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Russia Conducts Widespread Atmospheric Temperature Study

St. Petersburg - Nov 18, 2003
A group of researchers guided by Academician Kondratyev has analyzed the archives of temperatures in the Northern Arctic area since 1959 through 2000. Having done this analysis, the researchers stated that constant thermal energy redistribution took place in high latitudes, therefore the state of atmosphere in general had not changed.

The researchers used the data of 116 upper-air stations located in the Northern Arctic area (in latitudes 60-90 North), ship observations, and observation on the "North Pole" floating station through 1991, etc.

The researchers recorded when and at what altitude temperature anomalies occurred. It turned out that within the 40-year period the lower layer of the troposphere (the surface part of atmosphere which in the arctic latitudes extends up to 8-10 kilometers high) has in general got warmer up to a certain height, while the upper layer of the troposphere and stratosphere (the stratosphere covers the interval from 8 through 45-55 kilometers) has become colder.

Proceeding from that, the researchers come to the conclusion that the temperature of the Arctic atmosphere has not changed on the whole.

"Apparently there exist the heat redistribution mechanisms, which create approximate heat content permanency in the Arctic atmosphere along the vertical line," believe the researchers. Thus, if the lower part of atmosphere gets warmer, the upper part immediately reacts to that and gets colder to compensate for the excess of heat below, and consequently, no global changes occur in the atmosphere of the Earth.

This regularity is evident from the data collected by the researchers: negative anomalies prevailed in the troposphere up to 1980, i.e. it was unusually cold, and in recent years the anomalies were primarily positive -- it became unusually warm. In a higher layer, stratosphere, the situation was exactly opposite: approximately up to 1978 anomalies were primarily positive, and became negative later.

A certain boundary between these two air layers of different temperature, or, as the scientists call it -- mean energy level, is located in the medium troposphere. Periodical temperature changes should become apparent there.

Within the period since 1959 through 1979 negative anomalies dominated the height of the mean energy level, then started the period of the same duration -- since 1980 through 2000, when the temperature was extraordinarily high. If such periods do alternate permanently, then the next twenty years will witness anomalous cold in the medium troposphere.

The researchers have noted one more interesting detail: within the last forty years, the rate at which the temperature changes when climbing every 100 meters has increased -- i.e., the Arctic atmosphere has become less steady. That means that ventilating characteristics of the atmosphere have become stronger.

This unsteadiness (along with good ventilating characteristics) grows up only to a certain height in the upper layer of the stratosphere, which contains the largest quantity of ozone. So, in the stratosphere, the ozone concentration should drop, and in the troposphere, conversely, grow up. In this connection, the researchers wonder if these changes are the reason for the ozone content decrease in the atmosphere. The question has no exact answer yet.

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More Snow for Great Lakes Region
Hamilton - Nov 06, 2003
Climate change in the past century has had a surprising impact on the Great Lakes region of the U.S. - more snow. A comparative study of snowfall records in and outside of the Great Lakes region indicated a significant increase in snowfall in the Great Lakes region since the 1930s but no such increase in non-Great Lakes areas.



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