PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 109/2003 - 20 November 2003
UNPREDICTABLE SOLAR OUTBURSTS RAISE NEW QUESTIONS
-------------------------------------------------

This is the right moment for us to stand firm with the United States
in defeating terrorism wherever it is and delivering us safely from
what I genuinely believe to be the security threat of the 21st century.
Now is not the time to waver, now is the time to see it through.
     --Tony Blair, 17 November 2003



(1) THREE SUNSPOTS RETURN, FIRST STORM EN ROUTE
    Space.com, 19 November 2003

(2) UNPREDICTABLE SOLAR OUTBURSTS RAISE NEW QUESTIONS
    ESA News, 19 November 2003

(3) SUN SHEDS SKIN AND FLIPS
    Paal Brekke <pbrekke@esa.nascom.nasa.gov>

(5) LEONIDS 2003: WEAK PERFORMANCE
    Rainer Arlt <rarlt@aip.de>

(6) CBS ASTEROID SHOW
    Rusty Schweickart

(7) VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS MAY EFFECT EL NINO ONSET
    Jamie Smith< jvsmith@nsf.gov>

(8) PROXY EVIDENCE FOR AN EL NINO-LIKE RESPONSE TO VOLCANIC FORCING
    Nature 426, 274 - 278 (20 November 2003)

(9) THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
    The Guardian, 20 November 2003

(10) GET REAL: CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS TO INCREASE BY 50% BY 2020
     Reuters, 19 November 2003

(11) AND FINALLY: NOTORIOUS DOOM-MONGER PREDICTS GLOBAL FOOD SHORTAGE
     Space Daily, 19 November 2003

========
(1) THREE SUNSPOTS RETURN, FIRST STORM EN ROUTE

Space.com, 19 November 2003
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solar_weather_031119.html

By Robert Roy Britt

A moderate space storm kicked up by the Sun yesterday could arrive at Earth later today, possibly sparking colorful Northern Lights to reach farther south than normal. Meanwhile, a trio of infamous, energetic sunspots have returned to the face of the Sun.

The coronal mass ejection, an expanding bubble of charged particles, leapt from the Sun Tuesday morning, ET. It was associated with a medium (M-class) solar flare.

The storm could arrive as early as this afternoon. Its possible effects are unpredictable. Northern lights, called auroras, could be visible from many northern locations, such as Alaska. There is a chance the auroras could dip into northern America and Europe. [Aurora Cam] 

Solar storms can also threaten satellites and power grids, though this one is not expected to be particularly powerful.

The effects of coronal mass ejections typically last for about 24 hours, waning as the storm gradually passes.

Record output

The outburst was generated by Sunspot 484, one of a trio of unusually large sunspots that generated a record-breaking string of 10 major (X-class) solar flares in late October and early November. The spots then rotated around the back side of the Sun.

All three are again on the visible disk of the Sun, with No. 484 front and center and facing squarely at Earth.

Sunspot 484 has shrunk considerably compared to when it was on the face of the Sun last time, but it is currently the one most threatening because of its position. It has developed a complex magnetic field, according to the NASA-run web site Spaceweather.com. That suggests it has the potential for a major solar flare in the days ahead.

Sunspots 486 and 488 have just come into view on the left limb of the solar system's central star in the past two days. Last time around, they were as big as Jupiter. Scientists are just getting a look at them this time and it appears they have maintained much of their size.

"It looks like both regions still have some punch," said Paal Brekke, deputy project scientist for the SOHO spacecraft, which monitors solar activity.

Rare trio

Sunspots are cooler regions of the Sun were pent-up magnetic energy can erupt, kicking out radiation and superheated gas.

Rarely have scientists witnessed three sunspots so large and powerful on the face of the Sun at once. In fact, it happens about every 10 years, said solar physicist David Hathaway of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

But the last two times a big trio appeared -- in February 1989 and July 1981 -- the Sun was near the maximum of its 11-year cycle of activity, Hathaway told SPACE.com. Right now the Sun is two or three years past peak activity and on its way to a low point in another three years or so.

"The surprise this time is where it came in the cycle," Hathaway said.

For all three spots to maintain their size during a complete revolution of the Sun is not so unusual, Hathaway said. The Sun rotates once every 25 days at its equator. "When they're this big, it takes one or two or even more rotations before they get smaller," he said.

On Nov. 4, Sunspot 486 unleashed the strongest flare ever recorded.

Scientists cannot predict if or when the next major flare will erupt.

Copyright 2003, Space.com

===========
(2) UNPREDICTABLE SOLAR OUTBURSTS RAISE NEW QUESTIONS

ESA News, 19 November 2003
http://www.esa.int

19 November 2003

Focus on solar outbursts

While scientists and aurora spotters marvel at the explosions on the Sun,
everyone responsible for the hundreds of satellites that serve human needs, from
weather observations to car navigation, wishes that these potentially damaging
events were more predictable.

So do the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, who recently had to
shelter from energetic particles flung out by the most powerful solar flare ever
recorded. Now, from space observations of the Sun going back more than 20 years,
experts are beginning to make more sense of the solar outbursts.

Apparently random events turn out to be signs of the Sun's diligent
housekeeping. It keeps sweeping away, out into space, untidy magnetic fields
created by sunspots and other contortions in its atmosphere. The climax comes in
a busy period of spring cleaning after the count of sunspots has peaked, every
11 years. It leaves the Sun with its main magnetic field completely overturned,
and its north and south magnetic poles swapped around.

Great blasts of gas coming from the Sun, called coronal mass ejections,
sometimes cause magnetic mayhem in the Earth's vicinity. A report published this
month takes stock of 7 years of observations of such events by the ESA/NASA SOHO
spacecraft. It also compares them with the mass ejections recorded in 1979-85 by
an American satellite, P78-1. Helping the scientists to decipher the events seen
by the spaceborne telescopes are data from ground-based instruments at Kitt
Peak, USA, and Nobeyama, Japan.

What emerges is a systematic pattern in the outbursts. It changes during the
sunspot cycle, as the numbers of dark sunspots seen each day on the Sun's bright
surface first increases and then diminishes again. The mass ejections are often
directly associated with the sunspots, which always lie in the Sun's equatorial
belt or at mid-latitudes.

Other mass ejections occur near the Sun's poles, far away from any sunspots.
These events are most frequent at the peak of sunspot activity, but they can
continue for a while as the count of sunspots begins to decline. By getting rid
of the magnetic remnants of previous activity, the high-latitude outbursts groom
the polar magnetic fields in a new configuration.

"The Sun is like a snake that sheds its skin," comments Nat Gopalswamy of NASA
Goddard, lead author of the new report, which appears in the Astrophysical
Journal. "In this case, it's a magnetic skin. The process is long-drawn-out and
it's pretty violent. More than a thousand coronal mass ejections, each carrying
billions of tonnes of gas from the polar regions, are needed to clear the old
magnetism away. But when it's all over the Sun's magnetic stripes are running in
the opposite direction."

A chronicle from SOHO

This report is the latest in a series of studies of coronal mass ejections as
seen by the LASCO instrument on SOHO, undertaken recently by Gopalswamy and his
colleagues. When SOHO began its watch early in 1996, the Sun was quiet. There
were very few sunspots and mass ejections happened less than once a day. But
during the most intense solar activity, 1999-2000, there were more than five a
day, on average -- twice as many as scientists expected. What's more, the
average speed of the ejected clouds of gas doubled, from 275 to 550 kilometres
per second.

When the sunspot count passed its peak in July 2000, mass ejections continued at
a high rate. They did not reach their own peak in frequency until October 2002.
Events followed a different timescale in the two polar regions of the Sun. A
flurry of high-latitude mass ejections occurred near the north pole, completing
the magnetic reversal there by November 2000. The south polar region lagged
behind, and its new magnetic pole was not 'clean' until May 2002. In effect, the
solar snake shed the magnetic skin first from its head and then from its tail.

Only a minority of the coronal mass ejections have significant effects on the
space weather near the Earth. About a hundred times a year, when the Sun is at
its stormiest, a blast of gas aims itself directly at our planet. Because it
appears to surround the Sun, in the SOHO images, it is called a halo event. Its
impact on the magnetic shield that protects the Earth causes a magnetic storm,
which can for example produce extra current flowing in power lines and pipelines
on the ground, with the risk of causing damage to these systems and, in extreme
cases, equipment failure.

Also potentially harmful are high-speed mass ejections occurring near the
western edge of the Sun around sunspot maximum. Although the gas does not come
our way, energetic particles released in the outburst can do so, causing damage
to spacecraft and endangering astronauts. Outbursts of this type are fortunately
rare.

"The analysis of what we've recorded since 1996 takes us a big step forward in
making sense of space weather," says Bernhard Fleck, ESA's project scientist for
SOHO. "By clarifying when and why different kinds of coronal mass ejections
occur, it gives us a better idea of what trouble-spots to watch, for possible
solar outbursts, at different stages of the sunspot cycle."

Still a major challenge

For all space agencies, the Sun's outbursts pose an increasing problem. As the
equipment of spacecraft is miniaturized, it becomes more vulnerable to energetic
particles and electromagnetic stresses of space weather. The planning of manned
spaceflights has to take account of the hazards to astronauts. For a prolonged
flight, such as now contemplated for a possible manned mission to Mars, the
calendar of likely outbursts in relation to the sunspot cycle becomes a major
consideration.

A workshop convened earlier this month at ESTEC, ESA's science and technology
centre at Noordwijk in the Netherlands, looked forward towards better monitoring
and prediction services. 'Embarrassing' was the word used by Rainer Schwenn of
Germany's Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie, to describe the current state of
space weather forecasting. He pointed out that a significant number of magnetic
storms are still not predicted ('missing alarms') and a similar percentage of
predicted events never occur ('false alarms').

The Space Environments and Effects Analysis Section in ESTEC acts as a focus for
Europe-wide activities. This year it has fostered, as a pilot project, a network
of nearly 30 European space weather services, 16 of which have received
co-funding from ESA. The network will expand and more services will become
operational over the next two years. Then it will be easier to assess the needs
and benefits, and to consider what form a long-term European space weather
programme might take.

"Until now, much of our information about space weather gained from spacecraft
comes from missions conceived for scientific purposes," notes Alexi Glover, who
works on the pilot project at ESTEC. "But these scientific missions have limited
life-spans, often with no policy for maintaining the flow of data after a
mission has ended. Also, the delivery of data in near-real time is not always
considered important for a scientific mission, whereas this would be crucial for
any space weather monitoring mission. Meanwhile, European space weather services
make the most of the valuable data coming from SOHO and other existing spacecraft."

Related articles
* It's official: the biggest solar X-ray flare ever is classified as X28
   http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM5AUWLDMD_Protecting_0.html
* Another giant solar explosion follows Tuesday's enormous solar flare
   http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM6N9WLDMD_Protecting_0.html
* Enormous X-ray solar flare seen by SOHO
   http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMY3X7O0MD_Protecting_0.html

Related links
* Space Weather
   http://www.esa.int/spaceweather/
* ESA Space Weather Applications Pilot Project
 
http://www.estec.esa.nl/wmwww/wma/spweather/esa_initiatives/pilotproject/pilotproject.html
* ESA space weather workshop: developing a European space weather service network
   http://www.estec.esa.nl/wmwww/wma/spweather/workshops/spw_w5/index.html#agenda
* Today's space weather
   http://www.estec.esa.nl/wmwww/wma/spweather/current_sw/index.html
* Tomorrow's space weather forecast?
 
http://www.estec.esa.nl/wmwww/wma/spweather/MISCELLANEOUS/tomorrow_space_weather.pdf
* SOHO homepage
   http://sohowww.estec.esa.nl/
* SOHO overview
   http://www.esa.int/export/esaSC/120373_index_0_m.html
* LASCO homepage
   http://lasco-www.nrl.navy.mil/lasco.html
* Catalogue of coronal mass ejections
   http://cdaw.gsfc.nasa.gov/CME_list/
* The Sun now
   http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/ASE08Y9KOYC_Protecting_0.html
* ESA Science
   http://www.esa.int/science

IMAGE CAPTIONS:

[Movie 1:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEM1V5XLDMD_FeatureWeek_1.html#subhead1]
SOHO/LASCO movie of a high latitude CME in the North polar region on February 27 2000.
Credits: SOHO/LASCO

[Image 1:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEM1V5XLDMD_FeatureWeek_1.html]
Outburst of gas from near the Sun's south pole. The bright loop is cool,
strongly magnetized material being swept away from the Sun. The white ring
inside the central mask shows the size of the visible Sun.
Credits: SOHO/LASCO

[Image 2:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEM1V5XLDMD_FeatureWeek_1.html#subhead2]
Artist's impression of SOHO spacecraft.
Credits: ESA

[Image 3:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEM1V5XLDMD_FeatureWeek_1.html#subhead3]
A blast of gas from the Sun can buffet the Earth's magnetic field.
Credits: ESA

===========
(3) SUN SHEDS SKIN AND FLIPS

Paal Brekke <pbrekke@esa.nascom.nasa.gov>

Research with the Solar and Heliospheric
   Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft has revealed
   the process that may implement the reversal
   in the direction of the Sun's magnetic field
   that is known to occur every 11 years. This
   newly recognized factor in the Sun's magnetic
   flipping is the cumulative effect of more than
   a thousand huge eruptions called Coronal
   Mass Ejections (CMEs). (The bright area at
   the bottom of Image 2 is an example of a
   CME.)

Full story  and images here:
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2003/1120sun_flip.html
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEM1V5XLDMD_FeatureWeek_0.html
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/gsfc/spacesci/pictures/2003/1120sun_flip/2002_EIT_lowloop.jpg

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dr.  Paal Brekke, SOHO Deputy Project Scientist (European Space Agency - ESA)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,   Email: pbrekke@esa.nascom.nasa.gov
Mail Code 682.3, Bld. 26, Room 1,   Tel.:  1-301-286-6983/301 996 9028 (cell)
Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, USA.     Fax:   1-301-286-0264
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
SOHO WEB: http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/
PERSONAL WEB: http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/localinfo/brekke.html
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

==========
(5) LEONIDS 2003: WEAK PERFORMANCE

Rainer Arlt <rarlt@aip.de>

           -------------------------------------
           I M O   S h o w e r   C i r c u l a r
           -------------------------------------

                    LEONIDS 2003, VISUAL

The 2003 Leonid meteor shower has not yet provided distinct
peaks of activity. A full week of moderate Leonid meteor
rates has shown only one clear maximum; near 2003 Nov 19.4 UT
with an uncertainty of roughly +-6 hours.

This maximum coincides with the predicted times of about
06h30 - 08h00 UT for the encounter with the 15-revolution
dust trail of parent comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. The dust
was ejected from the comet near its perihelion passagein
1533.

The material ejected in 1499 has produced enhanced rates
on November 13, but no clear peak time can be derived from
the data received so far.

The ZHR gives the number of meteors as if the radiant would
be in the zenith, and at an observer's stellar limiting
magnitude of +6.5. The latter condition implies strong
extrapolations of observed meteor numbers, since the waning
moon interfered with most of the observing periods.

At this preliminary state, only the relative variations in
the ZHR should be of interest. Absolute values must be
discussed and fixed with the full dataset.

--------------------------------------
Date     Solarlong  nINT   nLEO    ZHR
--------------------------------------
Nov 12.80   229.93     1      0     (0)
Nov 13.50   230.64     4     13     26
Nov 13.72   230.86     7     12     21
Nov 14.01   231.15     7      9     27
Nov 14.77   231.92     1      2    (47)
Nov 15.76   232.91    13     28     15
Nov 16.24   233.40     1      4    (20)
Nov 17.21   234.37     4      7      7
Nov 18.52   235.69     6     18     13
Nov 19.06   236.24     9     63     23
Nov 19.14   236.32    10     51     39
Nov 19.37   236.55    14     88     53
Nov 19.90   237.09    14     35     39
--------------------------------------

A population index of r=2.3 was used to extrapolate to lm=+6.5.
All solar longitudes refer to equinox J2000.0. nINT is the
number of observing periods, nLEO the number of Leonid meteors.

We would like to thank the following observers for their
contributions to the above ZHR table:

Alexandre Amorim, Joseph Assmus, Jure Atanackov, Aleksandar Atevik,
Shushrut Bhanushali, Michael Boschat, Dustin Brown, Ed Cannon,
Parag Deotare, Kshitija Deshpande, Lucio Furlanetto, Kearn Jones,
Paul Jones, Javor Kac, Ashish Kuvelkar, Anna Levina, Michael Linnolt,
Qiang Ma, Xiaoyun Ma, Paul Martsching, Mikhail Maslov, Alastair
McBeath, Norman McLeod, Huan Meng, Yatin Patnekar, Nilesh Puntambekar,
Tushar Purohit, Jurgen Rendtel, Rahul Sangole, Mikiya Sato, Tomoko
Sato, Vladimir Slusarenko, Wesley Stone, Kazumi Terakubo, Richard
Taibi, Michel Vandeputte, Jeremie Vaubaillon, Linjia Wang, Yi Wang,
Guangjie Wu, Quanzhi Ye, Chao Zhang, Menglin Zhang, Zhousheng Zhang.


Rainer Arlt, 2003 Nov 20, 09h UT

--
Rainer Arlt  --  Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam -- www.aip.de
Visual Commission - International Meteor Organization -- www.imo.net
rarlt@aip.de --  phone: +49-331-7499-354  --  fax: +49-331-7499-526

==============
(6) CBS ASTEROID SHOW

Rusty Schweickart

Benny:

I thought that your readers might be interested in an about to be released 2 hour CBC documentary film on asteroid impact and the potential for deflection.  Despite the rather sensationalist title, Asteroid!  The Doomsday Rock, the film should be pretty good.  The writer/director is Jerry Thompson (Raincoast Storylines Ltd.) who has done award-winning work in the past.  It will first air in Canada on 24 November at 8 PM on CBC... for those who have access.  Subsequently it is slated to be carved into 2 one hour shows for Channel 4 in London... date to be announced.

Further info at http://www.cbc.ca/cbcworldwide/asteroid/index.html.

Rusty Schweickart

=============
(7) VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS MAY EFFECT EL NINO ONSET

Jamie Smith< jvsmith@nsf.gov>

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230
"Where discoveries begin"

Embargoed Until 1 p.m. Eastern Time
November 19, 2003

Media Contacts:
National Science Foundation - Cheryl Dybas, 703-292-7734, cdybas@nsf.gov
National Center for Atmospheric Research -
Anatta, anatta@ucar.edu, 303-497-8604
University of Virginia - Fariss Samarrai, samarrai@uva.edu, 434-924-3778

VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS MAY AFFECT EL NINO ONSET

A new study by scientists at the University of
Virginia (UVa) in Charlottesville and the National
Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder,
Colorado, suggests that explosive volcanic eruptions
in the tropics may increase the probability of an El
Niño event occurring during the winter following the
eruption. The research was funded by the National
Science Foundation (NSF).

"The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the
dominant mode of interannual climate variability on
the planet," says NCAR scientist Caspar Ammann.
"When thinking about long-term climate, we must ask
whether this system itself undergoes changes, perhaps
in response to changes in radiative forcing or in the
background climate itself.  Our findings, based on
two reconstructions, suggest that it indeed might."

When a volcano erupts in the tropics, its aerosol
emissions spread into the stratosphere across the
northern and southern hemispheres, reflecting some of
the sun's heat back toward space and thereby cooling
the Earth's atmosphere.  This cooling alters the
interaction between the oceans and atmosphere,
possibly encouraging a warming response in the
Pacific Ocean as the massive body of water attempts
to restore an initial equilibrium.

"Our results suggest that the atmospheric cooling
from an eruption may help nudge the climate system
towards producing an El Niño event," said Michael
Mann, an environmental scientist at the University of
Virginia.  The study results will appear in the
November 20 issue of the journal Nature.

"This research illustrates the value of paleoclimate
studies that draw on research from disparate fields
to uncover connections," said David Verardo, director
of NSF's paleoclimate program, which funded the
research.  "Studies of modern climate conditions
gleaned from thermometers and barometers can only get
you so far. Challenging the conventional wisdom, as
this research does, is necessary to achieve a
comprehensive understanding of Earth's climate," he
said.

Some scientists had previously noted that during the
20th century, El Niño events-the periodic warming of
sea surface temperatures in the equatorial
Pacific-tended to follow the eruption of volcanoes in
the tropics.  But that 100-year period, the only time
span for which reliable instrumental records were
kept, was considered too short a duration to
substantiate a link between the two phenomena.  The
connection was thought to be coincidental.  "So we
turned to the paleoarchives for a longer history,"
Mann said.  "We actually didn't expect the
relationship to hold up in the long run."

The scientists instead found that, when looking back
over a 350-year period, as far back as paleorecords
allow, there was credible evidence that volcanic
activity in the tropics may play a significant role
in the occurrence of El Niño events.  "We now have a
long record showing that the relationship between
volcanic eruptions and an increased probability of El
Niño events continues to hold up over several
centuries," Mann said.  "It's probably not just a
fluke."

Mann, Ammann, and UVa scientist Brad Adams used the
paleoclimate records stored in ice cores, corals, and
tree ring records to reconstruct El Niño events.
They used independent ice-core volcanic dust evidence
to reconstruct volcanic activity back to the early
1700s.

The paleoclimate records are called 'proxy records'
because they are not direct measurements of current
climate and ocean conditions, but instead are
reconstructions of past conditions gleaned from the
physical, biological, or chemical records or,
"signatures," stored in natural archives in the
environment. Using these records, the scientists were
able to precisely identify the years when eruptions
occurred and the years when El Niño events occurred.

When they counted, year by year, the separate events
and brought them together for comparison, they found
that there was a nearly one-in-two chance that an El
Niño event will occur after a volcanic eruption in
the tropical zone, roughly double the normal
probability.  "I wouldn't call this a tight
connection - it's not a one-to-one relationship,"
Mann said, "but it appears that the eruption of a
tropical volcano nudges the climate towards a more El
Niño-like state."

El Niño is a prominent altering factor on world
climate, affecting weather patterns for months and
years, often causing drought and severe weather in
different parts of the world.  "We seek to understand
how El Niño responds to changes in natural factors
such as volcanic activity in part, so we can
potentially better understand how El Niño might
respond to more recent human influences on climate,"
Mann said.

Adams added that the findings might help
oceanographers and atmospheric scientists to make
better probabilistic forecasts of El Niño activity.
"This is not a strictly predictive tool, but it may
help in anticipating the odds that an El Niño event
might occur in a given period," Adams said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

also sponsored the research.

###

NSF PR03-126

NSF Program Contact:  Dave Verardo, dverardo@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an
independent federal agency that supports fundamental
research and education across all fields of science
and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.3
billion.  NSF funds reach all 50 states through
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Each year, NSF receives about 30,000 competitive
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===========
(8) PROXY EVIDENCE FOR AN EL NINO-LIKE RESPONSE TO VOLCANIC FORCING

Nature 426, 274 - 278 (20 November 2003)
http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/eMq80FG1G20Ch0FlU0Aw
 
Proxy evidence for an El Niño-like response to volcanic forcing
J. BRAD ADAMS1, MICHAEL E. MANN1 & CASPAR M. AMMANN2

1 Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Clark Hall, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903, USA
2 Climate Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80307-3000, USA

Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to J.B.A. (jba7g@virginia.edu).

Past studies have suggested a statistical connection between explosive volcanic eruptions and subsequent El Niño climate events. This connection, however, has remained controversial. Here we present support for a response of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon to forcing from explosive volcanism by using two different palaeoclimate reconstructions of El Niño activity and two independent, proxy-based chronologies of explosive volcanic activity from AD 1649 to the present. We demonstrate a significant, multi-year, El Niño-like response to explosive tropical volcanic forcing over the past several centuries. The results imply roughly a doubling of the probability of an El Niño event occurring in the winter following a volcanic eruption. Our empirical findings shed light on how the tropical Pacific ocean-atmosphere system may respond to exogenous (both natural and anthropogenic) radiative forcing.

© 2003 Nature Publishing Group

===========
(9) THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL

The Guardian, 20 November 2003
http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/farout/story/0,13028,1088578,00.html

Mark Pilkington
Thursday November 20, 2003
The Guardian

Polymath, professional psychoanalyst and life-long friend of Albert Einstein, Immanuel Velikovsky created an international furore with his 1950 book Worlds in Collision.
 
Comparing accounts in the Bible's books of Exodus and Joshua and a contemporaneous Egyptian document, The Admonitions of Ipuwer, Velikovsky concluded that they chronicled a series of catastrophic events during the second millennium BC. These include the parting of the Red Sea, the pillar of smoke and fire, the eruption of Mount Sinai and the various plagues described in Exodus and, recorded in the Book of Joshua, a huge meteorite fall and a period of time when the Sun stood still in the sky.

Velikovsky theorised that these events signalled the emergence of Venus as it broke loose from Jupiter and swept through the Solar System in the shape of a comet. This Venus-comet, he suggested, almost collided with Mars and the Earth before settling into its current orbit, causing our own planet to stop rotating for a brief period.

Worlds in Collision rode the bestseller lists for 20 weeks, but the response from the astronomical establishment was devastating. Perhaps because of his lack of academic astronomical credentials, Velikovsky was denounced as a charlatan and fool. One conspiracy theory even suggested that Velikovsky, a Russian Jew, was being fed disinformation by Russian scientists seeking to destabilise western academia. Some of his supporters in science and publishing lost their jobs, while academics organised boycotts of his lectures and books until his death in 1979.

Although much of his evidence has been proven to be flawed, Velikovsky's basic premise, that millennia ago some kind of catastrophe took place in our solar system, has gained some acceptability. By studying the motion and makeup of asteroid belts, astronomer Tom van Flandern has posited that there may have been two extra planets in our solar system at one time, and that Mars was once a moon that exploded from a now-vanished planet.

Velikovsky is unlikely to join Bruno and Galileo in the pantheon of redeemed cosmological heretics, but he is at least assured a prominent footnote in the annals of science.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

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(10) GET REAL: CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS TO INCREASE BY 50% BY 2020

Reuters, 19 November 2003
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=570&ncid=753&e=1&u=/nm/20031120/sc_nm/environment_warming_dc

By Jeff Franks

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide, considered a culprit in global warming, are expected to increase by 3.5 billion tonnes, or 50 percent, annually by the year 2020, an executive for ExxonMobil Corp said on Wednesday.

At the same time, global demand for energy will rise by 40 percent as the world population increases and economies grow, said Randy Broiles, global planning manager for Exxon's oil and gas production unit.

"Between now and 2020 we estimate increases of some 3.5 billion tonnes per year of additional carbon emissions, so it's definitely increasing," Broiles said at an energy conference sponsored by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte.

He said about 7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, go into the earth's atmosphere each year from power plants, cars and other sources.

Experts say the United States, which has the world's largest economy and 4 percent of its population, is responsible for about 25 percent of so-called "greenhouse" gases now produced, but Broiles said most future growth in output will come from developing countries.

"Eighty percent of that number, 80 percent of 3.5 billion tonnes, is going to be driven by those developing countries, those economies that are growing at the 4 to 5 percent range, so that's where it's coming from," he said.

A huge increase in the number of cars will cause part of the pollution growth.

Broiles said there are now 15 cars for every 1,000 people in the world, but ExxonMobil expects that number to rise to 50 cars per 1,000 by 2020.

He said ExxonMobil foresees a 40 percent increase in energy demand even though humans are boosting their energy efficiency by about 1 percent a year. Despite advances in technology most energy will still come from fossil fuels, and in particular oil and gas, of which there remain very large reserves, he said.

"The oil resource base is huge -- it's huge -- and we expect it to satisfy world demand growth well beyond 2020," he said.

==========
(11) AND FINALLY: NOTORIOUS DOOM-MONGER PREDICTS GLOBAL FOOD SHORTAGE

Space Daily, 19 November 2003
http://www.spacedaily.com/2003/031119092535.06oc4p3k.html
 
BEIJING (AFP) Nov 19, 2003
US environmentalist Lester Brown warned Wednesday that sudden food price hikes in China
could be the sign of a coming world food crisis brought on by global warming and increasingly
scarce water supplies among major grain producers.

"I view the price rises as an indication, as the warning tremors before the earthquake,"
Brown, director of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, told an audience of Chinese
environmental non-governmental organizations....

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