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