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Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming - The Illustrated Guide to the Findings of the IPCC Paperback – July 21, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This rendering of meticulous, documented climate research, stunning crisp photos, remarkable artwork, and easy to read charts strikes clear, individual notes, while still managing to come together fully in the glossy pages like a stirring symphony of popular science." -- DailyKos.com, July 2008

Dire Predictions is a must read for anyone who wants the straight facts on global warming. It cuts to the heart of the massive 2007 IPCC report, presenting major scientific findings in easy to understand language and graphics. Written by two of the scientific community's most thoughtful researchers, Dire Predictions' unbiased message about global warming arrives at a time when people need it most! -- Heidi Cullen, The Weather Channel

Here's a powerful, straight-forward guide to how scientists, economists, and engineers really understand the problem of global warming. It makes 20 years of research and consensus-building completely accessible to anyone who cares to know the truth--and to do something about it. -- Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

About the Author

Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).


Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. His research involves the use of theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth's climate system.


Dr. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. He has received a number of honors and awards including NOAA's outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012 and was awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation in 2013. He made Bloomberg News' list of fifty most influential people in 2013. He is a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.


Dr. Mann is author of more than 160 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming in 2008 and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines in 2012. He is also a co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning science website RealClimate.org.


Lee R. Kump is a Professor in the Department of Geosciences, and an associate of the Earth System Science Center and Astrobiology Research Center at the Pennsylvania State University. A native of Minnesota, he received his bachelor's degree in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago in 1981, and his Ph.D. in marine sciences from the University of South Florida in 1986. While in Florida he spent two summers as a geologist with the United States Geological Survey's Fisher Island Station. In August of 1986 he joined the faculty at Penn State.


Dr. Kump is a Fellow of the Geological Societies of America and London, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Geochemical Society, and the Geochemistry Division of the American Chemical Society. His research has been funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Gas Research Institute, the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society, and Texaco. Dr. Kump became Associate Director of the CIAR Earth System Evolution Program in 2004. Dr. Kump's primary research effort is in the development of numerical models of global biogeochemical cycles. His early work focussed on the carbon and sulfur cycles, and on the feedbacks that regulate atmospheric oxygen levels. More recently his emphasis has shifted to the study of the dynamic coupling between global climate and biogeochemical cycles. He studies the long-term evolution of the oceans and atmosphere, using a combination of field work, laboratory analysis, and numerical modeling.


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: DK Publishing; Edition Unstated edition (July 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780756639952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756639952
  • ASIN: 0756639956
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kerry Walters on July 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're like me, you've longed for a user-friendly book to both clarify your own thoughts about global warming and to recommend to those acquaintances, friends, relatives, and colleagues who are either indifferent to climate change or think it's a bunch of tree-hugging hooey. Believe me, Dire Predictions is the book we've been waiting for. I rarely gush in the reviews I write. But I'm gushing in this one.

Authors Michael Mann and Lee Kump, the former a weather scientist and the latter a geoscientist, have put together a primer on global warming drawn from IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports that offers incredibly helpful illustrations and graphs, beautiful photographs, and informative, to the point text. The explanations are concise, typically a single topic to a page fold, and they focus on exactly the kinds of questions and issues that most of us have wondered about--for example, Is our atmosphere really warming?; How to build a climate model; Back to the future: Deep time holds clues to climate change; Fingerprints distinguish human and natural impacts on climage; Why is it called greenhouse effect? and Couldn't the increase in atmosphere CO2 be the result of natural cycles?

The book is divided into 5 parts:

1. Climate Change Basics
2. Projections of Future Climate Change
3. Impacts of Climate Change
4. Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change
5. Solving Global Warming

One of the best features of the Mann and Kump's approach is that they don't hesitate to respond directly to the "debunkers" of global warming that have become popular of late.

A wonderful book, exactly the sort of popular science approach that citizens, community activists, public policy makers, and presidential candidates need to get clear on the facts and implications of global warming. Highly recommended. Six stars.
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I love the concept behind this book: an "illustrated" guide instead of another long text of prose about global warming. It has tons of charts and graphs and colorful pictures, so you learn the field in a new way -- less abstractly, more intuitively. Slightly below a Scientific American-level. This book would be great for someone who wants to understand climate change, but doesn't have the background (or patience) to read a 300 page book on it. Plus it would be great for kids 7th grade and up.

I've read hundreds of books and articles and papers on climate change, and yet I still learn things from nearly every page in the book, no matter where in it I start.
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The first edition of this book was published seven years ago. A lot has been learned since that time of the 4th meeting of the IPCC. This is the latest from their 5th meeting early 2015

The think this is a fine reference for one who has some science education and interest on the pressing, global issue of AGCC (anthropogenic global climate change). IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) is responsible for gathering and summarizing the empirical picture of what's going on. Dire Predictions gives graphic summaries of experimental results with text explaining the data and probably implications for present and future conditions for life on Earth, physically our sole mutual home.

Data can be daunting to make sense of, but the objective of the book is to make it available and attractively presented in hard copy. It is colorful and illustrated, often with dramatic photos in background. Scattered through the book are also QR links, like bar codes that you can scan with your smart phone to access links to relevant websites and online videos. The graphics and pictures substitute for a few thousand words. Some pages have pointers that refer you to other page numbers that provide helpful backgrounds or relevant topics

I view this as a reference that helps build knowledge as you progress through but it's not to read the chapters in sequence. I'd recommend the beginning for some vocabulary and fundamentals. The further sections of the book are Projections, Impacts, and Solutions, and can be explored in whatever order you wish. Some pages have pointers that refer you to other page numbers. I also can flip through it and peruse one by one the two-page spreads which are common throughout.

By accessing these pages randomly or more sequentially, I can either way add to my knowledge and learn what the best scientists are discovering, and how to speak the language of climate science.
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While the 4th Assessment Report (4AR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the most comprehensive scientific assessment of the causes and consequences of climate change, the report itself is not written in language that is accessible to the average person. Written by climate scientists Michael Mann and Lee Kump, Dire Predictions is an accessible illustrated guide to the conclusions of the IPCC. It also includes some discussion of the practical, political, and ethical implications of the IPCC's findings.

The 200 page book is a quick and easy read, even for those who are not well acquainted with scientific principles and terminology. It responds directly to many issues raised in the media (such as common climate change denier talking points) and it includes a great many illuminating charts and illustrations. It covers key concepts like what climate models are, and the reasons why we expect the planet to respond to a certain amount of additional carbon dioxide with a certain amount of warming.

The book is broken into five parts, covering climate change basics, projections, impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and solutions. It very clearly describes which areas are well-understood scientifically and which areas contain substantial remaining uncertainties. Mann and Kump convincingly explain the core mutually-reinforcing lines of evidence that support the `big picture' view of a world that is being dangerously warmed by human emissions, and in which greenhouse gas pollution must be reduced if major damage to humanity and the natural world is to be avoided.

The section on impacts is detailed and wide-ranging, covering everything from different projections of future sea level rise to expected impacts on global agriculture.
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