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Introduction to Modern Climate Change is tightly focused on the problem of anthropogenic climate change. It is unique among textbooks on climate change in that it combines an introduction of the science with an introduction to the non-science issues such as the economic and policy options. Unlike more purely descriptive textbooks, it contains the quantitative depth that is necessary for an adequate understanding of the science of climate change. The goal of Introduction to Modern Climate Change is for a student to leave the class ready to engage in the public policy debate on this issue. 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.
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. The future of our climate
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
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 humans 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 that experience, he co-authored a book, The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate. He also authored the graduate textbook, The Chemistry and Physics of Stratospheric Ozone. 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 Ph.D. 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. In a previous life, he worked in the energy group at The First Boston Corporation doing mergers and acquisitions analysis.
"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
"Several years ago [...] Andrew Dessler created an introductory course on climate change at Texas A&M University [...] This textbook is an outgrowth of the notes he used in teaching that course. Last year while Andy was away I taught the course using his first draft of the book, which was shared online with the students. Both the students and I very much enjoyed the course and the notes. 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 Andy cares about passionately, and he really cares about his reader as well. The 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 [...] To put this in perspective, Lord King, a former scientific advisor to the British Prime Minister, is quoted as saying that 'no single issue, scientific or non-scientific, has ever received as much attention from world leaders as climate change'. Why this upwelling of interest? And how can society profit from it?"
- 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 the intended audience: 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