Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast is a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of global warming. Written in an accessible style, this important book examines the processes of climate change and climate stability, from the distant past to the distant future. Examining the greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle, and what the future may hold for global climate, this text draws on a wide range of disciplines, and summarizes not only scientific evidence, but also economic and policy issues, related to global warming. ...
Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast is a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of global warming. Written in an accessible style, this important book examines the processes of climate change and climate stability, from the distant past to the distant future. Examining the greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle, and what the future may hold for global climate, this text draws on a wide range of disciplines, and summarizes not only scientific evidence, but also economic and policy issues, related to global warming. A companion web site at (http: //understandingtheforecast.org) provides access to interactive computer models of the physics and chemistry behind the global warming forecast, which can be used to support suggested student projects included at the end of each chapter. Solutions and artwork from the book are available to instructors at www.blackwellpublishing.com/archer. Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast provides an essential introduction to this vital issue for both students and general readers, with or without a science background.
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The book is probably of little interest to the general reader interested in understanding climate change. It is a bit math intensive and will push away readers who are interested in getting the bigger picture of how climate works, how climate is measured, and how we know how climate change is occurring.
The math is really a minor consideration that could be covered in one section. I think the text was written as a rationalization for a class the author taught or co-taught. A bit of summary information followed by a small problem set is not very useful in educating people about climate change.
Beyond that, the text serves little purpose.
If I had to work out the problems posed in the text, particularly without answers and explanations which can be critiqued, the problems are completely useless. It is about at the same level as an algebra text with problems from a variety of disciplines: one may be able to solve the problems without any insight into the nature of the phenomena being modeled.
That is a dead end.
I found the manuscript posted online but purchased the text because I can carry it with me to read at my convenience rather than sitting at a desk staring at a video screen, which I find boring to say the least. Not only that, but for much of my life I have been on the wrong side of the digital divide, and may again be on the downside soon. So online access would be out of the question.
Any little bit helps, though. One never knows how input like this might affect one's overall perception or insight. Would you like to buy my copy? $5, you pay shipping.
There are some references in the text to mini-climate models that can be accessed online. But I do not think that would be very useful given the complexity and size of the data sets that must be manipulated and checked against real-world results. These things are beyond the resources of most students. Send it to your favorite middle school.
If I remember correctly, the author made notable references to modeling protocol, in fact the book started out with how to construct an irrelevant model and then went on to discuss known parameters of what the author considered to be reasonable models.
It is that last part that is of interest to the student, because it makes some reality checks.
But as a standalone text, little insight will be gained by a reader who does not already have background education in the physics and chemistry of climate, a bit of earth science, and earth history.
I think the author should have started with known parameters and explained how they are known and why they are important.
Surely it is not beneath the dignity of an educated person to review something they may already know. In doing so, they may even realize some point they had missed and thereby have opportunity to correct their cognition and presentation. That was not what the author had in mind, clearly.
The purpose of the class I am taking on global warming is (I hope) to convince more people of the reality of climate change and spurn them to make political and economic choices based on that insight.
There is little to no chance of reversing climate change at this point. Both commerce and the political establishment go hand in hand seeking profit. People in the United States and elsewhere generally get their information in the form of commercial propaganda and what we euphemistically call the news, all of which is being broadcast by the same folks who are, for a price, sending out "BP means Beyond Petroleum" and "Clean Coal - A Technology We Can Believe In" messages.
There is no indication in the book as to what people can personally or politically do to help reverse global warming. Consider this modest effort:
My instructor drives an electric car. I have been taxed to pay her salary. I have been effectively excluded from education at public institutions where she works or has worked due to socioeconomic constraints and unethical bias. These are factors of culture that I cannot change after trying for over thirty years.
As I noted above, a mass change in culture would have to occur before electric cars--just as an example--would become a norm and have some possibility of a positive effect on global climate change.
There are many other examples, but people are driven by information, among other things, and that is largely controlled by corporate and investor interests. Thus greed and delusion are two factors not considered in books of this sort (not to mention that our so-called elected leaders work in the interests of their largest donors, which are not necessarily the interests of our species as a whole).
Those among us who can afford electric cars probably do not realize that such things are luxury items marketed to a privileged socioeconomic class, although the technology behind electric cars has existed and improved for over a hundred years. Yet those cars are not marketed so as to increase use, and will not be any time soon. Doing so would necessarily represent a decrease in profit margin. A change in mass culture would have to occur before electric cars would become a standard. There is no chance of that happening, ever. We live in the age of vidiocy.
Another example: My instructor also has solar cells on her roof. I am fortunate just to have a roof to live under, and that may end soon. Need I say more? (Actually, my instructor wrote a better set of lecture notes than contained in the text at issue.)
I would not have chosen this text for myself, but every little bit helps.
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