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Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast Paperback – December 11, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1405140393 ISBN-10: 1405140399 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (December 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405140399
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405140393
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is highly valuable for its description of the physics and chemistry involved in climate change." (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, September 2008)

"A useful addition to any science library in this country." (International Journal of Meteorology)

Review

Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2007

"Rigorous but rewarding, David Archer's book takes us through the science of global warming so that we can more effectively assess where the world may be heading."
–Andrew S. Goudie, University of Oxford


"David Archer's book is an accessible, entertaining, but detailed account of how scientists are trying to predict future climate change. It is an excellent book and should be the first port of call for anyone wanting to delve deeper into exactly what goes into those global warming forecasts."
Mark Maslin, University College London, author of Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction, OUP (2004)

"David Archer has provided a masterful and lucid explanation of a complex environmental problem. This is all you need to understand the issues."
Professor Ray Bradley, University of Massachusetts

"This is a wonderful book. Between the covers of a surprisingly slim paperback, David Archer has distilled nearly everything a concerned undergraduate student could wish to know about the workings of the climate system...overall, this book perfectly hits its target audience." –Keith Alverson, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, Environmental Conservation, August 2007

"...a tour de force of elegant explanation and didactic brilliance...I cannot recommend this book too highly; it is a well-written, evocative exposition of one of the most important issues of our time."
Howard Falcon-Lang, University of Bristol, Geology Today, August 2007


More About the Author

David Archer is a computational ocean chemist, and has been a Professor at the Department of The Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago since 1993. He has published research on the carbon cycle of the ocean and the sea floor. He has worked on the history of atmospheric CO2 concentration, the fate of fossil fuel CO2 over geologic time scales in the future, and the impact of CO2 on future ice age cycles, ocean methane hydrate decomposition, and coral reefs.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are some annoying typographical errors in this book, otherwise I would give

it five stars --- visit the book's website for a list of errata.

Plenty of books tell you about global warming, but this book really does

dymystify the nuts and bolts of how climate scientists know what they

say they know. The book says it is based on a course for non-scientists and

it shows --- the explanations are clearly honed from experience of explaining

scientific concepts to non-scientists. It is always difficult for scientists

in any field to convey the depth of knowledge which has accumulated over

a long period of time to people coming from other disciplines, but this book

does a pretty good job.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Brian H. Fiedler on December 17, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You will need to visit understandingtheforecast.org right away, to download the errata. There are 32 errors listed in the errata, as of 17 December 2008. Four figures need to be replaced, though one is an update to reflect the 2007 IPCC report. Unfortunately, the replacement figures are not the same size as those in the book. You cannot merely paste them over; you will need to tape them as a flap, so that you can still read the caption. You will likely find more typos in the book than those listed in the errata. Depending on how valuable your time is, you may effectively double the price of the book.

In addition to the typos, there are some serious errors in the book. The author is a geochemist. The opening chapter on the greenhouse effect, "The layer model", is incorrect for anything but epsilon=1 (epsilon being the emissivity). A term for radiation from the surface is missing entirely from the last equation on page 25. That term would have a factor of (1-epsilon). Fortunately, the solutions listed in Table 3.1 are for epsilon=1, but that is not stated explicitly in the text. Furthermore, there is confusion about the use of the same symbol, epsilon, for both the emissivity of the atmosphere and the surface. You can repair Chapter 3 (or ignore it) by referring to the Wikipedia for "Idealized greenhouse model".

A minor error appears on 157, in regards to the storm surge associated with a hurricane. We read "These are caused by the low atmospheric pressure inside a hurricane lifting up the sea surface". An elementary hydrostatic calculation reveals the a 100 millibar pressure deficit would lift the ocean surface by merely one meter. Storm surges associated with hurricanes are cause by the wind. See the Wikipedia for "Storm Surge".
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By raypierre on February 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
I wish to commend this wonderful book written by my colleague, David Archer. The class upon which this book is based is a runaway success, and each year it seems they need to find a bigger lecture hall. When you have read the books like "The Weather Makers," and "Field Notes from a Catastrophe," and are ready for something more quantitative but still fairly gentle on the math, this is the one for you. I think it's the best source around for people who want to get a true scientific understanding of the physics and chemistry of climate change.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ebo on September 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
I honestly believe that after reading this book, anyone will be able to confidently discuss global warming topics from an objective viewpoint.

Dr. Archer wrote this book after teaching a course with the same title for several years. His writing style is as great as his lecture style - non-intimidating, humorous, well-explained examples and analogies, and he teaches the science behind the famous words "global warming". There is no arm-waving or magical answer. The descriptive text encourages the reader to find answers themselves via simple calculations. In addition, several fun and relevant web-based models are included. For example, in one model, you can calculate how the earth's temperature may change if you increase the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. In another, you can play with the supply of fossil fuels and predict how long it will be before we run out.

I've been a teaching assistant to Dr. Archer for two years, and his lectures, which this book is partially based on, have helped students with no previous background understand the science behind global warming, and enjoy themselves while doing it. But as a graduate student, I still find myself consulting his book for general facts about the carbon cycle or atmosphere. It truly is a book that can be enjoyed at any level of background, especially today, when global warming is such a hot (no pun intended) topic. I've read the book each year, and look forward to reading it again. Definitely a great buy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By balanceact on October 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is text book. It's meant to be used in a class. I'm using it in the Understanding the Science of Climate Science, a continuing education class at Stanford. The Stanford class while it has excellent teachers, tries to cover this information in half the time that Archer does in his class at U of Chicago and there is no lab. My math skill are weak, and that's putting a positive spin on it. The concepts are easy enough to understand, I've been following the climate change problem for about 6 years, and the concepts about GHGs and feedbacks and Carbon are elaborated on in ways you won't get in standard public science writing about Climate Change. I appreciate the clearer conceptual foundation, but the math is not explained very well in the book for someone without math skills. I've watched 3-4 of Archer's lectures on line and while that helps with the concepts, it doesn't really help with the math. Conceptually it has given me more details about how Climate science works, but I'm not getting the real skills I wanted to be able to have a better understanding of technical papers. Maybe that too much to expect in one short course. This book would be even less useful without the class, unless you had excellent algebra skills, OR you simply don't worry about the math. The teachers of this particular class are not overly concerned that you come away from the class understanding the math. They want you to get the concepts.

We are using the 1st edition although some people got the 2nd edition. I'm sure the info and the few errors in the 1st edition have been cleared up in the 2nd edition, BUT the quality of the paper in the 2nd edition sucks. The pages are so thin you can't turn one without bending it. Bad choice by the publisher.
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