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Dire Predictions: The Visual Guide to the Findings of the IPCC 2nd Edition
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About the Author
Dr. Michael E. Mann is a member of the Pennsylvania State University faculty, holding joint positions in the Departments of Meteorology and 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 degree in physics and applied math from the University of California at Berkeley, an MS degree in physics from Yale University, and a PhD in geology & geophysics from Yale University. He is author of more than 100 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and is a cofounder of RealClimate.org.
Lee R. Kump is a professor in the department of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University and an associate of the Penn State Earth System Science Center and the Penn State Astrobiology Research Center. He is the coauthor of Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, Earth System and Scientific American: The Last Great Global Warming.
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There’s so much misinformation about climate change being spread in this country. I think I see more falsehoods and nonsense on the topic than I see useful information. Having a book, like this one, that summarizes the basics in a format that is easy to understand and remember is invaluable in this situation. The more everyone understands about the topic, the less impact the disinformation will have. Therefore this is a very important book.
The book is well written and well organized. It’s the perfect basic climate change book for the average reader. Some of my favorite sub sections were; “Fingerprints distinguish human and natural impacts on climate”, “How sensitive is the climate”, “The Faux Pause”, “Past IPCC projections, how did they do?”, and “The Ethics of Climate Change”, and also having the glossary was nice. One minor complaint I have is that the book has so many background photos and colors that it is difficult to highlight text. This is a very good book that I suggest that everyone reads.
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.
What are great resources for researchers, however, are not necessarily accessible for the intelligent lay reader. For that much broader audience there is the excellent compilation of the IPCC’s findings from Professors Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump of Pennsylvania State University. The book, titled Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change—the Visual Guide to the Findings of the IPCC, is now out in its second edition.
A real strength of this book is that the authors distill what’s important, so you don’t have to. The book is visual, as the title implies. It has pictures on every page, and is chock full of key graphs from the IPCC reports. The prose is clear and concise, and is written for a Scientific American level audience (i.e., lay readers who take an intelligent interest in science and who are not scared off by graphs). If graphs aren’t your thing, you can still learn a great deal by just reading the text.
The structure of the book is very close to the 1st edition, with five major sections:
Part 1: Climate Change Basics
Part 2: Climate Change Projections
Part 3: The Impacts of Climate Change
Part 4: Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change
Part 5: Solving Climate change
In each section you’ll find short (1-3 page) sections covering each key topic, so it’s relatively easy going. The 2nd edition contains 16 more pages than the 1st edition, and that new material highlights findings that have become more salient in recent years. Those new topics include:
Where is all that heat going?
Suffocating the ocean
Welcome to the Anthropocene
The 2012 North American heat wave
Comparing climate model predictions with observations
How sensitive is the climate?
Fossil-fuel emissions scenarios
The “faux pause”
Past IPCC projections: How did they do?
Tipping points, irreversibilities, and abrupt climate change
It’s all about the economy
The water-energy nexus
Dire Predictions is a wonderful summary of climate science for the lay reader, and I highly recommend it. If you pair it with Joe Romm’s Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know (which is equally readable and contains more extensive treatment of climate economics, policy, and solutions) you’ll have complete and up to date knowledge of climate change and what we can do about it. Both books together would work well as the basis for high school, college, and graduate level classes, or as the core resources for reading clubs exploring climate change. If you care about climate, these books are “best in class”.
IPCC. 2014. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. [http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/]
IPCC. 2014. Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Edenhofer, O., R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savolainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J.C. Minx (eds.)]. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. : Cambridge University Press. [http://mitigation2014.org]
IPCC. 2013. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. [http://www.climatechange2013.org]
Mann, Michael E., and Lee R. Kump. 2015. Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change–The Visual Guide to the Findings of the IPCC. 2nd ed. New York, NY: DK Publishing (A Penguin Random House Company). [http://amzn.to/1UeemaC]
Romm, Joseph. 2015. Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. [http://amzn.to/1QgZw1V]