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Provides a balanced assessment of global warming, tending neither to the views of alarmists or nay-sayers
Examines the measurements of near surface temperatures on earth and how much we can rely on them
Describes in an objective way how the current global warming trend compares with past climate fluctuations
Investigates the credibility of claims that increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases produced most of the temperature rise of the 20th century
In ASSESSING CLIMATE CHANGE Donald Rapp has investigated a large body of scientific data relevant to climate change, approaching each element with necessary (but neutral) scientific skepticism. The chapters of the book attempt to answer a number of essential questions in relation to global warming and climate change. He begins by showing how the earth’s climate has varied in the past, discussing ice ages, the Holocene period since the end of the last ice age, particularly during the past 1000 years. He investigates the reliability of "proxies" for historical temperatures and assesses the hockey stick version of global temperatures for the past millennium. To do this effectively he looks carefully at how well near surface temperatures of land and ocean on earth have been monitored during the past 100 years or more, and looks at the utility and significance of a single global average temperature.
Topics such as the variability of the Sun and the Earth’s heat balance are discussed in considerable detail. The author also investigates how the current global warming trend compares with past fluctuations in earth’s climate and what is the likelihood that the warming trend we are experiencing now is primarily just another in a series of natural climate fluctuations as opposed to a direct result of human activities. A key factor in understanding what may happen in the future is to examine the credibility of the global climate models which claim that greenhouse gasses produce most of the temperature rise of the 20th Century, and forecast much greater impacts in the century ahead.
Finally, the book considers future global energy requirements, fossil fuel usage and carbon dioxide production, public policy relating to global warming, and agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol.
Content Level »Research
Keywords »Climate change - Global warming - Greenhouse effect - Greenhouse gas - Impacts on environment - Kyoto Protocol - Temperature measurement - temperature
1. HISTORICAL VARIATIONS IN THE EARTH'S CLIMATE 2. EARTH SURFACE TEMPERATURES 3. TOTAL SOLAR IRRADIANCE 4. TEMPERATURE CHANGES DRIVEN BY CHANGES IN THE SUN 5. VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS 6. THE EARTH'S HEAT BALANCE AND THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT 7. FUTURE FOSSIL FUEL USAGE AND CO2 PRODUCTION 8. IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING 9. GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND PUBLIC POLICY