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Global Warming: The Complete Briefing 4th Edition

26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521709163
ISBN-10: 0521709164
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Editorial Reviews


Sir John Houghton, in this Fourth Edition of his book: "Global Warming: The Complete Briefing", has written what should be the last word in this magisterial presentation of the latest science based very much on the IPCC Assessments. ... The book, almost seductively, leads the reader through the essential science behind the issue of climate change. ...[it] treats the science in a balanced, understandable and rigorous manner." - John Stone, Bulletin of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanography Society

Praise for the 3rd Edition: "...this book definitely lives up to its title. Highly recommended." R.M. Ferguson, Eastern Connecticut State University, CHOICE

"...the best single-volume guide to the science of climate change." Times Literary Supplement

"...I highly recommend this textbook." EOS, Keith Alverson

"...a widely praised book on global warming and its consequences." The Economist

"This text combines all of the various IPCC products under one cover and adds a single well-edited delivery mechanism." Oceanography

Book Description

Houghton's market-leading textbook, now in full color and with the latest IPCC findings, is the definitive guide to climate change. Written for students across a wide range of disciplines, its simple, logical flow of ideas gives an invaluable grounding in the science, impacts and need for action on global warming.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 454 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 4 edition (April 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521709164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521709163
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

143 of 149 people found the following review helpful By J. V. Lewis VINE VOICE on July 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to take immediate issue with the [anonymous] reviews below that claim that this book doesn't address the difference between natural climate cycling and anthropogenic climate change: that difference, in a nutshell, is PRECISELY what this book deals with. Those reviewers never read it, or failed completely to follow its line of reasoning. This is NOT a partisan, political, ideological book. It is simply a guided tour of the science of climate change, revised in 2004. It carefully parses the current research. Read the table of contents [you can click on it at the top of the page] and see that the book is organized around the following inevitable questions: Is climate changing? How much is it changing? How much of that change is caused by people? What are the likely effects, short- and long-term, of these changes? What can we do about it? In the case of climate change, despite all of the political complications that have accrued to what was originally science, these questions are PRECISELY the ones a thinking person needs to ask. To have a book structured around them, referring, as it does, to the best [scientific, independently-refereed] research is a gift. It seems that almost everybody today picks their position on climate change as part of an ideological package-deal: most American conservatives almost automatically disdain the science because the Bush White House and Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter disdain it. Most American progressives almost automatically embrace the NOTION of climate change without actually knowing the science, because Al Gore, et al, have told them to. Both positions, taken in ignorance of the science, are ideolgical and symptomatic of the worst party-line politics. I urge you to read the science. It will take some effort, but that effort is our civic duty. This book has no agenda other than compiling the research and putting it before the reading public in an accessible format.
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148 of 162 people found the following review helpful By on January 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the first book I have read on global warming. Sir John Houghton has provided a carefully written account, with good explanations, fairly thorough referencing, and informative charts and figures. The subject of global warming is presented from a multifaceted perspective, with both informative factual material as well as elements of a personal perspective, introduced in a non-forceful but persuasive manner.
The book is aimed at those who know little about climatology or global warming. It will help to have some general scientific background. The pertinent facts - how much we have increased the atmosphere's CO2 concentration, in what way this gas effects the earth's energy balance, etc. - are available here, and the information is referenced to primary scientific sources. The prognosis for a warming of the atmosphere is gently asserted in the affirmative, but the uncertainties are also presented. Without being a climatologist, I found most of my qestions of this nature were answered. The only point I was curious about but found missing was what recent changes in glaciers tell us about the present tendency of global temperature.
After presenting the data, the models and arguing gently for a moderate warming tendency, Houghton presents several nice chapters on effects (potentially severe) and responses to the problem, with a particular emphasis on energy. The suggested responses leave one with the sense that Houghton is an optimist. He incites to action, where it is hard to imagine today's politicians asking us to change our habits so fundamentally.
This book is stimulating, both on the subject of global warming (whether or not it is occurring, how much, what is our role), as well as on the potential consequences and suitable responses.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sydster on May 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have just gotten half way through this book but am already finding it an excellent source of background information on global warming and climate change. It has a lot of technical information but is written at a level that most people can understand. I'm using it to prepare for a community education class I'll be teaching and finding it most helpful with facts on the science behind global warming. I recommend this book to anyone that wants to delve into the reasons behind what you're hearing in the news. The author is an internationally recognized expert and obviously knows what he's taking about. The book it written in a well balanced way pointing out the uncertainties and sticking to the facts. I'm looking forward to completing the rest of the book this week.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sir Furboy on September 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an essential book for anyone who wants to move past the media hype on this important subject. It covers the breadth of the science in an accessible manner, looking at mechanisms, measurements and the broad sweep of science informing the global warming debate. It is notable that the only people who profess dislike of this book are people who have not read it. No one can deny that the author has brought together a huge mass of information and presented it in an accessible manner which nevertheless dispenses with alarmism and lays any residual scepticism to bed.

Unusually for such a work, chapter 8 looks at why we should be concerned. Or rather, why we should care if - as is the case - there will be winners as well as losers from climate change. Houghton discusses his personal belief there, and successfully brings issues of religion and ethics into the debate - something which, as he points out, is all too often deliberately left out of the discussion.

Some people dislike such an approach in a book on science. Some will think that a breath of fresh air. Whether you agree with him or not, it is good to read a Christian writer explaining why Christians should not be siding with the climate change sceptics. Nevertheless if you don't want that in a book then just ignore that chapter - the book is still more than worth its price.
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