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William W. Kellogg
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William W. Kellogg

In December 1975 a questionnaire was mailed to the roughly 9000 members of the American Meteorological Society, and more than half responded. The analysis of the answers provides some useful and hitherto unavailable information on the composition of our membership, where the members work and what they do, how they feel about the future of their respective branches of the profession, and their opinions about the Society and the ways in which it might be improved. Some recommendations for future action are strongly implied by the statistics.

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William W. Kellogg
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William W. Kellogg

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William W. Kellogg

The majority of the scientific community involved in climate research is convinced of the reality of a current and future global warming due to the greenhouse effect, a change that must be largely caused by human activities. However, a minority of scientists is still skeptical of the notion that mankind is significantly influencing the climate of the earth, and it therefore argues against taking certain measures to avert this alleged global warming. In recent years the media have given considerable coverage to the statements of these skeptics. Reasons for their statements range from a simple argument that we do not understand the earth's climate system well enough to predict the future, to more complex arguments involving negative feedbacks and changes of solar activity. They question whether the global temperature increase in this century of up to 0.6 K is primarily a result of worldwide burning of fossil fuels. The purpose of this article is to show that the statements of this skeptical school of thought need to be critically analyzed (and in some cases refuted) in the light of current understanding of the planetary system that determines our climate. There is also another school of thought that agrees about the reality of present and future global warming, and claims that this will be beneficial for most of mankind and that it should be encouraged. The policy implications of the latter view are in many respects similar to those of the group that are not convinced that a significant global warming will occur. Both schools of thought argue against taking immediate steps to slow the climate change.

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William W. Kellogg
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William W. Kellogg
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William W. Kellogg

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William W. Kellogg

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Data from the High Altitude Dust Diffusion Project have been analyzed, and the rates of growth of 18 smoke puffs produced in the upper troposphere and stratosphere are presented. There was an increase in the rate of growth of the cloud size with increasing height, and a decrease in the rate of growth of the cloud mass with increasing stability of the atmosphere. From an initial diameter of 15 to 20 meters, the diameter of the smoke puffs increased fivefold in about 3 minutes, on the average.

A theoretical analysis of the growth of a smoke puff resulted in an equation describing the visual diameter as a function of time and a variety of turbulence parameters. Comparison between theory and experiment, based on Taylor's theory of “diffusion by continuous movement,” suggests that the root-mean-square eddy velocity in the stratosphere is of the order of 4 to 10 centimeters per second and increases with height.

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William W. Kellogg and Zong-Ci Zhao

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In anticipation of a global warming in the decades ahead due to an increased greenhouse effect from infrared-absorbing trace gases, it is not too early to enquire what this may mean in terms of changes in patterns of precipitation and soil moisture. These patterns are a secondary result of the temperature distribution and are therefore difficult to specify, but the practical importance attached to any regional changes in soil moisture is obviously enormous. In this study we have attempted to see how experiments with climate models reveal regional soil moisture changes over North America when carbon dioxide is doubled (or the equivalent radiation perturbation due to an increase in all the “greenhouse gases” takes place). Results from five of the current state of the art climate models are compared with each other and with existing estimates of soil moisture distribution, with emphasis on how they respond to the carbon dioxide perturbation. (The models are those of GFDL, GISS, NCAR, OSU, and UKMO.) There is considerable difference between the soil moisture formulations and the resulting outputs of these five models in terms of soil moisture distribution changes, but some general conclusions can be drawn nevertheless: (i) The agreement between models is considerably better in the wintertime than in the summertime; (ii) one subset of the models agrees remarkably well in winter, while a different subset shows better agreement in summer; (iii) we can tentatively conclude on the basis of the model experiments that in winter there may be an increase in soil moisture in North America at high latitudes and an onset of drier conditions in the southern states and Mexico; and (iv) that in summer there may be a tendency toward drier conditions in the middle of the continent together with wetter conditions along the Gulf Coast and the West Coast of the United States and Canada. These conclusions must, of course, be taken with great caution until they can be checked with greatly improved climate models, but it is reassuring to note that most of these features are consistent with the results of studies of past warmer periods.

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