Re: Environmental Issues
Fri, 07 Jun 96 09:38:20 EST

On ozone: while it seems that ozone levels vary during the year and in
recent years seem to be decreasing, it is not completely clear that
all the data is that straight forward. For example, the previously
reported decline of ozone over Uccle, Belgium, was in fact the result
of air pollution from burning coal interfering with the
instrumentation. A number of researchers have identified a number of
"natural causes" for ozone depletion, some admittedly only
temporarily. These are real studies, not backlash like Dixy Lee Ray's
repetition that chlorine from the oceans is the culprit. Lastly the
concern over ozone, is the presumed increase in UV, and the resulting
effects. Why isn't there a coordinated network to measure UV? There
is more "politics" and policy making on partial science (don't look at
any info that might cause funding to stop), than there ought to be.
To get a more complete picture, see Forrest M Mims,III article in the
January 20, 1996 edition of "World" (or "God's World") magazine, from
which most of these comments were draw, and provides a good look on
the politics of policy making based on selected scientific evidence.
Incidentally, NASA's Web page may be OK. Don't bother with EPA's -
more fluff (propaganda?) than latest scientific data.

Temperature rise: There is evidence that the earth's climate has
always varied, and there have been proposals that there are long
cycles. (More than 25 years ago when I was an undergraduate, they had
already lost their new look. Based on the those cycles we should have
been in a warming trend during the last half of this century and into
the next.) Are we in one of those cycles, are we accelerating the
rate of the temperature increase because of our fossil fuel combustion
practices, or are the dampening effects of the cycle only slightly or
far behind the increased temperature rise rate?? Or are there a
complete new set of "manmade factors"? This is sufficiently complex,
I stand back and watch.

On the initial reflector message, acid rain was also included. That
acid rain is a result of fossil fuel combustion seems well documented.
And there was/ is damage to fragile ecosystems, such as Lakes in the
Adorondacks. Recently EPA has reported that the current adverse
effects, overall, are currently not as bad as they were estimated at
first. Better research, more data, better emission controls???

In the current practice of putting a human face on the reflector:
I was born in Germany of German nationals who where refugees from
(then) Jugoslavia (the family on all sides had been there for over 150
years), who fled the Russian advance, and were not permitted to return
by the Tito gov't. Undergraduate work was in civil engineering,
initial graduate work was in "sanitary engineering" (that means it was
focused on water, spec. drinking water, waste water, stream pollution,
etc.). A few years later it became officially known as "Environmental
Engineering" and the focus broaden. I am a registered Professional
Engineer in 3 states, and have worked in "industry" prior to and after
doctoral work. I now push paper for the army, and most technical
personnel I deal with, do the same: few could differentiate a simply
polynomial any more. Theological, I'm now of the reformed persuasion
(generally), having come to that position independently during high
school/college. I am generally a lurker on this reflector, realizing
my limitations of knowledge of most topics of discussion.

Grace to all the brothers and sisters,

Henry Erbes

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Environmental Issues
Author: Dave Koerner 818-354-8820 <> at Internet-Mail
Date: 6/6/96 7:09 PM

I just saw Dean's recent post asking for hard evidence of environmental

When I was a grad student, my office mate worked on modeling of satellite data
for the Antarctic Ozone hole. He was annalyzing a sequence of annual
observations throughout which the hole unquestionably increased -- it's a very
real problem. NASA has an great ozone web page at:

Global warming as a result of increased CO2 also appears to be substantiated
by measurements over the last century -- see the graph on the web page at:

However, unknowns such as 1) the effect of clouds on albedo, 2) volcanic
ash production, and 3) the abilitiy of the oceans to absorb CO2 make this
less than straightforward. These factors should not give one confidence
in ignoring CO2 levels, however. For a good answer to Rush Limbaugh's nonsense
in this regard, see:

The growing consensus that warming is happening is chronicled on:

NASA has a very well-defined "Mission to Planet Earth" which will quantify
these issues much more in the coming decade. I predict that there will be
increasing consensus that Ozone depletion and Global Warming are problems.

For an amusing fictional view, see "The Arrival" where aliens speed the
global warming along to tailor the climate to their liking -- heh,heh.
I enjoyed this "B" movie mostly for its many shots of Owens Valley Radio
Observatory, where I spend a great deal of time.

Best Regards,