfur chemistry studies led by Eisele and
former Georgia Tech Research Institute scientist Harald Berresheim at Palmer
in 1994, Davis and his colleagues moved their ISCAT research to the South
Pole. They expected to record significant atmospheric transport of sulfate
and DMS from the coast to the pole, which is 10,000 feet above sea level.

"Well, our initial hypothesis was wrong, and we found out why when went to
the South Pole," Davis explains. "There was very little unreacted DMS that
reached the South Pole because of the very high levels of OH in the
near-surface air at the South Pole -- and perhaps more importantly -- over
the entire polar plateau."

Elevated NO maintains a highly oxidizing environment on the polar plateau 24
hours a day, Davis says. The OH radical oxidizes most of the DMS before it
reaches the South Pole.

"The oxidizing environment at the South Pole is truly astounding," Davis
says. "We didn't expect it. And, initially, it made no sense. Nobody had the
foggiest notion what was going on.... It was like finding some distant
planet's atmosphere plugged into Earth's atmosphere, but having it limited
to only the Antarctic polar plateau."

The researchers hope to make more sense of their data as they analyze
measurements from their 2000-01 trip during the next year. Already, Davis'
colleague, Associate Professor Greg Huey, may have identified a new
atmospheric nitrogen oxide species in the Antarctic troposphere. The
research team hopes to return to Anarctica in 2003 to continue its study.
Other institutions represented in the ISCAT team are the National Center for
Atmospheric Research, New Mexico State University, the University of
California at Irvine, Drexel University, the University of Minnesota, the
University of New Hampshire and Arizona State University.

[NOTE: Images supporting this release are available at
http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/newsrelease/SPOLE.html]

==========
(3) PIONEERING EXPERIMENTS TESTING EFFECTS OF GREENHOUSE GASES ON CROPS

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

News Bureau
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
807 South Wright Street. Suite 520 East
Champaign, Illinois 61820-6219
Telephone 217 333-1085, Fax 217 244-0161

Contact:
Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor
(217) 333-5802; b-james3@uiuc.edu

7/1/2001

Pioneering experiments testing effects of greenhouse gases on crops

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Portions of 40 acres of University of Illinois farmland
this summer are sprouting soybeans grown in the presence of carbon dioxide
levels forecast for the year 2050. Next summer, elevated levels of ozone
will join the mix in a first-of-its-kind experiment called SoyFACE.

"When you consider the importance of the Midwest in terms of global food
security, it is important to do this research here," said Stephen P. Long, a
photosynthesis expert and the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology at
the UI. "Up to now, experiments related to global warming on many crops have
been done in locations on the periphery of major food production areas."

Researchers want to know how soybeans may be affected, and what scientists
might do to assure the integrity of yields and quality as the climate
changes. By 2050, carbon dioxide levels are expected to be about 1.5 times
greater than the current 370 parts per million, while daytime ozone levels
during the growing season could peak on average at 80 parts per billion (now
60 parts per billion).

SoyFACE (Free Air gas Concentration Enrichment) is the first test of crop
growth in the presence of both increased carbon dioxide and ozone. Five UI
departments, the USDA-ARS and Illinois State Water Survey, as well as
researchers from four other nations and two other U.S. universities are
participating this summer. Four control and four experimental
70-foot-diameter rings currently surround 24 varieties of soybeans. The
experimental rings have ABS plastic pipes that deliver at crop level a
precisely regulated flow of carbon dioxide, based on wind speed and
direction, pumped from a 50-ton solar-powered tank.

Next summer, soybeans will grow on an adjacent 40 acres dotted with 24 of
the octagon-shaped rings. Four rings will pump carbon dioxide, four will
provide just ozone and four will provide ozone and carbon dioxide. Natural
conditions will exist in an equal number of control rings for each test.
Also next summer, eight more rings, including four experimental rings
delivering carbon dioxide, will be placed among corn, which will be rotated
into the 40 acres being used this year for soybeans.

Soybeans are sensitive to ozone. In August 1999, for instance, levels in
central Illinois exceeded the crop threshold for damage on 28 days.
Greenhouse experiments suggest a 50 percent loss in crop yield under
constant 2050 levels. Greenhouse work has shown increases in yields under
elevated carbon dioxide. This experiment, Long said, will provide insight as
to what happens in real field conditions.

Long, crop scientist Donald R. Ort and plant biologist Evan H. DeLucia head
the project. Tim Mies, a research engineer in crop sciences who led the
SoyFACE construction, is site manager. Tai Tran, an undergraduate student,
designed the ozone system with a grant from the UI Environmental Council, a
program that coordinates and supports environment-based research, teaching
and public service. The Illinois Council for Food and Agricultural Research,
Archer Daniels Midland Co., USDA-ARS and the U.S. Department of Energy
provided initial funding for the work.

[NOTE: An image supporting this release is available at
http://www.news.uiuc.edu/scitips/01/07co2.html]

==========
(4) WATER VAPOUR AND CLOUDS COUNTERACT GLOBAL WARMING

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

[ http://www.nature.com/nsu/010705/010705-7.html ]

Tuesday, 3 July 2001

The Earth's climate depends less on the Sun than we might think.
By PHILIP BALL

If the Sun got hotter, would we care? Probably not, according to Hsien-Wang
Ou of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. Water, he
suggests, minimizes the climatic effects of a cooler or warmer sun [1].

The Sun has got about 30 percent hotter since the world began. Four billion
years ago it was a younger star, and burned less brightly. Geological
imprints of global temperatures at that time indicate that our planet was
then warm enough to support liquid water. Global average temperatures seem
not to have varied much in either direction since then.

Somehow the planet has stayed indifferent to the Sun's changes.

Some explain this so-called 'faint young sun paradox' by assuming that the
early atmosphere contained more greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide,
which trapped a greater proportion of solar heat. Ou thinks that such
considerations may not be necessary.

Water alone is enough to buffer the global temperature against reduced or
increased solar heating, he says. Water establishes lower and upper
boundaries on how far the temperature can drift from today's.

Water vapour is, in fact, the most important greenhouse gas, although unlike
carbon dioxide it is not produced directly in large amounts by human
activity. Most water vapour in the atmosphere is the result of evaporation
from the oceans. As long as the oceans do not freeze, says Ou, there will
always be plenty of water vapour in the air, mitigating the effect of a
dimmer Sun.

As the Sun warms, we might expect the effects of water vapour to increase,
as more water will evaporate and enhance the greenhouse effect. In Ou's
model, however, clouds counteract such warming. More water vapour in the air
enhances cloud formation; clouds reflect sunlight, and so can offset an
increase in solar output.

Some previous studies have argued that clouds can act as a kind of climate
thermostat. Ou's model treats the climatic effects of clouds in much more
detail.

He takes into account the fact that there are, crudely speaking, two
different kinds of cloud -- high and low -- which affect climate
differently. Strong updrafts of warm, moist air form high clouds close to
the top of the troposphere (at a height of about 15 kilometres). Flat, low
clouds form closer to the ground.

In a warmer climate caused by a hotter Sun, high clouds become less
extensive and the amount of low cloud increases, Ou calculates. Overall,
this counteracts warming because of sunlight reflection.

Even if the Sun became 50 percent more intense, the average temperature
would rise by only 10 degrees -- a significant change, but not nearly as
great as that without water's moderating influence.

However, this is unlikely to be the whole story. Some researchers believe
that all or most of the oceans froze over at some time in the past. Ou's
model does not apply to an ice-bound planet, and he has not looked at how
increases in other greenhouse gases would effect global warming.

References

[1] Ou, H.-W.Possible bounds on the Earth's surface temperature: from the
    perspective of a conceptual global-mean model. Journal of Climate, 14,
    2976 - 2988, (2001).

Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2001

==========
(5) CLIMATE RESEARCH: THE DEVIL IN IN THE DETAIL

From The New York Times, 3 July 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/03/science/03CLIM.html?ex=995172097&ei=1&en=10bf2eec79babea8

By ANDREW C. REVKIN
 
In 1922, Dr. Lewis Fry Richardson, a British physicist with a penchant for
grand ideas, described how to forecast the behavior of the atmosphere.

He had details wrong but the basic concept right: a suite of equations that,
when applied to measurements of heat, cloudiness, humidity and the like,
could project how those factors would change over time.

There was one grand problem. To predict weather 24 hours in advance, he
said, 64,000 people with adding machines would have to work nonstop - for 24
hours.

Dr. Richardson pined for a day "in the dim future" when it might be possible
to calculate conditions faster than they evolved. That dim future is now.
But while much has changed, much remains the same.

Supercomputers have answered Dr. Richardson's plea. Weeklong weather
forecasts are generally reliable. But long-term climate predictions are
still limited by the range of processes that affect the earth's atmosphere,
from the chemistry of the microscopic particles that form cloud droplets to
the decades-long stirrings of the seas.

With its oceans, shifting clouds, volcanoes and human emissions of
heat-trapping gases and sun-blocking haze, earth remains a puzzle, said Dr.
Michael E. Schlesinger, who directs climate research at the University of
Illinois at Urbana- Champaign.

"If you were going to pick a planet to model, this is the last planet you
would choose," he said.

So even as the evidence grows that earth's climate is warming and that
people are responsible for at least part of the change, the toughness of the
modeling problem is often cited by those who
oppose international action to cut the emissions of heat-trapping gases.

And while American research centers once dominated this effort, they have
recently fallen behind others overseas.

By many accounts, the dominant research effort is now at the Hadley Center
for Climate Prediction and Research, 30 miles west of London. More than 100
scientists there are using extremely powerful computers just to explore
long-term questions. Several recent studies by the National Academy of
Sciences found that other countries had provided superior supercomputers for
advanced climate research.

The academy found that efforts in the United States were hurt in the 1990's
by a Commerce Department tariff of 450 percent on Japanese supercomputers.
The tariff was lifted this spring.

The results are vexing for American scientists, said Dr. Maurice Blackmon,
director of climate studies at the National Center for Atmospheric Research
in Boulder, Colo.

Last week, Dr. Blackmon said in an interview, he met a climatologist from a
Swiss university who was preparing to run a copy of the Boulder laboratory's
most sophisticated model on a supercomputer in Bern "six to eight times
faster than we can here."

"That's the definition of frustration," Dr. Blackmon said.

Even with the best computers, though, important parts of the climate puzzle
still elude both the machines and the theoreticians, although progress is
being made.

Dozens of mathematical models of the atmosphere and things that affect it
are being applied to the problem. The most ambitious of these - about 20 or
so around the world - simulate not only the air but also the oceans and,
increasingly, other dynamic features of the planet: its shifting sea ice and
glaciers, its cloak of vegetation, its soils.

These imagined earths are generated by supercomputers that tear through
decades in a day, creating a compressed view of how the climate might behave
if one influencing force or another changed.

The biggest models have improved substantially in the last few years, with
many no longer requiring "flux adjustments" - essentially fudge factors -
that were once needed to prevent the machine-generated, theoretical climates
from drifting out of the realm of the possible.

The signal achievement in recent years has been the accumulation of
evidence, much of it from advanced models, that rising levels of greenhouse
gases in the air have discernibly warmed the planet. But moving beyond that
general conclusion presents enormous problems.

"We will of course improve our models," said Dr. Mojib Latif, the deputy
director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany,
"but I don't really see the biggest or most important results changing in
the next 10 years."

"In terms of policy," Dr. Latif said, "the models have done their job."

But the models have not clearly answered a pivotal question: how sensitive
is the climate to the intensifying greenhouse effect? In other words, how
big is any coming climatic disruption likely to be?

The models still predict essentially the same wide range that was calculated
nearly 30 years ago: roughly an average rise of 3 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit if
greenhouse gases double from the
concentrations measured before coal and oil burning and forest cutting
significantly altered the atmosphere.

And that is a global prediction. When asked to predict local effects of
global warming - say, on the Southwest or Europe - the margins of error
grow, and competing models stray far and wide.

For example, the change in climate in particular places in the models still
varies markedly depending on how programmers start the simulation - what
values they pick for the initial conditions on earth.

The first set of numbers plugged into the matrix of equations is always an
educated guess, said Dr. Curtis C. Covey, a physicist at the Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory who compares the performance of various
models.

"Can you tell me what the initial conditions were in 1850? Can anybody?" Dr.
Covey asked.

In fact, some top modelers say even the most powerful simulations can be
pushed only so far before they reach limits of usefulness.

Dr. Syukuro Manabe, who in 1969 helped create the first model coupling the
atmosphere and oceans, said in an interview that the most advanced versions
had already gone too far.

"People are mixing up qualitative realism with quantitative realism," said
Dr. Manabe, who did most of his work at the Commerce Department's
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton,
N.J. He is now helping Japan create a $500 million supercomputing center in
Yokohama that is expected to dwarf all the other climate research efforts.

He explained that models incorporating everything from dust to vegetation
looked more and more like the real world but that the error range associated
with the addition of each new variable could result in nearly total
uncertainty. Speaking of some climate models, he said, "They are more caught
up in trying to show what a great gadget they have than in showing how
profound their study is in understanding nature."

Of course, Dr. Manabe said, the models still play a vital role in earth
science, providing practically the only means of looking into the future,
albeit through a cloudy lens. And there are still many ways to sharpen the
picture, he and other climate experts said.

First, there is improving resolution and speed. Though climate modelers use
the same machines that help nuclear weapons designers and astrophysicists,
they still face a big trade-off between detail and time.

The most advanced models consist of several hundred thousand lines of
computer code that divide the air, land and oceans into a grid of hundreds
of interacting boxes. As conditions change in one box, the changes ripple
through neighboring boxes.

Until now, modelers had been forced to dice the atmosphere into a grid where
each box was about 185 miles on a side. The best ocean models right now are
composed of cubes about 85 miles across. The Hadley Center is creating a new
model that will take the ocean resolution to cubes about 20 miles on a side,
which is detailed enough to capture the important eddies that shunt heat and
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the depths.

But Dr. Geoff Jenkins, the director of climate prediction at the center,
noted that the three-dimensional nature of the problem meant that each
doubling of resolution required a 16- fold increase in computing. In tests,
Dr. Jenkins said, the new model "completely clogged up" one of the center's
supercomputers.

Many features of the earth that are critical to climate change remain much
smaller than the model boxes so must still be approximated.

Dr. Blackmon, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said features
as important as California's Central Valley and the mountain ranges around
it remained invisible.

"We can't tell you anything about what's going to happen there," he said. To
do so would require a grid of boxes 19 miles on a side, he said. To achieve
that detail would require computers 1,000 times as powerful as those at the
research center.

Dr. Manabe said the goal of the Japanese project, the Frontier Research
System for Global Change, was to use vastly greater computer power to
accelerate model runs, doing more work in less time and providing a much
finer-scale view of what lies ahead.

The center will have 5,120 linked high-speed processors, able to perform 40
trillion calculations per second. The most powerful computers currently used
for climate modeling have about 1,000 slower processors and crunch numbers
at about a hundredth of that speed.

But more brute computing power is only part of the solution.

Ronald J. Stouffer, a senior meteorologist at the fluid dynamics laboratory
in Princeton, said that the key to progress was to move ahead in three
realms at once: in the models, in the basic research into the processes that
are mathematically represented in models and in the measurements of
environmental change that will allow the testing of models.

"It's a triangle," Mr. Stouffer said. "Observations, modeling and theory.
Any one can lead the other two for a while but can't lead much before you
get stuck." That leads the climate scientists inevitably back from their
simulated worlds to the real one.

The modelers have been lobbying for more money, not just for their work but
also for ongoing measurements of change in the oceans, atmosphere, polar ice
and forests. The value of this work was illustrated this spring, many say,
when 50 years of ocean temperature measurements showed warming that matched
the models' projections.

Other large mysteries still confront the researchers when they look
earthward. Within clouds, for example, the chemistry and physics of the
particles like soot and sea salt that form droplets
are only slowly being revealed, scientists say.

A small change in the way droplets form could have a large impact on the
climate, said Dr. Jenkins, in Britain. He said that Dr. Anthony Slingo,
another scientist there, found a decade ago that in theory, a decrease or an
increase in the size of water droplets of just 10 or 20 percent "could
either halve or double the amount of climate change you'd get."

Eventually, laboratory work and observations should narrow that range, many
climate experts say, but uncertainty will always remain.

"The best we can do," said Dr. Manabe, in Yokohama, "is to see how global
climate and the environment are changing, keep comparing that with
predictions, adjust the models and gradually increase our confidence. Only
that will distinguish our predictions from those
of fortunetellers."

Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company

==============
(6) TROPOSPHERIC OZONE AND CLIMATE FORCING

From CO2 Science Magazine, 4 July 2001
http://www.co2science.org/journal/2001/v4n27c1.htm


Reference
Mickley, L.J. and Jacob, D.J. 2001. Uncertainty in preindustrial abundance
of tropospheric ozone: Implications for radiative forcing calculations.
Journal of Geophysical Research 106: 3389-3399.

Background
Tropospheric ozone is an important greenhouse gas that absorbs both longwave
(terrestrial) and shortwave (solar) radiation.  Produced by the
photochemical oxidation of CO and hydrocarbons in the presence of NO and
NO2, large increases in tropospheric ozone have been observed over the past
century, as anthropogenic emissions of its precursors have risen
dramatically.

The resultant effect on climate since preindustrial times has typically been
estimated to be a radiative forcing between 0.3 and 0.5 watts per square
meter. However, as Mickley and Jacob note, there is "considerable
uncertainty about ozone levels in preindustrial times," and current models
"overestimate systematically the late nineteenth and early twentieth century
observations." As a result, climate models may currently be significantly
underestimating the contribution of tropospheric ozone to the global warming
observed since the end of the Little Ice Age.

What was done
The authors used a global three-dimensional model of tropospheric chemistry
to explore "to what extent uncertainties in natural sources for the
nineteenth century can accommodate the low levels of ozone observed."
Furthermore, they examined the consequences of such uncertainties on model
assessments of the radiative forcing increase from tropospheric ozone since
preindustrial times.

What was learned
Model simulations revealed that uncertainties associated with natural
emissions of NOx and hydrocarbons led to decreases in preindustrial ozone
concentrations of 10-20 parts per billion relative to the values
state-of-the-art models use in making calculations of tropospheric ozone
radiative forcing.  Test simulations using these new estimates yielded "a
global mean radiative forcing from ozone added to the atmosphere since
preindustrial times of 0.72-0.80 watts per square meter, well above the
range of forcings (0.3-0.5 watts per square meter) obtained by standard
models."

What it means
In considering their results, the authors acknowledge there are
uncertainties in their estimates that could account for the higher global
radiative forcing produced by the model they used.  However, they note that
"the test simulations represent our best reconstructions of the global
preindustrial ozone fields constrained by the 1870-1910 surface air
observations." Thus, they conclude that "tropospheric ozone may have
contributed a much larger fraction of total greenhouse forcing since
preindustrial times than is generally assumed." Such a result is very
important, for if correct, it amounts to about half of the estimated
increase in CO2-induced radiative forcing during the same time period, which
would suggest that estimates of CO2-induced radiative forcing since
preindustrial times are considerably overstated.
 
Copyright 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


===============
(7) TEMPERATURE TRENDS: AFRICA

From CO2 Science Magazine, 4 July 2001
http://www.co2science.org/subject/a/summaries/africa.htm

One constant about climate is that it is always changing.  In this respect,
Africa is no different from the rest of the globe, having experienced the
waxing and waning of temperatures for centuries on end.

Consider the findings of Rietti-Shati et al. (1998), who examined climate
fluctuations on Mount Kenya in east Africa from 1200 to 4200 years before
present, as derived from oxygen isotope analysis of biogenic opal extracted
from a lake sediment core. Numerous small-scale fluctuations in temperature
were inferred from the record throughout its 3000 year's duration. Most
notable, however, was a significant warming that occurred between 2,300 and
2,000 years ago when temperatures rose about 4C over the span of three
centuries.

Moving closer to the present, several researchers have demonstrated that
temperature fluctuations associated with the Medieval Warm Period and Little
Ice Age were prevalent in Africa as well.  Based on the temperature and
water requirements of the crops cultivated by the first agropastoralists
that lived in southern Africa, Huffman (1996) was able to construct a
climate history for the region based on archaeological evidence related to
the locations and sizes of various Iron Age settlements uncovered there.
The results of his analysis demonstrated that much of southern Africa is
presently neither as warm nor as wet as it was from approximately AD
900-1300.  Furthermore, Tyson et al. (2000) have determined that "maximum
warming [in this region of Africa] at around 1250 produced conditions up to
3-4C hotter than those of the present."  In contrast, temperatures in
Africa during the Little Ice Age event of the 16th through 19th centuries
have been estimated to have been around 1C cooler than they are presently
(Johnson et al., 2001; Nicholson and Yin, 2001; Tyson et al., 2000; Huffman,
1996).

The importance of the facts presented in these papers resides in the
demonstration that the warming of the earth since the termination of the
Little Ice Age is not at all unusual or different from other climate changes
of the past millennium and beyond, when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were
quite stable, much lower than at present, and obviously not responsible for
the observed variations in climate, which suggests that the warming of the
past century or so need not be due to the contemporaneous increase in
atmospheric CO2.  In this regard, Tyson et al. make a point of noting that
the Little Ice Age coincided with a period of low solar activity, while the
Medieval Warm Period coincided with a period of high solar activity,
suggesting that there may be a solar forcing involved in the development and
sustaining of these climatic regimes.

References
Huffman, T.N.  1996.  Archaeological evidence for climatic change during the
last 2000 years in southern Africa.  Quaternary International 33: 55-60.

Johnson, T.C., Barry, S., Chan, Y. and Wilkinson, P.  2001.  Decadal record
of climate variability spanning the past 700 yr in the Southern Tropics of
East Africa.  Geology 29: 83-86.

Nicholson, S.E. and Yin, X.  2001.  Rainfall conditions in equatorial East
Africa during the Nineteenth Century as inferred from the record of Lake
Victoria.  Climatic Change 48: 387-398.

Rietti-Shati, M., Shemesh, A. and Karlen, W.  1998.  A 3000-year climatic
record from biogenic silica oxygen isotopes in an equatorial high-altitude
lake.  Science 281: 980-982.

Tyson, P.D., Karlen, W., Holmgren, K. and Heiss, G.A.  2000.  The Little Ice
Age and medieval warming in South Africa.  South African Journal of Science
96: 121-126.
 
Copyright 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


=============
(8) RAINFALL TRENDS IN EAST ASIA

From CO2 Science Magazine, 4 July 2001
http://www.co2science.org/journal/2001/v4n27c2.htm

Reference
Kripalani, R.H. and Kulkarni, A. 2001. Monsoon rainfall variations and
teleconnections over south and east Asia. International Journal of
Climatology 21: 603-616.

What was done
Seasonal summer monsoon (June-September) rainfall data from 120 east Asia
stations were examined for the period 1881-1998.

What was learned
A series of statistical tests revealed the presence of short-term
variability in rainfall amounts on decadal and longer time scales, the
longer "epochs" of which were found to last for about three decades over
India and China and approximately five decades over Japan. In spite of
year-to-year fluctuations and the decadal variability in the rainfall
records, no significant long-term trends were observed in the data.

What it means
The observational history of summer rainfall trends in east Asia does not
support climate alarmist claims of intensified monsoonal conditions in this
region as a result of CO2-induced global warming. As for the decadal
variability inherent in the record, it "appears to be just a part of natural
climate variations."

Copyright 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


===========
(9) EFFECTS OF INCREASED ATMOSPHERIC CO2 ON GRASSLAND

http://www.co2science.org/subject/g/summaries/grasslandsbiomass.htm

Grasslands (Biomass -- Individual Species) -- Summary

As the CO2 content of the air increases, most plants exhibit modifications
in their physiology.  One common change is increased photosynthesis.  With
greater amounts of CO2 in the air - and greater amounts of CO2 thus
diffusing into leaves - the primary carboxylating enzyme of most plants,
i.e. rubisco, performs its biochemical functions more efficiently, leading
to reductions in photorespiratory carbon losses and increases in
carbohydrate synthesis; and with additional carbohydrate production, most
plants exhibit enhanced rates of growth and biomass accumulation.  In this
summary we thus review the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2
concentrations on biomass production in individual grassland species.

In two related studies, perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) was grown in
controlled environmental chambers receiving atmospheric CO2 concentrations
of 350 and 700 ppm for approximately 14 weeks.  After assessing plant
growth, the authors reported CO2-induced increases in shoot (van Ginkel and
Gorissen, 1998) and root (van Ginkel et al., 2000) biomass of 28 and 41%,
respectively.  Hodge et al. (1998) also reported, for the very same species,
that plants grown at an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 720 ppm for a mere
21 days exhibited total biomass values that were a whopping 175% greater
than those observed for control plants exposed to air of 450 ppm CO2.

In the study of Cotrufo and Gorissen (1997), three grasses (Lolium perenne,
Agrostis capillaries, and Festuca ovina) were grown at atmospheric CO2
concentrations of 350 and 700 ppm for approximately two months before
harvesting.  On average, atmospheric CO2 enrichment increased plant biomass
by approximately 20%, with greater carbon partitioning to roots, as opposed
to shoots.  Also, in a much shorter two-week study performed on tall fescue
(Festuca ovina), Newman et al. (1999) reported that twice-ambient levels of
atmospheric CO2 increased plant biomass by 37% relative to plants grown in
ambient air.

To investigate the possible interactions of elevated CO2 and soil nitrogen
on biomass production, Ghannoum and Conroy (1998) grew one C3 grass (Panicum
laxum) and two C4 grasses (Panicum coloratum and Panicum antidotale) in
controlled environments subjected to atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 360
and 710 ppm and low and high soil nitrogen contents for about two months.
At high soil nitrogen, elevated CO2 increased total plant biomass by
approximately 27% in all three species.  However, at low soil nitrogen,
elevated CO2 had no effect on biomass production in Panicum laxum and
Panicum antidotale, while it actually decreased growth in Panicum coloratum.

Taken alone, these results seem to suggest that nitrogen deficiency may
preclude CO2-induced growth responses in these grasses.  However, the
results of a six-year study of Lolium perenne caution us against making
hasty conclusions based on the results of short-term studies.  In this much
more lengthy experiment, for example, Daepp et al. (2000) reported that
plant biomass slowly increased from 8 to 25% over the six-year period under
conditions of high soil nitrogen and a 250 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2
concentration.  However, under conditions of low soil nitrogen, they
observed an initial biomass increase of 5%, which dropped to -11% in year
two, before it slowly began increasing to a final CO2-induced enhancement of
9% at the close of year six.  Hence, low soil nitrogen levels may preclude
CO2-induced growth responses in the short-term; but in the long-term,
CO2-enriched plants seem to be able to find the nutrients they need to
increase their growth.

A few studies have also investigated the effects of elevated CO2 and high
air temperature on biomass production in grassland species.  Norton et al.
(1999), for example, grew ten populations of Agrostis curtisii at ambient
and elevated (700 ppm) atmospheric CO2 concentrations in combination with
ambient and elevated (ambient + 3C) air temperature.  After one year, no
significant effects of elevated CO2 or temperature could be detected,
although plant biomass tended to be greater under the combined elevated
CO2/elevated air temperature treatment.  Greer et al. (2000), however, grew
five pasture species for one month at atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 350
and 700 ppm in combination with air temperatures of 18 and 28 C, finding
that the CO2-induced increase in average biomass rose from 8% at 18 C to
95% at 28 C.

Lastly, in the study of Lilley et al. (2001), Trifolium subterraneum and
Phalaris aquatica were grown in mixed swards exposed to atmospheric CO2
concentrations of 380 and 690 ppm and air temperatures of ambient and
ambient + 3.4 C for an entire year.  They discovered that elevated CO2
increased average plant biomass by 35% at the ambient air temperature; and
although the high temperature reduced this effect, plants exposed to
elevated CO2 and elevated air temperature still exhibited a biomass
enhancement that was 23% greater than that of plants subjected to ambient
CO2 and elevated air temperature.

The paper of Wand et al. (1999) serves as a good summary of these findings.
They compiled and analyzed 40 and 80 individual responses of C4 and C3
grasses, respectively, to atmospheric CO2 enrichment, determining that
twice-ambient levels of atmospheric CO2 increased C4 and C3 plant biomass by
an average of 33 and 44%, respectively, under a wide range of experimental
conditions.  Hence, as the air's CO2 content continues to increase, it is
likely that individual grassland species will respond by exhibiting enhanced
rates of photosynthesis, which invariably enhances their ability to produce
greater amounts of biomass, the carbon of a portion of which is almost
always sequestered in the ground.

References
Cotrufo, M.F. and Gorissen, A. 1997. Elevated CO2 enhances below-ground C
allocation in three perennial grass species at different levels of N
availability.  New Phytologist 137: 421-431.

Daepp, M., Suter, D., Almeida, J.P.F., Isopp, H., Hartwig, U.A., Frehner,
M., Blum, H., Nosberger, J. and Luscher, A. 2000. Yield response of Lolium
perenne swards to free air CO2 enrichment increased over six years in a high
N input system on fertile soil.  Global Change Biology 6: 805-816.

Ghannoum, O. and Conroy, J.P. 1998. Nitrogen deficiency precludes a growth
response to CO2 enrichment in C3 and C4 Panicum grasses.  Australian Journal
of Plant Physiology 25: 627-636.

Greer, D.H., Laing, W.A., Campbell, B.D. and Halligan, E.A.  2000.  The
effect of perturbations in temperature and photon flux density on the growth
and photosynthetic responses of five pasture species.  Australian Journal of
Plant Physiology 27: 301-310.

Hodge, A., Paterson, E., Grayston, S.J., Campbell, C.D., Ord, B.G. and
Killham, K.  1998.  Characterization and microbial utilisation of exudate
material from the rhizosphere of Lolium perenne grown under CO2 enrichment.
Soil Biology and Biochemistry 30: 1033-1043.

Lilley, J.M., Bolger, T.P. and Gifford, R.M.  2001.  Productivity of
Trifolium subterraneum and Phalaris aquatica under warmer, higher CO2
conditions.  New Phytologist 150: 371-383.

Newman, J.A., Gibson, D.J., Hickam, E., Lorenz, M., Adams, E., Bybee, L. and
Thompson, R.  1999.  Elevated carbon dioxide results in smaller populations
of the bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi.  Ecological Entomology 24:
486-489.

Norton, L.R., Firbank, L.G., Gray, A.J. and Watkinson, A.R. 1999. Responses
to elevated temperature and CO2 in the perennial grass Agrostis curtisii in
relation to population origin.  Functional Ecology 13: 29-37.

van Ginkel, J.H., Gorissen, A. and Polci, D. 2000. Elevated atmospheric
carbon dioxide concentration: effects of increased carbon input in a Lolium
perenne soil on microorganisms and decomposition.  Soil Biology &
Biochemistry 32: 449-456.

van Ginkel, J.H. and Gorissen, A. 1998. In situ decomposition of grass roots
as affected by elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide. Soil Science Society of
America Journal 62: 951-958.

Wand, S.J.E., Midgley, G.F., Jones, M.H. and Curtis, P.S. 1999. Responses of
wild C4 and C3 grass (Poaceae) species to elevated atmospheric CO2
concentration: a meta-analytic test of current theories and perceptions.
Global Change Biology 5: 723-741.
 
Copyright 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


===========
(10) CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH AT ARMAGH OBSERVATORY

From Armagh Observatory, 15 June 2001
www.arm.ac.uk/press/Climate-Change-Research.html

Kieran Hickey of Armagh Observatory has been testing the link between
increased temperatures in North-West Europe and the frequency of storms, as
shown in the historical records of climate at Armagh and elsewhere. This is
part of an on-going research project at Armagh into the nature of climate
change in North-West Europe using long-term meteorological records. He
presented his results to the American Geophysical Union at a conference held
in Boston, USA earlier this month.
Dr Hickey studied the historical storm records from many sites in Ireland,
Scotland, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands. Some years have significantly more
winter storms than others, possibly as a result of the North Atlantic
Climate "Seesaw". This is a weather pattern in which significantly higher
temperatures in North-West Europe are associated with much lower
temperatures in Greenland, and vice-versa.

The Observatory's work involves collaboration with climate researchers in
the Universities of Coventry, Cambridge, and Maine, USA. The research has
shown that some of the warmest winters in North-West Europe are also the
stormiest. The stormy winters are often associated with low temperatures in
Greenland, consistent with the North Atlantic "Seesaw".

Dr Hickey has shown that during these warm, stormy winters some
meteorological stations recorded more than twice the expected number of
storms, and all recorded significantly more storms than average. Stormy
winters occur about once every 5 years, but tend to occur in clusters with
long gaps between them. Exceptionally warm winters with storms have been
identified as far back as 1840.

An unexpected result has been the discovery that warm, stormy winters are
associated with exceptionally high levels of salt in the Greenland ice-core
record. This strong correlation provides a new tool to extend investigations
of the variation of winter temperature and storminess for North-West Europe
over thousands of years.

More research needs to be done to explore and test these ideas, but this
finding adds significantly to our understanding of climate change in the
North Atlantic and North-West Europe, and highlights the value of the Armagh
climate archive.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Dr Kieran Hickey or John McFarland at the Armagh Observatory, tel.:
028-3752-2928.

==============
(11) HOW FORESTS, CROPLAND AND PASTURE RECYCLE CARBON

From Greening Earth Society, 29 June 2001
http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/Articles/2001/ga1.htm

For the past quarter-century, many scientists have assumed - even feared -
the atmosphere's carbon dioxide content will rise in direct proportion to
the magnitude of humans' ever-increasing emissions of CO2. This assumption
is at the root of the climate change issue. It is what drives the
predictions of climate apocalypse emerging from computer-based models of
future climate. U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory scientist Sherwood Idso
disagrees. As early as 1991, he predicted the air's CO2 content would rise
at a rate that would represent a declining percentage of anthropogenic
(human-caused) CO2 emissions. Idso believes the productivity of earth's
plant life will rise in response to the ongoing increase in the air's CO2
content as a consequence of the well-known aerial fertilization effect of
carbon dioxide. In this way, Idso believes, ever more CO2 will be removed
from the atmosphere each year. Now, comes real-world data, as reported in a
Climate Change article in Science magazine by Wofsy (2001), which reveals
that "emission rates of CO2 from combustion of fossil fuel have increased
almost 40 percent in the past 20 years, but the amount of CO2 accumulating
in the atmosphere has stayed the same or even declined slightly."

What is it that is forestalling the global warming apocalypse scenario? In a
word, our living earth itself - the biosphere. Much like Rodney Dangerfield,
however, it "don't get no respect," despite near-reverence for nature across
a broad cross-section of society. Environmental organizations, since at
least 1972, have conducted fund-raising campaigns on the premise that
earth's biosphere is fragile. In many cases involving specific species or
ecosystems, this view has scientific credibility. But, in its totality, the
biosphere is much more resilient than it popularly is given credit for
being.

As atmospheric CO2 - the lifeblood of nearly all living things on our planet
- gradually has risen since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, plant
life has grown more robust and profuse. Plants have expanded their range
over the face of the earth and, at the same time, have begun to extract
increasing quantities of CO2 from the air, sequestering its carbon in their
tissues and in the soil into which they sink their roots (Idso, 1995).

A case in point is vegetation here in the United States. Pacala et al.
(2001) report in Science magazine that estimates of vegetative carbon
sequestering power, in what Alaskans call "the lower 48" states, has grown
significantly over the past several years, from a range of 0.08-0.35 x 1015
grams of carbon per year (Pg C yr-1) in the 1980s to a range of 0.37-0.71 Pg
C yr-1 today, with some evidence suggesting values as high as 0.81-0.84 Pg C
yr-1 (Fan et al., 1998). To put these values in perspective, Wofsy notes
they are equivalent to 20 to 40 percent of the world's fossil fuel
emissions.

Another report in the same edition of Science explains how carbon
sequestration in China is growing like gangbusters, too (Fang et al., 2001).
With a little help from government-sponsored "ecological restoration
projects" primarily aimed at afforestation and reforestation, the world's
most populous nation has turned around what had been a losing proposition
with respect to carbon capture by forests. China has been increasing its
forest carbon sequestration rate by an average of 0.021 Pg C yr-1 for about
the last two decades.

This research is important because it indicates we aren't headed for a
runaway atmospheric CO2-induced greenhouse effect, or even a runaway
atmospheric CO2 concentration. The biosphere - with humans' overt husbandry
of its plant life (croplands and forests, in particular) and our
unintentional fertilization of the air with carbon dioxide emissions from
energy production - is exerting a powerful brake on the rate of rise in the
atmosphere's CO2 content. How powerful? The large increase in anthropogenic
CO2 emissions over the last twenty years has not resulted in any increase in
the rate of CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere.

This observation suggests that judicious application of management
techniques designed to foster carbon sequestration in earth's terrestrial
ecosystems might actually stabilize the atmosphere's CO2 concentration, in
the not too distant future. The feedback effect is this: plants grow more
robustly because of the aerial fertilization effect of atmospheric CO2
enrichment and, in doing so, flex their muscles and constrain the air's CO2
content to a new equilibrium level that forestalls any threat of CO2-induced
global warming. At the same time this is happening, earth's plant life
achieves the higher productivity necessary to feed the planet's burgeoning
population (Idso and Idso, 2000).

* * * * *

This is the first in a series of "greening alerts" that Greening Earth
Society intends to periodically publish online in response to news coverage
of research concerning the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on earth's
biosphere, especially as it relates to plant life's ability to sequester
carbon. These alerts are prepared by Drs. Craig D. Idso and Keith E. Idso of
the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change in Tempe,
Arizona (www.co2science.org).

References

Fan, S., Gloor, M., Mahlman, J., Pacala, S., Sarmiento, J., Takahashi, T.
and Tans, P. 1998. A large terrestrial carbon sink in North America implied
by atmospheric and oceanic carbon dioxide data and models. Science 282:
442-446.

Fang, J., Chen, A., Peng, C., Zhao, S. and Ci. L. 2001. Changes in forest
biomass carbon storage in China between 1949 and 1998. Science 292:
2320-2322.

Idso, C.D. and Idso, K.E. 2000. Forecasting world food supplies: The impact
of the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration. Technology 7S: 33-55.

Idso, S.B. 1991a. The aerial fertilization effect of CO2 and its
implications for global carbon cycling and maximum greenhouse warming.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 72: 962-965.

Idso, S.B. 1991b. Reply to comments of L.D. Danny Harvey, Bert Bolin, and P.
Lehmann. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 72: 1910-1914.

Idso, S.B. 1995. CO2 and the Biosphere: The Incredible Legacy of the
Industrial Revolution. Special Publication, Department of Soil, Water &
Climate, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.

Pacala, S.W., Hurtt, G.C., Baker, D., Peylin, P., Houghton, R.A., Birdsey,
R.A., Heath, L., Sundquist, E.T., Stallard, R.F., Ciais, P., Moorcroft, P.,
Caspersen, J.P., Shevliakova, E., Moore, B., Kohlmaier, G., Holland, E.,
Gloor, M., Harmon, M.E., Fan, S.-M., Sarmiento, J.L., Goodale, C.L.,
Schimel, D. and Field, C.B. 2001. Consistent land- and atmosphere-based U.S.
carbon sink estimates. Science 292: 2316-1320.

Wofsy, S.C. 2001. Where has all the carbon gone? Science 292 (5525): 2261
online.

Copyright 2001, Greening Earth Society

About GES (http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/about.htm): Greening Earth
Society is a not for profit grassroot organisation created by Western Fuel
Association to promote the viewpoint that humankind is part of nature,
rather than apart from nature. Greening Earth Society believes that
humankind's industrial evolution is good, and using fossil fuels to enable
our economic activity is as natural as breathing. We promote the benign
effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) on the earth's biosphere and humankind. Our
message is that CO2 is required for life on earth and that the earth is
actually getting greener thanks to increasing CO2 levels. Greening Earth
Society provides sound information about CO2 and fossil fuels to educators,
students, business and media representatives, community leaders and
policymakers. Information is provided to the public through the biweekly
World Climate Report, the annual State of the Climate Report, the video "The
Greening of Planet Earth" and "The Greening of Planet Earth Continues" and
this Web site. By doing this, we enable our citizens to make decisions that
benefit both humankind and the planet.

==================
(12) COMMENTARY OF THE WEEK: THE ISLE OF THE DEAD - 160 YEARS ON

From John-Daly.com, 1 July 2001
http://www.john-daly.com/

Today, 1st July, is the 160th anniversary of the striking of the sea level
benchmark in 1841 on the Isle of the Dead, Tasmania, by Captain Sir James
Clark Ross and his associate Thomas Lempriere.

As of the time of writing, there has still been no published analysis of the
benchmark by the various scientific institutions which have been researching
this old sea level mark for several years. The reason seems to be that
however it is analysed, the Ross-Lempriere sea level benchmark contradicts
the IPCC view that sea levels have risen 10 to 25 cms in the last 100 years.
So, the issue has been swept under the carpet.

The benchmark currently stands 30 cms above present-day mean sea level as
measured by an acoustic tide gauge a mile away at Port Arthur (installed for
the express purpose of researching the Ross-Lempriere benchmark). Since
Captain Ross in his account of his visit to Tasmania in 1841 stated clearly,
and several times, that the mark was struck at "zero point, or the mean
level of the sea", the mark should now be around 20 cms below MSL, not 30
cms above it.

Since Tasmania is stable geologically, land uplift cannot explain why the
benchmark fails to support the IPCC. Even worse, the benchmark suggests a
sea level fall.

The lead author of the 2001 IPCC Report on sea levels is Dr John Church of
the University of Tasmania, whose office is only 40 miles from the
benchmark, and who is fully familiar with it.  In spite of a dearth of
historical sea level data from the southern hemisphere, and indeed from the
whole world pre-1900, the IPCC silence on the Isle of the Dead is quite
deafening.

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

(13) METHANE & SNOWBALL EARTH

From S. Fred Singer <singer@sepp.org>

Dear Benny

Re: Snowball Fight In Edinburgh, CCNet 29/06/01

I am sorry I missed all the fun at the Edinburgh meeting of geological
societies. But let me add a few comments to the fascinating discussion on
Snowball Earth.

A number of  authors have speculated on the role of methane in terminating
the frozen earth episode. [In quite a different context, other authors have
discussed the role of methane releases from ocean sediments by an asteroid
impact.]

In all of these discussions it is essential to consider the complete
atmospheric chemistry involved. Here are a few problems for ambitious PhD
candidates:

1. If there is a massive release of CH4, will oxidation to CO2 proceed
rapidly or will the oxidizing agent OH become depleted?

2. If CH4 persists in the troposphere, won't this increase the greenhouse
effect by a large factor for some decades?

3. For CH4 leaking into the stratosphere oxidation will proceed rapidly. But
now it is the resulting water vapor that becomes important, through its
direct radiative effects on climate and its indirect effects on the
destruction of ozone.

4. But if stratospheric ozone becomes depleted, how will this affect
tropospheric OH?

Best      Fred

[I have discussed some of these issues in  Nature, Vol. 233, pp. 543-545,
October 22, 1971, and more recently in various AGU abstracts published in
Eos]

=========
(14) AND FINALLY: GLOBAL WARMING - COMPUTER MODELS ARE JUST SLEIGHT OF HAND

From The Globe and Mail, 30 June 2001
http://www.globeandmail.com/gam/Commentary/20010630/COSPIDERY.html

By SPIDER ROBINSON [Consider the source here. Did you include this as a joke Benny? Ecology is
certainly a science and has developed primarily from fieldwork. Computer modeling is an important adjunct to
many fields of investigation when direct experimentation is not possible; this is particularly true for impact studies! bobk]

Let me explain why I grind my teeth hard enough to generate sparks whenever
someone -- invariably a person with something to sell -- speaks sonorously
of "what science now knows about global warming."

I have a deep and abiding respect for science. It earned that respect, with
several trillion man-hours of tedious, painstaking work. Science is
basically The Facts. The Anti-Crap. For millenniums, the only definitive way
to settle any argument was with force. Most beliefs were religious beliefs,
matters of opinion, subject to error, endless debate or monarch's whim.
Finally came science, which simply means knowing (Latin scio, "I know").
Really knowing, for certain -- even if someone bigger and stronger
disagrees.

"Look," said one early scientist, "there are countless things I don't know
and never will. But this thing I do know: If you drop a coin and a
cannonball from the same height at the same time, they'll hit the ground
together. Look, I can prove it." And by golly he did -- and anyone else who
tried got the same result unless they cheated.

How'd you figure that out? one bystander asked. "Well," he said, "there's
this method I use. I wonder why something is so, and I think up a theory,
and then I test the theory." By the sword? "By experiment. I make a
prediction based on my theory, and test it. A test so clear that even
someone with a different theory has to admit I'm right." That's it? "Well, I
keep really good records, so I don't have to keep repeating the test every
time a skeptic shows up." That basically is science. Clever folks frowning
at each other and saying, "Oh yeah? Prove it," until finally they know a few
things for sure.

Well, once you actually know a few things, you can finally start getting
somewhere, and after a while, people were living past 30, and more than half
their babies lived to grow up, and a lot of them had cable and high-speed
Internet access and time to worry about the fate of Mother Gaia or even read
a Spider Robinson novel. Pretty cool. So I have great respect, not only for
the sciences, but even for those newer fields, like psychology or sociology
or nutrition, that are still striving earnestly to achieve that noble status
-- and there are a lot these days.

But planetary ecology is one of the feeblest.

It has only just begun the long difficult process that elevates an area of
intellectual interest to the level of a science -- not surprising when you
reflect that, only 50 years ago, nobody had ever heard of it. Today, it is
-- at its best, when it isn't just a way to be heroic without actually doing
anything brave -- largely good intentions, wishful thinking and pious hopes
in search of significant data and meaningful experiments.

Acupuncture has a far better-established claim to be called science.

Here is what ecologists know, so far, that they didn't basically cop from
some pre-existing science: the whole biosphere is interconnected, such that
a butterfly flapping its wings in Borneo may cause a tornado in Calgary.

An admirable insight. But as to how the butterfly does this, or what Calgary
might one day do to locate and dissuade it, we are nearly as clueless today
as we were in 1950, or in the Stone Age.

Theories we got. Boy, have ecologists got theories. So do handicappers and
other theologians. Predictions we have aplenty, too. It sometimes seems
ecologists produce little else -- all, interestingly, long term: The
predictors will be safely dead before the results are in.

And isn't it a funny coincidence that not one single ecoprediction seems to
be a cheerful one? Almost as if they'd noticed that "We're doomed!" is a
grabbier headline than "We're hangin' in there ..."

What they don't have, and won't any time soon, are many experiments. We only
have the one planet (so far). To make perceptible changes to something so
vast requires forces as powerful, and hard to control, as a meteorite or an
industrial civilization. No matter what scale you work on, results take
decades or centuries to show up. People who live on the planet may object to
your tinkering.

So what do ecologists actually study, and base most of their apocalyptic
predictions on? What is the fundamental basis of their "science," as
currently constituted? Computer models.

Computer models are caca. Forget facts, or even theories: They don't deserve
the status of a guess. Computer models are games one plays with oneself, as
meaningful as throwing knucklebones or fashioning a voodoo doll, oracles
only slightly more sophisticated than a Magic Eight-Ball.

The greatest programmer who ever lived cannot write a computer model that
accurately describes a single cell, much less a stem cell. The most powerful
computer ever built cannot reliably predict the behaviour of a single
five-year-old, let alone an electorate of adults. Nortel's model of the
telecommunications business -- a single industry -- turned out to have major
predictive shortcomings, about $19-billion worth.

All computer models fail to factor in the (inevitable) invention of newer,
better technologies, changing social customs, or the discovery of new
resources. The notion that a system as complex as a single storm can be
meaningfully modelled with a Pentium chip, or even a bank of Crays, is
absurd; to claim to have modelled the entire biosphere is to declare oneself
a fool, one short step above someone who thinks Myst is a real world.

A great many such fools currently claim -- demand, actually -- the moral
right to direct and constrain the actions of every government, industry and
society on Earth, to micromanage the entire atmosphere, on the basis of
their computer-game scenarios.

Fair enough; everybody has a right to his hustle.

They may even turn out to be right, for all I -- or they, or anybody --
know. It just makes me crazy when they or their fans call them "scientists,"
that's all. That ain't right. It's a term that shouldn't be debased, like
"veteran." In the immortal words of Leiber and Stoller, "If a cat don't know
. . . he just don't know."

Three Spider Robinson novels are out in paperback this month: Callahan's
Key, Starmind, and Telempath.

Copyright 2001, The Globe and Mail

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