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Climate Change: Picturing the Science Paperback – April 6, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Original edition (April 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393331253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393331257
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA, and photographer Wolfe seek to advance public education about human-induced climate change in a combination of arresting images and lucid explanations of the science of global warming and the pursuit of global cooperation in adopting new, sustainable ways of living. With contributions by 16 scientists, engineers, writers, activists, and photographers, Schmidt and Wolfe address a host of observable changes, from the melting of ice and permafrost at the poles to the rising of sea levels in cities such as Venice and Miami. From discussions of increasing drought, forest fires, and extreme storms to the deadly buildup of industrial and agriculture chemicals, the coverage is clear and bracing. And it’s inspiring to learn about the work of these cutting-edge experts as they marvel over the finely calibrated checks and balances of  the earth’s systems, elucidate the ways human-induced climate change is making the planet less conducive to life, and chronicle inventive approaches to averting environmental catastrophe. In the midst of sobering reportage, the authors manage to appeal to our fascination with epic challenges. --Donna Seaman

Review

“The first book anyone seeking a layman's understanding of the science of global warming should read…one of the most reasonable, unflappable, pleasantly humorous and least stuffy experts in any subject that we've met.” (Jerry Beilinson - Popular Mechanics)

“Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climatologist, has in many ways become the news media’s conscience on climate science, exposing exaggeration and opinion in climate coverage…[a] no-nonsense approach.” (Laura Shin - The New York Times)

“A rich photographic record of a warming world.” (Peter Dizikes - Salon)

“A broad diversity of images that are, in many cases, truly arresting…informative discussions of the key issues in climate science and policy…The numerous ‘Cool, I didn't know that!’ moments are an enjoyable aspect…[A]n important contribution.” (Bill Hewitt - Nature Reports)

“[A] masterful account of the science of climate change…It will leave you both in awe of the Earth we inhabit and of the science itself, with all of its uncertainties and incomplete answers.” (Seed Magazine)

“Breathtaking images.” (Popular Science)

“[A]n impressive, informative and surprisingly accessible work, leaps and bounds ahead of the half-baked analysis consumers have come to expect from the corporate media…compelling.” (Jason Zasky - Failure Magazine)

“[A]n inspired work… a compelling and captivating book.” (Leonard David - Space Coalition Blog)

“A combination of arresting images and lucid explanations of the science of global warming and the pursuit of global cooperation in adopting new, sustainable ways of living….the coverage is clear and bracing....In the midst of sobering reportage, the authors manage to appeal to our fascination with epic challenges.” (Donna Seaman - Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

I found it informative and enjoyable.
Nacreous
The authors have summarized the latest research in climate science in a style that makes the information very accessible to the non-scientist.
Scott A. Mandia
The essays and photo-essays that follow many of the chapters provide further snippets of information.
David R. Cassatt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Scott A. Mandia on July 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
As noted by the authors, this book was structured around a medical metaphor of symptoms, diagnosis, and possible cures. The book is a collection of essays from scientists from many fields: climatology, meteorology, biology, geology, oceanography, chemistry, climate modeling, environmental politics, astrophysics, and other fields, so it becomes clear to the reader how climate change has impacted all aspects of planet Earth. The authors have summarized the latest research in climate science in a style that makes the information very accessible to the non-scientist.

The authors also make it clear what is well known vs. what is not well known in the rapidly evolving field of climate science. A very fair representation of the current science.

For those looking for more actual data, there are better books, but this book is an excellent resource for the general public and I have listed it on my Global Warming Website linked below.

Scott A. Mandia, Professor - Physical Sciences
[...]
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By David R. Cassatt on July 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book provides an excellent introduction to the science behind climate change and the options we have available to us. Climatologist Gavin Schmidt of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and photographer Joshua Wolfe have collected a variety of scientists, photographers, science historians and science writers who tell and show the story of what may be the biggest challenge facing us. Difficult concepts are explained clearly for the reader just trying to sort out the conflicting information that is out there, but there is also something for those who have kept up with the science. The authors do not try to show a false balance, but do explain where the uncertainties lie.

There are a number of books that are worth reading; what makes this book of particular value is the striking photography; from the "bathtub rings" of Lake Meade to the destruction caused by bark beetles. The pictures of scientists in the field and in their labs and offices (Wally Broecker's office is truly notable) are a nice touch. The writing, although contributed by different authors, is excellent and the chapters are well-integrated. The chapters that stand out to this reviewer are 1. "Taking the Temperature of the Planet" by Peter deMenocal, 6. "Climate Drivers" by Tim Hall and 7. "Studying Climate" by Drs. Schmidt and deMenocal. The essays and photo-essays that follow many of the chapters provide further snippets of information.

One quibble I have is that the book does not provide extensive notes. The reader is directed to books, web sites and the IPCC reports, but some original sources and scientific review papers would help the more advanced reader. But the strengths of the book are such that his book belongs up there with other excellent climate-related books such as Elizabeth Kolbert's "Field Notes from a Catastrophe", David Archer's "The Long Thaw" and Joseph Romm's "Hell and High Water". It is truly worth a read.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Future Watch Writer on June 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book brings to life the fact that climate change is not an intellectual theory. It's happening right now as you read this all around the world. Even worse is the fact that the pace of climate change is picking up speed, faster than the worst predictions of most experts. For other books like this I would recommend Extreme Ice Now: Vanishing Glaciers and Changing Climate: A Progress Report and the PBS documentary Extreme Ice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
For what it aims to do, this book is excellent. The authors aim at a basic but accurate introduction to anthropogenic global warming (AGW)in an accessible and attractive format. Included are not only the basics of AGW per se but also discussion of how the different forms of climate science are done, the consilient evidence, and a brief but useful introduction to policy issues. There are many stunning photographs and the text sections are clear and concise.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Fraine on September 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful combination of the imagery and science. At one level, it could be a fascinating book about the wonders of scientific research, while at another it could be a collection of wonderful photography from scientists around the world. Seamlessly combining these two fronts, while elucidating the truth about climate change in a very real and striking way, "Climate Change: Picturing the Science" allows its readers to literally see what is happening to our world and those who are searching for a cure.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By W. Haider on January 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book makes the case for anthropomorphic global warming in accessible way for nonscientists like me. The photos and occassional graphs gave life to the text. An excellent read but a very depressing subject. It's even more depressing that all this hard work of many hard working and dedicated climatologists is getting picked apart and misconstrued by Fox News and the denialist industry spawned by the dollars of the carbon extraction industries. But that's another book, Climate Cover-Up by James Hoggan.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nacreous on November 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides a useful précis of current climate science accompanied by enjoyable photographs.

Those looking for in depth explanations of anthropogenic climate change will not find them here, but thorough education is not the book's goal. I found it informative and enjoyable.
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18 of 26 people found the following review helpful By John W. Burgeson on May 7, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gavin Schmidt is an actual (gasp) climate scientist, one who has published extensively in the peer reviewed science journals. He moderates the web site [...]

Al Gore's AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH is OK at a popular level. For those wanting more -- this is a good place to start.

The AGW denialists will hate it!

John Burgeson
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