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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d88jul56

Earth System Science: A Closer View, 208 pp., Jan. 1988. Request copies from Interdisciplinary Earth Studies, Univ. Corp. Atmos. Res., POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307; free of charge.

This final report of the Earth System Sciences Committee (chaired by Francis Bretherton) of the NASA Advisory Council addresses the urgent need to understand global change on the time scale of decades to centuries, and the opportunity to learn about Earth evolution on all time scales. The committee was charged to review the science of the Earth as a system of interacting components, to recommend a strategy for global Earth studies, and to define NASA's role in such a program. Containing contributions from a highly interdisciplinary group representing academia and governmental agencies, the report builds on similar studies such as that done for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program. It will be of interest to researchers in earth science, terrestrial and marine biology, information science, and systems modeling. Generously illustrated with photographs and charts of superb technical quality, the report is accessible to a wide range of audiences and would be a useful teaching resource from high school through university graduate levels.

Introductory chapters define Earth system science and the need for global research. The next three chapters discuss global change on long and short time scales, and how paleoclimate is the link between them. These give detailed descriptions of all relevant processes, such as plate tectonics, atmospheric dynamics, and biogeochemical cycles. The remaining chapters on modeling, instrumentation and technology, and observing and information systems complete the basis for the final chapter: the recommended program of research.

The research program has seven essential components: 1) sustained, long-term measurements of global variables; 2) fundamental descriptions of the Earth and its history; 3) identification of research foci and initiation of process studies. These are preludes to: 4) developing Earth system models to integrate data sets, guide research and predict trends. Necessary for these goals is: 5) an information system for handling observed data and model analyses. Further required is 6) coordination of U.S. federal agencies, and 7) international cooperation in world research. Specific timetables, missions and space instruments necessary to meet these goals are specified.

The appendix includes a 14-page full-color "Earth gallery" of satellite images, computer-generated graphics, and other illustrations of the themes of Earth system science. These and other graphical excerpts have also been reproduced as separate leaflets that are included in a packet with the report, along with a 48-page report overview dated May 1986.

Item #d88jul57

The Greenhouse Gases, 40 pp., 1987; The Ozone Layer, 36 pp., 1987; by R. Clarke (United Nations Environment Program, Nairobi, Kenya). Available at no charge from J. Fough, UNEP, DC2-0803, United Nations NY 10017; 212-963-8093.

Two in a series of booklets written by scientists for decision makers and the interested public. All are based on UNEP's Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS) and present information previously published by GEMS for specialists. Both give an overview and the scientific background, then discuss effects on society, implications for policy and major information sources. Policy options discussed for the greenhouse problem are reducing production or filtering out or recovering these gases, or adapting to the resulting climate change.

For the general public, UNEP has also produced 8-page "Environmental Briefs" such as, The Changing Atmosphere and The Disappearing Forests.

Item #d88jul58

Understanding CO2 and Climate: Annual Report 1986, H.G. Hengeveld (Climate Ctr., Atmos. Environ. Svc., 4905 Dufferin St., Downsview, Ont. M3H 5T4, Can.), 23 pp., Aug. 1987. In English and French. Also available through Nat. Tech. Info. Svc. (5285 Port Royal Rd., Springfield VA 22161); order no. PB88-107655/XAB, $11.95.

The fourth annual report on the topic produced by Environment Canada in cooperation with Energy, Mines and Resources Canada, it summarizes for nonspecialists recent progress on international climate change research and policy development, and gives specific implications for Canada. Recent studies suggest that central Canada could experience a mid-summer warming of as much as 9° C, and a 50% reduction in soil moisture. In Ontario, the economic effects of increased aridity in southern regions, lower lake levels, increased severity of fire, disease and pests, and the likely collapse of the winter skiing industry would be partially offset by the benefits of longer growing seasons, year-round shipping in ice-free waters, reduced space heating costs, and improved summer tourism potential. Net annual economic loss to Ontario from a doubling of CO2 could exceed $100 million. Specific damages to certain commercial, domestic and utility structures are projected for coastal Canadian cities under a one-meter sea level rise. There is great potential for Canadians to improve energy efficiency, and their awareness of this problem is important for achieving policy change.

Item #d88jul59

Carbon Dioxide and Climate: Summaries of Research in FY 1987 (DOEER-0347) Carbon Dioxide Res. Div. (US Dept. Energy, Washington D.C.), 95 pp., Oct. 1987. Available from NTIS, order no. USGDE-88000916/XAB, $13.95.

Describes the activities and products of the Department's Carbon Dioxide Research Program in these areas: energy systems, climate systems, agro-ecosystems, resource analysis, scientific interface, and integration and evaluation.

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