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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Contract/Grant 50-DKNA-7-90052 between the National Academy of Sciences, NOAA’s United States Global Change Research Program, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Additional funds for the impacts workshop were provided by the Yale National Bureau of Economic Research Program on Environmental Economics. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Abrupt climate change : inevitable surprises / Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, Ocean Studies Board, Polar Research Board, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-07434-7

I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Abrupt Climate Change.

2002002017

Cover: This Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) image provided by NASA JPL and acquired from the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-59 (April 11, 1994), shows part of the vast Namib Sand Sea on the west coast of southern Africa, just northeast of the city of Luderitz, Namibia. This region receives only a few centimeters of rain per year. The colors are assigned to different radar frequencies. The magenta areas in the image are fields of sand dunes, and the orange area along the bottom is the surface of the South Atlantic Ocean. The bright green features in the upper right are rocky hills protruding through the sand sea. Because this radar penetrates through the sand, it can reveal sub-surface features such as former lakes, rivers, and drainage channels that have long since dried up as the climate changed. SIR-C/X-SAR is a joint US-German-Italian project that captures sophisticated images of Earth that are useful to scientists from many disciplines. (NASA JPL image).

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