- Paperback: 260 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (January 29, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521732557
- ISBN-13: 978-0521732550
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.5 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Climate Crisis: An Introductory Guide to Climate Change 1st Edition
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'David Archer and Stefan Rahmstorf - two outstanding scientists - bring us up-to-date on climate science in this remarkable and very readable book. This book deserves to be read by anyone interested in climate change.' Professor Paul Crutzen, Max Plank Institute for Chemistry, winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1995, for explaining the ozone hole
'The key findings of the IPCC, written in plain and simple terms. Great value in informing the public at large about the science underlying the growing challenge of climate change.' Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC and Director-General of The Energy Resources Institute
'Both scientists contributed to IPCC(1997) Vol. 1, and are well qualified to write on this topic. Neither of them is a sceptic. As the subtitle An introductory Guide implies, the book is suitable for undergraduates and first-year graduate students.' CMOS Bulletin
"... well written ... This book should be read by anyone who is interested in climate change but does not have the time or commitment to read the IPCC reports." Eos
This book provides a concise and accessible overview of what we know about ongoing climate change and its impacts, and what we can do to confront the climate crisis. Highly illustrated in full colour, it lucidly presents information contained in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, making essential scientific information on this critical topic available to a broad audience.
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Top Customer Reviews
That doesn't mean the book isn't technical. It is chock full of color graphics, charts, tables, and photographs documenting every aspect of climate science. But the authors work hard to present the information in language that educated non-scientists and scientists and professionals in other fields can more readily understand. Overall they accomplish this goal, though I do think that parts of the book are still technical enough to confuse your "average Joe." Conversely, I don't think they explain some of the charts well enough - there is a tendency to have a narrative and reference a chart or graph, but then not explain the graph in detail. This is intentional as the book is designed to communicate the information on a level that non-climatologists can understand, but I did find myself wanting to drill into the figures more than was enabled.
Still, these are minor quibbles and I find the book to be a very useful addition to the reading list of anyone interested in the topic of global warming or climate change. The authors are both practicing climatologists and professors of climate science. Rahmstorf was one of the lead authors in the most recent IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (called AR4). Both contribute to the RealClimate.org blog on the topic.
The book itself focuses on the state of the science and looks at what evidence of climate change we have already seen, what is happening with snow and ice in various parts of the world, how the oceans are changing, and how climate is measured. They also have chapters on what we might see in the future with respect to climate change, impacts of those changes, and how we can avoid the worst of it. They briefly touch on climate policy in the last chapter, but they focus on the need for action, the global nature of the cooperation required, and the differences between developed and developing nations, rather than discussing any specific policy solution.
I definitely recommend the book. Readers will find it both informative and enlightening.
Amazon reader David K provides an excellent description of the book in his reader review so I won't attempt to match his outstanding effort. Instead I'll focus on this book's relevancy given it's been four years since the last IPCC synthesis report was published which is the dominant basis of the scientific findings and predictions for this book. Obviously the climate science community had to rely on what they'd discovered prior to that year; but they've also made enormous progress since then; so, is there a more relevant tutorial that incorporates findings since 2007?
I went through Amazon's top 50 sellers for climatology looking for a more up-to-date tutorial and would argue there is none, this book remains the standard-bearer where only James Hansen's book, "Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity", appears to approach the volume of findings, physics, and explanations contained in this book though at a mere fraction. That's because Dr. Hansen's book also focuses on his own hypotheses that are not [perhaps yet] peer-accepted, e.g., "The Venus Syndrome". He also covers some of the history of the American political debate from his perspective as a primary player and writes about his personal public policy prescriptions. In addition to sticking more with the peer-consensus science, Archer and Rahmstorf published more graphical illustrations, provide a far more comprehensive review of the science, and are far better about citing their assertions. I recommend the Hansen book, but only after the reader first understand the basic physics of the earth's climate and the consensus perspective that is the basis of this subject book. Lastly Archer and Rahmstorf do present some findings published after the 2007 IPCC report and prior to this book's Jan-2010 publication date.
One disappointing observation that I find concerning reviewing publications like this book, the IPCC's reports (this book uses the same graphs and illustrations as the IPCC reports), and that of Dr. Hansen's book which mostly come from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science ("GISS"), a leading research center of the climate, is the lack of - and amateurish quality of graphs published by the climate science community. From my perspective the threat of global warming at least equals and perhaps far surpasses the threats to humanity's well-being posed by the Cold War and authoritarian movements of the 20th century. And yet reading the reports out of the leading centers for climate science and the global community's synthesis reports suggests these scientists are operating on shoe-string budgets far below the importance of the subject matter.
My observation is especially relevant when it comes to communicating science's predictions of current and projected harm and when illustrated, is done so amateurishly. Any successful top Fortune 50 company does a far better job using graphics and other media beyond text to better communicate and reinforce their message with the public, in spite of the fact none of those companies' criticality even remotely approaches the importance of this issue. I don't expect climate scientists to be graphical artists, I would instead expect our governments to take this seriously enough to adequately fund their ability to effectively communicate to the public where I find this a major failing by policy makers. [A failure that doesn't even remotely approach the rank immorality of American conservatives denying the reality of global warming.]
The radiative forcing graph is an example of a good graph, along with color-legend maps of warming anomalies, however the well-done graphs are relatively rare while complex ideas begging for illustrations remain skant.
So while I can't help Amazon readers with the lack of quality graphical presentations to better communicate the predicted implications to the earth and humans, I will use the comment section of my review to link to some recent scientific findings that will help bring the reader more up-to-speed to what the climate science community's peer-review findings now explain and predict since the 2007 IPCC report.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
By David Archer and Stefan Rahmstorf
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