CCNet 104/2003 - 12 November 2003

"Clearly our first task is to use the material wealth of space to solve
the urgent problems we now face on Earth: to bring the poverty-stricken
segments of the world up to a decent living standard, without recourse
to war or punitive action against those already in material comfort; to
provide for a maturing civilization the basic energy vital to its survival."
     --Gerard O'Neill, The High Frontier, 1976

The cold spells have so dominated that geophysicists regard warm periods
like the present one, called the Holocene, as the oddities. Indeed, the
scientific name for these periods - interglacials - reflects the exceptional
nature of such times. The next ice age almost certainly will reach its peak
in about 80,000 years, but debate persists about how soon it will begin, with
the latest theory being that the human influence on the atmosphere may
substantially delay the transition.
     --Andrew C Revkin, The New York Times, 11 November 2003

    The New York Times, 11 November 2003

    CO2 Science Magazine, 12 November 2003

    BBC News Online, 11 November 2003

    CO2 Science Magazine, 12 November 2003

    CO2 Science Magazine, 12 November 2003


    Viacheslav V. Ivashkin

    Gerald Falbel, Optical Energy Technologies Inc. Stamford, CT

    Alex Ignatiev, Alexandre Freundlich, and Charles Horton

    James Powell, George, Maise, and John Paniagua

     Patrick Collins

     The New York Times, 11 November 2003

     Oliver K. Manuel <>

     Jim Oberg <>

     SpaceDev <>


The New York Times, 11 November 2003


The maxim "what goes around comes around" applies to few things more aptly than ice ages. In a rhythm attuned to regular wiggles in Earth's orbit and spin, 10 eras of spreading ice sheets and falling seas have come and gone over the last million years.

Through that span, in fact, the cold spells have so dominated that geophysicists regard warm periods like the present one, called the Holocene, as the oddities. Indeed, the scientific name for these periods - interglacials - reflects the exceptional nature of such times.

The next ice age almost certainly will reach its peak in about 80,000 years, but debate persists about how soon it will begin, with the latest theory being that the human influence on the atmosphere may substantially delay the transition.

This is no mere intellectual exercise. The equable conditions of the Holocene, which has lasted 10,000 years so far, have enabled the flowering of agriculture, technology, mobility and resulting explosive population growth that has made the human species a global force.

Any substantial climate shift is likely to pose enormous, though probably surmountable, challenges.

Just 30 years ago, after a prolonged global cool spell, many climate scientists, including some now focused on global warming, posited that Earth might already be seeing the onset of the next big chill.

Evidence from sea sediments and other sources had consistently put the duration of the previous warm spell at about 10,000 years, and it was presumed that this provided at least a rough hint of the longevity of the current interglacial.

The notion that cooling was imminent was challenged several years ago. Some scientists gleaned more details about the previous warm spell, which occurred 130,000 years ago, and concluded that it lasted twice as long as they had previously estimated - 20,000 years instead of 10,000.

Others have proposed that an earlier warm era that lasted even longer - 30,000 years - was a better model for the Holocene. But many experts still say they are convinced that the current warmth should, under the influence of orbital cycles alone, near an end "any millennium now," as Dr. Richard A. Muller, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley, puts it.

But the planet is feeling a new influence, that of people. Humans may delay the dawn of the next ice age by a millennium or two, or even longer, many climate experts say, as Earth's long-buried stores of coal, oil and other carbon-rich fossil fuels are burned, releasing billions of tons of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

That insulating blanket has a bigger climatic influence than the slight flux in incoming solar energy from changes in Earth's orientation relative to the Sun, said Dr. James A. Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

"We have taken over control of the mechanisms that determine the climate change [sic]," he said.

Other scientists, while agreeing with this thesis for the short term, say that eventually the buffering properties of the atmosphere, ocean and Earth will restore balance, returning most of the liberated carbon to long-term storage and allowing the orbital rhythm once again to dominate.

"Orbital changes are in a slow dance leading to a peak 80,000 years from now," said Dr. Eric J. Barron, the dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State. "I can hardly imagine that human influences won't have run their course by that time."

It may seem that human-driven global warming, although perhaps a disaster on the scale of centuries, may be a good thing in the long run if it fends off the next ice age awhile.

But many climatologists note that the complex interplay of greenhouse gases, orbital shifts and other influences on climate remain poorly understood. In fact, some experts say, there is a chance that human-induced warming could shut down heat-toting ocean currents that keep northern latitudes warmer than they otherwise would be. The result could be a faster descent into glacial times instead of a delay.

Copyright 2003, The New York Times


CO2 Science Magazine, 12 November 2003

Saenko, O.A., Weaver, A.J. and Schmittner, A. 2003. Atlantic deep circulation controlled by freshening in the Southern Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters 30: 10.1029/2003GL017681.

Many people fear - or at least claim they do - that global warming will lead to enhanced precipitation in high northern latitudes, which will lead to augmented freshwater runoff to the North Atlantic Ocean, which will lead to a precipitous decline in North Atlantic Deep Water formation, which will produce a swift reduction in the global ocean's thermohaline circulation, which will shut down the Gulf Stream and bring cold times to Europe [see Rapid Climate Change in our Subject Index].  Are their worries justified?

What was done
In exploring this hypothesis, the authors used "a coupled model which comprises an ocean general circulation model, a dynamic-thermodynamic sea ice model and an energy-moisture balance atmospheric model" to examine "the effect of meridional moisture transport in the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes on the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) and heat transport in the Atlantic."

What was learned
The authors purport to show that "the Atlantic MOC, northward oceanic heat transport, and the associated air-sea heat flux anomalies are all proportional to the southward moisture transport from subtropical to subpolar regions in the Southern Hemisphere."

What it means
In the words of the authors, "it has often been pointed out that in a warmer climate, an intensified hydrological cycle would weaken the MOC by transporting more moisture northward."  Their results, however, "suggest that the intensified hydrological cycle could also tend to stabilize the MOC by transporting more moisture southward."  The bottom line, as they thus remark, is that the various mechanisms that have been proposed for controlling deep water formation in the North Atlantic "remain controversial."

In view of these developments, it would appear to be way too early to even think of concluding, as many climate alarmists do, that there could soon be a warming-induced freezing of Europe of the "rapid climate change" type.

Copyright 2003.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 


BBC News Online, 11 November 2003
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor 

Scientists have simulated a solar flare in the lab, recreating the super-heated cloud of electrically-charged gas seen on the Sun known as a plasma.

It was part of an initiative to develop fusion power - the nuclear energy that keeps the Sun shining.

The plasma in the lab behaved like a miniature version of a solar flare.

Scientists hope they can create a flare at low energies in the lab, to enable them to study the explosive events that take place on the Sun's surface.

Magnetic bottle

The work was carried out at the Culham Science Centre near Oxford, by scientists working on the Mega Amp Spherical Tokomak (Mast) project.

A tokomak is a magnetic bottle designed to confine a plasma.

The tokomak was invented by the Russians. In it, two magnetic fields are combined to hold the plasma.
The world's largest tokamak is called Jet, the Joint European Torus. It is also at Culham.

Using Jet, scientists have heated plasma to 300 million degrees - more than is needed to achieve fusion ignition. But magnetic confinement is easier if the plasma is kept small.

Mast keeps the plasma in a tighter configuration that is more energy efficient.

Solar flare secrets

The scientists were interested in a phenomenon called edge-localised modes (ELM) - a particular instability that can form in a plasma.

Understanding ELMs is important for the design of future fusion reactors.

The researchers believe that when the plasma reaches a certain critical instability, ELMs form.
They also realised that ELMs, like solar flares, are explosive events, which can eject particles and energy.

Using Mast the researchers have carried out new measurements of ELMs, obtaining unprecedented detailed images of filamentary structures associated with them.

The filaments immediately reminded them of the huge plasma structures that loop over the Sun's surface.

Culham's Andrew Kirk said: "The similarities were striking. They looked like the filaments seen in detailed images of the Sun."

Co-researcher Howard Wilson was interested in the size of the filaments.

"Although Mast is only a few metres in size and the Sun over a million kilometres in size, when the physics of the plasma is taken into account the filaments seen in Mast and on the Sun are roughly the same size when measured relative to the gas that spawned them."

This means that the secrets of solar flares may be right in front of the scientists.

Rob Akers of Culham told BBC News Online: "We may be seeing a solar flare in miniature, taking place in the laboratory. Being able to study it in detail will help us understand what's going on at the Sun, where the plasma clouds are bigger and the energies greater."

Copyright 2003, BBC


CO2 Science Magazine, 12 November 2003

Klingbjer, P. and Moberg, A. 2003. A composite monthly temperature record from Tornedalen in Northern Sweden, 1802-2002. International Journal of Climatology 23: 1465-1494.

What was done
Working with "previously unexplored observational temperature data for the period 1802-62 from Overtornea and Kalix in the Tornedalen area in subarctic Sweden (~66N)," together with similar data from the nearby Haparanda weather station, the authors developed "a continuous Tornedalen temperature series" that stretches from 1802 to 2002.

What was learned
Over the two-century period of record, mean annual air temperature rose by 1.97C, with the greatest increase occurring in winter (2.83C) and the smallest increase in summer (0.88C).  This warming, in the words of the authors, "culminated in the 1930s," so that "the warmest decade was the 1930s."

What it means
Throughout the period of the most significant greenhouse gas buildup during the course of the industrialization of the world, i.e., 1930 and onward, the Tornedalen temperature series indicates there has been no net warming in that area of Northern Sweden, just as there has been no net warming in most of the United States over this period (see U.S. Climate Data on our sidebar). Hence, these particular data provide no evidence for any CO2-induced greenhouse warming, and they demonstrate there is nothing unusual about the warming of the past quarter-century that climate alarmists typically describe as being unprecedented over the last two millennia.

Pretty much the same story is told by comparative data the authors present for Vardo, Oulu, St Petersburg, Uppsala and Helsinki: if the temperature trends of these five sites were averaged together, they too would show little to no net warming since the 1930s. Also, the Uppsala temperature series, which is the longest of the lot, indicates it was equally as warm as it has been recently back in the 1730s and 40s.

Copyright 2003.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 


CO2 Science Magazine, 12 November 2003

Over two decades ago, when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration was approximately 340 ppm (up from a pre-industrial value on the order of 280 ppm), Idso (1982) stated in a small self-published book (Carbon Dioxide: Friend or Foe?) that if the air's CO2 content continued to climb, it would ultimately enhance plant growth and water use efficiency to the point that semi-arid lands not then suitable for cultivation "could be brought into profitable production," further stating that "the deserts themselves could 'blossom as the rose'." A few years later he advanced essentially the same thesis, this time in the pages of Nature (Idso, 1986) in a brief paper entitled "Industrial Age Leading to the Greening of the Earth."

Throughout most of the succeeding years, this optimistic view of the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content -- and the great good it can do for humanity and nature alike -- was largely ignored, as the world's climate alarmists took center stage with headline-grabbing predictions of catastrophic CO2-induced global warming. Now, however, it appears that enough has finally been learned to take the positive view more seriously, in support of which statement we note the following titles of some science stories that have appeared of late in the popular press.

"Greenhouse Gas Might Green Up the Desert" declares a ScienceDaily headline. "Missing Carbon Dioxide Greens Up the Desert" chimes in the Israel National News. "Greenhouse Gas Soaked Up by Forests Expanding into Deserts" proclaims The Independent. And in a grudging acknowledgement of the hard-to-ignore good news, the World News reports that "Deserts Bloom in Bad Air."

What are the sources of this spate of positive stories? One that cannot be ignored is the study of Grunzweig et al. (2003), wherein the authors tell the tale of the Yatir forest -- a 2800-hectare stand of primarily Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) containing smaller amounts of Cupressus sempervirens and other pine trees (mostly P. brutia) -- which was planted some 35 years ago at the edge of the Negev Desert in Israel.

An intriguing aspect of this particular forest -- which Grunzweig et al. characterize as growing in poor soil of only 0.2- to 1.0-meter depth above chalk and limestone -- is that although it is located in an arid region that receives less annual precipitation than all of the other scores of global FluxNet stations that measure exchanges of CO2 between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere (Baldocchi et al., 2001), its annual net ecosystem CO2 exchange is just as high as that of many high-latitude boreal forests and actually higher than that of most temperate forests.

How can this possibly be? Grunzweig et al. note that the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration that has occurred since pre-industrial times should have improved the water use efficiency (WUE) of most of earth's plants by increasing the ratio of CO2 fixed by photosynthesis to water lost via evapotranspiration.  That this hypothesis is indeed correct has been demonstrated under controlled experimental conditions by Leavitt et al. (2003) within the context of the still-ongoing long-term atmospheric CO2 enrichment study of Idso and Kimball (2001) on sour orange (Citrus aurantium L.) trees.  It has also been confirmed in nature by Feng (1999), who obtained identical CO2-induced WUE responses for 23 groups of naturally-occurring trees (scattered across western North America) that were caused by the rise in the air's CO2 content that occurred between 1800 and 1985.  In commenting on his remarkable findings, Feng says this phenomenon "would have caused natural trees in arid environments to grow more rapidly, acting as a carbon sink for anthropogenic CO2," which is exactly what Grunzweig et al. have demonstrated to be happening in the Yatir forest on the edge of the Negev Desert.  In addition, they report that "reducing water loss in arid regions improves soil moisture conditions, decreases water stress and extends water availability," which "can indirectly increase carbon sequestration by influencing plant distribution, survival and expansion into water-limited environments."

Much the same conclusions may be derived from the study of Grunzweig and Korner (2001), who constructed model grasslands representative of the Negev of Israel and placed them in growth chambers maintained at atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 280, 440 and 600 ppm for a period of five months.  They found that the elevated CO2 treatments reduced rates of evapotranspiration and increased soil moisture contents in the communities exposed to elevated CO2.  Between two periods of imposed drought, for example, soil moisture was 22 and 27% higher in communities exposed to 440 and 600 ppm CO2, respectively, than it was in control communities exposed to pre-industrial levels of atmospheric CO2.  These increases in soil moisture content likely contributed to peak ecosystem CO2 uptake rates that were 21 and 31% greater at 400 and 600 ppm CO2 than they were at 280 ppm CO2.  In addition, atmospheric CO2 enrichment had no effect on nighttime respiratory carbon losses from the ecosystems.  Thus, these model semi-arid grasslands were clearly acting as carbon sinks under CO2-enriched conditions.  In fact, the elevated CO2 increased total community biomass by 14% over that produced by the communities exposed to the subambient CO2 concentration.  Also, when the total biomass produced was related to the total amount of water lost via evapotranspiration, the communities grown at atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 440 and 600 ppm exhibited CO2-induced increases in water-use efficiency that were 17 and 28% higher, respectively, than those displayed by the control communities exposed to air of 280 ppm CO2.

That these phenomena are indeed widespread and operative in the real world is suggested by a number of observational studies, beginning with that of Nicholson et al. (1998), who used satellite images of the Central and Western Sahel from 1980 to 1995 to determine the extent of purported desertification in this region.  In addition, rain-use efficiency (RUE), which relates plant productivity to rainfall, was calculated to determine if the biological productivity of the area was affected by factors other than drought.  The scientists reported finding no overall expansion of deserts during their 16-year study, and no decrease in RUE, although vegetation did expand and contract somewhat in response to periods of relatively more or less rainfall.  Hence, neither human activities nor climatic changes in this huge arid region caused massive desertification of the type that was highly hyped by the United Nations in the 1970s.

In a second such study, Prince et al. (1998) also used satellite images and RUE to map the occurrence and severity of desertification, but they did so for the entire Sahel from 1982 to 1990.  They too could find no evidence of widespread desertification, and they determined that RUE did not decline during their 9-year investigation.  In fact, they discovered a small but steady rise in RUE for the Sahel as a whole, suggesting that plant productivity there had increased over the time of their study.

A third study of note is that of Eklundh and Olsson (2003), who analyzed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data from the NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer that were obtained over the African Sahel for the period 1982-2000.  As they describe their findings, "strong positive change in NDVI occurred in about 22% of the area, and weak positive change in 60% of the area," while "weak negative change occurred in 17% of the area, and strong negative change in 0.6% of the area."  They also report that "integrated NDVI has increased by about 80% in the areas with strong positive change," while in areas with weak negative change, "integrated NDVI has decreased on average by 13%."  The primary story told by these data, therefore, is one of strong positive trends in NDVI for large areas of the African Sahel over the last two decades of the 20th century; and Eklundh and Olsson conclude that the "increased vegetation, as suggested by the observed NDVI trend, could be part of the proposed tropical sink of carbon."

Finally, with respect to the climate-alarmist claim that desertification will intensify as a consequence of CO2-induced global warming, we refer to the study of Nicholson (2001), who reviews what is known about precipitation changes in Africa over the past two centuries, much of which work she herself was instrumental in conducting.  "The most significant climatic change that has occurred," in her words, "has been a long-term reduction in rainfall in the semi-arid regions of West Africa," which has been "on the order of 20 to 40% in parts of the Sahel."  There have been, she says, "three decades of protracted aridity," and "nearly all of Africa has been affected ... particularly since the 1980s."  However, she goes on to note that "the rainfall conditions over Africa during the last 2 to 3 decades are not unprecedented," and that "a similar dry episode prevailed during most of the first half [our italics] of the 19th century."

Continuing, Nicholson says "the 3 decades of dry conditions evidenced in the Sahel are not in themselves evidence of irreversible global change."  And especially, we would add, they are certainly not evidence of global warming-induced change.  Why not (to both points)?  Because a longer historical perspective of the type we are constantly striving to obtain clearly indicates, in the first instance, that an even longer period of similar dry conditions occurred between 1800 and 1850.  And in the second instance, this remarkable dry period occurred when the earth was still in the icy grip of the Little Ice Age, a period of cold that is without precedent in at least the last 6500 years ... even in Africa [see our Journal Review of the work of Lee-Thorp et al. (2001)].  Hence, there is no reason to think that the past two- to three-decade Sahelian drought is in any way unusual or that it was caused by the putative higher temperatures of that period.  Simply put, like many other things, droughts happen.

As ever more data are thus obtained from various parts of the world [see Greening of the Earth (Summary) for observations from many non-arid regions of the planet], it is becoming ever more evident that the CO2-induced reverse desertification theory of Idso (1982, 1986) is receiving ever more support in the way of real-world observations.  So what can we expect to see in the future?

One example of likely change is provided by Cheddadi et al. (2001), who apply what is known about these matters to lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea.  Specifically, they employ a standard biogeochemical model (BIOME3) - which uses monthly temperature and precipitation data, certain soil characteristics, cloudiness and atmospheric CO2 concentration as inputs - to simulate the responses of the various biomes of the region to changes in both climate (temperature and precipitation) and the air's CO2 content.

Cheddadi et al.'s first step was to validate the model for two test periods: the present and 6000 years before present (BP).  Recent instrumental records provided actual atmospheric CO2, temperature and precipitation data for the present period; while pollen data were used to reconstruct monthly temperature and precipitation values for 6000 years BP, and ice core records were used to determine the atmospheric CO2 concentration of that earlier epoch.  These efforts suggested that winter temperatures 6000 years ago were about 2C cooler than they are now, that annual rainfall was approximately 200 mm less than today, and that the air's CO2 concentration averaged 280 ppm, which is considerably less than the value of 345 ppm the authors used to represent the present, i.e., the mid-point of the period used for calculating 30-year climate normals at the time they wrote their paper.  Applying the model to these two sets of conditions, they demonstrated that "BIOME3 can be used to simulate ... the vegetation distribution under ... different climate and [CO2] conditions than today," where [CO2] is the abbreviation they use to represent "atmospheric CO2 concentration."

Cheddadi et al.'s next step was to use their validated model to explore the vegetative consequences of an increase in anthropogenic CO2 emissions that pushes the air's CO2 concentration to a value of 500 ppm and its mean annual temperature to a value 2C higher than today's mean value.  The basic response of the vegetation to this change in environmental conditions was "a substantial southward shift of Mediterranean vegetation and a spread of evergreen and conifer forests in the northern Mediterranean."

More specifically, in the words of the authors, "when precipitation is maintained at its present-day level, an evergreen forest spreads in the eastern Mediterranean and a conifer forest in Turkey."  Current xerophytic woodlands in this scenario become "restricted to southern Spain and southern Italy and they no longer occur in southern France."  In northwest Africa, on the other hand, "Mediterranean xerophytic vegetation occupies a more extensive territory than today and the arid steppe/desert boundary shifts southward," as each vegetation zone becomes significantly more verdant than it is currently.

What is the basis for these positive developments?  The authors say "the replacement of xerophytic woodlands by evergreen and conifer forests could be explained by the enhancement of photosynthesis due to the increase of [CO2]."  Likewise, they note that "under a high [CO2] stomata will be much less open which will lead to a reduced evapotranspiration and lower water loss, both for C3 and C4 plants," adding that "such mechanisms may help plants to resist long-lasting drought periods that characterize the Mediterranean climate."

Contrary to what is often predicted for much of the world's moisture-challenged lands, therefore, Cheddadi et al. were able to report that "an increase of [CO2], jointly with an increase of ca. 2C in annual temperature would not lead to desertification on any part of the Mediterranean unless annual precipitation decreased drastically," where they define a drastic decrease as a decline of 30% or more. Equally important in this context is the fact that Hennessy et al. (1997) have indicated that a doubling of the air's CO2 content would in all likelihood lead to a 5 to 10% increase in annual precipitation at Mediterranean latitudes, which is also what is predicted for most of the rest of the world. Hence, the results of Cheddadi et al.'s study are likely very conservative, with the true vegetative response being even better than the good-news results they report, even when utilizing what we believe to be erroneously-inflated global warming predictions.

So how good could things get?  For perhaps the ultimate positive response, see our Editorial of 6 Feb 2002.

Baldocchi, D., Falge, E., Gu, L.H., Olson, R., Hollinger, D., Running, S., Anthoni, P., Bernhofer, C., Davis, K., Evans, R., Fuentes, J., Goldstein, A., Katul, G., Law B., Lee, X.H., Malhi, Y., Meyers, T., Munger, W., Oechel, W., Paw U, K.T., Pilegaard, K., Schmid, H.P., Valentini, R., Verma, S., Vesala, T., Wilson, K. and Wofsy, S.  2001.  FLUXNET: A new tool to study the temporal and spatial variability of ecosystem-scale carbon dioxide, water vapor, and energy flux densities.  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 82: 2415-2434.

Cheddadi, R., Guiot, J. and Jolly, D.  2001.  The Mediterranean vegetation: what if the atmospheric CO2 increased?  Landscape Ecology 16: 667-675.

Eklundh, L. and Olssson, L.  2003.  Vegetation index trends for the African Sahel 1982-1999.  Geophysical Research Letters 30: 10.1029/2002GL016772.

Feng, X.  1999.  Trends in intrinsic water-use efficiency of natural trees for the past 100-200 years: A response to atmospheric CO2 concentration.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 63: 1891-1903.

Grunzweig, J.M. and Korner, C.  2001.  Growth, water and nitrogen relations in grassland model ecosystems of the semi-arid Negev of Israel exposed to elevated CO2.  Oecologia 128: 251-262.

Grunzweig, J.M., Lin, T., Rotenberg, E., Schwartz, A. and Yakir, D.  2003.  Carbon sequestration in arid-land forest.  Global Change Biology 9: 791-799.

Hennessy, K.J., Gregory, J.M. and Mitchell, J.F.B.  1997.  Changes in daily precipitation under enhanced greenhouse conditions.  Climate Dynamics 13: 667-680.

Idso, S.B.  1982.  Carbon Dioxide: Friend or Foe?  IBR Press, Tempe, Arizona, USA.

Idso, S.B.  1986.  Industrial age leading to the greening of the Earth?  Nature 320: 22.

Idso, S.B. and Kimball, B.A.  2001.  CO2 enrichment of sour orange trees: 13 years and counting.  Environmental and Experimental Botany 46: 147-153.

Leavitt, S.W., Idso, S.B., Kimball, B.A., Burns, J.M., Sinha, A. and Stott, L.  2003.  The effect of long-term atmospheric CO2 enrichment on the intrinsic water-use efficiency of sour orange trees.  Chemosphere 50: 217-222.

Nicholson, S.E.  2001.  Climatic and environmental change in Africa during the last two centuries.  Climate Research 17: 123-144.

Nicholson, S.E., Tucker, C.J. and Ba, M.B.  1998.  Desertification, drought, and surface vegetation: An example from the West African Sahel.  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 79: 815-829.

Prince, S.D., Brown De Colstoun, E. and Kravitz, L.L.  1998.  Evidence from rain-use efficiencies does not indicate extensive Sahelian desertification.  Global Change Biology 4: 359-374.

Copyright 2003.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 



Viacheslav V. Ivashkin

M.V. Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics
Miusskaya Sq. 4, Moscow, 125047, Russia
Tel.: 7-095-2507826; Fax: 7-095-9720737; E-mail:

A lunar base to mitigate the asteroid-comet hazard for the Earth is investigated. The base
is proposed to consist of three stations. First, this is an energy station. This station
transforms the solar energy into the electric one, which is used to put into operation an
astronomical observatory and a laser station. The observatory telescopes can detect near-Earth
objects (NEOs) and discover an object, which impacts the Earth during its motion and can lead
to the Earth catastrophe, according to (S. Isobe, 1996). In this case, the laser station is
proposed to give a powerful laser effect on that object to deflect or destroy it. There are
analyzed the NEO's orbit correction and the NEO destruction via to this laser effect in the
Earth-Moon vicinity. The electric power of the energy station required and the area of solar
panels at the energy station are evaluated. Possibility to use new Earth-to-Moon trajectories
with temporary capture by the Moon is shown for construction of the lunar base. Other space
places to organize that space base are also analyzed. Merits and demerits of the laser effect
are discussed. Conclusion is made that the international cooperation in designing, creation and
operation of this space base is necessary. The study is supported with the Russian Foundation
for the Basic Studies (Grant No. 01-01-00133) and the Harbin Institute of Technology, China.

Key words: Space Base; Asteroid-Comet Hazard.


Gerald Falbel, Optical Energy Technologies Inc. Stamford, CT

This paper discusses a modified version of the Satellite Solar Power System, (SPS), originally
proposed in 1968 by Dr. Peter Glaser of MIT, as a series of large, photovoltaic solar collector
satellites orbiting at geosynchronous (22,500 mile) altitude. The solar energy collected would
be beamed to the earth surface 24 hours a day, using microwave energy (which can pass through
cloud cover). This system was studied extensively by several large aerospace companies under
the joint sponsorship of the D.O.E and NASA between 1977 and 1980. The proposed modifications
to this concept presented herein uses the moon as the "satellite". This allows a much larger
system to be built at lower cost, because it allows the use of materials making up the lunar
surface to be used to construct the solar power system, thereby eliminating the requirement
for lifting them up from the earth. In addition, this approach results in a much greater ease
of assembly because of the gravity of the moon. Two configurations of such a system are
1. A series of photovoltaic collectors situated near the lunar poles, which can generate a
net electrical energy on the earth of 60 billion Kwatt-hours per year.
2. A series of concentrating trough collectors using lunar gravity to shape a catenary
cylindrical concentrator, driving Stirling Cycle electric generators, situated at the lunar
equator, which can generate a net electrical energy on the earth of greater than 5.3 trillion
Kwatt-hours per year.
Both systems are described in detail, and their advantages and disadvantages relative to the
original geosysnchronous SPS are discussed. The expected performance of these systems is
analyzed based upon direct extrapolations from the analyses presented in the 1980 D.O.E. and
NASA study reports, combined with recent performance measurements obtained with Stirling Cycle
electric generators by NASA Lewis Research Center and others. A method of funding this proposed
project by the U.S. Government is also discussed which would cause no increase in any current
U.S. taxes. Furthermore, by distributing the electrical energy generated by this system on to
existing electrical power grids as a "World TVA", the receipts from electrical energy consumers
at the current rate of 10 cents per Kwatt-hour could be used to retire the U.S. National Debt,
and/or reduce income taxes. Finally, the implementation of such a system, which could be
accomplished within a period of less than 10 years, would reduce the world emission of
greenhouse gases, not to the Kyoto-desired level of 1990, but to the level of 1890.


Alex Ignatiev, Alexandre Freundlich, and Charles Horton

Texas Center for Superconductivity and Advanced Materials
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204 USA

Abstract: The long-term exploration and colonization of the solar system for scientific research
and commercial interests depends critically on the availability of electrical energy. In
addition, the long-term potential for humans to settle space requires self-sufficiency, and
therefore, self-sustaining electrical power systems. This can be attained on the Moon by
utilizing the indigenous resources present there through the fabrication of solar cells using
thin film growth technology and the vacuum environment of the Moon. Thin film solar cells will be
fabricated directly on the surface of the Moon through the transport to the Moon of only the
tools needed to fabricate the cells and not the transport of the vast arrays of cells themselves.
The solar cells will then be grown by thin film vacuum deposition on the prepared regolith of the
lunar surface. This will be undertaken by the deployment of a ~200kg crawler on the surface of
the Moon with the capabilities of initial preparation of the lunar regolith by local melting
under concentrated solar irradiation for use as a substrate. This is followed by evaporation of
the appropriate semiconductor material for the solar cell structure, and then vacuum deposition
of metallic contacts and interconnects thus fully comprising continuous layout of solar cells on
the lunar surface. This design will allow for the emplacement of a lunar electric power system
that can reach 1 MW in several years of crawler operation. Initial growth of the thin film solar
cells will proceed with raw materials brought from Earth. These first cells can be made more
directly by fabrication from CdS/CdSe (as compared to silicon). With an initial installation of
~100 kW capacity (6 months of operation) a second facility, a Regolith Processing Facility, can
then be emplaced on the Moon which will extract the needed raw materials from lunar regolith so
as to feed the solar cell crawler for the fabrication of silicon solar cells by using the
electrical power generated by the initial cell fabrication. This unique approach for the
emplacement of an electric power system on the Moon would require the transportation of a much
smaller mass of equipment to the Moon than would otherwise be required to install a power system
brought to the Moon, and would result in a power system that was repairable/replaceable through
the simple fabrication of more solar cells.


James Powell, George, Maise, and John Paniagua

Plus Ultra Technologies
PO Box 547
Shoreham, NY 11786
Phone/Fax: (631) 744-5707

Future bases and colonies on the Moon will require large amounts of electric power for
life support, processing in-situ resources, recycling scarce materials, transport fuels and
energy, and many other uses. Current US per capita energy usage is approximately 10 kilowatts,
counting all energy inputs, including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, solar, biomass,
etc. Per capita demand on the Moon will be much higher, at least 100 kilowatts per person.
The corresponding electric power for a lunar base of 100 persons would then be at least
10 megawatts(e), and 100 megawatts for a lunar colony of 1000 persons. The electric power would
be used to extract oxygen and nitrogen from Moon rocks; together with aluminum, iron and other
metals and non-metals; to recycle and reconstruct scarce materials like water and hydrocarbons;
and to provide heat and light for life support and agriculture. Nuclear electric power systems
are attractive because in contrast to solar photo voltaics, they are not affected by variations
in solar illumination during the lunar cycle, and not sensitive to micro meteorite bombardment
and accumulations of lunar dust. The SUSEE (Space Nuclear Steam Electric Energy) system is a
near term, compact, lightweight, space, nuclear electric system that is based on highly,
reliable commercial water/steam reactor technology that has operated for many years. The SUSEE
reactor uses a cermet fuel form similar to that presently used in DOD reactors, in which micro
size fully enriched UO2 particles are held in a metal matrix (e.g., zirconium or stainless
steel). Very high burnups and long lifetimes are achieved using cermet fuel with virtually zero
fission product release. Using standard steam conditions (e.g., 1000 psi and 1000 F) and
conventional steam turbines, a thermal electric efficiency of 25% is achieved with a single
stage expansion. The condenser pressure in SUSEE is high (e.g., ~2 atm, compared to ~0.1 atm
in conventional power plants) so as to enable a high radiator temperature (~400 K) for efficient
thermal rejection to space. The SUSEE radiator is constructed using lightweight flexible aluminum
strips with internal grooved channels in which the exhaust steam condenses to water, for return
to the reactor. A complete 10 megawatt(e) system (reactor, turbogenerator, piping, pumps and
radiator) would weigh about 20 tons, a factor 10 lighter than high temperature gas cooled space
nuclear electric systems. The radiator can be rolled up in a compact bundle to be deployed on
the lunar surface - the total radiator for a 10 megawatt(e) system would occupy a 150 meter x
150 meter area. The SUSEE nuclear electric system is described in detail, including its
construction, installation, and operation on the lunar surface. Potential lunar applications
that would use large amounts of electric power are described, including aluminum/oxygen
propellant, fuel cells for surface rovers, smelting of ores for recovery of oxygen and metals,
etc. The SUSEE system requires only modest development and can be quickly ready for
implementation at lunar bases and colonies.


Patrick Collins

Professor, Azabu University
1-17-71 Fuchinobe, Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan 229-8501
patrick.collins@spacefuture.,com Tel/fax: (81) 42769-2319
Key Words: Space tourism, Lunar tourism, Space commercialisation

Travel to and from the lunar surface has been known to be feasible since it was first
achieved 34 years ago. Since that time there has been enormous progress in related
engineering fields such as rocket propulsion, materials and avionics, and about $1
billion has been spent on lunar science and engineering research. Consequently there
are no fundamental technical problems facing the development of lunar tourism - only
business and investment problems. The outstanding problem is to reduce the cost of launch to
low Earth orbit. Recently there has been major progress towards overturning the myth that
launch costs are high because of physical limits. Scaled Composites' vehicle currently in
test-flight will perform sub-orbital flights at 1/1,000 of the cost of Alan Shepard's similar
flight in 1961. This activity could have started 30 years ago if space agencies had had economic
rather than political objectives. A further encouraging factor is that the demand for space
tourism seems potentially limitless. Starting with sub-orbital flights and growing through
orbital activities, travel to the Moon will offer further unique attractions. In every human
culture there is immense interest in the Moon arising from millennia of myths. In addition,
bird-like flying sports, described by Robert Heinlein, will become another powerful demand
factor. Round-trips of 1 to 2 weeks are very convenient for travel companies; and the radiation
environment will permit visitors a few days of surface activity. Lastly the paper discusses
economic aspects of lunar tourism, including the benefits it will have for those on Earth.
Lunar economic development based on tourism will have much in common with the economic
development of Hawaii: starting from the fact that many people spontaneously want to visit,
companies will invest to sell a growing range of services to ever more customers, thereby
creating a major new industry.

========== OPINION ==========


The New York Times, 11 November 2003



Last summer, the pollster Daniel Yankelovich reported what might seem a strange finding:
scientists are distressed by the media's insistence on presenting "both sides."

At first, I thought I knew what he was getting at in his paper, which appeared in Issues in
Science and Technology, a publication of the National Academy of Sciences. From time to time,
scientists have called me to complain that one or another of our articles was "wrong," in that
it quoted (accurately) someone with whom they disagreed.

But this was not exactly the situation the scientists were complaining about. All too often,
Mr. Yankelovich wrote, scientists who talk to reporters "find themselves pitted in the media
against some contrarian, crank or shill who is on hand to provide `proper balance.' " The
scientists who hold this view have put their finger on an important problem. In striving to
be "objective," journalists try to tell all sides of the story. But it is not always easy for
us to tell when a science story really has more than one side - or to know who must be heeded
and who can safely be ignored. When we cast too wide a net in search of balance, we can end up
painting situations as more complicated or confusing than they actually are.

For example, mainstream scientists who believe that human activities like the burning of fossil
fuels are contributing to potentially disastrous climate change say we give too much space to
climate dissidents - those who argue that nothing is changing, or if it is that people are not
causing it, and anyway the changes will be beneficial, or that if they aren't, technological
genius will engineer a fix.

By now, it seems that the mainstream view prevails almost everywhere. The dissidents are widely regarded as outliers whose opinions are notable more for the cover they give politicians than their scientific rigor. But there are plenty of responsible people who still argue their case. And as journalists we feel obliged to report their arguments, especially since one who accepts those arguments is the president of the United States.

In any event, unless you are an expert, differentiating between the genius and the crank -
or even between the mainstream and the outlier - may not be easy. As with other issues that
plague scientists and journalists, we journalists cannot solve this problem ourselves. We
will need the help of scientists. Will we get it?

I hope so, but a lot will have to change to make it happen. Relations between scientists
and journalists are often adversarial.

Last month, I was a panelist at a meeting of the Pew marine fellows, eminent fisheries and
ocean scientists whose work is supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Nancy Baron, a zoologist
and science writer who works with the fellows, organized the panel as part of her longstanding
effort to help scientists better communicate their work and its importance to the wider world.

As researchers have in the past, scientists at this meeting told Ms. Baron they had a simple
solution to their problems with reporters. "I don't take their phone calls" was a common

Their unwillingness to talk to us is not mysterious. Far too often, talking to reporters is
a no-win proposition for scientists. They communicate their findings in learned treatises
published in peer-reviewed journals, not in lay-language news reports. Decisions on whether
they will be given tenure, or promoted or awarded research grants do not normally hang on
what appears in the public prints. If they are in the newspaper or on television or radio
too much - and their colleagues may set that bar rather low - they become known as publicity
hounds or polemicists who have abandoned the purity of the laboratory for a life of celebrity.

And that's if things go well. All too often, they find themselves quoted in a report that
is shoddy, inaccurate or overhyped. Pushy, unprincipled, ignorant and shallow - those were
some of the milder epithets the scientists at the Pew meeting applied to me and my fellow

But not all the blame is ours. Yes, we occasionally get things wrong. Even here at The Times,
which has unrivaled resources for covering science, we struggle to keep up with mushrooming
developments in fields becoming ever more specialized. We need scientists' help to get it
right. Sometimes even we don't get that help, and far too often our colleagues at other news
outlets don't get it. Sometimes the scientist is just unable or reluctant to tell the story
in words a lay audience can understand.

As a result, Ms. Baron told the Pew fellows, journalists regard scientists as elitist, unable
to talk except in jargon, obsessed with trivial details, isolated in ivory towers and unwilling
to take a stand on matters of public importance.

This last point is by far the most important because it is where science reporting stops being
the "gee whiz" leavening in a heavy loaf of serious news reports and starts helping readers
or listeners or viewers come to their own conclusions about the increasing number of issues -
global warming, reproductive rights, missile technology - that hinge on science.

It is where the question of "balance" is most important and where journalists most need
scientists to stop hiding in thickets of irrelevant detail and identify the bottom line.

In other words, journalists need scientists who are citizens as well as researchers.

A year ago, at another of the Pew panels organized by Ms. Baron, a scientist took me to task
for The Times's coverage of creationism. The newspaper had followed the debate over whether
creationism should be included in the Kansas public school curriculum, and had also written
about the version of the doctrine called "intelligent design." In doing so, the researcher
argued, we were only giving credence to ideas that had nothing to do with science.

My reply was, and is, twofold. First, when state officials seriously consider basing public
school biology instruction on the Bible, it's news we have to cover. Second, where were the
scientists? If the idea is so outrageous, where was their outrage? We hardly heard it, except
in conversations among themselves.

"Science has reached greater heights of sophistication and productivity," Mr. Yankelovich
wrote in his summer paper, but scientists' influence in public debates is actually shrinking.
As a result, he said, "the gap between science and public life has grown ever larger and more
dangerous, to an extent that now poses a serious threat to our future."

Journalists can help narrow that gap. But only if scientists raise their voices in the nation's
public debates.

Cornelia Dean, a former science editor of The New York Times, is on leave as a fellow at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard.

Copyright 2003, The New York Times

============= LETTERS =============


Oliver K. Manuel <>

Dear Benny,

You quote Dr. Paul D. Spudis as telling the SUBCOMMITTEE ON SCIENCE,

"Of all the scientific benefits of Apollo, appreciation of the importance
of impact, or the collision of solid bodies, in planetary evolution must
rank highest."

Unfortunately NASA does not appreciate that the Apollo missions gave
us compelling evidence that mass separation enriches lighter elements
at the Sun's surface [See "The Sun's Origin, Composition and Source
of Energy", 32nd Lunar & Planetary Science Conference, Abstract
#1041, Houston, TX, March 12-16, 2001]

The Sun accounts for over 99.8% of the solar system's mass.  Learning
that the Sun is not made of the lightest element may be as important
as increasing our appreciation for the role of impacts in planetary

With kind regards,

Oliver K. Manuel


Jim Oberg <>


I'm looking for artist concepts of various proposed techniques for
altering asteroid orbits, whether for impact avoidance, for resource
exploitation, for deliberate bombardment (as weaponry or terraforming tools
or other motivations), or any other reason. I need to know the copyright
status of all such artwork, possibly for publication. Thanks!

Jim Oberg
Galveston County, Texas


SpaceDev <>

SpaceDev (OTCBB: SPDV) is auctioning a world exclusive private space mission on eBay. This first of its kind eBay auction is being listed for the ten-day period of 8:00 PM (PST) Monday, November 10, through 8:00 PM (PST) Thursday, November 20th.
The SpaceDev space mission auction is at:

Most earth orbiting small satellite missions can cost $25 million or more, not including the launch. To demonstrate the affordability of private space missions, SpaceDev has posted a "Buy it Now" price of $9.5 million. The high bidder will win a spacecraft based on SpaceDev's Maneuvering and orbit Transfer Vehicle (MTV(tm)).   
"I founded SpaceDev to accelerate the development of space, to get the public involved in space and to have fun," said Jim Benson, SpaceDev founder and CEO. "With our successful launch and operation of CHIPSat earlier this year, and after being competitively selected to provide safe hybrid rocket propulsion for manned space flight, we are offering this unique space mission to the public."
The high bidder has the right to supply his or her own payload, to name the SpaceDev MTV(tm) satellite and to name the mission. The winning bidder, which could be an individual, company or government agency, can also be involved in the mission design, satellite assembly and testing (including putting small personal items on the spacecraft), can attend the launch, and can participate in on-orbit operations. 
The nominal payload is a camera that provides a view of the launch separation on-orbit, a buyer-controlled camera on the spacecraft looking back down on earth and into space 24 hours a day, or the buyer can supply a SpaceDev-approved payload.  The microsatellite camera can be operated over the Internet by the winning bidder, similar to SpaceDev's CHIPSat microsat, which is the world's first orbiting node on the Internet. Specific terms are included in the eBay auction listing. Search eBay for "SpaceDev."
About SpaceDev
SpaceDev is a publicly traded company that creates and sells affordable and innovative space products and services to government and commercial enterprises. SpaceDev's offering includes the design, manufacture, marketing and operation of sophisticated micro- and nano- satellites, hybrid rocket-based orbital Maneuvering and orbital Transfer Vehicles (MTVs), as well as safe sub-orbital and orbital hybrid rocket-based propulsion systems. For more information, visit

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