From SCHLOERER@rzmain.rz.uni-ulm.de Mon Jul 17 16:25:59 EDT 1995
Summary: Commented books & articles on climate change, some with summaries
Keywords: climate change, bibliography, annotated
Where to Read about Climate Change ?
Version 6, July 1995. For changes see the contents.
Commented books and articles. Many entries aim at general readers
with some basic science background. Where possible, journals that are
difficult to access are avoided. My spare time has been curtailed,
this may well be the last version. Grab it ;-)
Most entries address the science of climate change, although some
material on impacts and responses has been included. Before turning
to climate change, some might prefer a look at the climate, which
is provided by sections 2.4 to 2.6. Sections 2.7 to 2.9 go beyond
climate and try to hint a broader view.
For starters: If you are out for short introductory overviews,
then try section 3.1. For somewhat broader nontechnical primers
see section 2.1. The IPCC Reports in section 1 are more thorough;
they are not always easy to read, though accessible to patient
general readers with some basic scientific knowledge.
* Caveat: This is not my field. Corrections and amendments
* are welcomed. Students should not use this bibliography
* as a reference for school projects. They should instead use
* it as a pointer to some of the published literature.
* Copyright (c) 1995 by Jan Schloerer, all rights reserved.
* This bibliography may be posted to any USENET newsgroup, on-line
* service and BBS, as long as it is posted in its entirety and
* includes this caveat and copyright statement. However, please
* inform me, so I know where it goes. This article may not be
* distributed for financial gain, it may not be included in
* commercial collections or compilations.
Many people helped with this file, most notably Robert Grumbine,
Dave Halliwell, Georg Hoermann, Robert Parson and Michael Tobis.
Responsibility for errors is mine, though. Prices of most books are
as announced when the book appeared, they may have changed since.
Jan Schloerer firstname.lastname@example.org
Uni Ulm Klinische Dokumentation D-89070 Ulm Germany
To find section n search for `** n'
To find topic n.m search for `* n.m'
1 BOOKS: IPCC AND RELATED
1.1 What is the IPCC ? (modified)
1.2 2nd IPCC Assessment (1994- ) (new)
1.3 1st IPCC Assessment (1990-92) (shortened)
1.4 IUCC Facts Sheets
2 OTHER BOOKS
2.1 Climate Change - Easy Reading
2.2 Climate Change - Not So Easy
2.3 Policy Implications of Climate Change (amended)
2.4 Climatology (amended)
2.5 Climate System Modeling (amended)
2.6 Climates of the Past
2.7 Climate Change and its Biological Consequences (amended)
2.8 Atmospheric Change and Biogeochemistry (amended)
2.9 Consider Everything and a Spherical Cow (amended)
3 ARTICLES: BROAD TO GENERAL
3.1 General, Nontechnical
3.2 If You Need to Dig More Deeply
3.3 Impacts and Responses
4 ARTICLES: OVERVIEWS OF SPECIAL TOPICS
4.1 Greenhouse Theory. History of Greenhouse Effect
4.2 Global Carbon Cycle (shortened)
4.3 Rising CO2 Levels and Ecosystems (updated)
4.4 Natural Climatic Variability (new)
4.5 Night Heat
4.6 Greenhouse Gases and Climates of the Past
4.7 Climate Change and World Food Supply
4.8 Risk Perception and Risk Communication
Former sections that were deleted:
3.3 Implications of Revised IPCC Emissions Scenarios
(details were getting a bit dated)
4.4 Sulfate Aerosols and Climatic Change
(now thoroughly treated in 1.2)
** 1 BOOKS: IPCC AND RELATED
* 1.1 What is the IPCC ?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up in 1988
by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and by the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP). The IPCC tries to provide the best
possible description of the climate change situation as an input to the
political decision making process. IPCC Reports address both professio-
nals and interested general readers. They contain lots of references
and are frequently quoted in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
They are not easy to read, but the gist is accessible to patient general
readers with some basic scientific knowledge. Reports and individual
sections are preceded by summaries that are easier to read and provide
The IPCC formed three working groups, each of which involves hundreds
of researchers and other specialists from many countries:
I Science. Working Group I is the `climate' group. Most of
its participants are climatologists and meteorologists,
including many of the world's most respected researchers.
II Impacts. Working Group II tries to assess potential
environmental and socio-economic impacts of climate change.
III Response Strategies Working Group (RSWG). Working Group III
attempts to lay out a set of response policy options and the
factual basis for those options.
In late 1992, the tasks of the Working Groups were partly reshuffled:
I Science (more or less unchanged)
II Impacts. Responses: Emissions control, adaptation
The bulk of the Second IPCC Assessment is scheduled for late 1995. Its
first installment was the report on radiative forcing, see section 1.2.
It seems that new scientific findings will not substantially alter the
main results of the 1990/1992 Scientific Assessment. The Second Assess-
ment on Impacts and Responses by Working Group II is to contain almost
30 chapters and likely to be more detailed than the 1990 Assessment.
* 1.2 2nd IPCC Assessment (1994- )
Climate Change 1994: Radiative Forcing of Climate Change and
An Evaluation of the IPCC IS92 Emission Scenarios.
Reports of Working Groups I and III of the IPCC.
J.T. Houghton, L.G. Meira Filho, J. Bruce, Hoesung Lee,
B.A. Callander, E. Haites, N. Harris and K. Maskell (eds)
Cambridge University Press 1995. viii, 339 pages
ISBN 0-521-55962-6 paperback (approx. $25?)
ISBN 0-521-55055-6 hardback (approx. $ ?)
Treats carbon dioxide and the global carbon cycle, other trace gases
and atmospheric chemistry, natural and human-made aerosols, radiative
effects of trace gases and aerosols, global warming potentials, and
trace gas emission scenarios. Knowledge about human-made aerosols
is still fledgling, quantifying their cooling effects more precisely
looks like a Sisyphean task. Includes summaries and a short index.
* 1.3 1st IPCC Assessment (1990-92)
Climate Change - The IPCC Scientific Assessment.
Report Prepared for IPCC by Working Group I.
J.T. Houghton, G.J. Jenkins, J.J. Ephraums (eds)
Cambridge University Press 1990. xl, 365 pages
ISBN 0-521-40720-6 paperback (approx. $35)
Climate Change 1992 - The Supplementary Report
to the IPCC Scientific Assessment.
Report Prepared for IPCC by Working Group I.
J.T. Houghton, B.A. Callander, S.K. Varney (eds)
Cambridge University Press 1992. xii, 200 pages
ISBN 0-521-43829-2 paperback (approx. $20)
Authoritative statement of the contemporary views of the broad majority
of climatologists worldwide. Often called a `consensus'. This is true
provided one keeps in mind there is consensus that there are many uncer-
tainties in the predictions. Uncertainty cuts two ways. Present best
estimates may well overstate the risk. They may as well understate it.
The climate change issue resembles a gamble with high stakes. Narrowing
the uncertainties is likely to take considerable time. No index :-s
Climate Change - The IPCC Impacts Assessment.
Report prepared for IPCC by Working Group II.
W.J.McG. Tegart, G.W.Sheldon, D.C.Griffiths (eds)
Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra/New York(?) 1990
ISBN 0-644-13497-6 paperback (approx. $25). xv, 277 pages
Summarizes knowledge up to mid-1990. Reliable predictions for regional
climate change are presently not available, thus much of the impacts
research is of the what if? - variety. Topics include agriculture,
forestry, ecosystems, water resources, human settlement and health,
oceans and coastal zones, snow, ice, permafrost. No index.
* 1.4 IUCC Facts Sheets
Climate Change - Dossier of Fact Sheets
Published by the Information Unit on Climate Change (IUCC)
of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Easy-to-read introduction. Three series of fact sheets:
The Causes of Climate Change
The Impacts of Climate Change
The International Response to Climate Change
Also available in Chinese, Japanese, and Urdu. Free. To order
write to: IUCC, UNEP, Geneva Executive Center, Case Postale 356,
CH-1219 Ch^atelaine/Geneva, Switzerland. For an English version
on the web connect to http://www.unep.ch/iucc/fs-index.html/
Also available via APC networks on bulletin board IUCC.CLIMFACTS
** 2 OTHER BOOKS
* 2.1 Climate Change - Easy Reading
John Houghton, Global Warming: The Complete Briefing.
Lion Publishing, Oxford, UK / Elgin, Ill., US; Albatross
Books, Sutherland, Australia 1994. 192 pages
hbk ISBN 0-7459-2458-1 UK,US 0-7324-0843-1 Australia
pbk ISBN 0-7459-3025-5 UK 0-7324-0844-X Australia
UK: hbk 16.99 pounds, pbk 12.99 pounds. Other prices = ?
A good place to start. John Houghton co-chairs Working Group I, the
`climate' or `science' group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC). Readably written for a general audience, the book offers
a well-organized summary of the IPCC's findings, amended by some helpful
basics. Diligently exposing the uncertainties, Houghton addresses the
science of climate change and, in less detail, potential impacts and re-
sponses. At times, Houghton strikes a more personal tone, making clear,
though, where science ends and personal judgment takes over. Amusingly,
the dust-jacket capitalizes on one of the book's rare obvious errors:
garden glasshouses do not work like the atmospheric greenhouse effect.
Irving M. Mintzer (ed.)
Confronting Climate Change: Risks, Implications and Responses
Cambridge University Press 1992. xiv, 382 pages
ISBN 0-521-42109-8 paperback 19.95 pounds, $34.95
ISBN 0-521-42091-1 hardback 50 pounds, $80
Allround: science, impacts, responses. Coverage of topics is a bit
eclectic, though. Mostly readable, prone to occasional typos. About
40 authors and 60 reviewers from a large number of countries. From
chapter 1: "If you come away from this volume with one understanding,
it should be of the importance of linkages: the interconnections
between risks of rapid climate change and so many other problems
of central concern ... "
Robert C. Balling, The Heated Debate
San Francisco, Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy 1992
ISBN 0-936488-47-6 cloth $21.95
ISBN 0-936488-48-4 paper $14.95 xxxvi, 197 pages
A moderate skeptic's view, easy to read, and, barring the polemic
and sloppy introduction by A. Wildavsky, responsibly written. For
my taste, past climates, the ice record of greenhouse gases, and the
possibility of unpleasant surprises receive too little attention.
The discussion of the modern global temperature record is not entirely
even-handed. Yet, altogether this is a useful account of many aspects
of the topic. Balling hopes for rapid progress in understanding and
presumes that the most probable course of events may be relatively
benign. He cautions, though: "Only time will tell".
* 2.2 Climate Change - Not So Easy
M.E. Schlesinger (ed)
Greenhouse-Gas-Induced Climatic Change: A Critical Appraisal
of Simulations and Observations, Amsterdam, Elsevier 1991
ISBN 0-444-88351-7. xix, 615 pages, $~150 (?)
Papers grown out of a workshop held in 1989, including quite a few of
the most respected workers in the field. Somewhat to highly technical,
for readers with a scientific bent only. As the title suggests, this
was not a place to go for people who didn't want their notions being
called into question. The workshop perceptibly influenced the 1990
IPCC Scientific Assessment. (Pointed out, long ago, by Michael Tobis)
T.A. Boden, D.P. Kaiser, R.J. Sepanski, and F.W. Stoss (eds)
Trends '93: A Compendium of Data on Global Change
Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC)
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6335
>From a variety of sources, this book presents data for the die-hard
that wants to do the analysis from the beginning. Historic and modern
records of atmospheric CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and selected
halocarbons. Global, regional, and national CO2 emissions estimates.
Precipitation, temperature, and atmospheric aerosol records. Provides
a background discussion of the data sources, with references to journal
publications, and data availability. (Pointed out by Dave Halliwell)
* 2.3 Policy Implications of Climate Change
Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming
Mitigation, Adaptation, and the Science Base
Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy
Washington DC, National Academy Press 1992
xxvi, 918 pages, $89.95 [according to Science 258 (1992), 1971]
Haven't seen this one: an attempt via (German) interlib loan failed,
price tag is intimidating. Should contain lots of information and ought
to be available in at least some North American libraries.
Irving Mintzer and J. Amber Leonard (eds)
Negotiating Climate Change. Cambridge Univ. Press 1994 (1995?)
392 pages, hbk 40 pounds, pbk 16.95 pounds
"This book is the story of the backstairs arm-twisting, stonewalling
and finally, in 1992, the signing of the Climate Change Convention ...
It is part political analysis, and part voyage of discovery, charting
the forty years of scientific inquiry that culminated in the consensus
report of scientists worldwide to the 1990 World Climate Conference."
Fred Pearce, New Scientist 145, 1966 (25 Feb 1995), 38.
* 2.4 Climatology
Roger G. Barry and Richard J. Chorley
Atmosphere, Weather and Climate. Sixth edition.
London/New York, Routledge, Chapman and Hall 1992. xxii, 392 pages.
hbk ISBN 0-415-07760-5 $99.95 pbk ISBN 0-415-07761-3 $35
For general readers. Includes fairly detailed, readable description of
weather phenomena and of regional climates. Lavishly illustrated.
Ann Henderson-Sellers, Peter J. Robinson, Contemporary Climatology
Harlow UK, Longman Scientific & Technical / New York, Wiley 1986
xvi, 439 pages. ISBN 0-582-30057-6
An introductory university text, suitable for students with only a
moderate mathematical background (e.g. no calculus). Although somewhat
dated and prone to occasional typographical errors, it does give a broad
background to climatology in general. ... It would serve as a good
introduction to climatology to anyone with a general science background.
(Contributed by Dave Halliwell)
Dennis L. Hartmann, Global Physical Climatology
International Geophysics Series, vol. 56
San Diego, CA, Academic Press 1994
xii, 411 pages. Hardcover ISBN 0-12-328530-5, about $55, 42 pds
Aims at physical science majors, junior to early graduate level. Topics
include: Global energy balance, atmospheric radiative transfer, surface
energy balance, hydrologic cycle, atmospheric circulation, ocean, past
climates, climate sensitivity and feedbacks, climate change. Although
some is over my head, I like the book and find it helpful. Opinions of
professionals or pointers to reviews welcomed.
Jose P. Peixoto, Abraham H. Oort, Physics of Climate
New York, American Institute of Physics 1992
520 pages. hbk 66 pds / $95 , pbk 31.25 pds / $45
A fairly rigorous introduction to physical climatology - good basis
in physics and mathematics needed. (Contributed by Michael Tobis.
The book addresses graduates and postgraduates in the physical sciences.
Review and summary: John M. Wallace, Nature 360, 1992, 220)
William James Burroughs, Weather Cycles: Real or Imaginary ?
Cambridge University Press 1992. xiv, 207 pages
hbk ISBN 0-521-38178-9 $39.95 24.95 pounds
pbk ISBN 0-521-47869-3 $19.95 14.95 pounds
"People have always tried to tease out some repetitive order hidden in
the unending variations of weather ... a well-written and judicious
account of largely unresolved controversy ... Meant for general readers
with real interest in the weather ... a book whose clarity and breadth
of vision set it apart." (Philip Morrison, Scientific American 269, 2,
Aug 1993, 105-106. See also Richard A. Anthes, Science 261, 1993, 1188)
* 2.5 Climate System Modeling
A. Henderson-Sellers and K. McGuffie, A Climate Modelling Primer
Chichester/New York, Wiley, 1987
Kevin E. Trenberth (ed), Climate System Modeling
Cambridge University Press, 1993. 788 pages, 35 pounds, $49.95
The first book is a starter, covering the various types of climate
models. The second text presents, in varying depth, climate related
- that is: most - aspects of the earth system and how to model them.
"Is climate system modelling the ultimate example of hubris, or, by
chopping away at areas of ignorance, will we truly improve our predic-
tive capability ? A thorough reading of _Climate System Modeling_
provides support for both points of view." (David Rind, Nature 363,
1993, 312. Michael Tobis pointed out both books.)
* 2.6 Climates of the Past
Thomas J. Crowley, Gerald R. North, Paleoclimatology
Oxford University Press 1991. viii, 339 pages
ISBN 0-19-503963-7 (approx. $60)
Somewhat to highly technical, but many narrative passages and figures
are accessible to interested general readers. Much space is devoted
to an overview of past climates with emphasis on the past 20,000 years.
For information about climate changes, the past is a unique place to
go. Yet, there are "no completely satisfactory geologic analogs" for
the expected future climate state (p 254). On the other hand (p 252),
"the intrepid reader of our book will [realize] that we cannot explain
much of the climate variance over earth history unless the greenhouse
effect is about as large as the models project."
* 2.7 Climate Change and its Biological Consequences
David M. Gates, Climate Change and its Biological Consequences
Sinauer 1993. 280 pages, ISBN 0-87893-224-0
paper, $ 18.95, 16.95 pounds
"... a readable and up-to-date summary of many of the aspects of global
ecology required for an understanding of the present state of play.
The coverage of topics is necessarily diverse, and brief, ranging from
the astronomical theory of orbital forcing as a mechanism for Quaternary
climate change, to plant physiology, drought and El Nino events.
Emphasis is placed on vegetation responses to global change; past
vegetational response, the use of forest models and ecosystem responses
comprise most of the book. ... will be of use to students new to the
subject but adds little to the knowledge of those already working in the
field." David J. Beerling, Nature 364 (1993), 24
Alan Wellburn, Air Pollution and Climate Change:
The Biological Impact. 2nd edition. Longman Scientific and
Technical, Harlow, Essex UK / Wiley, New York, 1994. xvi, 268 pp
pbk ISBN 0-582-09285-X $39.95 17.95 pounds
This text might serve to supplement the books by Graedel & Crutzen (see
next section) who largely omit biological aspects. Wellburn outlines
effects of a large number of pollutants on plants and animals. Climate
change accounts for just one chapter, the title is a bit misleading.
Moderately technical, opinions of professionals welcomed.
* 2.8 Atmospheric Change and Biogeochemistry
Thomas E. Graedel and Paul J. Crutzen
Atmosphere, Climate, and Change
New York, Scientific American Library, distributed by W.H.Freeman
1995. x, 197 pages. ISBN 0-7167-5049-X hbk $32.95/19.95 pounds
A pleasure to look at and read. A simplified version of the following
book, for general readers. Review: Peter Brimblecombe, Nature 375
(18 May 1995), 202.
Thomas E. Graedel and Paul J. Crutzen
Atmospheric Change: an Earth System Perspective
New York, W.H.Freeman 1993. xiv, 446 pp. $42.95 hbk $29.95 pbk
This is an introduction written for College Sophomores and Juniors; it
requires no background beyond Freshman Physics and Chemistry. It heavily
emphasizes chemistry, but does touch on geology, dynamics and radiative
processes. A particularly valuable part of the book discusses the
methods used for determining the budgets of various trace species in the
environment. Most of the issues in current research are discussed, but
none of them in much depth - this is a place to start, not a place to
find a comprehensive treatment. My copy has a number of misprints, in-
cluding some in the figures; watch out for them. (Contributed by
Robert Parson. Friendly reviews: R.J.Cicerone, Nature 367 (1994), 695;
P.J.Robinson, American Scientist 82 (1994), 75-76)
Biogeochemistry: an Analysis of Global Change
San Diego, Academic Press 1991
Serious but not difficult examination of the chemical couplings between
climate and life. (Contributed by Michael Tobis)
Samuel S. Butcher, Robert J. Charlson, Gordon H. Orians &
Gordon V. Wolfe (eds), Global Biogeochemical Cycles
San Diego, CA, Academic Press 1992
xvi, 377 pages. Paperback ISBN 0-12-147686-3 $24.95
Not so easy, addresses future professionals with some background in
chemistry. Still, general readers interested in the workings of the
earth system may glean lots of fascinating information.
* 2.9 Consider Everything and a Spherical Cow
Andrew Goudie, The Human Impact on the Environment
Fourth Edition. Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, UK 1993
I am working from the German translation:
Andrew Goudie, Mensch und Umwelt - Eine Einf"uhrung
Heidelberg, Spektrum Akademischer Verlag 1994
Darmstadt, Wissenschaftl. Buchgesellschaft 1994. xiv, 480 pages
Covers the spectrum of human interactions with the environment including
their history. Readable, gives a broad picture and avoids rash conclu-
sions. A place to get a feel for linkages and for the development of
the subject, though not for finding brand-new details about some special
topic. Extensive bibliography.
John Harte, Consider a Spherical Cow:
A Course in Environmental Problem Solving
Mill Valley, Calif., University Science Books 1988
283pp, ISBN 0-935702-58-X
The goal of this interesting book, only part of which deals with
climatology, is to learn "how to use relatively simple mathematical
methods (often of the 'back-of-the-envelope' variety) to understand
how planet earth and its inhabitants interact." The math is generally
simple, yet the problem-solving approach is quite informative. It
covers global mean temperature, the greenhouse effect, CO2 effects,
land use changes, the urban heat island effect, and feedbacks. The
appendix provides some useful numbers. Includes many worked out
examples and a moderate bibliography. (Contributed by Dave Halliwell)
** 3 ARTICLES: BROAD TO GENERAL
* 3.1 General, Nontechnical
Kathy Maskell, Irving M. Mintzer, Bruce A. Callander
Basic science of climate change
The Lancet 342 (1993), 1027-1031
The authors squeeze a lot of information into just five readable pages.
One might regret that they omit the Vostok ice core or that they fail
to mention clouds when discussing the uncertainties in the predictions.
Overall this is a nice non-technical summary of the basic science.
(Pointed out by Richard Clapp)
Thomas C. Schelling, Some economics of global warming
The American Economic Review 82 (March 1992), 1-14
Despite of the title, there is about one third on each of Science /
Impacts / Responses. Thoughtful and readable. The author is an
economist, yet nicely summarizes the science and potential impacts.
"There isn't any scientific principle according to which all alarming
possibilities prove to be benign upon further investigation." Stresses
vulnerability of poor countries. (Pointed out by Jon Baron)
Wallace S. Broecker, Global warming on trial.
Natural History 101, 4 (April 1992), 6-14
Gracefully written introduction to the maze of climate variations during
the past millenium by a master of the field. Sulfate aerosol cooling is
not yet mentioned, but the bottom line stands: inferring the present
or future amount of human-made greenhouse warming from the observed
temperature record is currently not feasible. The climate change issue
resembles a gamble. (Pointed out by Roger Wilson)
Robert M. White, The great climate debate
Scientific American 263, 1 (July 1990), 18-25
White, then president of the National Academy of Engineering,
formerly president of the American Meteorological Society, summarizes
the history of the field, some of the basic facts and the US debate
up to 1990. Argues for a `no regrets' policy or, in gambling terms,
for `spreading your bets'. "What would be unwise is to lapse into
apocalyptic thinking or ostrichlike denial."
Richard A. Kerr, Greenhouse science survives skeptics.
Science 256 (22 May 1992), 1138-1140
Not very deep, but not too bad. If you want to read only three pages,
then you might as well read these.
* 3.2 If You Need to Dig More Deeply
M.D. Handel, J.S. Risbey, An annotated bibliography
on the greenhouse effect and climate change
Climatic Change 21 (1992), 97-255
Over 600 important publications up to early 1992 are reviewed. The
selection of entries tries to facilitate introduction to important
issues and findings. The subjects are: Theory and numerical modelling,
carbon dioxide and other trace gases, climate change observations,
paleoclimatology, impacts and interactions, policy, history, other
causes of climate change, non-technical introduction, miscellaneous.
This bibliography is an invaluable asset if you want or need to dig
more deeply into the matter. It can spare you lots of searching time.
(Contributed by Georg Hoermann)
* 3.3 Impacts and Responses
Jesse H. Ausubel, A second look at the impacts of climate change
American Scientist 79 (1991), 210-221
Easy to read, adapted from an NAS study. Ausubel is critical about
some conventional wisdoms, but not complacent. He argues that poor
countries are more vulnerable than rich countries, and he is concerned
about fresh water resources and ecosystems. Ausubel is certainly right
that narrowing down the uncertainties is crucial. Unfortunately,
this might take longer than we would like.
William D. Nordhaus, Expert opinion on climatic change
American Scientist 82 (1994), 45-51
19 people with expertise in the area (economists, social scientists,
natural scientists, engineers) were asked to estimate the economic
impact of climate change. Opinions diverged wildly. As one respondent
quipped, this "was hardly surprising, given that the economists know
little about the intricate web of natural ecosystems, whereas scientists
know equally little about the incredible adaptability of human econo-
mies." Food for thought, reminding of Epiktet's opinion that humans
are not startled by things but by their perception of things.
** 4 ARTICLES: OVERVIEWS OF SPECIAL TOPICS
* 4.1 Greenhouse Theory. History of Greenhouse Effect
V. Ramanathan, The greenhouse theory of climate change:
a test by an inadvertent global experiment
Science 240 (1988), 293-299
Useful, mildly technical overview, including the thorny issue of
feedbacks. This is the most recent easily accessible paper of this
sort I happen to know. Any proposals for an easily accessible
successor ? Mark Handel and James Risbey, in their annotated
bibliography on climate change (Climatic Change 21, 1992, 97-255)
put the following two papers at the top of their list on "Overviews
of Greenhouse Theory" :
J.F.B. Mitchell, The `greenhouse' effect and climate change,
Rev. Geophys. 27 (1989), 115-139
[ "good introduction for a general scientific audience" ]
V. Ramanathan, L. Callis, R. Cess, 8 more authors,
Climate-chemical interactions and effects of changing
atmospheric trace gases. Rev. Geophys. 25 (1987), 1441-1482
[ "the best single paper covering greenhouse theory and
radiatively important gases ... read it after ... Mitchell" ]
Unfortunately, these are not so easy to access.
M.D.H. Jones and A. Henderson-Sellers
History of the greenhouse effect
Progress in Physical Geography 14, 1 (1990), 1-18
Many interesting tidbits. In 1827, Fourier compared the influence of
the atmosphere to the heating of a closed space beneath a pane of glass.
In 1909, R.W. Wood found that the glasshouse in your garden retains
heat mainly by lack of convection and advection. Thus the atmospheric
`greenhouse' effect, which is due to absorption and re-emission of
infrared radiation, is a misnomer. We won't get rid of it, though ;-)
* 4.2 Global Carbon Cycle
U. Siegenthaler & J.L. Sarmiento
Atmospheric carbon dioxide and the ocean
Nature 365 (1993), 119-125
Section 1 of "Climate Change 1994" (see above, section 1.2) discusses
the carbon cycle at some length. If you prefer something shorter, here
is a nice substitute. Abstract: "The ocean is a significant sink for
anthropogenic carbon dioxide, taking up about a third of the emissions
arising from fossil-fuel use and tropical deforestation. Increases in
the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration account for most of the
remaining emissions, but there still appears to be a `missing sink'
which may be located in the terrestrial biosphere."
Eric T. Sundquist, The global carbon dioxide budget
Science 259 (1993), 934-941
Reviews historical and present CO2 budgets and problems affecting
CO2 budget prognoses.
* 4.3 Rising CO2 Levels and Ecosystems
Elizabeth Culotta, Will plants profit from high CO2 ?
Science 268 (5 May 1995), 654-656
Fakhri A. Bazzaz and Eric D. Fajer, Plant life in a CO2-rich world
Scientific American 266, 1 (Jan. 1992), 18-24
F.A. Bazzaz, The response of natural ecosystems to the rising
global CO2 levels. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics
21 (1990), 167-196
O.L.Phillips and A.H. Gentry, Increasing turnover through time
in tropical forests. Science 263 (1994), 954-958.
Comment: Stuart L. Pimm, Andrew M. Sugden, ibid. 933-934.
Discussion: Douglas Sheil, O.P., Science 268 (1995), 894-895
In a CO2-rich world, many (especially so-called C3) crops are likely to
grow better and to require less water, provided other growing conditions
like nutrients, temperature and light are favourable. The long-term
effects of rising CO2 levels on ecosystems are less clear. Even without
climatic changes, though, the composition of ecosystems will change,
and not necessarily in a way our descendants will celebrate. Culotta
provides an easy introduction and summary. Bazzaz and Fajer 1992 (easy)
and Bazzaz 1990 (scholarly) fill in details. Phillips and Gentry
tentatively suggest that, in tropical forests, a reshuffling of tree
species may already be under way.
* 4.4 Natural Climatic Variability
Thomas R. Karl, Smudging the fingerprints.
Nature 371 (29 September 1994), 380-381
David Rind and Jonathan Overpeck, Hypothesized causes of decade-
to-century-scale climate variability: climate model results.
Quaternary Science Reviews 12, 6 (1993), 357-374
Richard A. Kerr, Unmasking a shifty climate system.
Science 255 (1992), 1508-1510
Little is known about natural climatic fluctuations on a decadal to
century scale. It is unknown what course earth's temperature would have
taken without anthropogenic emissions. Some players that may be involved
in natural climatic variations on this time scale: Random atmospheric
variations including shifts of the polar front, variations in the circu-
lation of the North Atlantic and of the Pacific Ocean, solar variability,
volcanism. Unraveling climate's natural vagaries may take a long time:
there is a dearth of sufficiently long and detailed climatic records.
Karl concisely sums up these and other obstacles which currently impede
detecting the effect of human-made greenhouse gases. Rind and Overpeck
consider potential players in the natural variability game and how they
might be sorted out in the climate record. They estimate that these
factors, taken together, are unlikely to cause global mean surface
temperature changes exceeding 1 o C. Kerr recounts a sobering example:
1976/77 something "sudden" happened in the Pacific, including a rise of
tropical Pacific mean surface temperature. It was, and to my knowledge
still is, unknown whether this was just natural climatic variability
or incipient climate change. See also Broecker's article (3.1) and
Burroughs' book (2.4).
* 4.5 Night Heat
Thomas R.Karl, Philip D.Jones, and eight more authors
A new perspective on recent global warming: asymmetric trends
of daily maximum and minimum temperature
Bulletin Amer. Meteorol. Society 74 (1993), 1007-1023
Over many Northern and some Southern Hemisphere land areas a decrease
of the diurnal temperature range has been observed: nighttime minimum
temperatures went up, while daytime maximum temperatures increased more
slowly and in some regions even decreased slightly. These changes are
partially related to increases in cloud cover. The causes are not yet
known, it is open whether the `night heat' is temporary or going to
last. Possible culprits include the observed global warming and
increases of greenhouse gases, increases in sulfate aerosols, biomass
burning (smoke), natural climate variability and a combination of some
or all of these.
* 4.6 Greenhouse Gases and Climates of the Past
Thomas J. Crowley, Geological assessment of the greenhouse effect
Bulletin Amer. Meteorological Society 74, 12 (Dec 1993), 2363-2373
A concise compendium of the basic knowlegde. Over the past half billion
years, high levels of carbon dioxide tend to be associated with warm
climate. Paleoclimate data and climate models so far yield about the
same range for climate sensitivity to greenhouse gas changes. For warm
periods, climate models indicate warmer tropical surface temperatures
(SST) and cooler high latitude winters than the paleodata. The models
may well be in error, but at least for tropical SST the data are not
impeccable, moreover the models usually employ present-day geography
and mountain ranges. As an addendum, skeptics might enjoy a thought-
provoking, though not conclusive, new piece of evidence:
Bruce W. Sellwood, Greg D. Price & Paul J. Valdes
Cooler estimates of Cretaceous temperatures
Nature 370 (11 August 1994), 453-455
Comment: Eric J. Barron, Chill over the Cretaceous, ibid. 415
* 4.7 Climate Change and World Food Supply
Cynthia Rosenzweig & Martin L. Parry, Potential impact of
climate change on world food supply. Nature 367 (1994),
133-138. See also John Reilly's comment ibid. 118-119 and
a critique of this comment by Pittock et al., Nature 371
Martin L. Parry, Cynthia Rosenzweig, Food supply and risk
of hunger. The Lancet 342 (1993), 1345-1347
[a summary of the Nature article, easier to read]
So far, one of the most extensive studies of the topic. Asks how
agriculture may be affected if the warming for a CO2 doubling should be
near the upper end of the estimated range. Fertilizing effect of CO2
on crops, technological improvements leading to increased yields over
time, and liberalization of food trade are taken into account. The
results suggest "only a small decrease in global crop production.
But developing countries are likely to bear the brunt of the problem."
There remain many uncertainties, the results are possible scenarios
but not predictions.
John Bongaarts, Can the growing human population feed itself ?
Scientific American 270, 3 (March 1994), 18-24
Addresses food supply and increasing population in general, with climate
change as a subtopic only. Bongaarts argues that neither the pessimists
("we cannot feed them") nor the optimists ("no problem") are right.
>From the conclusion: "Feeding a growing world population a diet that
improves over time in quality and quantity is technologically feasible.
But the economic and environmental costs incurred through bolstering
food production may well prove too great for many poor countries. ...
Whatever the outcome, the task ahead will be made more difficult if
population growth rates cannot be reduced."
* 4.8 Risk Perception and Risk Communication
M. Granger Morgan, Risk analysis and management
Scientific American 269, 1 (July 1993), 24-30
Morgan stresses the roles of risk perception and risk communication.
He is optimistic about his profession's ability to analyze and commu-
nicate risks, but wisely qualifies that the "public agenda is already
crowded with unresolved issues" and that complex risks like climate
change are neither well understood nor easy to explain. Given that
risks are often communicated in fragmentary bits by people who fail to
do their homework or who promote a particular agenda, the "surprise
is not that opinion on hazards ... may sometimes force silly or
inefficient outcomes. It is that the public does as well as it does."
Jan Schloerer: Methane in climate
Jan Schloerer: CO2 Rise -- How we know humans were the source
Jan Schloerer: Climate change basics
Jan Schloerer: Readings on climate
Jan Schloerer: Climap
Robert Grumbine: Favorite objects for amateur astronomers to observe
Robert Grumbine: (Old) Schools in meteorology, oceanography, climate, ...
Robert Grumbine: Icebergs compared in size to cities, lakes, states, countries ...