>From UPI, 18 October 2002

NASA eyes lasers to divert asteroids
By Dee Ann Divis
Science and Technology Editor

HOUSTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Although there is only a remote chance an asteroid
will strike Earth in the near future, the spectacular crash of the
Shoemaker-Levy comet into the planet Jupiter in 1993 and a razor-thin miss
between an asteroid and Earth only last year have sharpened attention on
work NASA has been doing to prevent impacts and their devastating results.

Even a small asteroid or comet only about 100 meters across could cause
tremendous damage. An asteroid of [half] that size flattened 2,000 square
miles of forest in Siberia in 1908. Though there is only a 1-in-250,000
chance of impact, an asteroid roughly 1.2 kilometer across -- big enough to
destroy a continent on impact -- is expected to pass near Earth on Feb. 1,
2019. [Correction: The risk of impact by 2002 NT7 is zero;]

It was a comet that did hit -- actually a string of comet fragments -- that
really caught the world's attention. When comet Shoemaker-Levy struck about
10 years ago, scientists had a ring-side seat as it tore planet-size holes
in the golden surface of Jupiter in a series of impacts -- impacts big
enough to destroy Earth.

"I think it made an impression," Jonathan Campbell, a NASA researcher at
Marshall Space Flight Center, told United Press International.

There are roughly 1,000 to 2,000 Earth-orbiting asteroids in the
1-to-10-kilometer class -- that is, if they were a smooth ball instead of
large lumpy rocks they would be about 1 km across. There are far more
smaller asteroids, about 200,000 in the 100-meter class.

Campbell, whose work at NASA is part of Marshall's new National Space
Science and Technology Center, is studying the use of lasers to shift the
orbit of such dangerous asteroids. Carlos Roithmayr, a scientist at NASA's
Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., also is looking at lasers. Both
scientists have presented their projects to attendees at the World Space

The lasers could divert -- not destroy -- the threatening rocks, the
scientists said. Pulses from the laser would heat an asteroid's surface to
the point where a small part of the surface explodes. The explosion does not
remove enough of the asteroid to render it harmless, but it does give it a
tiny kick to one side. A long series of such little kicks would be enough to
push an asteroid off a collision course with Earth.

Campbell suggested basing a laser either on the Moon or at one of the
libration points -- spots in space where the gravity of Earth and the Sun
cancel each other out and laser-carrying spacecraft could sit relatively
motionless. Roithmayr said he envisions an option where a laser-bearing
spacecraft would travel to asteroids and use their lasers to turn them

Either system would require extensive advance notice, however, because the
lasers would need to fire continuously at an asteroid for a month or two --
at least to divert it. Such notice involves scanning the skies constantly
with telescopes to identify and map the orbits of asteroids and comets
zooming too near our planet.

One good place to place such telescopes would be the moon. Roithmayr
described the Comet/Asteroid Protection System, or CAPS, which would
include, as part of an overall protection system, a set of telescopes, each
with apertures larger than 3 meters, placed on the moon. The large
telescopes could be placed on tracks to allow them to be configured more

Copyright 2002 United Press International


CCNet TERRA 7/2002 - 18 October 2002

Weather balloons have shown no warming for the past 45 years.
Satellites have shown no warming for the past 23 years. Both methods
are infinitely more reliable than surface temperature readings. Yet we
are about to radically reorder the culture and economies of the
developed world based on the heat island-influenced, error-prone,
inconsistent surface readings alone.
--Lorne Gunter, National Post, 17 October 2002

The ice fields of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania have given up
remarkable new information about the African climate stretching back
more than 11,000 years... The cores show much of the past 11,000
years to have been generally wetter and warmer than present, but they also
show evidence for three major droughts - 8,300, 5,200 and 4,000 years ago -
the last of which went on for 300 years.
--BBC News Online, 18 October 2002

So why all the fuss about the Medieval Warm Period anyway? In a
nutshell, if it can be shown that global temperatures were warmer than they
are presently at a time when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were much
lower than they are presently, then it is clear that something other
than the historical rise in the air's CO2 content could be responsible for
the global warming of the 20th century. In other words, if non-CO2-induced
global warming has happened before, it can happen again.
--CO2 Science Magazine, 9 October 2002

    National Post, 17 October 2002

    BBC News Online, 18 October 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 9 October 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 16 October 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 9 October 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 16 October 2002

    Space Daily, 17 October 2002


>From National Post, 17 October 2002{AB3475E2-B071-4EA3-BCAC-1548BC06D4CD}
Lorne Gunter 
Edmonton Journal

At the end of September, Arthur DeGaetano, a Cornell University
climatologist, reported that Americans suffer 10 more hot summer nights than
they did 40 years ago, but only "if they live in or near a major city." In
rural areas, the average increase has been only two or three more hot

"This means that cities and suburbs may be contributing greatly to their own
heat problems," says DeGaetano. He won't dismiss completely the theory that
human activities are creating a more general global warming. He leaves room
for doubt that "greenhouse gases could be a factor, but not the one and only

"Natural climate variability," the kind that has always existed --
industrialization or no industrialization -- is, according to DeGaetano,
more likely a cause.

For instance, "you tend to see higher temperatures during periods of
drought," he says. After examining temperature trends over the past century
from weather stations across the United States, DeGaetano concluded areas
experiencing drought recorded higher average daily temperatures, but that
temperatures returned to near normal values when the rains returned.

This latter observation is inconsistent with the predictions of the global
warming alarmists and their elaborate computer models. They hold that the
planet's temperature is rising fairly consistently, and droughts are
becoming more widespread and longer-lasting. That the rise is causing the
droughts. And that without drastic curtailment of human emission-producing
activities, the trend is irreversible.

DeGaetano found, instead, that temperature rise followed the onset of
drought, rather than vice versa, and that temperatures tend to fall once
droughts end.

But the most startling finding of his study, which will be published in a
forthcoming issue of the Journal of Climate, is the vast difference between
higher temperatures at urban and rural weather stations. "I expected maybe a
25% increase for the urban areas compared to the rural ones," DeGaetano
said. "I didn't expect a 300% increase."

The most likely cause of this difference is the urban heat island effect.
Industrial, commercial and personal activity in cities makes cities warmer
places than fields, farms and villages. Cities also give off more of the
incoming solar radiation they absorb each day.

This effect could be behind the false impression that the globe is warming.
More than three-quarters of weather stations in the industrialized world are
in large urban centres. But as people have moved from farms to cities over
the past century, in all industrialized nations, cities have grown up around
the majority of weather stations. This advance of development itself has, as
DeGaetano observed, caused the temperature readings in cities to skyrocket
more than three times faster than the readings at rural stations. And since
75% or more of weather stations have experienced this phenomenon, it has
given overall global temperature observations (which are still predominately
drawn from industrialized countries) the appearance of a worldwide warming.
Miami and Los Angeles, DeGaetano found, have experienced "exponential"
increases in temperature in the past century. New York has experienced
almost none.

That's because 100 years ago both L.A. and Miami were small towns. But the
weather station in New York, in Central Park, was already surrounded by a
major city then.

If you doubt the importance of the location of weather stations, consider
this finding from an unrelated study by University of Alabama at Huntsville
climatologist John Christy. Christy has combed through every temperature
reading in his state over the past 108 years and found that the times of day
at which readings are taken at multiple locations, or the varying methods by
which they are taken, or the reliability of the temperature takers (many
early readings were "fudged") can make a difference of as much as one-tenth
of a degree Celsius, per decade, statewide, in temperature readings, or
about the same rate of "global warming" predicted by the greenhouse

In an earlier study, DeGaetano pointed out that establishing temperature
trends over the past century was very difficult using surface readings
because of the many variations from site to site in how those temperatures
are taken. Imagine the inconsistencies in the developing world, where
volunteers still take many readings.

Weather balloons have shown no warming for the past 45 years. Satellites
have shown no warming for the past 23 years. Both methods are infinitely
more reliable than surface temperature readings. Yet we are about to
radically reorder the culture and economies of the developed world based on
the heat island-influenced, error-prone, inconsistent surface readings

Copyright  2002 National Post


>From BBC News Online, 18 October 2002

Kilimanjaro's ice 'archive'

The ice fields of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania have given up remarkable new
information about the African climate stretching back more than 11,000

Cores drilled into the glaciers high up on the peak support earlier evidence
that there were three catastrophic droughts on the continent in the
intervening period.

The research, published in the journal Science, also reinforces predictions
made last year that rising temperatures - if they persist - could clear the
mountain's ice completely within two decades.

This could cause difficulties for local people whose economies depend in
part on the melt waters coming from the mountain and who also benefit from
the influx of tourists drawn to the beauty of the white-capped tropical

Wet and dry

Professor Lonnie Thompson, from Ohio State University, US, collected six
cores from the mountain.

The ice columns were investigated for deposits trapped in the yearly
snowfalls that built up the glaciers.
Its ice is an important climate archive for Africa
By checking these markers against other historical records, Thompson and
colleagues were able to construct a climate "history book".

Included in the record are radioactive markers related to the fall-out of
nuclear bomb tests, which accurately date some of the ice sample; and
specific types of oxygen and hydrogen atoms that can be used to infer past
temperatures. Dust layers give an idea of yearly precipitation.

The cores show much of the past 11,000 years to have been generally wetter
and warmer than present, but they also show evidence for three major
droughts - 8,300, 5,200 and 4,000 years ago - the last of which went on for
300 years.

Ice retreat

By using global positioning from satellites, aerial maps and an array of
stakes placed on the ice fields, the researchers have been able to confirm
that Kilimanjaro's white cap is retreating in extent and volume.

In February 2001, Professor Thompson said the rate of retreat could see the
mountain completely ice free within 20 years. He said the latest work had
not changed that assessment.

Kilimanjaro's white peak to disappear
He told the BBC: "We have a series of maps - the first made in 1912.

"Then there was about 12.1 square kilometres of ice on the mountain.

"Since then, there have been five maps, the latest by us produced from
aerial photographs taken on 16 February, 2000. That showed only 2.2 sq km of
ice remained on the mountain - so we've lost about 80% of the ice since

"If you look at the area on the maps in between you have a series of dots
that line up.

"If you project those into the future, some time between 2015 and 2020 that
ice will be gone - along with the archive of climate history recorded in
those glaciers."

Global changes

But colleague Dr Douglas Hardy, from the University of Massachusetts at
Amherst, also US, cautioned against jumping to conclusions about global
Thompson says the Furtwangler ice wall on Kilimanjaro has undergone a
massive retreat in recent years
"Without diagnostic evidence, a definitive link to global warming is on thin
ice," he said.

"Evidence is mounting that human influences on climate are causing glaciers
to retreat dramatically around the world, and especially at high elevations
in the tropics.

"But Kilimanjaro's glaciers have little in common with mid-latitude Alpine
glaciers, and we must accept that simple explanations are not always

"Kilimanjaro is a mountain that defies expectations and shatters

Copyright 2002, BBC


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 9 October 2002

The Medieval Warm Period was a global climatic anomaly that stretched from
the 9th through the 14th century A.D., when temperatures in many parts of
the world regularly reached levels that were 0.5 to 1.0C warmer than they
are presently. The degree of warmth and associated changes in precipitation
varied from region to region and from time to time; and, therefore, the
consequences of the climatic anomaly were manifested in a number of
different ways and sequences in different places. In this particular
Medieval Warm Period Summary, we review several studies of these climatic
expressions in proxy temperature and hydrologic data from Asia.

Using nine separate proxy climate records derived from peat, lake sediment,
ice core, tree-ring and other proxy sources, Yang et al. (2002) identified a
period of exceptional warmth in China between AD 800 and 1100, much as Qian
and Zhu (2002) and Hong et al. (2000) also did. Qian and Zhu analyzed the
thickness sequence of laminae (a measure of the hydrologic balance of the
surrounding area) in a stalagmite found in Shihua Cave, Beijing, and
reported finding a relatively wet period running from approximately A.D. 940
to 1200. Hong et al. developed an even longer 6000-year high-resolution 18O
record from plant cellulose deposited in a peat bog in the Jilin Province
(42 20' N, 126 22' E), within which they found "an obvious warm period
represented by the high 18O from around AD 1100 to 1200 which may
correspond to the Medieval Warm Epoch of Europe." They also reported that
"at that time, the northern boundary of the cultivation of citrus tree
(Citrus reticulata Blanco) and Boehmeria nivea (a perennial herb), both
subtropical and thermophilous plants, moved gradually into the northern part
of China, and it has been estimated that the annual mean temperature was
0.9-1.0C higher than at present."  Considering the climatic conditions
required to successfully grow these plants, annual mean temperatures in that
part of the country must have been about 1.0 C higher than at present, with
extreme January minimum temperatures fully 3.5 C warmer than they are today
(De'er, 1994).

In Russia, Demezhko and Shchapov (2001) studied a borehole extending to more
than 5 km depth, reconstructing an 80,000-year history of ground surface
temperature in the Middle Urals within the western rim of the Tagil
subsidence (5824' N, 5944'E). The reconstructed temperature history
revealed the existence of a number of climatic excursions, including the
"Medieval Warm Period with a culmination about 1000 years ago." Further
north, Hiller et al. (2001) analyzed subfossil wood samples from the Khibiny
mountains on the Kola Peninsula of Russia (67-68N, 33-34E) in an effort to
reconstruct climate change there over the past 1500 years.  Based on dating
methods used on the subfossil wood samples, they determined that between
A.D. 1000 and 1300, the tree-line was located at least 100-140 m above its
current elevation. This elevation advance, say the authors, suggests that
mean summer temperatures during this "Medieval climatic optimum" were "at
least 0.8C higher than today," and that "the Medieval optimum was the most
pronounced warm climate phase on the Kola Peninsula during the last 1500
years." Additional evidence for the Medieval Warm Period in Russia comes
from Naurzbaev and Vaganov (2000), who developed a 2200-year proxy
temperature record (212 B.C. to 1996 A.D) using tree-ring data obtained from
118 trees near the upper timberline in Siberia. Based on their results, they
concluded that the warming experienced in the 20th century is "not
extraordinary," and that "the warming at the border of the first and second
millennia [1000 A.D., during the Medieval Warm Period] was longer in time
and similar in amplitude."

The Medieval Warm Period has also been identified in the eastern
Mediterranean area. Schilman et al. (2001) analyzed foraminiferal oxygen and
carbon isotopes and the physical and geochemical properties of sediments
contained in two cores extracted from the bed of the southeastern
Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel, reporting a Medieval Warm Period
centered around 1200 AD. In discussing their findings, the authors note
there is an abundance of other evidence for the existence of the Medieval
Warm Period in the Eastern Mediterranean, including "high Saharan lake
levels (Schoell, 1978; Nicholson, 1980), high Dead Sea levels (Issar et al.,
1989, 1991; Issar, 1990, 1998; Issar and Makover-Levin, 1996), and high
levels of the Sea of Galilee (Frumkin et al., 1991; Issar and Makover-Levin,
1996)," as well as "a precipitation maximum at the Nile headwaters (Bell and
Menzel, 1972; Hassan, 1981; Ambrose and DeNiro, 1989) and in the
northeastern Arabian Sea (von Rad et al., 1999)."

Lastly, Esper et al., (2002) employed more than 200,000 ring-width
measurements from 384 trees obtained from 20 individual sites ranging from
the lower to upper timberline in the Northwest Karakorum of Pakistan
(35-37N, 74-76E) and the Southern Tien Shan of Kirghizia (4010'N,
7235'E) to reconstruct regional patterns of climatic variations in Western
Central Asia since AD 618. According to their record, the Medieval Warm
Period was already firmly established and growing even warmer by the early
7th century. Between AD 900 and 1000, tree growth was exceptionally rapid,
at rates that they say "cannot be observed during any other period of the
last millennium." Between AD 1000 and 1200, however, growing conditions
deteriorated; and at about AD 1500, minimum tree ring-widths were reached
that persisted well into the seventeenth century. Towards the end of the
twentieth century, ring-widths increased once again; but the authors report
that "the twentieth-century trend does not approach the AD 1000 maximum." In
fact, there is almost no comparison between the two periods, with the
Medieval Warm Period being far more conducive to good tree growth than the
Modern Warm Period. As the authors describe the situation, "growing
conditions in the twentieth century exceed the long-term average, but the
amplitude of this trend is not comparable to the conditions around AD 1000."

So why all the fuss about the Medieval Warm Period anyway? In a nutshell, if
it can be shown that global temperatures were warmer than they are presently
at a time when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were much lower than they are
presently, then it is clear that something other than the historical rise in
the air's CO2 content could be responsible for the global warming of the
20th century. In other words, if non-CO2-induced global warming has happened
before, it can happen again.

In considering the results of the studies reviewed in this Summary, it is
readily evident that a Medieval Warm Period existed throughout vast areas of
Asia during the 9th through 14th centuries.  Furthermore, and contrary to
the climate-alarmist claim that the last decade of the 20th century was the
warmest of the past millennium, it is clear that much of Asia was
considerably warmer during the Medieval Warm Period than it was during any
decade of the last hundred years.  Hence, it can be appreciated that the
unprecedented warming of the past century, as climate alarmists like to
describe it, does not even come close to meriting that appellation,
especially in Asia.

Ambrose, S.H. and DeNiro, M.J. 1989. Climate and habitat reconstruction
using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of collagen in prehistoric
herbivore teeth from Kenya.  Quaternary Research 31: 407-422.

Bell, B. and Menzel, D.H. 1972. Toward the observation and interpretation of
solar phenomena.  AFCRL F19628-69-C-0077 and AFCRL-TR-74-0357, Air Force
Cambridge Research Laboratories, Bedford, MA, pp. 8-12.

De'er, Z. 1994. Evidence for the existence of the medieval warm period in
China.  Climatic Change 26: 289-297.

Demezhko, D.Yu. and Shchapov, V.A. 2001. 80,000 years ground surface
temperature history inferred from the temperature-depth log measured in the
superdeep hole SG-4 (the Urals, Russia).  Global and Planetary Change 29:

Esper, J., Schweingruber, F.H. and Winiger, M. 2002. 1300 years of climatic
history for Western Central Asia inferred from tree-rings.  The Holocene 12:

Frumkin, A., Magaritz, M., Carmi, I. and Zak, I. 1991. The Holocene climatic
record of the salt caves of Mount Sedom, Israel.  Holocene 1: 191-200.

Hassan, F.A.  1981. Historical Nile floods and their implications for
climatic change.  Science 212: 1142-1145.

Hiller, A., Boettger, T. and Kremenetski, C. 2001. Medieval climatic warming
recorded by radiocarbon dated alpine tree-line shift on the Kola Peninsula,
Russia. The Holocene 11: 491-497.

Hong, Y.T., Jiang, H.B., Liu, T.S., Zhou, L.P., Beer, J., Li, H.D., Leng,
X.T., Hong, B. and Qin, X.G. 2000. Response of climate to solar forcing
recorded in a 6000-year 18O time-series of Chinese peat cellulose. The
Holocene 10: 1-7.

Issar, A.S. 1990. Water Shall Flow from the Rock.  Springer, Heidelberg,

Issar, A.S. 1998. Climate change and history during the Holocene in the
eastern Mediterranean region. In: Issar, A.S. and Brown, N. (Eds.), Water,
Environment and Society in Times of Climate Change, Kluwer Academic
Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 113-128.

Issar, A.S. and Makover-Levin, D. 1996. Climate changes during the Holocene
in the Mediterranean region.  In: Angelakis, A.A. and Issar, A.S. (Eds.),
Diachronic Climatic Impacts on Water Resources with Emphasis on the
Mediterranean Region, NATO ASI Series, Vol. I, 36, Springer, Heidelberg,
Germany, pp. 55-75.

Issar, A.S., Tsoar, H. and Levin, D. 1989. Climatic changes in Israel during
historical times and their impact on hydrological, pedological and
socio-economic systems.  In: Leinen, M. and Sarnthein, M. (Eds.),
Paleoclimatology and Paleometeorology: Modern and Past Patterns of Global
Atmospheric Transport, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The
Netherlands, pp. 535-541.

Issar, A.S., Govrin, Y., Geyh, M.A., Wakshal, E. and Wolf, M. 1991. Climate
changes during the Upper Holocene in Israel.  Israel Journal of
Earth-Science 40: 219-223.

Naurzbaev, M.M. and Vaganov, E.A. 2000. Variation of early summer and annual
temperature in east Taymir and Putoran (Siberia) over the last two millennia
inferred from tree rings.  Journal of Geophysical Research 105: 7317-7326.

Nicholson, S.E.  1980. Saharan climates in historic times. In: Williams,
M.A.J. and Faure, H. (Eds.), The Sahara and the Nile, Balkema, Rotterdam,
The Netherlands, pp. 173-200.

Qian, W. and Zhu, Y. 2002. Little Ice Age climate near Beijing, China,
inferred from historical and stalagmite records. Quaternary Research 57:

Schilman, B., Bar-Matthews, M., Almogi-Labin, A. and Luz, B. 2001. Global
climate instability reflected by Eastern Mediterranean marine records during
the late Holocene. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 176:

Schoell, M. 1978. Oxygen isotope analysis on authigenic carbonates from Lake
Van sediments and their possible bearing on the climate of the past 10,000
years.  In: Degens, E.T. (Ed.), The Geology of Lake Van, Kurtman. The
Mineral Research and Exploration Institute of Turkey, Ankara, Turkey, pp.

von Rad, U., Schulz, H., Riech, V., den Dulk, M., Berner, U. and Sirocko, F.
1999. Multiple monsoon-controlled breakdown of oxygen-minimum conditions
during the past 30,000 years documented in laminated sediments off Pakistan.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 152: 129-161.

Yang, B., Braeuning, A., Johnson, K.R. and Yafeng, S.  2002. General
characteristics of temperature variation in China during the last two
millennia. Geophysical Research Letters 29: 10.1029/2001GL014485.

Copyright 2002. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 16 October 2002

Caseldine, C.J. 1985. The extent of some glaciers in northern Iceland during
the Little Ice Age and the nature of recent deglaciation. The Geographical
Journal 151: 215-227.

What was done
Lichenometry was used by the author to determine the dates of occurrence of
the maximum Little Ice Age extensions of four glaciers in Northern Iceland,
as well as their movements subsequent to that time.

What was learned
The maximum Little Ice Age extensions of the four glaciers were reached in
1868, 1885, 1898 and 1917. Since those times, two of the glaciers have
continued to retreat through the end of the study period (mid-1980s). The
other two glaciers, however, have slowed, stopped and periodically
re-advanced. One of them, in fact, advanced 50 meters between 1977 and 1979,
30 more meters between 1979 and 1981, and 25 additional meters between 1981
and 1983. The author notes that the advances appear to occur when mean
summer temperature drops below 8-8.5C, which has occurred several times
over the past several decades, following a significant downward trend in
summer temperature that followed the broad maximum experienced there in the
1930s and 40s.

What it means
According to conventional wisdom, the Little Ice Age held sway over much of
the world until the end of the 19th century, after which it rapidly waned.
The more recent advances of some of the glaciers studied by Caseldine,
however, suggest that Iceland's climate may not have fully evolved into what
in many parts of the world is being hailed as the Modern Warm Period. Could
it be that climatic remnants of the Little Ice Age still lurk about the
fringes of this North Atlantic island?

Copyright 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 9 October 2002

The Earth system - comprising atmosphere, ocean, land, cryosphere and
biosphere - is an immensely complex system, involving processes and
interactions on a wide range of space- and time-scales. Thus begins the
abstract of an enlightening essay on the many shortcomings of today's
climate models (O'Neill and Steenman-Clark, 2002) in which the implications
of this situation are discussed within the context of developing "reliable
numerical models that can be used to predict how the Earth system will
evolve and how it will respond to man-made perturbations."  The challenge of
this enterprise, as the authors describe it, is truly daunting.

They begin by noting that the system "must be modeled as an interactive
whole," and that "because of the complexity of the process and interactions
involved, high-performance computing is absolutely essential." As they go on
to elaborate, however, today's climate models are sorely lacking in this
"absolutely essential" characteristic, as they are also deficient in many
other important properties, which clearly implies that even our best climate
models are not yet up to the task required of them, i.e., accurately
predicting the future evolution of earth's climate.

O'Neill and Steenman-Clark note, for example, that there are "considerable
gaps in knowledge about the interactions among the sub-systems," and that
"current models include only a limited set of the necessary components,"
which leads us to ask: Are we way off-base in concluding that if today's
climate models have "gaps in knowledge" large enough to be described as
"considerable," ought not those gaps be filled before one puts much credence
in the predictions of the models?  And what about the models possessing a
limited set of the necessary components?  Wouldn't one want them to have all
of the necessary components before their predictions were deemed correct?

Two examples of the coupling of subsystems that are "poorly treated at
present," say O'Neill and Steenman-Clark, are the coupling of changes in
atmospheric chemistry with climate and the coupling of the biosphere with
climate.  Moreover, they note that "individual subsystems like the
atmosphere exhibit enormous complexity in their own right," and that "an
increase of high-performance computer power of several orders of magnitude
is needed to make significant progress."  This being the case, we again are
forced to ask: Are we way off-base in concluding that if we need "several
orders of magnitude more computer power" to merely make "progress," is there
not a very real likelihood that current climate models are nowhere near
being able to produce an accurate description of earth's future climate?

In addition to the maddening complexity of the planet's climate system and
the great gaps that exist in our knowledge of its workings, the lack of
sufficiently fine spatial resolution is another enormous hurdle that stands
in the way of accurate climate change predictions via numerical model
calculations. With respect to the fast and dramatic climate changes that are
thought to be linked to similar changes in the thermohaline circulation of
the world's oceans, for example, O'Neill and Steenman-Clark say that
"predicting rapid change reliably will require coupled models of the
atmosphere and ocean with much finer spatial resolution than is used at
present." An "imperative," as they thus put it, is to bring "much greater
high-performance computer resources to bear on the problem to allow the Gulf
Stream and related circulations to be adequately simulated."  And if that
need is truly imperative, as they say, we ask ourselves yet again: Are we
way off-base in our belief that this need should be satisfied before we
start turning the world's economy upside down in an effort to forestall
model-based predictions of catastrophic global warming?

Then there is O'Neill and Steenman-Clark's statement that "it is widely
recognized that the representation of convection, clouds and their
interactions with radiation is one of the greatest weaknesses of current
climate-prediction models," which is also a consequence of
insufficiently-fine spatial resolution. And what is their prescription for
solving this problem? They say that "a major drive in climate modeling must
be to reduce the impact of uncertain parameterizations, such as that of
convection, by resolving important processes to a greater extent," which
clearly requires you-know-what and which prompts us to ask yet one more
time: Are we way off base in demanding that the models resolve these
processes before we start letting them make our decisions for us?

Of course we're not off-base; our questions and their implied answers are
right on the mark. The nature of the well-chosen words so aptly employed by
O'Neill and Steenman-Clark leave no doubt about it - computer modeling of
earth's climate, as far as it has come, still has a long, long way to go
before it is up to the task of accurately defining future climate. And until
it gets there, the three of us have no intention of letting an inadequately
programmed computer usurp the responsibility we have to do our thinking on
the vitally important issue of carbon dioxide and global change.  The stakes
are just too high.

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso  

O'Neill, A. and Steenman-Clark, L.  2002.  The computational challenges of
Earth-system science.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of
London, Series A 360: 1267-1275.
Copyright 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 16 October 2002

Hegerl, G.C. and Wallace, J.M.  2002.  Influence of patterns of climate
variability on the difference between satellite and surface temperature
trends.  Journal of Climate 15: 2412-2428.

Over the final two decades of the 20th century, the surface air temperature
record that is officially recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change depicts what climate alarmists call unprecedented global
warming. Over the same period, satellite measurements of tropospheric
temperature show little change. The difference between the two records - a
relative surface warming on the order of 0.12C per decade - is significant
and cries out for explanation.  The authors of this intriguing paper attempt
to provide one.

What was done
The approach of the authors was to see if trends in recognizable atmospheric
modes of variability account for all or part of the observed trend in
surface-troposphere temperature differential (lapse rate), based on
observations of surface and tropospheric temperatures obtained from
satellites, radiosondes, and land-surface air and sea-surface data.

What was learned
The authors say that "modes of variability that affect surface temperature
cannot explain trends in the observed lapse rate," and that "no mechanism
with clear spatial or time structure can be found that accounts for that
trend."  In addition, they state that "all attempts to explain all or a
significant part of the observed lapse rate trend by modes of climate
variability with structured patterns from observations have failed," and
that "an approach applying model data to isolate such a pattern has also
failed."  Nor does it seem, they say, "that interdecadal variations in
radiative forcing, such as might be caused by volcanic eruptions, variations
in solar output, or stratospheric ozone depletion alone, offer a compelling
explanation."  Hence, they ultimately conclude "there remains a gap in our
fundamental understanding of the processes that cause the lapse rate to vary
on interdecadal timescales."

What it means
There are two different ways of interpreting the findings of this study.
First, if Hegerl and Wallace's final conclusion is correct, and there is
indeed a significant gap in our fundamental understanding of important
meteorological and/or climatological processes related to the lapse rate of
the lower troposphere, we are probably not justified in placing much trust
in the predictions of climate models that do not incorporate that
fundamental knowledge. A logical extension of this interpretation further
suggests that if state-of-the-art climate models are deficient in this one
respect, they could well be deficient in other respects, which would make
their predictions even more untrustworthy.

On the other hand, the reason why no explanation can be found for the
ever-increasing difference between the surface and satellite temperature
trends of the past 20-plus years may be that one of the temperature records
is incorrect. Faced with this possibility, one would logically want to
determine which of the records is likely to be erroneous and then assess the
consequences of that determination.

Although this task may seem daunting, it is not that difficult to make the
determination.  One important clue comes from the incredibly good
correspondence that exists between the satellite and radiosonde temperature
trends that are portrayed in Fig. 1 of Hegerl and Wallace's paper, which
leaves little reason for doubting the veracity of the satellite results,
since this comparison essentially amounts to an in situ validation of the
satellite record.  A second important clue comes from the realization that
it would be extremely easy for a spurious warming of 0.12C per decade to be
introduced into the surface air temperature trend as a consequence of the
order-of-magnitude greater anthropogenic-induced (heat-island-type) warming
that occurs in most of the places where land-surface air temperature
measurements are made, due to increases in human population and urban
development that occurred over the final two decades of the 20th century
(see Urban Heat Island in our Subject Index).

We tend to favor the latter of these two perspectives, although we realize
that both of them could well be true at one and the same time.  In either
case, there appear to be three good reasons for not believing climate model
predictions of future, or replications of past, CO2-induced global warming:
(1) the internal consistency of past satellite and radiosonde temperature
measurements over areas where both were operative validates the satellite
record of global tropospheric temperature, which shows essentially no upward
trend over the last two decades of the 20th century, (2) the models do not
replicate the two-decade negligible trend of the satellite-measured
tropospheric temperature, and (3) there are good reasons for believing the
surface air temperature trend is falsely inflated by urban-heat-island-type
warming that is next to impossible to remove to the degree of accuracy that
is required to confidently assess the magnitude of, or even detect,
non-urban warming that might possibly be driven by anthropogenic emissions
of greenhouse gases.
Copyright 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


>From Space Daily, 17 October 2002
MARRAKESH, Morocco (AFP) Oct 17, 2002

Experts attending an international water conference in this southern
Moroccan city on Thursday called for the use of nuclear energy to extract
drinking water from the sea to be made easier, as global demand for fresh
water increases and accessibility shrinks.

"Nuclear energy provides an inexpensive, non-polluting means of desalinating
water, and is accessible to everyone," said Abdelhamid Mekki-Berrada, head
of the Association of Atomic Engineers of Morocco (AIGAM), which has
co-organised the three-day meeting with the World Council of Nuclear Workers

However WONUC acknowledged that the use of nuclear energy to desalinate
water continues to run up against the obstacle of the anti-nuclear lobby,
which "categorically opposes anything containing the slightest hint of
nuclear energy".

During the conference, devoted to using nuclear power to desalinate
seawater, engineers, scientists and industrialists from 35 countries are to
present the results of studies they have carried out on removing salt from
water using nuclear energy.

More than 97 percent of the world's water reserves are salt water, contained
in the planet's oceans.

Only a tiny proportion of the 1.3 billion square kilometers that makes up
the world's water reserves is fresh water, and just 0.4 percent of those
reserves is accessible.

However, rapid economic and social development around the world continue to
push demand for fresh water upward. Drinking water demand grew twice as fast
as the world's population between 1990 and 1995, and is expected to grow
another 40 percent by 2025.

According to a statement released by WONUC before the conference, "In many
parts of the world, the discrepancy between fresh water needs and
availability has already made any possibility of development or even
survival haphazard."

The statement also says that in 50 years, around 40 countries in the world
could face a shortage of drinking water.

Already, "hundreds of millions of women and children are enslaved by the
daily quest for water" in parts of the world where drinking water is not
readily available," the statement says.

A shortage of fresh water also "limits food production, reduces people to
destitution and poverty and leaves them with no choice but disappearance or

Desalination of water is, therefore, a solution "as much for the present as
for the future of humanity," said Mekki-Berrada.

But: "Suspected of the worst by a public opinion manipulated by the
anti-nuclear associations, industrial circles dare not propose the use of
nuclear energy" for desalination, the WONUC statement says.

The Marrakesh meeting is backed by the World Water Council (WWC) and the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Other participants at the conference said that nuclear desalination now "a
realistic and viable option", in the light of the climbing global demand for
fresh water.

Copyright 2002, Agence France-Presse

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