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