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The Discovery of Global Warming            May 2014

Where to Find Other Information

For basic facts online try the "START HERE" page maintained by climate scientists. A few good general books are listed below, followed by a list of historical accounts.

A thorough review of scientific understanding as of ca. 2012 is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2013 reports (and other, specialized reports). For the physics with equations there is no shortcut; you cannot calculate anything correctly without studying the full problem as laid out in textbooks (see below)... a free online course is offered by the University of Chicago.

Links to basic information, news and reports online:

  • Realclimate's start here page is indeed a good place to start.
  • The National Academy of Sciences offers a multi-media presentation and a recent comprehensive booklet (read online or get a pdf).
  • The national climate assessment reviews what's happened and will happen in the USA.
  • NOAA has a global warming FAQ page.
  • Wikipedia's global warming pages offer much information with frequent updates (not always reliable or well organized).
  • New Scientist magazine's climate change guide has readable articles and news.
  • The Pew Center on Climate Change offers news and policy-related reports.
  • Illustrations: photos and diagrams, historical and contemporary.
  • If you want to really study it all, get acquainted with the various meticulously compiled IPCC reports. The National Academy Press has many key reports available online (search on "climate").

    Links to discussion and action online

  • I offer a brief personal note and talking points for scientists (pdf, slightly outdated).
  • RealClimate.org (run by climate scientists), climateprogress.org and skepticalscience.com are well-regarded blogs that discuss real scientific work as well as controversies.
  • The industry-funded Cooler Heads Coalition and the right-wing Marshall Institute gather arguments against the scientific consensus (with few references to actual scientific papers).
  • Skeptic Arguments and What the Science Says; How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic; Responses to Common Contrarian Arguments.
  • The World Resources Institute (mainstream environmentalism) has reports, including matters of business interest.
  • The WWF, Greenpeace, Environmental Defense, and the National Resources Defense Council, environmental activist organizations, have basic climate change information and arguments, news, and programs for action.
  • Hundreds of links and other tools (news, blogs, sustainability, etc.) from Climate Ark.
  • You can reduce greenhouse emissions! Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" Website offers ways to take action, the US government (EPA) suggests what you can do. (But reducing your personal greenhouse emissions is no substitute for political action to reduce everyone's.)
  • You can help scientists predict climate. Put your PC's idle time to good use by joining the team at climateprediction.net.

    Some other useful Websites: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - Kyoto Protocol. Revkin's N.Y. Times DotEarth blog.The US Environmental Protection Agency's global warming site, including a KIDS' PAGE. The Union of Concerned Scientists' Hotmap of impacts. The European Commission climate site from the European Union. co2now tracks the level and more. The Canadian government's site. Photo documentation.

    Ten recommended books:    BACK TO TOP

  • Elizabeth Kolbert, 2010. Field Notes from a Catastrophe. New York: Bloomsbury.
        Outstanding account by a journalist
  • Gabrielle Walker and David King, 2008. The Hot Topic. Boston: Mariner Books.
         Excellent review of history, science and politics for the general public
    .
  • Kerry Emanuel, 2012 (2nd ed.). What We Know About Climate Change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
         A 96-page summary, hand it to the undecided or skeptical.
  • John Houghton, 2009 (4th ed.) Global Warming: The Complete Briefing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
         The leading science textbook, reliable and comprehensive (456 pp.) ...for a more advanced technical overview: Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, 2011. Principles of Planetary Climate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Al Gore, 2009. Our Choice. A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press.
         Technology, economics, psychology... what experts say about solutions.
  • Mark Bowen, 2005. Thin Ice : Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains. New York: Henry Holt.
         Fascinating description of scientist-adventurer Lonnie Thompson at work.
  • Robert Henson, 2011 (3rd ed.). The Rough Guide to Climate Change. London: Rough Guides.
         Many kinds of information on the issues.
  • Dale Jamieson, 2014. Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed — and What It Means for Our Future. New York: Oxford University Press.
         A philosopher's analysis of the economics, ethics, policy, etc.
  • Mark Lynas, 2008. Six Degrees. Our Future on a Hotter Planet. Washington, DC: National Geographic.
         Careful survey of the impacts expected at different levels of warming. 
  • Spencer R. Weart, 2008. The Discovery of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (second, extensively revised edition).
         The much shorter narrative version of this history website -
    more info here.

    For the history, here are some other useful printed works:

  • Archer, David, and Raymond T. Pierrehumbert (Eds.) 2011. The Warming Papers: The Scientific Foundation for the Climate Change Forecast. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Bolin, Bert. 2007. A History of the Science and Politics of Climate Change. The Role of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Boykoff, Maxwell T. 2011. Who Speaks for the Climate? Making Sense of Media Reporting on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Broecker, Wallace S., and Robert Kunzig. 2008. Fixing Climate: What Past Climate Changes Reveal About the Current Threat and How to Counter It. New York: Hill and Wang. (Including history of Broecker's research.)
  • Christianson, Gale E. 1999. Greenhouse: The 200-year Story of Global Warming. New York: Walker.
  • Crawford, Elisabeth. 1996. Arrhenius: From ionic theory to the greenhouse effect. Canton, MA: Watson Publishing - Science History.
  • Dansgaard, Willi. 2004. Frozen Annals. Greenland Ice Sheet Research. Copenhagen: Dept. of Geophysics of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.
  • Dalmedico, Amy Dahan. 2007. "Models and Simulations in Climate Change. Historical, Epistemological, Anthropological and Political Aspects." In Science without Laws: Model Systems, Cases, Exemplary Narratives, edited by Angela N. H. Creager, Elizabeth Lunbeck and M. Norton Wise. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • Edwards, Paul N. 2000. "A Brief History of Atmospheric General Circulation Modeling." In General Circulation Model Development, edited by D. A. Randall. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Edwards, Paul N. 2010. A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Fleagle, Robert G. 1992. "From the International Geophysical Year to Global Change." Reviews of Geophysics 30: 305-13.
  • Fleming, James R. 1998. Historical Perspectives on Climate Change. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Fleming, James R., ed. 1996. Historical Essays on Meteorology 1919-1995. Boston: American Meteorological Society.
  • Fleming, James R., ed. Classic papers on global warming online (PALE).
  • Fleming, James R. 2007. The Callendar Effect. The Life and Work of Guy Stewart Callendar (1898-1964), the Scientist Who Established the Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change. Boston, MA: American Meteorological Society.
  • Fleming, James R. 2010. Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Gelbspan, Ross.1997; 2004. The Heat Is On. The High Stakes Battle over Earth's Threatened Climate. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997; Boiling Point. How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists Are Fueling the Climate Crisis — and What You Can Do to Avert Disaster. New York: Basic, 2004.
  • Handel, Mark David, and James S. Risbey. 1992. "An Annotated [Historical] Bibliography on the Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change." Climatic Change 21: 97-255.
  • Hansen, James. 2009. Storms of My Grandchildren. The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. New York: Bloomsbury USA.
  • Howe, Joshua P. 2014. Behind the Curve. Science and the Politics of Global Warming. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  • Imbrie, John, and Katherine Palmer Imbrie. 1986. Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery. Rev. Ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Jones, M.D.H., and A. Henderson-Sellers. 1990. "History of the Greenhouse Effect." Progress in Physical Geography 14: 1-18. (Pioneering short account.)
  • Kellogg, William W. 1987. "Mankind's Impact on Climate: The Evolution of an Awareness." Climatic Change 10: 113-36. (Pioneering short account.)
  • Le Treut, H., et al. 2007. "Historical Overview of Climate Change Science." In Climate Change 2007: The Physical Basis of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC, edited by Susan Solomon et al., pp. 93-127. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press (online at the IPCC site)
  • Lynch, Peter. 2006. The Emergence of Numerical Weather Prediction: Richardson's Dream. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mann, Michael. 2012. The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Mayewski, Paul A., and Frank White. 2002. The Ice Chronicles: The Quest to Understand Global Climate Change. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.
  • Miller, Clark A., and Paul N. Edwards, eds. 2001. "Changing the Atmosphere. Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance." Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Mooney, Chris. 2007. Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming. New York: Harcourt.
  • Nebeker, Frederik. 1995. Calculating the Weather: Meteorology in the 20th Century. New York: Academic Press.
  • Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik Conway. 2008."Challenging Knowledge: How Climate Science Became a Victim of the Cold War." In Agnotology: The Cultural Production of Ignorance, edited by Proctor, Robert, and Londa Schiebinger, Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. 2010. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. New York: Bloomsbury.
  • O'Riordan, Tim, and Jill Jäger. 1996. "The History of Climate Change Science and Politics." In Politics of Climate Change: A European Perspective, edited by T. O'Riordan and J. Jäger. London: Routledge.
  • Peterson, Thomas C., et al. 2008. "The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 89: 1325-37.
  • Pooley, Eric. 2010. The Climate War. True Believers, Power Brokers, and the Fight to Save the Earth. New York: Hyperion.
  • Rodhe, Henning, and Robert Charlson, eds. 1998. The Legacy of Svante Arrhenius. Understanding the Greenhouse Effect. Stockholm: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
  • Schneider, Stephen H., and Randi Londer. 1984. The Co-evolution of Climate and Life. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.
  • Schneider, Stephen H. 2009. Science as a Contact Sport. Inside the Battle to Save the Earth's Climate. Washington, DC: National Geographic.
  • Stevens, William K. 1999. The Change in the Weather: People, Weather and the Science of Climate. New York: Delacorte Press.
  • Victor, David G. 2001. The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Weart, Spencer R. 2008. The Discovery of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2nd ed. - more info here.

    copyright© 2003-2014 Spencer Weart & American Institute of Physics

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