PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet SPECIAL: THE CURRENT PUZZLES OF INTERPLANETARY METEORITES
   RESPONSES TO FRED SINGER'S LETTER (CCNet 10 July 2001)
---------------------------------------------------------------------


"Although some SNC meteorites show severe shock signs, a surprising
number of them show only weak evidence for shock. This is perhaps a bit
surprising if they were launched by a large impact. Goes to show that we
probably still understand very little of impact phenomena."
--Marco Langbroek, Dutch Meteor Society


"A final point that is usually made is that the discovery of Lunar
meteorites in Antarctica (and the Sahara) proves that ejection from
the Moon is possible, so why not Mars. Ejection from Mars is more
difficult, particularly given the presence of an atmosphere, but the
evidence that SNCs are from Mars is convincing. I would bet money on it but
not my life!"
--Grenville Turner, University of Manchester


"The lunar and martian meteorites present several puzzles: (1) the
equal numbers of each group, (2) the much larger average mass of the
martian meteorites,(3) the inferred shallow prelaunch depths of the
lunar meteorites vs. the deep ones of the martian meteorites, (4) the
prevalence of geologically young rocks amongst the SNCs (even though such
terrain is relatively rare on Mars), and (5) the 4-pi age spectrum of
the martian objects terminates at ~15 Myr."
--Brett Gladman and Joseph A. Burns, Cornell University


"Only a few years ago, the question, "Can rocks be launched from the
surface of a major planet or satellite by natural processes?" would
have been answered with a resounding no by experts on both impact and
volcanism, the only geological processes known to eject solid material at
high velocities. [...] Older work on the maximum velocities achieved by
impact ejecta focused on the relationship between the pressure in the shock
wave generated by the impact and the velocity of material just behind the
shock. [...] The problem with the pressure-velocity relationship is
that it applies only to material completely engulfed by the shock
wave. Very close to the target surface, however, the ambient pressure is
zero. No matter how strong the impinging shock wave, the free surface
can never be raised to a pressure higher than zero. This effectively
shields surface rocks from strong compression. However, the pressure
increases very rapidly with depth below the surface, which translates into
a powerful acceleration which throws lightly shocked surface rocks out at
speeds comparable to the original impactor's speed."
--H. Jay Melosh, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University
of Arizona


(1) MARCO LANGBROEK ON MARS METEORITES
    Marco Langbroek <m.langbroek@rulpre.LeidenUniv.nl>

(2) RESPONSE TO FRED SINGER I
    Grenville Turner <gturner@fs1.ge.man.ac.uk>

(3) RESPONSE TO FRED SINGER II
    Oliver Morton <abq72@pop.dial.pipex.com>

(4) EJECTION OF ROCKS FROM MARS
    Max Wallis <wallismk@Cardiff.ac.uk>

(5) RESPONSE TO: MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS; BUT WHAT ABOUT
MARTIAN METEORITES?
    Tom Van Flandern <tomvf@metaresearch.org>

(6) FRED SINGER REPLIES
    Fred Singer <singer@sepp.org>

(7) MARS METEORITES-SWAPPING ROCKS: EXCHANGE OF SURFACE MATERIAL AMONG THE
PLANETS
    H. Jay Melosh

(8) TOWARDS A SELF-CONSISTENT MODEL OF LUNAR AND MARTIAN METEORITE DELIVERY
    Brett Gladman and Joseph A. Burns; Department of Astronomy, Cornell
University

==========
(1) MARCO LANGBROEK ON MARS METEORITES

From Marco Langbroek <m.langbroek@rulpre.LeidenUniv.nl>

"So -- my question to the chemists: Could the 'Martian' meteorites
have come from Deimos? Or must they originate from the Mars surface, in
which case we may need to find some mechanism for a more sustained and
gentle acceleration?"

Dear Prof. Singer, dear Benny,

Shergottite, Nahklite, and Chassignite meteorites and ALH 84001, those
suspected to be from Mars, are rocks of magmatic origin - basalts and
dunites. They must originate from a large and differentiated parent body.
Moreover, given their crystallization ages their parent body must have seen
volcanism rather recently - some crystallization ages for SNC meteorites are
as young as 330 million years. Thus, it is out of the question that they
come from a small parent body like Deimos. They have to come from a large
differentiated parent body which relatively recently still displayed
volcanic activity. There is not much of that kind in our solar system
besides Venus, Earth and Mars.

Sincerely,

Marco Langbroek
Dutch Meteor Society (DMS) - meteorite section
http://home.wanadoo.nl/marco.langbroek/dutchmet.html

P.S. Although some SNC meteorites show severe shock signs, a surprising
number of them show only weak evidence for shock. This is perhaps a bit
surprising if they were launched by a large impact. Goes to show that we
probably still understand very little of impact phenomena.

---
Drs Marco Langbroek
Faculty of Archaeology
Leiden University
P.O. Box 9515
NL-2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

===========
(2) RESPONSE TO FRED SINGER

From Grenville Turner <gturner@fs1.ge.man.ac.uk>

Response to S. Fred Singer,

The reasons for concluding that SNC meteorites come from the surface of Mars
are well rehearsed and seem to me to preclude an origin on Deimos.

The crystallisation ages of all but ALH84001 are very young (165 - 1300 Ma),
implying an origin on a geologically active body. The generation of heat
from the decay of radioactive species (235U, 238U, 232Th and 40K) is
inadequate to sustain melting in an object the size of Deimos. The heat flow
from radioactive decay and the resulting temperature gradient scale roughly
with radius, so for Deimos (r ~ 7km) must be of order 1/2000 that of the
Earth, i.e. negligible. Generation of igneous melts by impact is not very effective
on a small body and tidal heating can probably be ruled out also.

The clinching argument in favour of a martian origin is the similarity
between the elemental and isotopic composition of the martian atmosphere, as
measured by Viking, and the gases (CO2, N2,
and the noble gases) trapped in impact glass in the SNC meteorite, EET79001.
Evidence collected in the last decade indicates that other SNCs have trapped
this same 'atmospheric' component
(129Xe/132Xe is a key fingerprint). Nevertheless there are relatively small
systematic differences between the meteorite data and Viking.  Given that
the meteorite analyses are much more precise, the broad agreement between
SNCs and Viking is taken to imply that the differences are the result of
systematic errors in the very difficult Viking analyses.

The chemical arguments for a martian origin are based on correlations
between pairs of elements which 'stay together' during igneous melting (e.g.
elements with large ionic radii such as K and U, which concentrate in the
melt), but behaved differently in the pre-planetary solar accretion disk
(e.g. as a result of differences in volatility). Consequently the  ratios of
these elements may differ between different planetary bodies but are relatively
uniform in igneous rocks from a given object, in spite of several orders of
magnitude variation in concentration (e.g. on Earth K/U ~ 12,000, on the
Moon K/U ~1,000 - currently explained in terms of the giant impact theory
for the origin of the Moon). Fe/Mn for SNC meteorites is ~39, identical to
the Pathfinder value. The corresponding ratios for Earth and Moon are ~60
and ~70.  Since the value for Deimos is not known this observation cannot rule
out Phobos as a source but does support Mars as a possible source.

A fourth line of evidence, from oxygen isotopes, indicates that SNCs are
from the same body but not necessarily Mars. 18O/16O and 17O/16O ratios lie
on a common 'fractionation trend' with a precision of better than 20ppm.
This trend, which results from igneous fractionation, is distinct from the
Earth and the Moon, but we don't know anything of the oxygen isotopes on
Deimos.

A final point that is usually made is that the discovery of Lunar meteorites
in Antarctica (and the Sahara) proves that ejection from the Moon is
possible, so why not Mars. Ejection from Mars is more difficult,
particularly given the presence of an atmosphere, but the evidence that SNCs
are from Mars is convincing. I would bet money on it but not my life!

Grenville Turner
 
________________________
Grenville Turner
Professor of Isotope Geochemistry
Dept of Earth Sciences
University of Manchester
Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Tel +44 (0)161 275 3800
Fax +44 (0)161 275 3947

=============
(3) RESPONSE TO FRED SINGER

From Oliver Morton <abq72@pop.dial.pipex.com>

While I am ignorant of the physics of launch, anything other than a planet
seems a highly unlikely alternative source. The SNCs are basalts, and thus
come from partial melting in a differentiated source; they are also of
differing ages. ALH is about 4.4 billion years old, with alterations perhaps
a billion years later. The Nakhlites are about 1.3 billion years old, and
the Shergottites about 170m years old. So the source needs to have been
active enough to produce fresh basalts in recent geological history. That
seems a lot to ask of anything less than a full blown planet...

best, oliver

============
(4) EJECTION OF ROCKS FROM MARS

From Max Wallis <wallismk@Cardiff.ac.uk>

Fred Singer questions the scientifically established fact that meteorites
come from Mars, saying

"I find it difficult to visualize a scenario that can impart a
velocity of the order of 10 km/sec to a rock coming from such an impact
without the accelerating force exceeding the crushing strength of the
rock"

and that

"John Michael Williams seems to have demonstrated that a gentle
acceleration of the rock by a gas cloud is physically impossible."

The "scenario" is a hypervelocity impact (impact speed >> speed of sound) on
which there is a lot of experimental evidence. Dimensionally,the
acceleration is V*V/L so only 100g for V=10km/s and a 100km crater (10km
impactor). It's no "gas cloud" but a high pressure fluid far above the
critical point.

Experiments, computations and theory (Melosh etc.) show ejection of surface
material as solid spall. I find the visualising is easy, though the physics
may seem challenging! 

Max Wallis
Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology       wallismk@cf.ac.uk
67 Park Place                         tel. 029 2087 6426
Cardiff University CF10 3AS           fax  029 2087 6425

=============
(5) RESPONSE TO: MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS; BUT WHAT ABOUT
MARTIAN METEORITES?

From Tom Van Flandern <tomvf@metaresearch.org>

Dear Benny,

Fred Singer makes the very good point that it is almost impossible to launch
meteorites intact from Mars. He then asks: "Could the 'Martian' meteorites
have come from Deimos? Or must they originate from the Mars surface, in
which case we may need to find some mechanism for a more sustained and
gentle acceleration."

We have no surface samples from Deimos. But from spectroscopy and Viking
imagery, Deimos bears the characteristics of C-type asteroids originally
associated with chondritic meteorites; whereas the so-called "Mars
meteorites" are classified as achondritic. Moreover, the primary indicators
that Mars meteorites are from a planet rather than an asteroidal parent body
are:

The "Mars" meteorites show water erosion and weathering, cooling
rates, oxygen isotope ratios, and other geological evidence from their
pre-Earth existence that requires an origin on a major planet parent
body, not of asteroidal, cometary, or terrestrial origin.

Mars is the only known existing parent body that meets most of the
necessary constraints. Therefore, Deimos can be ruled out as a source for "Martian
meteorites".

Earlier, I addressed the problems associated with determining the source of
"Martian meteorites" in an article: "Are the Mars meteorites really from
Mars?", Meta Research Bulletin, v. 5, pp. 33-38 (1996); see a web version at
<http://www.planetarymysteries.com/mars/marsmeteorites.html>. I few of the
points made in that article seem relevant to the issue raised by Fred
Singer.

To be from Mars, "Mars meteorites" must first escape the Martian gravity
field. This implies a launch speed greater than 5 km/s to exceed escape
velocity. A projectile velocity that high can result only from the largest
of asteroidal impacts on Mars. It cannot arise from even the largest
volcanoes, or any other known acceleration mechanism. The meteorite-to-be
must be suddenly accelerated from rest to at least 5 km/s as the impact
blast wave passes, but without
vaporizing. It is easy to compute the amount of energy that must be
transferred to the meteorite, and the short time it has for its acceleration
to escape speed. Small bodies the size of Mars meteorites found on Earth
would normally be completely vaporized by such a shock wave transferring
that much energy that quickly, and any surviving fragments of a rock barely
big enough to partially survive vaporization would themselves be heavily
shocked. Meteorites associated with a lunar origin, for example, apparently
all had ejection velocities under 3 km/s, with survival rate decreasing
sharply at the higher ejection speeds. [B.J. Gladman, J.A. Burns et al.,
"The exchange of impact ejecta between terrestrial planets", Science, v.
271, pp. 1387-1392 (1996).]

"Mars meteorites" were neither vaporized nor heavily shocked. So the rock
initially ejected from Mars by an impact must have been huge compared with
the surviving fragments. Those fragments must themselves have been well
shielded deep in the interior of the larger rock. The requirements to eject
relatively large rocks at speeds of at least 5 km/s with minimal shock, and
the other physical and chemical constraints for Mars meteorites, place a
lower limit on the size of the crater on Mars produced by the responsible
Mars-impacting asteroid: at least 175 km in diameter. [A.M. Vickery and H.J.
Melosh, "The large crater origin of SNC meteorites", Science, v. 237,
738-743 (1987).] Scenarios for ejection during the formation of smaller
craters are all problematical.

The only craters that large on the surface of Mars are on the "old terrain",
dated at least 200 million years (My) old. So the launching impacts must
have been at least that long ago, and the Mars meteorite parent rocks must
have been orbiting in space for at least that long. Objects in
Earth-crossing or near-Earth-crossing orbits have a half-life of just 30 My
before collision with the Earth or gravitational elimination. (Common types
of gravitational elimination: ejection from solar system; ejection into
Jupiter-crossing orbit, collision with Jupiter; or falling into the Sun.)
Almost nothing that orbits near the Earth can survive for 200 My. So the
initial ejection orbit must not have come especially close to Earth.

Cosmic rays exposure ages of Martian meteorites are typically just some few
millions of years. This appears to contradict the previous requirement. But
a consistent picture can be patched together by assuming that the parent
rocks had to be at least 12 meters in diameter to shield a
potential Mars meteorite deep in its interior from cosmic rays for most of
its life. This is also consistent with the need to have a large parent body
to prevent vaporization and shield the future meteorite from shock. This
larger parent rock presumably had an orbit that did not venture too close to
the Earth, but perhaps took it into the main asteroid belt.

Then the parent rock must have been shattered some millions of years ago in
a collision with another sizable asteroid, exposing the future meteorite
fragment directly to cosmic rays thereafter, and altering its orbit to an
Earth-crossing one. Finally, the meteorite must have collided with the Earth
and fell probably within the last 15,000 years to be discovered today. This
entire scenario must occur more often than chips off the Moon reach Earth
because "Mars" meteorites outnumber "Moon" meteorites. Despite these problems,
and with no better alternative explanations acceptable to the mainstream available, the
Martian origin scenario continues to go largely unchallenged expect by
careful thinkers such as Fred Singer.

However, a viable alternative source has been proposed. Extensive evidence
exists for the explosion of one or more bodies in or near the asteroid belt
during the past half billion years of solar system history. [T. Van
Flandern, "Dark Matter, Missing Planets and New Comets", North
Atlantic Books, Berkeley, Ch. 11 (1993); see also "A revision of the
exploded planet hypothesis", Meta Research Bulletin, v. 4, 33-42 (1995),
reprinted at <http://metaresearch.org/>, "Solar System" tab, "EPH" sub-tab.]
Such an explosive break-up of a larger body solves all the dynamical
problems involved in delivery of the life-bearing meteorites to Earth in
recent times. Even with high shock-wave speeds, planetary explosions take place over
many minutes, not seconds; so accelerations of fragments are relatively gentle. This
provides the "sustained and gentle acceleration" mechanism Fred Singer calls
for. Moreover, it is not an idea invented to solve this problem (an ad hoc
theory). The exploded planet hypothesis exists because of extensive but
unrelated evidence, and just happens to solve the problem at hand nicely
too.

Much evidence also exists to suggest that Mars was a moon of the most recent
exploded planet. For example, only one hemisphere of Mars is heavily
cratered and has a thick crust, the pole is known to have shifted suddenly
relative to the crust, much of the original Martian atmosphere was lost,
Mars has excess Xenon-129 (an explosion by-product), etc., etc. [See "The
exploded planet hypothesis - 2000", preprint available at
<http://metaresearch.org>, "Solar System" tab, "EPH" sub-tab.] The
present-day Martian atmosphere would then be a mixture of its original
atmosphere and gases from Planet V, accounting for the rough similarities
seen for those gases in the Mars meteorites. Possible planetary explosion
mechanisms are also covered briefly in this last reference.

Tom Van Flandern <tomvf@metaresearch.org>
Meta Research <http://metaresearch.org>

=============
(6) FRED SINGER REPLIES

From Fred Singer <singer@sepp.org>

Dear Benny,

My letter seems to have produced many responses -- as I hoped it would. I am
particularly grateful for the detailed letter from Grenville Turner.

In reply, I would say:

Pls don't take the suggestion of Deimos literally. I merely wanted to make
the point that we need a source with a low gravity potential.

For we seem to have a dilemma. The chemistry suggests origin from a large
body (Mars) while physical arguments seem to call for modest ejection
velocities (below escape velocity) to avoid destruction.

I suspect that we need to think of a more sophisticated ejection mechanism
that supplies a gentler acceleration to a final velocity of more than about
10 km/sec.

Any suggestions?

Best                  Fred

S. Fred Singer, President
Science & Environmental Policy Project
http://www.sepp.org

=============
(7) MARS METEORITES - SWAPPING ROCKS: EXCHANGE OF SURFACE MATERIAL AMONG THE
PLANETS

http://calspace.ucsd.edu/marsnow/library/science/mars_meteorites3.html

by H. Jay Melosh

The returning Apollo 11 astronauts' triumphal reception in July 1969 was
somewhat delayed by a strict and lengthy biological quarantine. In those
days, no one was certain that the Moon was entirely sterile. No one knew
whether the lunar rocks might harbor deadly microorganisms. One wonders
whether the level of concern would have been as high if scientists had known
that dozens of lunar rocks had been lying in the Antarctic ice for thousands
of years, or that about 10 small fragments of the Moon must fall onto
Earth's surface every year. Unfortunately for the astronauts, the first
lunar meteorite was not recognized until 1982. Before that time, no one
seriously believed that nearly unaltered rocks could be blasted off the
surface of one planet and later fall onto the surface of another.

Now, however, not only do we know that lunar rocks occasionally fall to
Earth, but we are also reasonably certain that a group of nine meteorites,
the so-called SNCs (named after the sites where they landed, Shergotty,
Nakhla and Chassigny), originated on the planet Mars. Although all of the
lunar meteorites were collected long after they fell, four of the SNCs were
observed dropping from the sky. In 1911, a piece of Nakhla, which fell near
Alexandria, Egypt, killed a dog, scoring the only known mammalian fatality
caused by a meteorite.

The total flux of Martian material falling onto Earth has been estimated at
about half a ton per year. Under these circumstances, it may seem silly to
worry about hypothetical Martian organisms contaminating Earth, since
Martian material has evidently been raining on our planet throughout its
history. Although a good case can be made for limiting modern biological
contamination of Mars by terrestrial spacecraft, the discovery of Mars rocks
on Earth brings up the immediate question of whether Earth rocks have been
ejected into space, eventually to fall onto Mars, thus closing the circle of
potential contamination.

Blasting Rocks off Planets

Only a few years ago, the question, "Can rocks be launched from the surface
of a major planet or satellite by natural processes?" would have been
answered with a resounding no by experts on both impact and volcanism, the
only geological processes known to eject solid material at high velocities.
The existence of the lunar and SNC meteorites has, however, forced these
experts to rethink the mechanics of ejection. Although volcanic eruptions
still seem incapable of achieving planetary escape velocity [Although
volcanic eruptions on Io, a Jovian sattelite, often do exceed escape
velocity-Ed.], the ejecta from large impacts are not so limited.

Older work on the maximum velocities achieved by impact ejecta focused on
the relationship between the pressure in the shock wave generated by the
impact and the velocity of material just behind the shock. Measured directly
in laboratory experiments, the shock pressure needed to
accelerate material to planetary escape velocities, 2.4 kilometers per
second (about 5,000 miles per hour) for the Moon and 5.0 kilometers per
second (about 11,000 miles per hour) for Mars, implying pressures of 0.44
and 1.5 megabars (a megabar equals 1 million times Earth's
atmospheric pressure at sea level) for lunar and Martian basalts,
respectively, would have been high enough to melt or even vaporize the
ejected rock. Yet study of the lunar meteorites indicates that their
ejection was accompanied by no more than about 0.2 megabar of shock, and the
most highly shocked Martian meteorites (which contain pockets of once-melted
glass) still indicate only about 0.4 megabar.

The problem with the pressure-velocity relationship is that it applies only
to material completely engulfed by the shock wave. Very close to the target
surface, however, the ambient pressure is zero. No matter how strong the
impinging shock wave, the free surface can never be raised to a pressure
higher than zero. This effectively shields surface rocks from strong
compression. However, the pressure increases very rapidly with depth below
the surface, which translates into a powerful acceleration which throws
lightly shocked surface rocks out at speeds comparable to the original
impactor's speed.

An experiment performed several years ago by Andy Gratz and colleagues at
the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory has verified the general correctness of
this model. An aluminum projectile about the size of a penny was fired at a
granite block at about 4 kilometers per second (9,000 miles per hour).
Material from the face of the block was ejected at about 1 kilometer per
second (2,000 miles per hour). This material was caught in a foam cylinder
and, upon analysis, proved to be composed of millimeter-size, lightly
shocked fragments of granite.

Furthermore, blocks up to a meter in diameter from the uppermost limestone
layer surrounding the 24-kilometer-diameter (15-mile) Ries impact crater in
southern Germany have been found nearly 200 kilometers away in Switzerland.
Although they were not actually ejected from Earth, these blocks again show
a combination of low shock damage (less than 10 kilobars, 10,000 times
Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level) and high ejection velocity (1.4
kilometers per second or about 3,000 miles per hour). Thus, current theory,
experiment and observation all agree in indicating that a small quantity of
material near the surface surrounding the site of an impact is ejected at
high speed while suffering little shock damage.

Impacts such as the one which created the 180-kilometer-diameter (110-mile)
Chicxulub crater in Yucatan 65 million years ago (and incidentally wiped out
the dinosaurs, among other species) may have launched millions of rock
fragments, 10 meters (30 feet) or more in diameter, into interplanetary
space. Of these fragments, a small fraction, perhaps 1 in 500, would have
been so lightly shocked that internal temperatures remained below 100
degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). Higher temperatures would
presumably kill any microorganisms present in the rock, but a few thousand
of the ejected rocks, those originating nearest the free surface, could have
carried viable organisms into interplanetary space. Although such impacts
are rare at the present time (the only comparable craters known are the
1.85-billion-year-old Sudbury crater in Ontario and the
1.97-billion-year-old Vredefort crater in South Africa), the much higher
cratering rate early in solar system history during the period of heavy
bombardment which lasted up to about 3.8 billion years ago would have made
ejection of microorganisms a much more common occurrence at that time.

The most lightly shocked rocks ejected at high speed are necessarily those
closest to the free surface. The surface is also the place where biological
activity is highest, thus a large impact on Earth, or on an earlier
life-harboring Mars, would be very likely to throw rocks which might contain
microorganisms into interplanetary space. Larger organisms, even if present,
would be unlikely to survive the 10,000 g accelerations accompanying the
launch process.

Current cratering calculations indicate that large impacts on Venus, despite
its dense atmosphere, could eject surface rocks into interplanetary space.
Meteorites from Venus have not yet been discovered, but there appears to be
no reason why they might not someday be found on Earth. Large impacts on all
of the terrestrial planets are thus capable of ejecting lightly shocked
surface rocks into interplanetary space. If there should be microorganisms
on the surfaces of these planets, then they too have a chance of journeying
to another planet.

Between the Planets

Ejecta from even the largest, fastest impacts do not travel fast enough to
make a direct trip from one planet to another. In general, the quantity of
ejecta is largest at the lowest ejection velocities, so most planetary
ejecta move relatively slowly with respect to the planet they
escape (naturally, a much larger quantity of ejecta moves still more slowly
and ends up falling back onto the planet of origin). The way that an ejecta
fragment from, say, Mars eventually reaches Earth is by a series of
encounters with Mars as it and the fragment orbit the Sun.
Occasionally such a fragment comes too close to Mars and ends up falling
back onto the planet after some time in space. However, it is much more
likely to miss Mars and recede into interplanetary space, but not before
Mars' gravity has deflected the fragment and changed its orbit.

After a long series of such encounters, a few fragments' orbits get "pumped
up" sufficiently to cross Earth's orbit. Then the more massive Earth takes
over this cosmic volleyball game, changing the orbit still more, until the
fragment may become Venus crossing. Sometimes the fragment is deflected all
the way out to Jupiter or Saturn, which themselves may eject it from the
solar system entirely. At any stage of this random walk through the solar
system, the fragment may actually hit one of the planets, ending its
journey.

Natural orbital perturbations thus supply the means for rocks ejected from
one planet to spread throughout the solar system and eventually fall onto
another planet (or leave the solar system entirely). This is presumably how
the SNC meteorites reached Earth. Any microorganism contained in these rocks
would thus have an opportunity to colonize the new planet, if it was able to
survive both the journey and the fall to its destination.

Surviving the Journey

Can microorganisms survive long exposure to the space environment? This
question is of paramount importance for the transfer of viable
microorganisms from one planet to another, since even dormant organisms
might not be able to survive a long trip. Furthermore, cosmic rays,
ultraviolet light or even radiation from the enclosing rocks might kill the
organisms along the way.

Many microorganisms stand up surprisingly well to the space environment.
Subjected to high vacuum, some bacteria quickly dehydrate and enter a state
of suspended animation from which they are readily revived by contact with
water and nutrients. Medical laboratories routinely use high vacuums for
preservation of bacteria. Viable microorganisms were recovered from parts of
the Surveyor 3 camera system after three years of exposure to the lunar
environment. However, these instances of preservation have only been tested
over times approaching decades, not over the tens to hundreds of millions of
years necessary for interplanetary travel.

Nature, however, has been kind enough to give us several instances of
long-term preservation of viable microorganisms. Chris McKay of NASA Ames
Research Center has extracted microorganisms preserved for perhaps as long
as 3 million years from deep cores in the Siberian permafrost.
Even more impressive is the discovery of bacteria which were preserved for
some 255 million years in salt beds of Permian age at a site in New Mexico.
Dehydrated by contact with salt and protected from radiation by the salt's
low content of radioactive elements, these ancient bacteria demonstrated
their viability by causing the decay of fish which had been packed with the
salt.

Living bacteria can tolerate extremely high radiation doses, far higher than
any multicellular organism can withstand. They can resist the effects of
radiation largely because of active DNA repair systems. It is less clear
that a dormant bacterium could tolerate large amounts of
radiation. However, if the microorganisms happened to be living in cracks or
pores of rocks which were ejected as large blocks, the rock itself might
provide adequate shielding against both cosmic rays and ultraviolet light.
Since shielding against high-energy galactic cosmic
rays requires about 3 meters of rock, if the impact event were to throw out
rock fragments of about 10 meters (30 feet) in diameter or larger, a
significant interior volume would be protected against this radiation.
Ultraviolet light can be screened by only a few microns of silicate dust, so
the interiors of large ejecta blocks might be excellent havens for
spacefaring bacteria.

Entering a New World

When a meteorite strikes the surface of an airless body like the Moon at
high speed, it creates a shock wave in both the target rocks and in the
meteorite which converts most of its initial kinetic energy into heat,
melting or even vaporizing the original meteorite. Organisms inside such a
meteorite would have little chance of surviving the impact. However, if the
planet has an atmosphere, the meteorite might be slowed sufficiently so that
it strikes the ground at terminal velocity, perhaps only a few hundred
meters per second, which microorganisms could easily
survive.

The fate of a meteorite entering a planetary atmosphere depends largely upon
its initial size and speed. Small meteorites, smaller than a few
centimeters, burn up in Earth's atmosphere. Very large ones, a kilometer or
more in diameter, traverse it without slowing and make craters. Meteorites
of intermediate sizes, a few meters to tens of meters, however, are
significantly slowed by the atmosphere. Buffeted by kilobars of aerodynamic
pressure, they break up in the atmosphere (as did the famous Peekskill
meteorite which disintegrated over the eastern United States on October 9,
1992) and may eventually fall to the ground in a shower of small fragments.
Even on the modern Mars, with its thin atmosphere, meter-size meteorites are
greatly slowed before striking the surface.

This scenario of slowing and breakup of intermediate-size meteorites is
nearly ideal for the dispersion of microorganisms onto a new planet. Whether
or not these organisms can survive and multiply depends, of course, on
conditions at their new home. It seems unlikely that terrestrial organisms
arriving on the modern Mars or Venus would survive. However, in the past,
conditions may have been much more hospitable on Mars and perhaps at that
time microorganisms from Earth found a home on Mars, or vice versa.

The current impact-exchange rates among the terrestrial planets are
relatively low. However, during the era of heavy bombardment, when most of
the visible craters on the Moon and Mars formed, cratering rates were
thousands of times higher than current rates. Blue-green algae were
apparently present on Earth as early as 3.5 billion years ago and life may
have been present even earlier, overlapping the period of heavy bombardment.
Given the possibility of exchange of life among the planets by large
impacts, we may have to regard the terrestrial planets not as
biologically isolated, but rather as a single ecological system with
components, like islands in the sea, which occasionally communicate with one
another.

Although this scenario is highly speculative, it may be testable: If sample
returns from former lake deposits on Mars should contain evidence of the
existence of a microbiota, it may be possible to extract organic molecules
from the samples. If familiar terrestrial molecules such as DNA, RNA and
proteins are discovered, and especially if a genetic code similar to that of
terrestrial organisms is found, then it would provide very strong
verification of the idea that Earth and Mars have exchanged microorganisms
in the past. Naturally, any such test requires that we be very careful not
to contaminate the samples beforehand with terrestrial organic molecules.

H. Jay Melosh is a professor of planetary science at the Lunar and Planetary
Laboratory at the University of Arizona. His latest book, Impact Cratering:
A Geologic Process, has been published by Oxford University Press.

Copyright 1999-2000 Mars Now Team and the California Space Institute

===============
(8) TOWARDS A SELF-CONSISTENT MODEL OF LUNAR AND MARTIAN METEORITE DELIVERY

Brett Gladman and Joseph A. Burns; Department of Astronomy, Cornell
University, Ithaca NY, 14853, USA.
http://cass.jsc.nasa.gov/pub/lpi/meteorites/glaxxvii.html

Published at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference XXVII, Lunar and
Planetary Institute, Houston, Texas.

The lunar and martian meteorites present several puzzles: (1) the equal
numbers of each group, (2) the much larger average mass of the martian
meteorites,(3) the inferred shallow prelaunch depths of the lunar meteorites
vs. the deep ones of the martian meteorites, (4) the prevalence of
geologically young rocks amongst the SNCs (even though such terrain is
relatively rare on Mars), and (5) the 4-pi age spectrum of the martian
objects terminates at ~15 Myr. We have undertaken
detailed numerical studies of the orbital history of meteoroids liberated
from these bodies. By comparing these results with the age spectrum obtained
from cosmic ray exposure studies of the meteorites, we develop a
self-consistent model that can explain the above features, although not
uniquely since surface properties of the two targets appear to play a major
role.

At the start of 1995, 11 lunar and 12 martian meteorites had been recovered,
with all but one of the lunar meteorites, and half of the martian
meteorites, from Antarctica. This presents a problem, since the transfer
efficiency (the fraction of escaping meteoroids that reach the
Earth) is much larger for the Moon than for Mars (~40% as opposed to ~3-6%)
[1,2]. Moreover, the lower escape velocity from the Moon suggests that more
lunar meteoroids should be liberated in any impact of a given size. The
total mass of recovered martian material is ~38 times that of
the lunar meteorites; this difference, along with the cosmic ray exposure
(CRE) data indicating deep (>several m) prelaunch depths, has suggested [3]
that the martian originate in larger impacts than the lunar meteorites. The
fact that, of all 12 of the martian meteorites, only ALH 84001 appears to
come from geologically old terrain, even though only ~10% of the martian
surface is "young", indicates that the surface properties of Mars are a
major factor in determining its meteorite launch rate.

We have approached the problem by trying to understand the orbital dynamics
of the transfer of the escaped meteoroids from their launch sites to the
Earth. We launch thousands of particles off the body of interest in random
directions and track the resulting particles in full N-body simulations of
the solar system. Particles are removed when they impact a planet, cross the
orbit of Jupiter, or have their perihelion lowered below the solar radius.

We find [4] that the absolute delivery efficiency of lunar material is
between 25% and 50%, depending on the launch velocity. A comparison of the
arrival time spectrum of the simulated deliveries to the Earth with the CRE
data of the meteorites implies that few meteoroids were launched
from the Moon at speeds in excess of 3 km/s, indicating that the velocity
spectrum of the escaping ejecta must be quite steep. A steep spectrum
implies that the lunar delivery efficiency is about 40% (integrated over the
10-Myr lifetime of the oldest lunar meteorite). The time spectrum of the
Earth-arrivals is consistent with a purely gravitational delivery in which
collisional effects in space are minor, and almost all of the meteorites
originate from different, small, source craters.

We now have similar numerical studies of the martian problem which yield an
expected delivery spectrum. We find that the secular resonances in the
martian region are absolutely crucial to the delivery dynamics [1]. First,
the action of such resonances increases the transfer efficiency since more
particles are quickly placed on Earth-crossing orbits. Second, they shorten
the available time scale for delivery: a large fraction (more than
one-third) of the launched meteoroids are driven into the Sun on 50-Myr time
scales. The last process helps deplete the
meteoroid population, preventing the existence of long-lived meteoroids
(which are not observed). Among the simulated martian meteoroids that spend
longer than 15 Myr in space, most reside for many Myr with their aphelia in
the asteroid belt (while those that arrive in <15 Myr do
not); this should result in their collisional destruction. Our best model,
assuming a collisional half-life of 2 Myr in the main belt (for
decimeter-sized particles), is shown in Fig. 1. The model is consistent with
all of the martian meteorites spending their entire 4-pi exposure ages in
space as small bodies. The model is insensitive to source-crater pairing,
since all that is relevant is the length of time spent in space as small
bodies (>1 m) from Mars is unlikely to reproduce the observed CRE spectrum.

The issue of the equal numbers of lunar and martian meteorites can be
alleviated by realizing that the Antarctic ice sheet has a finite age
(almost all lunar and martian meteorites have terrestrial ages <0.1 Myr).
This results in our sampling different portions of the time spectrum of each
lunar or martian impact. Also, we presume that larger impacts will generate
more meteoroids. Since most lunar meteoroids are delivered very quickly (<50
kyr), only recent impacts (or ancient larger ones) will be delivering
meteorites to the ice sheet today. The impact rate onto Mars (for impactors
of a given diameter) should be larger than the Moon's by at least the ratio
of the surface areas (~3.8). Our preliminary modeling shows that, if these
effects are taken into account and the correct delivery spectra are
included, the lunar/martian meteorite ratio can be reduced to order unity.

References: 
[1] Gladman B., Burns J. A., Duncan M., Lee P., and Levison H. (1996) The
exchange of impact ejecta between terrestrial planets, Science, submitted.
[2] Wetherill G. W. (1984) Meteoritics, 19, 1-12.
[3] Warren P. (1994) Icarus, 111, 338-363.
[4] Gladman B., Burns J. A., Duncan M., and Levison H. (1995) Icarus, 118,
302-321.

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*

CCNet CLIMATE SCARES & CLIMATE CHANGE, 11 July 2001
---------------------------------------------------


"Analysis of fossils leaves have shown that the standard models used
for climate prediction have huge errors when taken out of familiar
conditions, say an international team of scientists."
--Nicola Jones, New Scientist, 9 July 2001


"Predictions of major rises in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) are
based on models that fail to take into account the moderating influences
of the world's oceans, Dr David Barnes from the Australian Institute of
Marine Science told several hundred of his peers today. Speaking at
the joint conference of the Australian Marine Science Association and the
New Zealand Marine Science Society, Dr Barnes said many scientists had
underestimated nature's capacity to buffer changes such as global
warming."
--Australian Institute of Marine Science, 4 July 2001

 
"Not everyone believes the world is slowly baking its way to
catastrophe. A considerable band of hardened sceptics either dispute the
evidence for global warming, or say that even if it is happening, there is
no proof that human beings have perpetrated it. If our contribution to
climate is indeed negligible, the Kyoto protocol will stand as one of the
most monumental wastes of money in human history."
--The Times, 9 July 2001


"A campaign group says the UK Government is failing to warn people
what tackling climate change will really mean. The New Economics
Foundation (NEF) says the sort of action needed will be far more
drastic than most people realise. It says the country could become
ungovernable when ordinary Britons realise what is at stake. [...] The
report says the developed countries will need to put their economies
on a war footing to cope with climate change and to face up to their
ecological debts."
--Alex Kirby, BBC News Online, 9 July 2001


(1) FOSSIL LEAVES REVEAL CLIMATE MODEL ERRORS
    New Scientist, 9 July 2001

(2) NATURE MAY RESIST RISING ATMOSPHERIC CO2
    Australian Institute of Marine Science, 4 July 2001

(3) TEMPERATURE TRENDS: ANTARCTICA
    CO2 Science Magazine, 11 July 2001

(4) CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN THE COTERMINOUS UNITED STATES
    CO2 Science Magazine, 11 July 2001

(5) ARTIC OSCILLATION HAS MODERATED NORTHERN WINTERS OF 1980s AND 1990s
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(6) CLIMATE CHANGE MAY REDUCE FOOD PRODUCTION IN POOR COUNTRIES
    Nature Science Update, 10 July 2001

(7) CLIMATE CHANGE HAS SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED GLOBAL FOOD PRODUCTION
    CO2 Science Magazine, 11 July 2001

(8) POOR COUNTRIES SUFFER MOST FROM ECO WARRIORS
    The New York Times, 8 July 2001

(9) CLIMATE SCEPTICISM
    The Times, 9 July 2001

(10) WILLY-WILLY WHINGE AND WAFFLE WEST ISLAND
     World Climate Report, 10 July 2001

(11) AND FINALLY: PROPHETS OF DOOM PREDICT ANARCHY IN THE UK, CALL FOR
WAR-LIKE RATIONING 
     BBC News Online, 10 July 2001

==========
(1) FOSSIL LEAVES REVEAL CLIMATE MODEL ERRORS
 
From New Scientist, 9 July 2001
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns9999986
 
By Nicola Jones
 
Analysis of fossils leaves have shown that the standard models used for
climate prediction have huge errors when taken out of familiar conditions,
say an international team of scientists.

The team, involving researchers from the UK, Russia, Sweden and the Czech
Republic, used the leaf fossils to calculate the temperature at various
sites during the Late Cretaceous period, 95 million years ago. They then
used some of the best climate models researchers have on offer, such as the
Hadley Centre's climate model, to calculate what temperatures at that time
might have been like. To their surprise, they found their results differed
greatly.

Most striking were results in regions far away from the coast, where
leaf-based results were much warmer. "We're talking about an error on the
order of 20 °C, so it's not small - not by any means," says modeller Paul
Valdes from the University of Reading.

Catherine Senior from the Hadley Centre says attempts to model the
Cretaceous climate are useful. "Seeing these kinds of anomalies means we
have to go back and see where things went wrong," she says.

Jagged edge

The Cretaceous period is of particular interest because volcanoes at the
time spewed huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, warming the
planet up much in the same way as it is warming today.

And if our models are seriously wrong for the past, Valdes says, then they
could be equally wrong about the future. "It could be out easily by 5 °C,"
says Valdes.

The research team began their project by trying to match climate to leaf
characteristics, including the jaggedness of the leaf edges, leaf size and
shape. They found that sharp teeth, for example, were favoured in cooler,
drier climates, because the surface area of the edge is important for water
and gas exchange.

By looking at 31 such characteristics of hundreds of modern day samples from
around the world, they found they could calculate factors like the lowest
temperature of the year with a surprisingly small error - just 5 °C.

The team then collected thousands of leaf fossils from Czechoslovakia,
Kazakhstan, Russia, and Alaska from the Late Cretaceous period, and
calculated what the temperature would have been. In coastal regions, the
answers they got from their model matched temperatures obtained from oxygen
isotope measurements in ocean sediments.

But in most of these sites, the temperatures did not match results from
climate models. The largest difference was for the mid-continental site of
the Vilui basin, where the leaves indicated that the coldest yearly
temperature was a balmy 5 to 15 °C. The Hadley Centre's climate model
showed the Vilui basin plunged into freezing temperatures of 0 to minus 15
°C.

Cloud cover

"It's a generic problem with all climate models," says Valdes about the
discrepancy. "No one has managed to get a warm winter in Russia in the
Cretaceous."

He thinks it probably has to do with the models' inability to represent
cloud cover accurately. "If we had a lot more cloud at that time, it would
solve the problem," he says.

Mark Eakin, chief of the NOAA Paleoclimatology program in Boulder Colorado,
says that throwing drastically different conditions at these programs is one
of "the best ways to test the limits of the models".

But he cautions that the conditions they put into the Hadley model, such as
the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and the position of the continents,
must have been very rough approximations. The models, he adds, are probably
better suited to handling situations 100 years in the future, rather than 95
million years in the past.
 
Copyright 2001, New Scientist

See also http://tabitha.open.ac.uk/spicer/INTAS/Vilui.html

=============
(2) NATURE MAY RESIST RISING ATMOSPHERIC CO2

From Australian Institute of Marine Science, 4 July 2001
http://www.aims.gov.au/news/pages/media-release-20010704.html

Media Release

Nature may resist rising atmospheric CO2

Predictions of major rises in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) are based on
models that fail to take into account the moderating influences of the
world's oceans, Dr David Barnes from the Australian Institute of Marine
Science told several hundred of his peers today.

Speaking at the joint conference of the Australian Marine Science
Association and the New Zealand Marine Science Society, Dr Barnes said many
scientists had underestimated nature's capacity to buffer changes such as
global warming.

Dr Barnes said all models used to make predictions about CO2 rises assumed
no solution of carbonate materials in surface waters of the earth's oceans.
"Under such an assumption, the capacity of the surface ocean to remove and
store CO2 from the atmosphere becomes more limited as atmospheric CO2 rises.

"But experimental evidence shows a major component of reef rock, a shallow
marine carbonate, dissolves in seawater with elevated CO2 levels."

This finding has major implications for modelling of global atmospheric CO2
levels. "The solution of carbonate rocks on continental shelves around the
world would cause atmosphere CO2 to rise much more slowly than is currently
predicted," Dr Barnes said.

Furthermore, his findings have thrown doubt on suggestions that corals and
other calcareous reef organisms are threatened by rising atmospheric CO2.

"Some scientists have highlighted the fact that rising atmospheric CO2
acidifies surface ocean waters in a way that means surface seawater contains
less carbonate ions. They suggest that this will make it much harder for
organisms to build limestone, or calcium carbonate skeletons. But my
findings show the solution of reef rock will replace the carbonate," Dr
Barnes said.

"I have measured past annual calcification rates in certain coral skeletons
from annual skeletal density bands. This evidence shows a significant
increase in calcification rates of a major reef coral over the last century,
rather than the 6-14% decline suggested by models. The increase appears
linked with a rise in seawater temperature. Clearly, scientists have not
taken account of significant factors that moderate the effect of increased
CO2 upon seawater chemistry."

Dr Barnes emphasised that his findings provide no good reason to continue
filling the atmosphere with large amounts of CO2. "We have changed the
Earth's environment and 'unnatural' global warming is happening. These
findings merely suggest that we may have more time in which to lower our CO2
emissions," he said.

Dr Barnes will be available for media interviews after his presentation at
the AMSA-NZMSS conference at Townsville's Jupiters Hotel-Casino on
Wednesday, 4 July. He is scheduled to deliver his paper between 2.20 and
2.40 pm.


For further information:

Dr David Barnes, Principal Research Scientist,
Project Group - Predicting Climate Impacts upon Marine Ecosystems,
phone 47534236 
e-mail mailto:d.barnes@aims.gov.au

Theresa Millard, AIMS Science Communication Manager,
phone 07 4753 4250 or 0409596271
e-mail mailto:t.millard@aims.gov.au

Copyright 1996-2001 Australian Institute of Marine Science

=============
(3) TEMPERATURE TRENDS: ANTARCTICA

From CO2 Science Magazine, 11 July 2001
http://www.co2science.org/subject/a/summaries/antarctictemptrends.htm

We've all seen the television pictures of glacial ice breaking off the
massive Antarctic ice sheet and falling into the ocean amidst climate
alarmist claims that global warming has arrived.  Additionally, climate
alarmists are quick to point to the recent temperature increase observed
along the Antarctic Peninsula and the retreat of the West Antarctic Ice
Sheet (WAIS) as further evidence of their claim. If the whole truth be told,
however, recent temperature trends for the entire Antarctic region indicate
that a cooling, and not a warming, has taken place over the past several
years, and that the retreat of the WAIS "is not a consequence of
anthropogenic warming or recent sea level rise."

Comiso (2000), for instance, assembled and analyzed Antarctic temperature
data obtained from 21 surface stations and from infrared satellites
operating from 1979 to 1998. The results of his analysis revealed that the
20-year temperature trend over Antarctica derived from the satellite data
was a cooling of 0.042C per year, while the 20-year temperature trend
derived from the station data was a cooling of 0.008C per year. Further
evidence that the Antarctic region is experiencing a cooling trend comes
from the study of Watkins and Simmonds (2000), who analyzed changes in sea
ice over the same period of time. Reporting on trends in a number of
Southern Ocean sea ice parameters over the period 1987 to 1996, Watkins and
Simmonds found statistically significant increases in sea ice area and total
sea ice extent, as well as an increase in sea ice season length since the
1990s. Combining these results with those from a previous study revealed
these trends to be consistent back to 1978. In another study of Antarctic
sea ice extent, Yuan and Martinson (2000) report that the net trend in the
mean Antarctic ice edge over the last 18 years has been an equatorward
expansion of 0.011 degree of latitude per year.

But what if the Antarctic were to warm as a result of some natural or
anthropogenic-induced change in earth's climate? For one thing, it would
likely help to increase both the number and diversity of penguin species
(Sun et al., 2000; Smith et al., 1999), and it would also tend to increase
the size and number of populations of the continent's only two vascular
plant species (Xiong et al., 2000). With respect to the continent's great
ice sheets, there would not be much of a problem either, as not even a
warming event as dramatic as 10C is predicted to result in a net change in
the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (Nslund et al., 2000), suggesting that climate
alarmist predictions of widespread global flooding due to the melting of the
ice sheets are way off the mark when it comes to representing reality.

References

Comiso, J.C. 2000. Variability and trends in Antarctic surface temperatures
from in situ and satellite infrared measurements. Journal of Climate 13:
1674-1696.

Nslund, J.O., Fastook, J.L and Holmlund, P. 2000. Numerical modeling of the
ice sheet in western Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica: impacts of
present, past and future climates.  Journal of Glaciology 46: 54-66.

Smith, R.C., Ainley, D., Baker, K., Domack, E., Emslie, S., Fraser, B.,
Kennett, J., Leventer, A., Mosley-Thompson, E., Stammerjohn, S. and Vernet
M.  1999. Marine ecosystem sensitivity to climate change. BioScience 49:
393-404.

Sun, L., Xie, Z. and Zhao, J. 2000. A 3,000-year record of penguin
populations.  Nature 407: 858.

Watkins, A.B. and Simmonds, I. 2000. Current trends in Antarctic sea ice:
The 1990s impact on a short climatology. Journal of Climate 13: 4441-4451.

Xiong, F.S., Meuller, E.C. and Day, T.A. 2000. Photosynthetic and
respiratory acclimation and growth response of Antarctic vascular plants to
contrasting temperature regimes. American Journal of Botany 87: 700-710.

Yuan, X. and Martinson, D.G. 2000. Antarctic sea ice extent variability and
its global connectivity. Journal of Climate 13: 1697-1717.
 
Copyright 2001. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 

===========
(4) CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN THE COTERMINOUS UNITED STATES

From CO2 Science Magazine, 11 July 2001
http://www.co2science.org/journal/2001/v4n28b1.htm

Reference
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: 2316-2320.

What was done
By means of careful and detailed analyses, the authors derived separate
land- and atmosphere-based estimates of the amount of carbon stored in the
coterminous United States over the past two decades.

What was learned
For the period 1980-89, the authors land-based approach suggested the United
States was a sink for carbon of magnitude somewhere in the range of 0.30 to
0.58 petagrams (Pg) of carbon (C) per year, where 1 Pg C = 1015 g C; but
because additional carbon was exported from the country by rivers and
commerce, the net flux of carbon from the atmosphere to the land was as high
as 0.37 to 0.71 Pg C per year.

These estimates are considerably larger than earlier land-based estimates of
0.08 to 0.35 Pg C per year, due to "the inclusion of additional processes
and revised estimates of some component fluxes."  However, they fall in the
mid-range of estimates the authors derived from independent atmospheric
approaches to the problem, suggesting that the results of both techniques
are robust, although the atmospheric approach has much greater uncertainty
associated with it.  Viewed in this light, the maximum land-based carbon
sequestration value of 0.71 Pg C per year cannot be said to be significantly
different from the values of 0.81 to 0.84 Pg C per year the authors
calculate for the United States based on the earlier landmark atmospheric
analysis of Fan et al. (1998).

What it means
The authors note that the large carbon sink they have documented to exist
within the borders of the coterminous United States "stores between
one-third and two-thirds of a billion tons of carbon annually," which is
"equivalent to 20 to 40 percent of fossil fuel emissions worldwide," as
noted by Wofsy (2001). Hence, it is abundantly clear the United States is
carrying the lion's share of the world's responsibility to offset
anthropogenic CO2 emissions, if that is indeed a goal of any virtue, which,
to be truthful, we seriously doubt. Nevertheless, it demonstrates the great
potential of the biosphere to keep its own house in order. And that is why,
as Wofsy also notes, "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." [Our italics.]

Yes, we are by no means headed for a runaway atmospheric CO2 greenhouse
effect, or even a runaway atmospheric CO2 concentration.  The biosphere is
beginning to exert a powerful brake on the CO2-emitting side effects of the
Industrial Revolution, as was accurately predicted by Idso (1991a,b) fully
ten years ago.

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.

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.

Wofsy, S.C. 2001. Where has all the carbon gone?  Science 292: 2261-2263.
 
Copyright 2001. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 

===========
(5) ARTIC OSCILLATION HAS MODERATED NORTHERN WINTERS OF 1980s AND 1990s

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

Office of News and Information
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington

FROM: Vince Stricherz, 206-543-2580, vinces@u.washington.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 5, 2001

Arctic Oscillation has moderated northern winters of 1980s and '90s

The Arctic Oscillation has been linked to wide-ranging climate effects in
the Northern Hemisphere, but new evidence shows that in recent decades it
has been the key in preventing freezing temperatures from extending as far
south as they had previously.

"Public perceptions that winters are becoming less wintry appear to be as
much or more due to the change in the Arctic Oscillation as to global
warming," said David Thompson, an assistant atmospheric science professor at
Colorado State University.

The Arctic Oscillation -- also referred to as the North Atlantic Oscillation
or the annular mode -- is a climate pattern defined by winds circulating
counterclockwise around the Arctic at about 55 degrees north latitude (about
even with Moscow; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Ketchikan, Alaska). Its
effects on weather patterns appear to be as far-reaching as those triggered
by El Nino in the South Pacific.

Thompson, who began his research while a doctoral student at the University
of Washington, and John M. Wallace, a UW atmospheric sciences professor,
examined daily January-through-March weather data from specific stations for
each year from 1958 through 1997. In the July 6 edition of the journal
Science, the researchers report finding a strong correlation between the
Arctic Oscillation's negative phase and near-record cold days and snow
storms over a much broader region of the hemisphere than was previously
thought.

In its negative phase, the Arctic Oscillation's ring of air spins more
slowly and is more easily disturbed, allowing cold arctic air to spill out
of the far-north regions and into midlatitudes. In the positive phase, the
ring of air spins faster and acts much as a dam that impedes frigid air
moving south.

"The Arctic Oscillation flips back and forth a lot between positive and
negative phases within a winter," Thompson said. "These changes affect
weather throughout much of the hemisphere."

Thompson and Wallace found that days on which the Arctic Oscillation is in
its negative phase are on average several degrees colder than normal over
most of the United States, Northern Europe, Russia, China and Japan. Cities
with normally mild winters, such as Seattle, Dallas, Paris and Tokyo,
experience most of their subfreezing temperatures and snow and ice storms on
those days.

Positive-phase days show a greater frequency of high winds over northern
Europe and North America's Pacific Northwest. Negative-phase days bring to
New England a greater likelihood of strong coastal storms known as
Nor'easters.

In the 1980s and '90s, the Arctic Oscillation has spent most of the time in
the positive phase, the researchers said. That reduced the number and
frequency of days with subzero temperatures or substantial snowfall in the
midlatitudes. "It is conceivable that this change in the behavior of the
Arctic Oscillation could be linked to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere," Thompson said.

The research by Thompson and Wallace was paid for by grants from the
National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration.

The new information suggests that forecasts of the Arctic Oscillation would
have widespread practical applications, Wallace said. For example, if oil
companies knew in advance that a negative-phase winter was on the way, they
could plan to increase supplies to their distributors.

Wallace expects the Arctic Oscillation to continue, at least for now, the
tendency it has shown in recent decades.

"If this trend of the last 30 years is human induced and if it continues,
snow in Seattle or Dallas or Tokyo will become an even rarer event than it
is now," he said. "But if that trend reverses, all bets are off."

###

For more information, contact Thompson at (970) 491-3338 or
davet@atmos.colostate.edu, or Wallace at (206) 543-7390 or
wallace@atmos.washington.edu .

IMAGE CAPTION:
[ http://www.washington.edu/newsroom/news/2001archive/07-01archive/k070501a.html ]
When the Arctic Oscillation is in the positive phase (left), a ring of
strong winds circulating around the pole acts to dam up cold Arctic air
within the polar regions. When it is in its negative phase (right), the ring
is distorted and that makes it easier for chilly arctic air masses to escape
to lower latitudes (black arrows), bringing subfreezing temperatures and
snow (white dots). Image credit: University of Washington.

===========
(6) CLIMATE CHANGE MAY REDUCE FOOD PRODUCTION IN POOR COUNTRIES

From Nature Science Update, 10 July 2001
http://www.nature.com/nsu/010712/010712-7.html

Global warming could make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

10 July 2001

TOM CLARKE

Climate change may hit food production in the some of the world's poorest
countries hardest while increasing it in many developed countries, according
to a report released today that combines the latest climate-change models
with detailed data on global land use1.

The publicly available analysis reinforces what many have long suspected,
and could aid the plight of developing nations if its findings are taken
into account at future climate-change summits, its authors argue.

New maps in the report show that warming and increased CO2 levels will
increase global food production over the next 70 years. At the same time,
these factors could force about 2 billion people living around the equator
to endure large cuts in food production.

Brazil, India and many sub-Saharan African countries could lose out to
climate change; winners will include Russia, China, Canada and Argentina.
"The world will gain overall but there are profound concerns for these
losing countries," says Mahendra Shah, one of the report's authors.

Shah, who works on land use at the International Institute for Applied
Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria, presented his findings today
at Challenges of a Changing Earth, a climate conference in Amsterdam, The
Netherlands.

The IIASA maps divide the globe into a grid of 2.2 million cells of data on
climate, soil type, terrain and vegetation or crop type. Comparing current
conditions with those predicted by the three most widely used climate-change
models, "we can see in each grid cell what the climate-change effects will
be," says Shah.

Equatorial zones will get hotter, the researchers calculate, making current
crops harder to grow. Temperate areas - parts of North America, Russia and
China - will get hotter but also wetter, allowing agriculture to spread
further north.

This trend was predicted as far back as 19942, but the new report is the
most comprehensive analysis of it yet. "This is the most thorough
biophysical measurement of global agriculture and forestry to date," says
Ferenc Toth of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

The new maps should help decision-makers in the threatened countries to
develop alternative crop types or to plan food-importing strategies, says
Shah. It will also equip them to argue their case to developed countries,
which are currently debating the costs of global climate change at meetings
such as the Kyoto summit in Bonn next week.

Toth agrees: the information included in assessments such as the IIASA
report can "direct the next round of climate-impact assessments to focus on
those areas where high potential risk has been identified," he says.

However, if current social, economic and political trends that threaten food
security in many poor nations continue, Toth warns that "climate change will
not be their largest problem".
 
References

Fischer, G., Shah, M., van Velthuizen, H. & Nachtergaele, F. O. Executive
Summary Report: Global Agro-ecological Assessment for Agriculture in the
21st Century. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, (2001).

Rosenzweig, C. & Parry, M. L.Potential impact of climate change on world
food supply. Nature, 367, 133 - 138 , (1994).
 
Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2001

===========
(7) CLIMATE CHANGE HAS SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED FOOD PRODUCTION

From CO2 Science Magazine, 11 July 2001
http://www.co2science.org/edit/v4_edit/v4n28edit.htm

HEY, CO2! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?

From its pre-industrial level of 150 years ago (approximately 275 ppm), the
air's CO2 concentration has risen to nearly 375 ppm today.  What has this
extra 100 ppm of CO2 done for world agriculture?

Mayeux et al. (1997) analyzed this question with respect to wheat, which
they studied in a 38-meter-long controlled environment chamber located in a
ventilated glass house. This chamber was composed of five 7.6-m lengths of a
0.76-m-deep and 0.45-m-wide soil container topped with a transparent and
tunnel-shaped polyethylene cover that was attached to its upper edges. Two
day-neutral cultivars of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were grown in
four 0.6-m-long soil compartments in each of the five 7.6-m-long sections of
the tunnel. In addition, a third spring wheat cultivar was seeded into the
middle and two ends of each tunnel section prior to the planting of the two
cultivars to be studied, i.e., Seri M82 (a semidwarf type representative of
modern spring wheats) and Yaqui 54 (a traditional tall cultivar typical of
what was used by American farmers 40 years ago). The third wheat cultivar
served as a photosynthetic "sink" for CO2 as air passed through the chamber
sections, so that a CO2 gradient was created through the "long and winding
tunnel," from near 350 ppm at its entrance to approximately 200 ppm at its
end.

Both of the studied wheat cultivars were irrigated weekly over the first
half of the 100-day growing season, so as to maintain soil water contents near field
capacity in each of the chamber sections. Over the last half of the growing
season, however, this regimen was maintained on only half of the wheat of
each cultivar, the other halves receiving no further additions of water in
order to create droughted treatments in addition to the well-watered
treatments.

At the conclusion of the experiment, the scientists determined that the
growth response of the wheat was a linear function of atmospheric CO2
concentration in both cultivars under both soil water regimes. Based on the
four linear regression equations they developed for grain yield in these
situations, we calculate that the 100-ppm increase in atmospheric CO2
concentration experienced over the past century and a half should have
increased the mean grain yield of these two wheat cultivars by approximately
72% under well-watered conditions and by about 48% under the water-stressed
scenario the scientists studied, for a mean cultivar/water scenario response
on the order of 60%.

This CO2-induced increase in commercial wheat productivity is considerably
larger than what is generally observed in studies that elevate the air's CO2
concentration to values above where it currently stands, due to the fact
that the aerial fertilization effect of carbon dioxide is expressed much
more strongly at lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations than it is at higher
concentrations. Hence, there has been a tendency for the past benefits of
the historical increase in the air's CO2 content to be significantly
underestimated, based on analyses of forward yield projections derived from
atmospheric CO2 enrichment experiments. As the backward yield projections
derived from the results of the atmospheric CO2 depletion experiments of
Mayeux et al. clearly indicate, however, the historical rise in the air's
CO2 content has already increased real-world wheat yields by an astounding
amount.

But the good "old" news is not restricted to wheat. Based on the voluminous
data summarized by Idso and Idso (2000) for the world's major food crops,
the calculations we have made for wheat can be comparatively scaled to
determine what the past 150-year increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration
has likely done for other agricultural staples. Doing so, we find that the
Industrial Revolution's flooding of the air with CO2 has resulted in mean
yield increases of 70% for other C3 cereals, 28% for C4 cereals, 33% for
fruits and melons, 62% for legumes, 67% for root and tuber crops, and 51%
for vegetables.

So the next time you hear someone spouting off about the evils of fossil
fuels and the CO2 they emit to the atmosphere, tell them the other side of
the story. Tell them they might not even be here without what the burning of
coal, gas and oil has done for the planet in providing a goodly portion of
the food that has sustained our enormous population growth of the past 150
years.  Yes, there's more than just blood flowing through our veins; there's
a bit of fossil fuel coursing through them as well.

Dr. Craig D. Idso, President 
Dr. Keith E. Idso, Vice President 

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

Mayeux, H.S., Johnson, H.B., Polley, H.W. and Malone, S.R. 1997. Yield of
wheat across a subambient carbon dioxide gradient.  Global Change Biology 3:
269-278.
 
Copyright 2001. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 

==============
(8) POOR COUNTRIES SUFFER MOST FROM ECO WARRIORS

From The New York Times, 8 July 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/08/world/08NATI.html?searchpv=day01

Move to Curb Biotech Crops Ignores Poor, U.N. Finds

By BARBARA CROSSETTE
 
NITED NATIONS, July 6 - Opposition in richer countries to genetically
modified crops may set back the ability of the poorest nations to feed
growing populations, according to a new United Nations survey.

A movement against these crops, genetically changed for various reasons -
including higher yield, more nutritional value and pest or disease control -
is strongest among Western Europeans and to some extent Americans.

"The current debate in Europe and the United States over genetically
modified crops mostly ignores the concerns and needs of the developing
world," according to the survey, the Human Development Report 2001. It is
published by the United Nations Development Program and will be released on
Tuesday in Mexico City.

"Western consumers who do not face food shortages or nutritional
deficiencies or work in the fields are more likely to focus on food safety
and the potential loss of biodiversity," the report states, but "farming
communities in developing countries are more likely to focus on potentially
higher yields and greater nutritional value, and on the reduced need to
spray pesticides that can damage the soil and sicken farmers."

The report draws a comparison to successful Western-led efforts to ban the
use of the industrial pesticide DDT worldwide, which has allowed a resurgent
population of mosquitoes to devastate tropical countries with several
virulent strains of malaria.

Still, the United Nations remains concerned about the consequences of
genetic advancements, too. In Geneva on Friday, the World Health
Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization jointly recommended
that governments test all genetically modified organisms before they enter
the market, looking especially for the potential to cause allergic
reactions.

Mark Malloch Brown, administrator of the United Nations Development Program,
which publishes the 11-year-old annual survey, said the report moved in a
new direction this year by challenging some cherished opinions about what
the third world needs. The 2001 report looks at three areas - food, medicine
and information systems - where high-technology can be made relevant and
useful to poor countries, as long as risks are well managed.

Mr. Malloch Brown recommended a closer look at recent history and a move
away from what he called "an anti-technology bias." He added that advances
in food production - the "green revolution" of the early postcolonial years
- were based on crop science.

Turning to information technology, the report created a new technology
achievement index that ranks countries in four categories: leaders,
potential leaders, dynamic adopters and the marginalized. The new index
offers some surprising findings based on factors such as inducements to
innovation, prevalence of old technologies like telephones and general
educational levels.

While India, for example, has islands of high technology, it ranks at the
bottom of the dynamic adopters category, just above marginalization - not
only well below China by virtually every measure, but also far behind
Southeast Asia, Latin American and parts of Africa and the Arab world. At
the other end of the scale, Japan and Korea rank fourth and fifth on the
leaders list, which is led by Finland, the United States and Sweden.
Singapore outranks a majority of European countries.

The core of the 2001 report remains the broad human development index,
devised in 1990 by the late Mahbub ul Haq, a Pakistani economist. This year,
Norway rose to the top of the index that measures quality of life very
broadly. Australia, Canada, Sweden, Belgium and the United States followed.

At the bottom of the list is Sierra Leone, in last place among 162 nations
surveyed. Of 36 nations considered lowest in human development, 29 are
African.

Copyright 2001, The New York Times

============
(9) CLIMATE SCEPTICISM
 
From The Times, 9 July 2001
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,7-2001232773,00.html
 
Not everyone believes the world is slowly baking its way to catastrophe. A
considerable band of hardened sceptics either dispute the evidence for
global warming, or say that even if it is happening, there is no proof that
human beings have perpetrated it. If our contribution to climate is indeed
negligible, the Kyoto protocol will stand as one of the most monumental
wastes of money in human history.

As the theory of man-made climate change has become scientific gospel,
dissenters have been marginalised; those who do not buy into the catastrophe
scenario have been accused of not caring about the planet, or being in
cahoots with industrial polluters. In reply they have shouted even louder:
17,000 signed the Oregon Petition, which states that there is "no compelling
evidence that human beings are causing discernible climate change".

Some go further, arguing that climatology has tipped over into calamitology
and that the only rising waters that threaten to overwhelm the human race
are hyperbole and hysteria. Global climate, they say, is too complex to play
out on a computer simulation. If the Met Office's powerful computers cannot
make correct forecasts four days ahead - one need only remember the
hurricane of 1987 - how can we trust computer prophecies of a sweaty,
ruinous decline in two centuries' time?

The sceptics have ammunition for their cause, and the scientific community
has been listening quietly. The Earth has always shown cycles of cooling and
heating, with dramatic swings. The Ice Age melted away 18,000 years ago
thanks to a temperature increase of 4-5C. The 9th century saw the beginning
of a particularly clement time, which lasted four centuries and is known as
the medieval warm period. Global climate is affected by many things:
volcanic eruptions (the material thrown into the atmosphere cloaks and cools
the Earth), fluctuations in the amount of solar heat reaching us and kinks
in the Earth's rotation (that may take some portions closer to or farther
away from the Sun). Such natural contributions predate the Industrial
Revolution. In fact, what we interpret as global warming today may be the
tail end of the heating that thawed the last Ice Age; another relic of that
era is the slowly rising sea levels, destined to continue to rise at about
15cm a year for 6,000 more years, some estimates show.

But what about melting ice shelves and vanishing mountain snow? Depending on
which bits of the Earth you look at, you get a different picture. Yes,
Alaska's Columbia Glacier is retreating, but Greenland has become colder.
The edge of the Antarctic Peninsula may be retreating, but temperatures at
the South Pole have plunged to their lowest - 108F - for 40 years.

Eric Rignot, of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, along with scientists at
the British Antarctic Survey, looked at ice streams in Antarctica. One had
stopped, one had speeded up and one had slowed down. Rignot has no easy
answer: "We see the ice thinning but are not sure why. The ice sheet may be
doing its own thing. It may be driven by climate change. We don't know."

Even though the surface of the Earth has warmed up, satellite data suggest
that the lower troposphere, stretching from ground level up to about 8km,
has not. This, sceptics say, is inconsistent and casts doubt on the whole
idea of global warming. A panel from America's National Research Council,
which discussed the inconsistency, concluded that "the disparity between
surface and upper air trends in no way invalidates the conclusion that
surface temperature has been rising" - though many sceptics did not doubt
that in the first place.

Those who do doubt the surface measurements say the results are skewed by
the urban heat-island effect. Put simply, built-up areas are hotter than
rural areas, so unless that effect is cancelled out, the Earth will seem
hotter than it really is.

Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, served on the National Academy of Sciences panel that advised
George W. Bush on the state of the science. Media reports suggested that all
12 panel members were unanimous about the human contribution to climate
change. But in an article in the Wall Street Journal last month he wrote:
"There is no consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate
trends and what causes them. Our primary conclusion was that despite some
knowledge and agreement, the science is by no means settled. We are in no
position to attribute confidently past climate change to carbon dioxide or
forecast what the climate will be in the future."

He believes that global warming may be moderated by clouds, which act as
thermostats. When the Earth's surface heats up, cloud cover changes in a way
that releases more energy back into space. Yet climate models do not take
account of cloud activity.

Simulating climate accurately requires knowledge way beyond anything
available - scientists would need to put millions of numbers into their
machines, to represent such diverse things as wind, sea currents,
temperature, rain, snow, ice cover and vegetation, at every point on the
planet.

There is not one computer in the Universe - not even the ones that simulate
nuclear explosions or beat the chess champion Garry Kasparov - capable of
computing the result. The academy panel concluded: "Climate models are
imperfect. Their simulation skill is limited by uncertainties in their
formulation, the limited size of their calculations and the difficulty in
interpreting their answers, that exhibit almost as much complexity as in
Nature."

Yet, dissenters note, Kyoto is predicated on the worst scenario - of the
planet warming by several degrees. The protocol is based on incomplete
simulations whose results, which bear huge error margins, have been
extrapolated too far. And it is no secret that the same computer models that
predict the future don't do well when applied to the past, and do not even
replicate large features of climates gone by. If computer modelling were
that accurate, sceptics joke, scientists wouldn't be worrying about the
planet's hot flushes, but would be cleaning up on the stock market instead.

Fred Singer, the founder and president of the Science and Environmental
Policy Project, told the Senate last year: "Contrary to conventional wisdom
and the predictions of computer models, the Earth's climate has not warmed
appreciably in the past two decades - probably not since about 1940. The
evidence is abundant."

That evidence? Tree rings are a good indication of climatic conditions in
the past, as thicker rings show faster growth over the year in question,
which usually means warmer weather. Scientists can calculate a connection
between ring sizes for particular species, and relatively precise
temperatures that must have prevailed.

Significantly, sceptics are welcoming greens into the fold. Bjorn Lomborg, a
professor of statistics at the University of Aarhus in Denmark and former
Greenpeace activist, will publish The Skeptical Environmentalist this year.
His book takes aim at the "way in which many environmental organisations
make selective and misleading use of the scientific evidence" to ham up
"phantom problems". Lomborg says we have never had it so good, and many
would agree: we breathe cleaner air than we did in the 1950s, and salmon
have returned to the Thames.

Philip Stott, a professor of biogeography at London University and a
rainforest expert, delivered an indictment on the "myth of global warming",
which he saw as an issue that had been seized on by Greens to justify their
existence. People should be working out how to adapt to climate change, not
stop the unstoppable. "So climate's changing," he boomed at the Institute
for Economic Affairs in London. "So what? It has always changed. The big
news would be if it wasn't changing. When people die of epidemics and
hunger, why do we fear a little warmth?"
 
Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd. 

========
(10) WILLY-WILLY WHINGE AND WAFFLE WEST ISLAND

From World Climate Report, 10 July 2001
http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/climate/v6n21/hot.htm

Willy-Willy Whinge and Waffle West Island
(Translation: Greenhouse Warming To Reduce Australian Hurricanes)

The media's global warming alarmists would like nothing more than to report
that a few studies show hurricanes will become more violent in a future,
greenhouse-warmed climate. Despite the lack of any relationship between
tropical cyclones and warming, almost all televised global warming stories
show the requisite stock footage of a landfalling hurricane. We suppose this
falls under "artistic license"-which in this case is another term for
"lying."

After decades of trying, only recently have a few modelers managed to djinn
up models with the right concoction of atmospheric parameters to produce a
future increase in hurricanes. But quite simply, the underlying physics to
justify this increase is lacking.

Part of the problem is that tropical cyclones (the general term that
includes weaker tropical storms and the more powerful hurricanes) occur at a
scale that is too small for general circulation models to resolve. They are
also linked, throughout the world, to the sea-surface temperatures and
circulation throughout the tropics, part of which is related to El Nios and
La Nias that also fall below GCM radar screens. But slow progress is being
made in using regional climate models, which have appropriate spatial
resolution, in describing these phenomena.

In a recent paper in the Journal of Climate by Nguyen and Walsh from
Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
(CSIRO), the future of Australian tropical cyclones-colloquially called
willy-willies down under-is examined. Using a regional model called DARLAM,
which was forced by a larger-scale General Circulation Model (the CSIRO Mark
2), they first attempted to reproduce current El Nio, La Nia, and tropical
cyclone conditions over Australasia and then projected these into a future,
greenhouse-warmed world.

In the tropical cyclone simulation, DARLAM produced more storms than
actually occur, probably because the simulated rainfall is too high and
vertical wind profile is too weak. Vertical wind shear, or the change in the
speed and direction of horizontal winds with height, is a critical factor in
hurricane formation. Strong winds aloft essentially blow the tops off of
growing tropical cyclones. Aside from the overestimate of cyclone numbers,
however, DARLAM seems capable of reproducing the current patterns and tracks
of hurricanes in Australasia.

Nguyen and Walsh then forced their model with a tripling (that's right, a
tripling!) of carbon dioxide (CO2) from baseline levels. When tropical
cyclones in this greenhouse-gas tripled world are compared, during both El
Nio and La Nia conditions, to current storm tracks, the results are the
same. Yes, despite tripling the amount of CO2 in the air, that atmospheric
change has no real influence on modeled hurricane tracks.

Figure 1. The number of days on which a tropical cyclone is present in a
30-year period, as simulated using DARLAM run with present and tripled
atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. There is a significant decline
in the number of tropical cyclones at some latitudes when CO2 is enhanced.

Even more interesting is that the total number of tropical cyclones declines
in this future world, and that the decline is statistically significant
(Figure 1). They tried to figure out why:

Moist convection? Hurricanes derive their energy from the evaporation of
warm, ocean waters in thunderstorms. But moist convection increases under
greenhouse warming conditions, and the number of storms declines anyway.

Midtropospheric relative humidity? When the middle of the atmosphere is
moist, you generally get more hurricanes. The models simulate higher
humidity here in the future. Still no go.

Vertical wind shear? Some regions show more wind shear in the future. This
could explain why the storms are not growing into major tropical cyclones in
the future simulation.

Vorticity changes? Vorticity, or the spin of the air, is simulated to occur
in the opposite direction needed for cyclone growth under tripled carbon
dioxide conditions.

So, despite a warmer world with higher water temperatures, despite a
moister, more humid atmosphere, and despite very high levels of CO2, this
study shows that significantly fewer willy-willies will wet Australia in the
future.

Reference:

Nguyen, K.C., and K.J.E. Walsh, 2001. Interannual, Decadal, and Transient
Greenhouse Simulation of Tropical Cyclone-like Vortices in a Regional
Climate Model of the South Pacific. Journal of Climate, 14, 3043-3054.

===========
(11) AND FINALLY: ANARCHY IN THE UK. APOCALYPTIC CONSPIRACY THEORISTS CALL
FOR WAR RATIONING 

From the BBC News Online, 10 July 2001
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1429000/1429832.stm

UK 'HIDING SCALE OF CLIMATE THREAT'

The blitzed Coventry cathedral: War taught the UK frugality

By BBC News Online's environment correspondent Alex Kirby

A campaign group says the UK Government is failing to warn people what
tackling climate change will really mean.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) says the sort of action needed will be
far more drastic than most people realise. It says the country could become
ungovernable when ordinary Britons realise what is at stake. But it adds
there are also encouraging lessons from recent history.

In a report, NEF says: "Global warming is spilling over - seas over
defences, rivers over banks, one wave of issues on top of another.

"The always-contentious balance of power between rich and poor countries is
about to flip."

It says the growing awareness of the atmosphere as a global commons, to be
shared by everyone on Earth, is fostering the idea of ecological debt.

Balancing the books

That "will turn conventional international relationships upside down as poor
countries realise their role as environmental creditors".

The author of the report is Andrew Simms, head of NEF's global economy
programme. He said: "The UK and the industrialised world has run up a huge
ecological debt to the global community.

"To balance our environmental books we need to learn from times in our
history when we have successfully cut domestic consumption of natural
resources in ways that created unexpected human benefits."

The report says the Second World War showed how dramatic cuts in the use of
resources could be achieved, in ways that had positive side-effects nobody
had expected.

Last year's fuel protests caused tremors
 
But it believes the UK Government is not rising to the challenge in the same
way. Andrew Simms said: "The government is failing in its duty of care to
the British people by hiding from them the full scale of necessary action to
combat climate change.

War economy

"Mild changes to the price and availability of fuel brought Britain to the
edge of anarchy last year.

"But the government knows that much larger changes will be necessary. It is
failing to prepare public opinion for the inevitable.

"Its timidity means that introducing non-negotiable policies will be like
playing climate roulette with public reactions."

The report says the developed countries will need to put their economies on
a war footing to cope with climate change and to face up to their ecological
debts.

It cites examples from the 1940s of the UK's success in reducing
consumption:

between 1938 and 1944 there was a 95% drop in the use of motor vehicles,
while public transport use increased by 13% across all goods and services
consumption fell by 16%, and domestic use of coal fell by 25%
the number of children dying before their first birthday fell from around 58
to 45 per thousand, as more frugal living raised health standards.

The United Nations Environment Programme and the Oxford Commission on
Sustainable Development have both suggested resource use may have to fall by
as much as 90%.

Climate change will mean storms ahead
 
Andrew Simms told BBC News Online: "Nearly everything we do is linked to
climate change.

"The more we buy, travel and consume, the more greenhouse gases go into the
atmosphere. Dramatically cutting carbon emissions is non-negotiable.

"Unless the government prepares public opinion for the changes in lifestyle
that will be needed to achieve up to 90% emissions cuts in the coming
century, trying to implement the policies needed will make the country
ungovernable.

"Rather than focusing on a single term of office, the government needs plans
for 30, 50 or even a hundred years ahead."

Copyright 2001, BBC

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