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