- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (September 21, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470943416
- ISBN-13: 978-0470943410
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.4 x 9.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast 2nd Edition
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Q&A with Author David Archer
Global warming is an important issue because its impacts can be pervasive, rearranging patterns of rainfall, agricultural viability, and the natural landscape. Also, the impacts of releasing CO2 in particular as a greenhouse gas are persistent; they won't just go away after a few years.
What is the one thing you wish more people understood about global warming?
That there really isn't any doubt that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that adding CO2 to the atmosphere is already changing Earth's climate, and that there's no real scientific reason to hope that climate impacts in the future won't be severe, and worth avoiding.
When did you first become interested in the subject matter you teach?
I am interested in the cycles and balances of chemicals through the environment, the way that the natural world keeps itself regulated and in balance. I went to oceanography school from my native Indiana without knowing much at all about the science of the oceans. My work in oceanography pertains to the carbon cycle; for example, how the CO2 concentrations of the air and water interact with each other. I started teaching this class to non-science majors, and found that non-scientists can understand the science, down to the fundamentals, if we start from the beginning.
What would you say to people who don’t believe global warming is real and dispute the scientific evidence that backs it up?
If there were scientific arguments on both sides, then they should be considered. But most of the arguments disputing a present and future human impact on climate seem to be constructed specifically to fool non-scientists, or to give them an excuse to discount the issue.
What are the biggest contributors to global warming and is it possible to reverse the process?
The biggest contributors to the problem are the people of the United States, who emit more CO2 per capita than just about anyone in the world. If the whole world were to adopt the American lifestyle, the rate of CO2 emission would increase by a factor of about five. We are leading the world to ruin.
What can we expect in the next 100 years going forward, if global warming continues?
I think droughts and storminess would be the most noticeable differences.
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Top Customer Reviews
Part II covers "The Carbon Cycle" with three chapters on Carbon on Earth, Fossil Fuels and Energy, and The Perturbed Carbon Cycle. Part III is "The Forecast" which covers, among other things, Potential Climate Impacts." In Part I the author includes a chapter on Weather and Climate, and from my own experience with people who don't believe in Climate Change, many don't know the difference between the two, so a good discussion is necessary, as well as mankind's part in the problem.
The book also covers numerical modeling and has colorplates of maps of climate model annual mean temperature, maps of climate model temperature changes from the year 2000 and various maps of climate model precipitation.
"Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast" by David Archer is a textbook for undergraduates who are non-science majors, but I am able to follow it myself after a thorough course on Climate Change that went into numerical modeling in much more detail than this book does. It is a good book to help understand the problem.
The book takes into consideration the roles of economics, population and land use in Global Warming and considers some solutions.
The approach of starting with global budgets seems to me to be the way to go. I am glad to see that the students really "get it" with global energetics, and followed the progression from bare rock to glass-covered greenhouse to a planet with an atmosphere. I was particularly impressed with the discussion of "why is a greenhouse gas a greenhouse gas?" - elegantly simple, but something that no one else really talks about. Bringing in the treatment of weather by considering it a mechanism for heat transport seems to help students place it in context.
The problems and study questions are excellent for our computer-based lab sessions and provide excellent opportunities for modifications to engage student groups in experiments and self-driven discovery.
All of this leads to a clear rationale for understanding how global warming works, what questions and uncertainties remain, and how and why complexity is layered onto the projections of climate change. The text could easily serve an entry level course for climate science majors.