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Historical Perspectives on Climate Change 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0195078701
ISBN-10: 0195078705
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Editorial Reviews


"A lucid, well-written, and skillfully presented work; the bibliography is bountiful and sources of information are well-documented. . . . [for] General readers; faculty."--Choice

About the Author

James R. Fleming is at Colby College.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195078705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195078701
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.8 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,913,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Rodger Fleming is a historian of science and professor of science, technology and society at Colby College. He earned degrees in astronomy (B.S., Penn State), atmospheric science (M.S. Colorado State), and history (M.A. and Ph.D. Princeton) and worked in atmospheric modeling, airborne observational programs, and as historian of the American Meteorological Society. Professor Fleming has held major fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His book, Fixing the Sky (Columbia University Pres, 2010, paperback 2012) received the Sally Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology and the Louis J. Battan Author's Award from the American Meteorological Society.

Jim has been a visiting scholar at MIT, Harvard University, Penn State, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Academy of Sciences, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Columbia University. Awards and honors include election as a Fellow of the AAAS "for pioneering studies on the history of meteorology and climate change and for the advancement of historical work within meteorological societies," election as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, participation as a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, appointment to the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History by the Smithsonian Institution and the Roger Revelle Fellowship in Global Stewardship by the AAAS, and a number of named scholarships and lectureships including the Steinbach at Woods Hole, the Ritter at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Beinecke at Yale, the Vetelsen at the University of Rhode Island, and the Gordon Manly Lectureship of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Jim is a resident of China, Maine (not Mainland China!) He enjoys fishing, good jazz, good BBQ, seeing students flourish, building the community of historians of the geosciences, and connecting the history of science and technology with public policy. "Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else."

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
We often do not appreciate how ideas and concepts originated and evolved to our own time. "Climate change" is one such concept, known to all as something with which humanity must contend, but there is little appreciation of how ideas associated with it, and their connotations, have unfolded over time. "Historical Perspectives on Climate Change" offers a most useful tutorial on this subject. Written in an accessible manner by a skillful historian of meteorology, this short book (only 194 pages) offers an insightful overview of the history of how Western Civilization has understood changes in the climate. Fleming presents what would be best called essays on various episodes in the history of the scientists and other scholars who have theorized and experimented on climate change. He concentrates on the period since the Enlightenment, in which the scientific method took hold in the systematization of knowledge about the natural world, presenting a chronological account of this important subject.

Fleming discusses briefly earlier conceptions of the global environment, but it is with the dawning of Enlightenment thought that modern conceptions began to emerge. He focuses attention on the efforts of Thomas Jefferson and others to collect data and to make sense of their meteorological readings. Especially important was the belief that the Earth may be cooling, portending another ice age, and efforts to understand how and why changes in the climate might be taking place. Common conceptions of the time suggested that the combination of the Earth's hot core, changes in the sun's heat, the tilt of the Earth, and other factors probably accounted for fluctuations in the climate.
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