The author writes:
The inspiration for this book arose from a highly regarded class I teach at the University of Arizona, in which 30-40 undergraduate and graduate students from many disciplines and programs learn about the basic science of global environmental change. The students are diverse in their interests (they come not just from natural science programs, but also from social science, engineering, and education programs), and in their preparation (from undergraduate juniors to Ph.D. candidates). I try to teach this material in a way that allows everyone to grasp the important points even if the subject is new to them, while including the very latest science from research journals to keep the more advanced students engaged. My goals, beyond helping students to learn the basic material, include highlighting the interconnectedness of global change science and inspiring students to pursue, create and disseminate further knowledge in this field.
Why write a textbook in such a rapidly expanding field? No semester-long class can convey the full breadth and depth of knowledge in global change science; no textbook can accomplish this either. With this book, I aim to provide a resource for the teaching of global change that offers a foundation in the appropriate subjects and a springboard for curiosity about further reading and research. This book will serve as an introduction to the science of global environmental change and an inspiration for students to pursue further coursework and research that is grounded in a global change context. I also hope it will help instructors to design interdisciplinary global change courses that reach beyond their immediate areas of expertise. The topics range across physical climate science, biogeochemistry, ecosystems, and global change impacts; I have also included sections on societal responses to and drivers of environmental change. I expect the science chapters (sections 1-3 in attached outline) to make up roughly 65 of the book. Each chapter will include references for further reading, and a website (regularly maintained) will update these listings with recent journal and policy publications. I expect this book will be a starting point for students who want to go further in environmental change research, or a strong, state-of-the-art summary for those whose careers lie in other directions.
Global Environmental Change - Outline. 1 Introduction. The Earth system is experiencing dramatic environmental change: biogeochemical, ecological, climatic. Some change is natural, but most can be attributed to human activity. The interconnections and feedbacks among natural and human systems greatly complicate our ability to foresee the consequences of our actions. 1.1 Context of changes. * Environmental change not unique to modern time. * Alarm arises from likely impacts and potential to foresee (and avert) harmful change. * Our role as custodians for larger tapestry of biological diversity. * Particular responsibility of industrial nations: those responsible for changes are not those most vulnerable to its impacts1.2 Purpose of book. * Basic information on major aspects of Earth system changes and their causes. * Road map for those who want to pursue further study. * Highlight connections between fields that are often compartmentalized. * References to current scientific literature, web resources. * Stimulate informed action to minimize harmful impacts2 The physical climate system 2.1 Radiation 2.1.1 Earth's radiative balance 22.214.171.124 Natural variations in radiative forcing 126.96.36.199 Albedo; forcings vs feedbacks 2.1.2 Greenhouse gases: 188.8.131.52 CO2, CH4, N2O, chlorofluorocarbons, O3 184.108.40.206 Basic information on each: sources/sinks, residence times, recent histories 2.1.3 Tropospheric aerosols 220.127.116.11 Sources and types 18.104.22.168 Radiative effects: direct, semidirect, indirect 22.214.171.124 Atmospheric hydrologic impacts 126.96.36.199 Observations and human/ecological impacts: plumes off Asia and Africa; remote air quality impacts; coral disease vector? 2.1.4 Stratospheric ozone depletion 188.8.131.52 Background: O3 distribution; Mechanisms of production and destruction 184.108.40.206 Observations (Antarctic) - seasonal dependence, extent and amplitude of depletion. 220.127.116.11 Chemistry: O3 destruction by chlorofluorocarbons; Cl reservoir compounds; roles of Br and N2O 18.104.22.168 Relationships with global warming: radiatively active gases; relate to stratospheric temperatures 22.214.171.124 Global depletion of stratospheric O3 126.96.36.199 Montreal protocol (plus amendments) and the projected recovery of Antarctic ozone hole. BOX: comparing the policy responses to ozone depletion and climate change2.2 The modern climate system 2.2.1 Surface ocean and atmosphere 188.8.131.52 Atmospheric Hadley circulation 184.108.40.206 Surface ocean currents 220.127.116.11 Natural climate patterns/systems: the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), monsoons, annular modes, multidecadal modes 18.104.22.168 Thermohaline/deep ocean circulation 22.214.171.124 Climate extremes: tropical storms, drought, flood, heat wave. BOX: Forecasting ENSO and its impacts2.3 Paleoclimatology: climate lessons from the past 2.3.1 Paleoclimate introduction 126.96.36.199 Motivations 188.8.131.52 Methods 2.3.2 Temperature reconstructions 184.108.40.206 Past 2 millennia: Late 20th century is warmer than any recent period 2.3.3 Drought 220.127.116.11 "Megadroughts" a naturally occurring phenomenon 2.3.4 Modes of variability (ENSO, monsoons) 18.104.22.168 Natural variability large, and sensitive to radiative forcing (Holocene) 2.3.5 Thermohaline circulation 22.214.171.124 Past changes large, abrupt 126.96.36.199 Sensitivity to future change?. Box: Abrupt change - beyond the North Atlantic paradigm; is this the climate system's normal way of behaving?2.4 Observing and simulating climate change 2.4.1 Climate models 188.8.131.52 Types 184.108.40.206 Limitations 220.127.116.11 Validation 2.4.2 Current and future climate trends - observations and predictions 18.104.22.168 Temperature: means, extremes; stratospheric vs tropospheric 22.214.171.124 Hydrologic: Amount and intensity of precipitation; drought; flood; storms/hurricanes; vapor; clouds 126.96.36.199 Systems: ENSO, monsoon 188.8.131.52 Cryosphere: glaciers, snow cover, sea ice, ice sheets, frozen ground. Box: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and assessing the state of the science3 Biogeochemical systems 3.1 Carbon cycle overview 3.1.1 Global system; sources, sinks, reservoirs, fluxes 184.108.40.206 Natural and anthropogenic components - relative scales. BOX: Carbon isotopes as tracers of carbon cycle processes3.2 Terrestrial carbon cycle 3.2.1 Basic processes and concepts: photosynthesis, respiration, turnover time, soils. vegetation 3.2.2 Ways of measuring ecosystem carbon 3.2.3 Regional results: Amazon; Arctic; temperate forests in N America, Europe 3.2.4 Current and future terrestrial carbon budget. BOX: Managing ecosystems for carbon - examples3.3 Marine carbon cycle 3.3.1 Inorganic aspects: gas flux; carbonate and alkalinity; ocean acidification 3.3.2 Organic aspects: nutrients; biological pump; dissolved organic C 3.3.3 Future of the ocean carbon sink: biological pump vs circulation. BOX: Iron fertilization3.4 Global carbon cycle revisited: Anthropogenic perturbation 3.4.1 Summary of anthropogenic sources and sinks 220.127.116.11 Using CO2 measurements, C isotopes, O2 concentrations 3.5 Nitrogen cycle 3.5.1 Processes and terminology 18.104.22.168 Fixation, denitrification, 22.214.171.124 Forms 3.5.2 Global cycle: natural and anthropogenic 126.96.36.199 Marine 188.8.131.52 Terrestrial 3.5.3 Impacts of excess - terrestrial systems 184.108.40.206 Carbon fixation (N fertilization) - estimates 220.127.116.11 Ecosystem acidification 3.5.4 Impacts of excess - marine systems 18.104.22.168 Productivity stimulus; eutrophication; "dead zones". BOX: Yaqui Valley/Gulf of California story3.6 Biogeochemistry of other greenhouse gases 3.6.1 Methane 22.214.171.124 Key processes 126.96.36.199 Sources and sinks 188.8.131.52 Recent time history: changes in growth rate 3.6.2 Tropospheric ozone 184.108.40.206 Production - needs both volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides 220.127.116.11 Sources of VOCs, NOx 18.104.22.168 Impacts 4 Drivers of environmental change 4.1 Energy 4.1.1 Basic numbers: usage, sources, consumption, production 22.214.171.124 Global, regional/country example 126.96.36.199 Break down by end use 188.8.131.52 Projections - regional and by end use 4.1.2 Oil 184.108.40.206 Production - regional breakdown 220.127.116.11 Supply: "peak oil" debate 18.104.22.168 Nonconventional sources; oil shale, tar sands - issues 4.1.3 Coal 22.214.171.124 Production - regional differences 126.96.36.199 Supply - regional differences 188.8.131.52 Making coal more useful: cleaning; C sequestration (refer to other section); gasification? 4.1.4 Supplies - noncarbon alternatives 184.108.40.206 Hydrogen: complications from production method; need for infrastructure 220.127.116.11 Renewables: Sufficient? 18.104.22.168 Nuclear: issues related to waste (Yucca debate), economics/subsidies. BOX: Stabilization wedges (current technologies to stabilize growth of atmospheric GHGs)4.2 Population and Consumption 4.2.1 The demographic transition: populations stabilize as country develops 22.214.171.124 Examples from high-growth, stable, declining 4.2.2 Population trends and regional aspects 126.96.36.199 Age structures 188.8.131.52 Other aspects: urbanization, coastal, AIDS 4.2.3 Consumption 184.108.40.206 Different consumption levels determine "footprint" of added population 4.3 Land Use 4.3.1 Deforestation and Fire 220.127.116.11 Clearcutting vs other means of forest impoverishment (logging, fragmentation, etc.) 18.104.22.168 Estimates of land cleared or affected, carbon lost 22.214.171.124 Consequences: physical climate/hydrology; biodiversity; biogeochemical) 126.96.36.199 Biomass burning and its atmospheric consequences 4.3.2 Agricultural expansion and intensification (link to previous section) 188.8.131.52 Consequences of tillage: soil lost; C lost 184.108.40.206 Other aspects of agricultural intensification: chemical and mechanical requirements; genetic diversity lost; factory farm pollution; etc. 5 Impacts of environmental change 5.1 Ecological 5.1.1 Observed impacts 220.127.116.11 Range shifts; phenology; behavior; extinctions; fire 5.1.2 Biodiversity 18.104.22.168 Basics on biodiversity (types, value, etc.) 22.214.171.124 Diversity = resiliency (insurance) 126.96.36.199 Hotspots 5.1.3 Case studies 188.8.131.52 Coral reefs 184.108.40.206 Arctic 220.127.116.11 (Others?). BOX: invasive species impacts5.2 Sea level 5.2.1 Basic processes 18.104.22.168 local vs global 22.214.171.124 eustatic 126.96.36.199 thermal expansion 5.2.2 Observations: what are true rates of rise 188.8.131.52 Satellite 184.108.40.206 Tide gauge 5.2.3 Predictions 220.127.116.11 Modeling future changes 18.104.22.168 Ice sheets and fast ice processes - wildcard. BOX: Integrated impacts of global change on low-lying coastal communities: sea level, storm surges, population growth, ecosystems.5.3 Disease and health 5.3.1 Relate to natural climate variability 22.214.171.124 ENSO-cholera, hantavirus, Rift Valley fever; many others 5.3.2 Future changes in infectious disease 126.96.36.199 mosquito-borne, coccidiomycosis, water-borne, others 5.3.3 Future changes in unhealthy extremes 188.8.131.52 Heat waves, storms 184.108.40.206 Air quality 5.4 Agriculture 5.4.1 Prediction of productivity 220.127.116.11 Model predictions 18.104.22.168 Geographic and socioeconomic differences 22.214.171.124 Issues in forecasting - examples 5.4.2 Uncertainties 126.96.36.199 Direct effects of CO2 188.8.131.52 Other limits/uncertainties: water, ozone, nutrient concerns, need for capital-intensive measures 184.108.40.206 Adaptations on many scales, from individual farmer practices to genetic research programs 5.5 Water 5.5.1 Quantity 220.127.116.11 Impacts are regional 18.104.22.168 Impact of cryospheric change 22.214.171.124 Impact on infrastructure 126.96.36.199 Demand more of an issue than climate change per se; "soft paths" hold hope for increasing efficiency of use 5.5.2 Quality 188.8.131.52 Consequence of socioeconomic, population changes 184.108.40.206 Waterborne diseases 6 Societal action on environmental change: minimizing the impacts 6.1 Mitigation AND adaptation needed 6.2 Motivation for actions 6.2.1 Recognition of impacts 6.2.2 Ethical dimensions 6.2.3 Uncertainty issue 6.2.4 Risk-assessment: "insurance" 6.2.5 Cost-benefit: limits of economic approach 6.2.6 No-regrets strategies 6.3 Climate change policy 6.3.1 International 220.127.116.11 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 18.104.22.168 Kyoto protocol: basic structure, provisions, mechanisms; interest groups 22.214.171.124 Beyond Kyoto 6.3.2 US role - as major emitter and technology developer 126.96.36.199 Position and actions - national 188.8.131.52 Politicization and public perception: "skeptics", "balance", and other distractions 184.108.40.206 Local/state actions: Cities, states setting emissions targets 6.3.3 Legal actions 220.127.116.11 International, native nations, regional 6.3.4 Industry 18.104.22.168 Increasing acceptance and even support of regulation: Need certainty 22.214.171.124 Public relations vs genuine recognition of problem 126.96.36.199 Emissions targets, other voluntary measures. BOX: Carbon consequences of personal decisions6.4 Responses 6.4.1 Geoengineering: Carbon sequestration 188.8.131.52 Marine, terrestrial 6.4.2 Geoengineering: Intentional climate modification 6.4.3 Adaptation to climate change 184.108.40.206 Sustainability 220.127.116.11 Resiliency
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Dr Julia Cole is a faculty member in the Dept Geological Sciences, University of Arizona. She is well-known internationally for her work on elucidating past climate change from the geological record