Different Takes On The Weather Forecast

U.S. and Soviet scientists are studying the greenhouse effect using very different methods—and, as a result, are coming up with some vastly divergent predictions for the future. U.S. researchers, who are modeling future scenarios with the help of supercomputers, forecast rising temperatures accompanied by summer droughts. But Soviet climatologists, who lack access to powerful number-crunchers, rely upon analyses of past climates to predict future trends, and their conclusion is the opposite: A slow global warming with adequate rainfall. Under this scenario, the USSR would stand to benefit because the melting of the permafrost would open more Soviet territory to agriculture. Needless to say, this difference of opinion has made it difficult for a U.S.-USSR group of scientists to prepare a joint statement on how the greenhouse effect should be viewed.

When the group met recently in Leningrad, the U.S. researchers were prepared to recommend...

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