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Paleoclimate (Princeton Primers in Climate) Hardcover – August 25, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The work is well-written, with just enough mathematics to add to the reader's understanding, without causing confusion."--Choice

"The author has succeeded admirably in producing a clear, concise, yet detailed summary of a very important topic. The text is supplemented by an excellent selection of diagrams and data displays . . . and more than 300 references to the primary research literature. I found it easy to read yet thought provoking, consistently interesting and, perhaps best of all, not at all intimidating in bulk or style. Highly recommended!"--William R. Green, Leading Edge

From the Back Cover

"Michael Bender, a giant in the field, fits the excitement, rigor, and deep insights of paleoclimatology into a succinct text suitable for a semester-long course introducing this indispensable branch of environmental science."--Richard B. Alley, Pennsylvania State University

"The history of Earth's climate is an essential context for understanding anthropogenic climate change in the future. Michael Bender pulls together this vast area of science and distills it to the essentials, delivering a comprehensive view of the evolution of Earth's climate at a level useful to scientists and the general reader."--Daniel Schrag, Harvard University

"Paleoclimatology has been missing a concise, modern, overview textbook, and I think this book will fill that niche. There is much ground to cover and the text does a good job of bringing the reader up to speed on most of the important patterns and processes in Earth's climatic history. The book combines excellent coverage of basic physical and chemical aspects of the climate system with a long-term historical overview of the climate system in action."--Matthew Huber, Purdue University

"This concise but comprehensive history of Earth's climate hits all the right points and will serve equally well as an introductory textbook or as an entry into the field of paleoclimate."--David W. Lea, University of California, Santa Barbara

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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Primers in Climate
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (August 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691145547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691145549
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,162,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By WAL on May 16, 2014
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This book provides an excellent foundation for a person interested in understanding the global climate system and what drives it, how climate changes over time, and the key measurements or proxies used in the climate literature. It is written in a clear way (I only had to use Google to pursue clarifying material once, in the discussion of the fate of organic carbon as a function of depth in the ocean) and does not read like a textbook.

"Paleoclimate" should serve as a model for educational scientific writing for non-climate scientists and the general public interested in scientific and technological issues. I would mention two aspects in particular. First, while the concepts are presented clearly and using a minimal amount of specialist terminology or jargon, they are not oversimplified. This is critical, because oversimplification usually ends up being perceived as "dumbing down" or as propaganda advocating for a point of view. Second, the author makes clear the uncertainties and contradictions in the evidence, and the variety of interpretations that have been put forward to explain the record we have. This also tends to be uncommon in general scientific writing, and especially in climate science, where it seems that knowledgeable scientists believe that explaining or admitting that alternative viewpoints exist somehow undercuts their arguments. The material must in the end stand on its own merits, can't be oversimplified without being compromised, and as the data accumulates and the methodology improves, the interpretation will evolve.

For individuals who are interested in reading articles in the scientific literature, "Paleoclimate" gives clear explanations of the frequently used proxy measures, which goes a long way in making them understandable. I didn't realize until reading this book how much of the interpretation of the climate history of the earth depends on analysis of atomic isotopes!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rogera Sauterer on May 25, 2014
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Paleoclimate is one of the best introductions I've seen for the scientifically literate (i.e. a little college science background) non-specialist. Bender does a remarkable job in explaining complex concepts clearly, without over-simplification and with just minimal mathematics. He must be an awesome instructor in the classroom! Bender covers past global climates from the early "snowball earth" glaciations some 600 - 700 MYA, and continues onward to the present. About a third of the book focuses on the Ice ages and modern climates. For those who wish to investigate further, bender provides a reference list at the end of each chapter. Overall, a remarkable job of explaining complex ideas to en educatred lay-person. I strongly recommend this book as a primer for anybody interested in past climates and as a spring-board for more advanced studies
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By wbman on June 22, 2014
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This book is a wonderful excursion into the methods surrounding paleoclimate as well as the details and findings surrounding paleoclimate. With that in mind, it was not perfect. The organization of the citations at the end of each chapter was initially a little distracting, and the boxes in which certain paleoclimatological methods were discussed, were sometimes awkwardly placed within the chapters, leading to an interruption of the flow of the chapter. With that in mind, these boxes were indispensable, and although the book also started out slow, the book became more and more interesting as the methods used to look at certain climate indicators became more reliable and the records got closer and closer to the present. If you'd like to know the ins and outs of the climate of the last 5 million years and how it fluctuates, look no further.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samantha Lynn Brickles on December 10, 2014
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This is not an effective primer if you're already familiar with geosciences. There are many gaps in understanding that the writer does not address. Topics will be mentioned and not explained, which gets you to wondering why he would mention them at all! Be prepared to read all of the associated literature to actually have a clear picture of everything. If you have a science background, you'll be frustrated.
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3 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John E. Greifenkamp on December 16, 2013
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It was just too darn technical. Try as I may I could not bring myself to labor thru all the tech talk
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