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 184.108.40.206 Natural variations in radiative forcing 220.127.116.11 Albedo; forcings vs feedbacks 2.1.2 Greenhouse gases: 18.104.22.168 CO2, CH4, N2O, chlorofluorocarbons, O3 22.214.171.124 Basic information on each: sources/sinks, residence times, recent histories 2.1.3 Tropospheric aerosols 126.96.36.199 Sources and types 188.8.131.52 Radiative effects: direct, semidirect, indirect 184.108.40.206 Atmospheric hydrologic impacts 220.127.116.11 Observations and human/ecological impacts: plumes off Asia and Africa; remote air quality impacts; coral disease vector? 2.1.4 Stratospheric ozone depletion 18.104.22.168 Background: O3 distribution; Mechanisms of production and destruction 22.214.171.124 Observations (Antarctic) - seasonal dependence, extent and amplitude of depletion. 126.96.36.199 Chemistry: O3 destruction by chlorofluorocarbons; Cl reservoir compounds; roles of Br and N2O 188.8.131.52 Relationships with global warming: radiatively active gases; relate to stratospheric temperatures 184.108.40.206 Global depletion of stratospheric O3 220.127.116.11 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 18.104.22.168 Atmospheric Hadley circulation 22.214.171.124 Surface ocean currents 126.96.36.199 Natural climate patterns/systems: the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), monsoons, annular modes, multidecadal modes 188.8.131.52 Thermohaline/deep ocean circulation 184.108.40.206 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 220.127.116.11 Motivations 18.104.22.168 Methods 2.3.2 Temperature reconstructions 22.214.171.124 Past 2 millennia: Late 20th century is warmer than any recent period 2.3.3 Drought 126.96.36.199 "Megadroughts" a naturally occurring phenomenon 2.3.4 Modes of variability (ENSO, monsoons) 188.8.131.52 Natural variability large, and sensitive to radiative forcing (Holocene) 2.3.5 Thermohaline circulation 184.108.40.206 Past changes large, abrupt 220.127.116.11 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 18.104.22.168 Types 22.214.171.124 Limitations 126.96.36.199 Validation 2.4.2 Current and future climate trends - observations and predictions 188.8.131.52 Temperature: means, extremes; stratospheric vs tropospheric 184.108.40.206 Hydrologic: Amount and intensity of precipitation; drought; flood; storms/hurricanes; vapor; clouds 220.127.116.11 Systems: ENSO, monsoon 18.104.22.168 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 22.214.171.124 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 126.96.36.199 Using CO2 measurements, C isotopes, O2 concentrations 3.5 Nitrogen cycle 3.5.1 Processes and terminology 188.8.131.52 Fixation, denitrification, 184.108.40.206 Forms 3.5.2 Global cycle: natural and anthropogenic 220.127.116.11 Marine 18.104.22.168 Terrestrial 3.5.3 Impacts of excess - terrestrial systems 22.214.171.124 Carbon fixation (N fertilization) - estimates 126.96.36.199 Ecosystem acidification 3.5.4 Impacts of excess - marine systems 188.8.131.52 Productivity stimulus; eutrophication; "dead zones". BOX: Yaqui Valley/Gulf of California story3.6 Biogeochemistry of other greenhouse gases 3.6.1 Methane 184.108.40.206 Key processes 220.127.116.11 Sources and sinks 18.104.22.168 Recent time history: changes in growth rate 3.6.2 Tropospheric ozone 22.214.171.124 Production - needs both volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides 126.96.36.199 Sources of VOCs, NOx 188.8.131.52 Impacts 4 Drivers of environmental change 4.1 Energy 4.1.1 Basic numbers: usage, sources, consumption, production 184.108.40.206 Global, regional/country example 220.127.116.11 Break down by end use 18.104.22.168 Projections - regional and by end use 4.1.2 Oil 22.214.171.124 Production - regional breakdown 126.96.36.199 Supply: "peak oil" debate 188.8.131.52 Nonconventional sources; oil shale, tar sands - issues 4.1.3 Coal 184.108.40.206 Production - regional differences 220.127.116.11 Supply - regional differences 18.104.22.168 Making coal more useful: cleaning; C sequestration (refer to other section); gasification? 4.1.4 Supplies - noncarbon alternatives 22.214.171.124 Hydrogen: complications from production method; need for infrastructure 126.96.36.199 Renewables: Sufficient? 188.8.131.52 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 184.108.40.206 Examples from high-growth, stable, declining 4.2.2 Population trends and regional aspects 220.127.116.11 Age structures 18.104.22.168 Other aspects: urbanization, coastal, AIDS 4.2.3 Consumption 22.214.171.124 Different consumption levels determine "footprint" of added population 4.3 Land Use 4.3.1 Deforestation and Fire 126.96.36.199 Clearcutting vs other means of forest impoverishment (logging, fragmentation, etc.) 188.8.131.52 Estimates of land cleared or affected, carbon lost 184.108.40.206 Consequences: physical climate/hydrology; biodiversity; biogeochemical) 220.127.116.11 Biomass burning and its atmospheric consequences 4.3.2 Agricultural expansion and intensification (link to previous section) 18.104.22.168 Consequences of tillage: soil lost; C lost 22.214.171.124 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 126.96.36.199 Range shifts; phenology; behavior; extinctions; fire 5.1.2 Biodiversity 188.8.131.52 Basics on biodiversity (types, value, etc.) 184.108.40.206 Diversity = resiliency (insurance) 220.127.116.11 Hotspots 5.1.3 Case studies 18.104.22.168 Coral reefs 22.214.171.124 Arctic 126.96.36.199 (Others?). BOX: invasive species impacts5.2 Sea level 5.2.1 Basic processes 188.8.131.52 local vs global 184.108.40.206 eustatic 220.127.116.11 thermal expansion 5.2.2 Observations: what are true rates of rise 18.104.22.168 Satellite 22.214.171.124 Tide gauge 5.2.3 Predictions 126.96.36.199 Modeling future changes 188.8.131.52 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 184.108.40.206 ENSO-cholera, hantavirus, Rift Valley fever; many others 5.3.2 Future changes in infectious disease 220.127.116.11 mosquito-borne, coccidiomycosis, water-borne, others 5.3.3 Future changes in unhealthy extremes 18.104.22.168 Heat waves, storms 22.214.171.124 Air quality 5.4 Agriculture 5.4.1 Prediction of productivity 126.96.36.199 Model predictions 188.8.131.52 Geographic and socioeconomic differences 184.108.40.206 Issues in forecasting - examples 5.4.2 Uncertainties 220.127.116.11 Direct effects of CO2 18.104.22.168 Other limits/uncertainties: water, ozone, nutrient concerns, need for capital-intensive measures 22.214.171.124 Adaptations on many scales, from individual farmer practices to genetic research programs 5.5 Water 5.5.1 Quantity 126.96.36.199 Impacts are regional 188.8.131.52 Impact of cryospheric change 184.108.40.206 Impact on infrastructure 220.127.116.11 Demand more of an issue than climate change per se; "soft paths" hold hope for increasing efficiency of use 5.5.2 Quality 18.104.22.168 Consequence of socioeconomic, population changes 22.214.171.124 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 126.96.36.199 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 188.8.131.52 Kyoto protocol: basic structure, provisions, mechanisms; interest groups 184.108.40.206 Beyond Kyoto 6.3.2 US role - as major emitter and technology developer 220.127.116.11 Position and actions - national 18.104.22.168 Politicization and public perception: "skeptics", "balance", and other distractions 22.214.171.124 Local/state actions: Cities, states setting emissions targets 6.3.3 Legal actions 126.96.36.199 International, native nations, regional 6.3.4 Industry 188.8.131.52 Increasing acceptance and even support of regulation: Need certainty 184.108.40.206 Public relations vs genuine recognition of problem 220.127.116.11 Emissions targets, other voluntary measures. BOX: Carbon consequences of personal decisions6.4 Responses 6.4.1 Geoengineering: Carbon sequestration 18.104.22.168 Marine, terrestrial 6.4.2 Geoengineering: Intentional climate modification 6.4.3 Adaptation to climate change 22.214.171.124 Sustainability 126.96.36.199 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