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The Discovery of Global Warming: ,

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The Discovery of Global Warming: , Cover

ISBN13: 9780674016378
ISBN10: 0674016378
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

THIS EDITION HAS BEEN REPLACED BY A NEWER EDITION..

In 2001 a panel representing virtually all the world's governments and climate scientists announced that they had reached a consensus: the world was warming at a rate without precedent during at least the last ten millennia, and that warming was caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases from human activity. The consensus itself was at least a century in the making. The story of how scientists reached their conclusion--by way of unexpected twists and turns and in the face of formidable intellectual, financial, and political obstacles--is told for the first time in The Discovery of Global Warming. Spencer R. Weart lucidly explains the emerging science, introduces us to the major players, and shows us how the Earth's irreducibly complicated climate system was mirrored by the global scientific community that studied it.

Unlike familiar tales of Science Triumphant, this book portrays scientists working on bits and pieces of a topic so complex that they could never achieve full certainty--yet so important to human survival that provisional answers were essential. Weart unsparingly depicts the conflicts and mistakes, and how they sometimes led to fruitful results. His book reminds us that scientists do not work in isolation, but interact in crucial ways with the political system and with the general public. The book not only reveals the history of global warming, but also analyzes the nature of modern scientific work as it confronts the most difficult questions about the Earth's future.

Synopsis:

A Capricious Beast Ever since the days when he had trudged around fossil lake basins in Nevada for his doctoral thesis, Wally Broecker had been interested in sudden climate shifts. The reported sudden jumps of CO2 in Greenland ice cores stimulated him to put this interest into conjunction with his oceanographic interests. The result was a surprising and important calculation. The key was what Broecker later described as a "great conveyor belt'"of seawater carrying heat northward. . . . The energy carried to the neighborhood of Iceland was "staggering," Broecker realized, nearly a third as much as the Sun sheds upon the entire North Atlantic. If something were to shut down the conveyor, climate would change across much of the Northern Hemisphere… There was reason to believe a shutdown could happen swiftly. In many regions the consequences for climate would be spectacular. Broecker was foremost in taking this disagreeable news to the public. In 1987 he wrote that we had been treating the greenhouse effect as a 'cocktail hour curiosity,' but now 'we must view it as a threat to human beings and wildlife.' The climate system was a capricious beast, he said, and we were poking it with a sharp stick.

About the Author

Spencer R. Weartis Director of the <>Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics.

Table of Contents

Preface

1. How Could Climate Change?

2. Discovering a Possibility

3. A Delicate System

4. A Visible Threat

5. Public Warnings

6. The Erratic Beast

7. Breaking into Politics

8. The Discovery Confirmed

Reflections

Milestones

Notes

Further Reading

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

gracevc, January 18, 2007 (view all comments by gracevc)
I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating look at the long, slow discovery of global warming. The style was engaging, and he made complex scientific research easy to understand for someone with no advanced science background, though a little bit of knowledge or interest in the field helps. I wish all skeptics would read this book! They would be convinced. However, the book is not preachy or biased; he simply provides an interesting narrative that expanded my knowledge of the scence behind global warming and the scientific process. Read this book! You will not be disappointed. I borrowed it from my local library first, and liked it enough to later buy it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780674016378
Author:
Weart, Spencer
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Author:
Weart, Spencer R.
Author:
Stokes, I. N. Phelps
Author:
Thompson, George N.
Author:
Morrow, Katherine
Author:
Ford, James
Location:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
Earth Sciences - Meteorology & Climatology
Subject:
Earth Sciences - Oceanography
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
New Histories of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Publication Date:
September 2004
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
4 line illustrations
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 9 in

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Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Climate Change and Global Warming

The Discovery of Global Warming: , Used Trade Paper
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Product details 240 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674016378 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A Capricious Beast Ever since the days when he had trudged around fossil lake basins in Nevada for his doctoral thesis, Wally Broecker had been interested in sudden climate shifts. The reported sudden jumps of CO2 in Greenland ice cores stimulated him to put this interest into conjunction with his oceanographic interests. The result was a surprising and important calculation. The key was what Broecker later described as a "great conveyor belt'"of seawater carrying heat northward. . . . The energy carried to the neighborhood of Iceland was "staggering," Broecker realized, nearly a third as much as the Sun sheds upon the entire North Atlantic. If something were to shut down the conveyor, climate would change across much of the Northern Hemisphere… There was reason to believe a shutdown could happen swiftly. In many regions the consequences for climate would be spectacular. Broecker was foremost in taking this disagreeable news to the public. In 1987 he wrote that we had been treating the greenhouse effect as a 'cocktail hour curiosity,' but now 'we must view it as a threat to human beings and wildlife.' The climate system was a capricious beast, he said, and we were poking it with a sharp stick.
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