Contents

Preface viii

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

Elements of the Climate System 1

Climate and Weather 2

Federal Agencies Studying Climate 5

The Concept of a Global System 5

Climate Variability and Cycles 6

What Exactly Is Global Warming? 7

Global Warming: Myths and Facts 8

The Atmosphere's Structure 10

The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming 14

The Mauna Loa Observatory 15

The Carbon Cycle and Its Links to Other Major Cycles 28

Biogeochemical Cycles 29 The Carbon Cycle—Natural v. Human

Amplification 30

The Hydrologic Cycle 34 The Relationships between the Land, the Oceans, and the Atmosphere 36

Carbon Sinks and Sequestration 36

Plate Tectonics: Climate and Movement of the Earth's

Continents 41

The Theory of Continental Drift 41

The Force That Drives the Tectonic Plates 44

Plate Tectonics and Global Warming 47

4 The Flow of Energy 55

Solar Energy 55

Ozone and Climate Change 58

The Earth's Energy 60

Atmospheric Energy 62

Global Energy Balance 66

Rates of Change 69

Planetary and Global Motions in the Atmosphere That

Affect Climate 72

Orbital Variations 72

The Earth's Rotation and the Coriolis Force 76

Large-scale Features of the Atmospheric Winds 78

Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis (1792-1843) 78

Discovery of the Trade Winds 82

Global Warming and Atmospheric Circulation 83

The Origin of El Nino's Name 85

6 Local Motions in the Atmosphere That Affect Weather and Climate 94

Regional Wind Systems 95

Local Wind Systems 99

A Storm with Many Names 104

Extreme Weather 105

NASA's Extratropical Storm Tracks Atlas 106

Ocean Currents 110

Ocean Circulation 110 The Roles of Variable Seawater Density, Temperature, and Salinity 113

The Intertropical Convergence Zone 115

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation 115

The North Atlantic Oscillation 116

The Great Ocean Conveyor Belt 119 The Consequences of Destabilization—Abrupt

Climate Change 120

8 The Global Warming Issue 122

Early Studies of Global Warming and Scientific

Response 123

Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927): Swedish Chemist 123

Scientific Viewpoints and Scale 124

Advances in Technology and Education 126

The Growth of Environmental Awareness 132

Public and Media Response 144

9 The Big Picture 146

Climate Forcing—Positive and Negative Feedback 146

Scientific Inquiry and the Limits of Technology 150 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

(IPCC) 152 What Scientists Know, Speculate, and Do Not Know about Global Warming 157

What Lies Ahead 159

10 Conclusions and a Glance into the Future 161

An Overwhelming Consensus 161

Who Are the Major Contributors? 163

What the Experts Say 167

Coping with Global Climate Change—Adaptation 171

Research and Learning—Looking Ahead 172

Facts about Climate Change 173

Chronology 175

Glossary 181

Further Resources 190

Index 211

0 0

Post a comment