296 pages, 9 colour & 75 b/w illustrations, 5 tables
This is an invaluable textbook for any introductory survey course on the science and policy of climate change, for both non-science majors and introductory science students. The second edition has been thoroughly updated to reflect the most recent science from the latest IPCC reports, and many illustrations include new data. The new edition also reflects advances in the political debate over climate change. Unique amongst textbooks on climate change, it combines an introduction to the science with an introduction to economic and policy issues, and is tightly focused on anthropogenic climate change. It contains the necessary quantitative depth for students to properly understand the science of climate change. It supports students in using algebra to understand simple equations and to solve end of chapter problems. Supplementary online resources include a complete set of PowerPoint figures for instructors, solutions to exercises, videos of the author's lectures, and additional computer exercises.
Reviews of the first edition
"At last, a textbook about the scientific basis for global climate change that's well balanced, well written, highly illuminating, and accessible to non-science majors."
– John M. Wallace, University of Washington
"Understanding the challenges of climate change requires an understanding of the relevant science, economics and policy. However, existing introductory textbooks focus on only one of these disciplines, and there is a need for books covering all aspects. This textbook fills this void. Dessler has done an excellent job of clearly describing the different issues of climate change in a way that will be accessible to both science and non-science majors. I can see this book becoming the standard textbook for the growing number of introductory courses that discuss both the science and policy of climate change."
– Darryn Waugh, Johns Hopkins University
"Andy is a natural teacher and writer with such an ease of presentation that he makes complex subjects accessible by his clever use of everyday analogies. Climate change is a subject that [he] cares about passionately, and he really cares about his reader as well. [This] book provides an expert's exposition of climate change in all its facets [...] written primarily as a textbook, it also provides excellent reading for any layperson [...]"
– Gerald R. North, Texas A&M University
"Professor Dessler's book is written for 'undergraduate non-science majors'. He must believe in the impossible – that he can bring a topic as complex as climate change into focus for students with little background in science. However, I must say that Professor Dessler has succeeded. Students who read this book will achieve a level of understanding of climate change that they may, first, 'engage in an informed debate of public policy'; second, understand the deep significance of Climategate; and third, explain and act upon the recent explosion of public interest in climate change."
– Ted Munn, University of Toronto
"The text provides a readable, concise summary of the science of climate change, but it is the nonscientific aspects of the book that set it apart [...] a well-crafted textbook. The writing is very accessible without being too simplistic. The combination of a broad overview of the science and policy of climate change is both novel and appropriate for [...] an introductory-level survey course on climate change. Reading the book was a learning experience for me, and I would happily recommend this book to anyone seeking an introduction to climate change."
– Guillaume Mauger, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
"The book reads extremely well: it uses stories, analogues, and examples to draw the reader into the story of the science of our changing planet. Despite the complexity of the actual science, Dessler presents the material in a clear manner and does it without drawing on mathematics any more difficult than simple algebra [...] I recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about climate change and the challenges it presents to humanity."
– Donald J. Wuebbles, Physics Today
1. An introduction to the climate problem
2. Is the climate changing?
3. Radiation and energy balance
4. A simple climate model
5. The carbon cycle
6. Forcing, feedbacks, and climate sensitivity
7. Why is the climate changing?
8. Predictions of future climate change
9. Impacts of climate change
10. Exponential growth
11. Fundamentals of climate change policy
12. Mitigation policies
13. A brief history of climate science and politics
14. Putting it together: a long-term policy to address climate change
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Andrew Dessler is a climate scientist who studies both the science and politics of climate change. His scientific research revolves around climate feedbacks, in particular how water vapor and clouds act to amplify warming from the carbon dioxide that human activities emit. During the last year of the Clinton Administration, he served as a Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Based on his research and policy experience, he has authored two books on climate change: this textbook and The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate, 2nd edition (with Edward Parson, 2010). This textbook won the 2014 American Meteorological Society Louis J. Battan Author's Award. In recognition of his work on outreach, in 2011 he was named a Google Science Communication Fellow. He is presently a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University. His educational background includes a BA in physics from Rice University and a PhD in chemistry from Harvard University. He also undertook postdoctoral work at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and spent nine years on the research faculty of the University of Maryland.