Climate Change: The Fork at the End of Now
There are many books on global warming written entirely from a layman’s perspective, and there is a great deal of scientific literature on this subject. But few if any books attempt to bridge the science to those who lack a rigorous background in mathematics, physics and chemistry—but who may be working on careers in environmental science and policy. The new text is designed to introduce the field of global climate change from a scientific perspective—but written in a way that is accessible to students with some or little science background. It reviews the basic principles of climatic thermodynamics and atmospheric chemistry and then goes on to explain historic trends and changes due to the burning of fossil fuels and other human-based activity on earth. Highlights include:
- A broad overview of the thermodynamics of climate, the biosphere, and geochemistry
- An overview of climate data in the context of geological time
- A clear explanation of the physics of the greenhouse effect—from black body radiation to heat trapping effects of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide
- Methods of modeling climate predictions
- The economics of fuel choices in the broadest context of climate change
From The Author
"Over the last six years I have used drafts of various parts of the book to teach two General Education courses at Brooklyn College: 'Energy Use and Climate Change' in the upper-level general education program and a mandatory seminar for our Honors College students that was designed to provide some exposure to science. Both courses have no prerequisites."
"The general structure of the book is based on a dual presentation. The key data and the corresponding descriptions are presented in a continuous way without resorting to 'tutorials' about the prerequisite science. The prerequisite science and some specific issues are presented in a series of inserts or 'boxes'. The science includes topics such as use and conversion of units; short introduction to the language of chemistry with examples from the 'chemistry of life' that includes photosynthesis, respiration and combustion of fossil fuels; a brief introduction to energy and power with the anchored restrictions that science puts on conversion of energy from one form to another. The boxes include a description of the chemistry of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and water. A few boxes include interactive exercises that allow readers to calculate, from first principles, key global phenomena such as construction of a simple model that allows us to estimate the energy content of the Amazon forest and compare it with the energy that we use; calculate, again from first principles, the average global temperature and how much energy it takes to make rain. It is intended to be demanding of the reader, but accessible and achievable for those committed to a deeper understanding of this globally-critical problem."
"The workbook is now complete! If you have adopted this title, and would like a copy of the workbook (which includes interactive projects at various lengths, quantitative questions on all the topics and exercises in updating the graphs and tables in the book from the original data bases) please email us (sheri [dot] dean [at] globalepress [dot] com)."
If you are a professor or instructor interested in using this title in your course, please fill out our desk copy request form and we will review your request.