Weart is a science historian with a string of books on physics, nuclear issues, and straight-up history to his credit. He is not a climate scientist but he writes about the issues of the day a hundred years of days, from Arrhenius to IPCC as though he was there.
His scientific insight and ability to summarize is very impressive. This could be a good first book to read on global warming. For best overall presentation of the science behind global warming to the lay reader, try Is the Temperature Rising? His book is strong on fundamental principals of the physics of the atmosphere underlying the greenhouse effect and global warming.
Global Warming, The Complete Briefing by Sir John Houghton most recent edition, , is somewhat stronger than Philander in describing what a global warming world would be like to the man in the street. Houghton was the lead editor of the IPCC Assessment reports, so his book is the very soul of authoritative, although it is intended as a textbook and is not exactly a page-turner. Of course the scientific gold standard here is the IPCC Scientific Assessment itself, available from Cambridge University Press or downloadable for free from here , but this is more of a reference book than cover-to-cover reading material.
This is a concerned-young-man-with-travel-budget tale, with stops in Alaska, the sinking and soon to be abandoned Pacific island of Tuvalu, and other points around the globe. Along these lines, we must mention a masterful series of articles in the New Yorker last spring called Climate of Man by Elizabeth Kolbert. I hear that this will be published in April under the title Field notes from a catastrophe. Neither Lynas nor Kolbert are climate scientists, but both did an impressive job of getting the facts straight, and more difficult getting the feel of the big picture.
The topic of abrupt climate change is intertwined with the field of paleoclimatology.
In my opinion this book beats out its well-written competition, Climate Crash by John Cox, because Alley is a practicing scientist, and a luminary one at that. The potential for abrupt climate change in our future was explored by a National Research Council committee and published in a very readable book called Abrupt Climate Change, Inevitable Surprises , published by the National Academy Press. His descriptions of the killing hand of drought acting against the Classic Maya and Anasazi civilizations, and the demise of the Norse Greenland colonies, are extremely lucid.
The first of these recounts the tale of humankind through the deglaciation, including the development of agriculture during the Younger Dryas, up until A. The little ice age is described as a time not of radically colder temperatures than today, but periodic, large climate swings and storms, contrasting with the stability of medieval times.
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In the political and social arenas, the place to go is Boiling Point by Ross Gelbspan. Gelbspan is a journalist who treats the scientific scope, and the political response, to the threat of climate change with passion and authority. This is an elegant treatment of the history and physics of hurricanes written by the guy who, well, wrote the book on hurricanes. The book is replete with color photos, plots, and paintings, with a few equations and many quotes from antiquity.
A true coffee-table book. Too bad it was published too soon to comment on the extraordinary hurricane season that is just winding down. I personally thought that the text books by G. People might also want to check out the following by Willi Dansgaard. Its his perspective on ice cores and is free to download or you can buy a hard copy and is in English!
Benton , about runaway GW during the end-Permian.
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I especially like the chart on p. Or are we both wrong? How do you keep phytoplankton, with a 3-day generation time, down for , years? Beats me. Oh and from a more archaeological perspective, check out After the Ice by Steve Mithen. Basically runs from the LGM to the mid-Holocene.
Bit of a mammoth and a slightly strange narrative device but its scholarly and well written. Oh and if you like fantasy fiction and are interested in ice cores, why not check out the Answers In Genesis Young earth creationists page on the subject ;-. His book is basically a synthesis of the science for the layman and a call to action.
Short, concise chapters. Well-written and well-argued, but may stray on ocassion into overstatement. I have to say I was surprised to see Ross Gelbspan on the list. As frequent media critics, do you not find his rhetoric a little overheated? In that same column, he goes on to blame nearly every noteworthy weather event on global warming, without qualification. Based on the Globe column, he does indeed seem passionate, but I wonder about his authority.
If you are after enlightenment and not justification, why not read the seminal work of Hubert Lamb the founder of CRU? Calvin is a neurobiologist and polymath who has written a highly speculative and entertaining book that primarily looks at the obverse of the anthropogenic climate change issue: he considers what one might call climatogenic hominid change, i. While neither a paleontologist nor a climatologist, he talks to both and allows them to talk for themselves. One important point he makes that I have not seen discussed elsewhere is that the debate such as it is of whether global warming might be a good thing fundamentally misses the point.
The climate instability, with likely dramatic shifts in both directions, that will ensue once we drive ourselves out of the benign conditions of the past 12, years or so are what may destroy our species along with many others. Jared Diamond considers the Australian environment in Chapter 13 of Collapse. But many of the facts and figures he quotes are plain wrong. Re Thank you for that. Re To finish the thought, Collapse appears to tell a balanced story of how cultures deal with environmental problems, with some good news stories as well as the usual litany of disasters.
He also avoids the usual anti-industry bias, for example his glowing account of the Chevron oil field in Papua New Guinea in contrast to damage caused by the mining industry. For some reason he slotted Australia a place he has visited and claims to love as environmental bad new story. If his research on that is as poor as the paper cited above claims, it calls into question the validity of rest of his book, no matter how reasonable and balanced it seems to be. I also noted with interest how little he mentioned climate change in a book about environmental problems facing humanity.
His main comment is that there will be winners as well as losers. Maybe he considers the significant effects of climate change to be uncertain enough, or far enough in the future as to not be relevant to his topic of discussion. It looks very interesting.
Also, your website is absolutely excellent!
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It seems to be a small book in itself! Great work and keep it up!!! Graedel, Paul J. It also covers atmospheric chemistry and ozone depletion. RE 7, I believe the reference for Gelbspan here is more about his tackling of the political and media aspects of the issue, rather than his scientific expertise. I think most scientists would agree with that. But Katrina is water under the bridge — or over the levee.
The best overall presentation of the science behind global warming to a lay reader is Philander I was deeply inspired by reading it, years ago. Reading Philander encouraged me to create a poster for display at a public gathering, at a Demonstration of Government Services at the Mall of America in The material on atmospheric interactions and physics underlying the greenhouse effect, seemed appropriate for my poster development at that time, in relation to my duties at work in hydrologic forecasting and model development.
However, just before the gathering at the Mall of America was to begin in , my supervisor instructed me that I must not participate in the gathering, and that I must not even go to the Mall of America on my personal time that weekend to prevent me from being seen there, that weekend. Management and human resources told me that the agency would not risk having my appearance at the Mall be associated to the agency in any way, because I had brought up the subject of global warming while at work.
How would I prove that? Sounds like censorship to me. It sounds almost like the scientist who got in trouble for the caribou migration maps in the ANWR. I note your comment that abrupt climate change is still very much a speculative comment. For my own clarity — does this only refer to the possibility of abrupt climate change in the near future? The future is of course murkier still.
Read his book, but keep your eyes peeled for future developments. David ]. By Mark Bowen This is a book focussing on the ice core research at high altitudes and mid-latitudes conducted by Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State. Regarding 26 it is not the rapid climate changes that are not grasped but the magnitude of them. Exceptionally well written and very few errors considering that he is not a scientist. I found the first couple of chapeters slow but the rest is a page turner. These two books are worth reading.
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They probably fit in the same category as Ross Gelbspan, but with different emphasis. The Carbon War: Global Warming and the End of the Oil Era by Jeremy Leggett is a good introduction to the political and economic issues that intersect with climate science. I thought that the most important part of this book were the following numbers:.
Apparently only half of the carbon we add to the atmosphere each year is staying in the atmosphere. Where does the other half go? Rather, it addresses the fundamental problem of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy systems, and provides a comprehensive roadmap for the transition. We are increasing the atmospheric concentrations of several greenhouse gases, not by a small percentage, but by factors of two or more. Particlularly disquieting is the rapid rate of increase; the growth is exponential, a dangerous situation that calls for action long before there is clear evidence of impending trouble…Though resolution of the arguments is an important matter, far more important is recognition of the explosive nature of the problem, its exponential growth.
In coping with problems of that type it is wise to act sooner rather than later. See How much of the recent CO2 increase is due to human activities? Danny Harvey, Pearson Education Limited Valuing the Earth was the one just prior, both good. Shifting landscapes would affect not only the forests, but drinking water, river flow and water recreation. And the loss of forests could unleash even faster global warming, because important carbon sinks would disappear. Click to enlarge.
The D Kamala Harris challenges Joe Biden in breakout performance at second U. Democratic debate Presidential candidate Kamala Harris dominated her Democratic rivals in a debate on Thursday, confronting front-runner Joe Biden on race and calling his remarks about working with segregationist se Massive heat wave in Europe causes record high temperatures in France and a wildfire in Spain Temperatures in France are expected to reach a record-breaking high on Friday, as Europe continues to endure a sweltering heat wave which sparked an out-of-control wildfire in Spain.