Global Warming: The Hard Science

Global Warming: The Hard Science presents a comprehensive, qualitatively rigorous, and critical discussion of the science underlying the global warming issue. The major processes in the climate system needed to understand projected human-induced climatic change are presented in detail. Observational systems used to monitor changes in the climate system and the ways in which the raw data are analyzed in order to produce estimates of current trends are also critically reviewed. The author discusses the hierarchy of computer models used to project changes in the carbon cycle, in climate, and in sea level and examines the physical principles underlying the greenhouse effect and projected warming. The text also presents a detailed discussion of the carbon cycle, of climate sensitivity, and of projected patterns of climatic change through time. Sea level rise and issues of risk and potential surprises are also critically assessed. Emphasis is placed throughout on developing an intuitive understanding of those results that do not depend on the details of any one computer simulation model. A series of boxes illustrate the key points through step-by-step calculations.