AGU journal highlights - 6 January 2004

es, using satellite measures of surface greenness in the summer and snow extent in the winter. Previous research had found that enhanced vegetation leads to cooler surface temperatures, which the authors confirmed with their finding that vegetation growth during warm summer months slowed the ongoing increase in summertime temperatures. They note, however, that this mechanism for slowing global climate change may not be effective for much longer, as a temperature increase by another 3-5 degrees Celsius [5-9 degrees Fahrenheit] may harm vegetation growth. The browning or loss of vegetation would then accelerate further climate warming.
Title: The effect of vegetation on surface temperature: A statistical analysis of NDVI and climate data
Authors: R. K. Kaufmann, R. B. Myneni, N. V. Shabanov, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts; L. Zhou, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia; C. J. Tucker, D. Slayback, Jorge Pinzon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.
Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GL) paper 10.1029/2003GL018251, 2003

3. New theory explains meteors' double plumes
A new analysis of double plumes observed behind falling meteors suggests a new explanation for the phenomenon. Kelley et al. report on lidar and camera views of the heretofore-mysterious "trains" cast behind meteors. The authors studied the persistent emissions commonly left behind by meteors from the 1998 and 1999 Leonid meteor showers and propose that one of the tails is left by gaseous vapor emissions, while the other is caused by dust particles. They note that the two layers are separated by gravitational properties of the dust that keeps it segregated, evidence that has been confirmed by rocket-based observations of dust remnants behind other meteors. The researchers dismiss previous speculation that the double

Contact: Harvey Leifert
American Geophysical Union

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