|Suggested Reading on Climate Change
Listed below are a few resources that I believe are invaluable to those seeking information about the current science of climate change:
US National Academy of Sciences: America's Climate Choices (2011)
“A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems…. Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.”
IPCC 2007 FAQ
This is a set of Frequently Asked Questions with answers that are taken directly from the IPCC Working Group I Reports, but with language that is easily understood by the non-scientist. All persons interested in the latest science of climate change should begin with this document. The IPCC Working Group I (WG I) assesses the physical scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change. The main topics assessed by WG I include: changes in greenhouse gases and aerosols in the atmosphere; observed changes in air, land and ocean temperatures, rainfall, glaciers and ice sheets, oceans and sea level; historical and paleoclimatic perspective on climate change; biogeochemistry, carbon cycle, gases and aerosols; satellite data and other data; climate models; climate projections, causes and attribution of climate change.
EPA - US Climate Change Indicators Report (April 2010)
The indicators in this report present clear evidence that the composition of the atmosphere is being altered as a result of human activities and that the climate is changing. They also illustrate a number of effects on society and ecosystems related to these changes. Topics in this highly illustrated document include: Greenhouse Gases, U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Atmospheric Concentrations of Greenhouse Gases, Climate Forcing, Weather and Climate, U.S. and Global Temperature, Rate of Temperature Change in the United States, 1901–2008, Heat Waves, Drought, U.S. and Global Precipitation, Heavy Precipitation, Tropical Cyclone Intensity, Oceans, Ocean Heat, Sea Surface Temperature, Sea Level, Ocean Acidity, Snow and Ice, Arctic Sea Ice, Glaciers, Lake Ice, Snow Cover, Snowpack, Society and Ecosystems, Heat-Related Deaths, Length of Growing Season, Plant Hardiness Zones, Leaf and Bloom Dates, and Bird Wintering Ranges.
Synthesis Report from the Climate Change Congress 2009
The Synthesis Report adds the latest research to the basis of knowledge on climate change compiled in the IPCC reports. This conference is one of the world's largest ever interdisciplinary conferences on climate change with more than 2,000 participants from around 80 countries. The Congress is the result of a unique cooperation between ten of the world's leading universities; the International Alliance of Re-search universities (IARU), which consists of Australian National University, ETH - Zürich, National University of Singapore, Peking University, University of California - Berkeley, University of Cambridge, University of Copenhagen, University of Oxford, University of Tokyo and Yale University.
Advancing the Science of Climate Change (2010)
This title is part of the America's Climate Choices project, the National Research Council's most comprehensive study of climate change to date.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Science of Climate Change 2008 Update
This FAQ by Atmospheric Science Assessment and Integration Section Science and Technology Branch of Environment Canada covers all the major climate change topics in a very easy to read, illustrated format.
Climate Change: What Does It Mean for Our World?
Katharine Hayhoe is a research associate professor at Texas Tech University and expert reviewer for the IPCC who has put together a stunning visual slideshow that explains why humans are causing global warming, the devastating impacts of global warming, and what we can do to mitigate the problem. This is a powerful presentation displayed with simplicity so everybody can understand the importance of addressing climate change.
Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years
In response to a request from Congress, the National Academy of Sciences prepared Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years which assesses the state of scientific efforts to reconstruct surface temperature records for Earth during approximately the last 2,000 years and the implications of these efforts for our understanding of global climate change. Because widespread, reliable temperature records are available only for the last 150 years, scientists estimate temperatures in the more distant past by analyzing "proxy evidence," which includes tree rings, corals, ocean and lake sediments, cave deposits, ice cores, boreholes, and glaciers. Starting in the late 1990s, scientists began using sophisticated methods to combine proxy evidence from many different locations in an effort to estimate surface temperature changes during the last few hundred to few thousand years. This online book is an important resource in helping to understand the intricacies of global climate change.
Climate Change and Anthropogenic Greenhouse Warming: A Selection of Key Articles, 1824-1995, with Interpretive Essays
Primary Articles Learning Environment (PALE) NSDL Classic Articles in Context, Issue 1. April 2008. By Dr. James R. Fleming.
A selection of research articles on climate change and anthropogenic greenhouse warming presented here appeared in peer-reviewed journals over the course of two centuries, from 1824 to 1995. Each article is significant in its own right. Some are landmark papers. Each is accompanied by a short essay that provides historical context and points the reader to additional readings and citations.
Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
The report by The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) summarizes the science and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. It focuses on climate change impacts in different regions of the U.S. and on various aspects of society and the economy such as energy, water, agriculture, and health. It’s also a report written in plain language, with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels. In addition to discussing the impacts of climate change in the U.S., the report also highlights the choices we face in response to human-induced climate change.
Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air - How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco's Tactics to Manufacture Uncertainty on Climate Science
The Union of Concerned Scientists expose shows how ExxonMobil waged a campaign against global warming science and awareness that is the most successful and sophisticated science denial campaign since that of Big Tobacco's campaign against the dangers of smoking. In their 64 page document, they show that ExxonMobil:
- Manufactured uncertainty about climate change by raising doubts about even the most certain science.
- Used a tactic known as information laundering by using seemingly independent front groups that pretended to be doing science but were instead just waging public relations for the company. Virtually all of these front groups publicize the work of the same people and these people typically serve as board members or scientific advisors for each of these groups. This tactic creates the illusion that there are many organizations and many people with doubts about global warming.
- Funneled about $16 million to these front groups to manufacture this uncertainty.
- Paid guilt-less scientists to cherry-pick data and misrepresent peer-reviewed scientific evidence whereby these scientists then used this misinformation to persuade the general public and the media that there was still no scientific consensus.
- Shifted the focus away from global warming action by questioning if the data was "sound science".
- Used its extraordinary access to the Bush Administration to block regulation and to shape governmental communications about global warming.
Building a Green Economy
In a truly phenomenal ten page essay in the New York Times, Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman discusses how it possible to make drastic cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions without destroying the economy. Krugman describes the pros and cons of carbon taxes vs cap and trade along with examples of how of these solutions are already effective in other areas. Krugman describes the strong scientific consensus regarding humanity's role in global warming and how most projections are now worse than previously thought. Krugman outlines ways to get China to "play along" with carbon mitigation and why conservatives are abandoning their free-market ideals with regard to the carbon mitigation issue. This is a must-read for those that accept global warming but are worried about the costs invloved with fixing the problem humans have created.
Mind the Gap
Kate, a Canadian high school student and author of the ClimateSight blog, has written a marvelous piece called Mind the Gap where she discusses the issues of science credibility and communication with the public. Coming from a non-scientist, this article will appeal to those of you that are unsure about what to believe but feel as if you are not qualified to question either "side". A must read for all.
Blogs and News:
Climate Science Rapid Response Team - A match-making service between top scientists and members of the media and government.
Realclimate.org - Climate science blog by expert climate scientists (can be a bit technical for non-scientists)
Skeptical Science - Superbly researched and illustrated blog that examines climate change skepticism
Open Mind - Climate science blog from a world-class mathematician/modeler
ClimateSight.org - Very impressive blog by a high school student that addresses key climate change issues (very readable by all)
Only In It For The Gold - Research Scientist Associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics
CLIMATEPHYS - Blog by Chris Colose for those that like more technical discussions
Deltoid - Blog by computer scientist Tim Lambert
A Few Things Ill Considered - Blog by software developer Coby Beck
Deep Climate - Focused on the organizations that propagate climate science disinformation and the public relations professionals who have worked behind the scenes to ensure maximum impact of that disinformation
DeSmogBlog - The DeSmogBlog Project began in January 2006 and quickly became the world’s number one source for accurate, fact based information regarding Global Warming misinformation campaigns
Climate Progress - Climate Progress is dedicated to providing the progressive perspective on climate science, climate solutions, and climate politics and is run by Joseph Romm
My View on Climate Change - Blog by Dr. Bart Verheggen, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN)
The Cost of Energy - Energy and environmental issue awareness to make better informed decisions about consumption and public policy
NASA: A Warming World - New articles, videos, data visualizations, space-based imagery and interactive visuals that provide unique NASA perspectives on climate change.
Carbon Brief - Fact-checks stories about climate science online and in the press
Sourcewatch - Check here to see if that organization or person has ties to the anti-global warming fossil fuel industry
Exxonsecrets - Check here to see if that organization or person has ties to ExxonMobil
Yale Environment 360 - Online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues
The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media - An online publication and forum to foster dialogue on climate change among scientists, journalists, policymakers, and the public
Wottsupwiththat - A response to wattsupwiththat.com, an anti-science web site operated by amateur climatology critic Anthony Watts and his associates.
Climate Ethics - A commentary site on climate change science and policymaking by those working on climate change ethics.
Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming by Dr. Andrew Weaver
This is the first book one should read if new to the subject of climate change (global warming). Climate change is the most important issue facing all of us today and tomorrow, therefore it is a topic that we must all try to understand if we are to make educated decisions about our future and the future of the generations that follow. Climate science is complex because it encompasses a wide array of various fields so even a scientist can find it a Herculean task to try to understand. So where does that leave the rest of us who wish to become educated? Fortunately, Dr. Andrew Weaver has delivered this wonderful little book designed for “climate beginners” that, in just over 100 easy-to-read pages, leaves the reader quite educated about why scientists know humans are causing the planet to warm and the various choices that society must consider in order to deal with the problem.
Read my full review.
The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer R. Weart
This could also be the first book one should read if new to the subject of climate change (global warming). Spencer R. Weart, director of the Center for the History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics, takes the reader on a journey that begins as a scientific detective story about what caused the ice ages and ends up being the story of how scientists realized that humans were influencing climate more than nature. Excerpt from review by Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times Sunday Book Review, 10/5/2003:
"Debate persists over the extent of human-driven warming and what to do about it. But recognition that in a short span our species has nudged the thermostat of the planet remains a momentous, and sobering, finding. "The Discovery of Global Warming" describes the intellectual journey toward that conclusion, with all of its false starts, flawed hypotheses, inventiveness and persistent uncertainties. It reveals the effort as one of the great exercises in collective sleuthing, with pivotal insights provided by experts in fields as varied as glaciology, physics and even plankton paleontology."
Six Degrees: Our Future On a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas
This is the second book one should read because it shows degree by degree the impacts of climate change. Lynas has researched hundreds upon hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific articles to show the reader how each degree of future warming will impact droughts, floods, human migration, sea level rise, ice melt, ecosystem changes/extinctions on land and in the sea, human security issues, etc. Given that 3-4 oC warming is likely before the year 2100, read those chapters first and you will quickly see just how catastrophic the road humans are traveling down really is. This book is not for the faint of heart and will be a huge wake-up call to those that think waiting to take action is a viable option.
Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity by James Hansen
This is the third book one should read. Dr. Hansen describes the history and science of global warming and the potential dire consequences of inaction. Hansen also describes how politicians are fooling the masses with their "greenwashing" (talking green but not legislating green), how cap and trade is likely to be ineffective, why new coal plants should be immediately stopped unless they are carbon-free, and why we must use nuclear power as a wedge to buy us time. This book is different in that a well-respected scientist (arguably Dr. Hansen is the most famous climate scientist) has crossed "the line" between science and politics. Hansen shows just how dangerous divorcing politics from science is. It is clear that the science is not convincing the masses so more scientists must become activists. Dr. Hansen is the scientist exception: he states publicly what he says privately. Many scientists are aware of the coming catastrophe that is global warming but few are bold enough to shout this from the rooftops. Kudos to Dr. Hansen. If only the world had more Hansens. Maybe policy-makers would wake up to the reality of climate change.
Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming by Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump
The IPCC documents are quite heavy for the non-scientist who wishes to learn about the current state of climate change science. This book provides the reader with the most important information of these IPCC documents in an easy-to-read, highly illustrated format. A 7th grade student could easily understand the IPCC reports after reading this book.
Climate Change: Picturing the Science by Gavin Schmidt and Joshua Wolfe
As noted by the authors, this book was structured around a medical metaphor of symptoms, diagnosis, and possible cures. The book is a collection of essays from scientists from many fields: climatology, meteorology, biology, geology, oceanography, chemistry, climate modeling, environmental politics, astrophysics, and other fields, so it becomes clear to the reader how climate change has impacted all aspects of planet Earth. The authors have summarized the latest research in climate science in a style that makes the information very accessible to the non-scientist. The authors also make it clear what is well known vs. what is not well known in the rapidly evolving field of climate science. A very fair representation of the current science.
Earth's Climate: Past and Future by William F. Ruddiman
As the title suggests, this book describes the cause and effect relationship between climate forcing and climate change from ancient climate to the present. Ruddiman also explains how human activities are likely causing the climate change in recent times and the possible future changes. This book is primarily designed to be a textbook aimed at undergraduates in science or for non-science majors taking an entry-level science course. It is also appropriate for the general public but it is written at a much higher level than the books listed above. Ruddiman uses the scientific method to build his topics. He begins with a hypothesis, explores the data, and then discusses if the hypothesis is valid or not. This writing style shows how scientists approach problems and how they offer possible solutions. The illustrations are superb - quite a few have been used in this site.
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do by Joseph Romm
Joseph Romm is a physicist and founder and director of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions. Romm presents a very sobering outlook on the consequences of failing to act on global warming. His book is divided into two parts. The first, The Science and the Future of Global Warming contains a wealth of information about how human emissions are causing global warming and the likely best-case and worse-case scenarios of action vs. inaction. The notes that go along with this chapter are invaluable. The second section, The Politics and the Solution details how politics have trumped science and why this rhetoric has allowed people to believe that technology will save us so no actions to prevent climate change are required.
Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming by James Hoggan
A real eye-opener for those that wonder why the overwhelming scientific consensus about anthropogenic global warming is not reaching the general public. There has been and still is a well-orchestrated campaign by the fossil fuel industry to deliberately confuse the general public with misleading statements and publications presented by the few scientists that are "on the take" from this industry. Hoggan, who founded DeSmogBlog.com, exposes the individuals and the organizations behind the global warming cover-up. You will be saddened and likely outraged at how the misinformation lobby is willing to sacrifice our children's future to save a few dollars today.
Climate Wars: How Peak Oil and the Climate Crisis Will Change Canada (and Our Lives) by Gwynne Dyer
Climate Wars is a bit different from the other climate change books you may have read. This book's central theme is that dwindling resources, water shortages, and droughts/floods caused by global warming are setting up the possibility of regional and perhaps global wars as the haves and the have nots are further separated. Increased immigration due to expanding regions of drought will heighten political tensions between Mexico, the US and Canada, and will pit southern Europe vs. northern Europe, thus destabilizing the EU. As glaciers recede and drought increases, will countries such as India divert waterways that now run into Pakistan? Will Pakistan use its nukes to secure water for its starving people? Most compelling is Dwyer's research that shows military planners from many countries are already worried that climate change will lead to increased terrorism and wars as we move toward 2100. Wars will have the effect of slowing progress on the climate change mitigation that will be required to solve the problems that created these wars in the first place - a vicious cycle for sure. Although Dwyer presents the worst-case scenarios for many examples in this book, it becomes clear to the reader that climate change isn't just about global temperatures - it may be about global war.
Noise: Lies, Damned Lies, and Denial of Global Warming by Grant Foster
Noise: Lies, Damned Lies, and Denial of Global Warming by statistician Grant Foster should be an essential part of everyone's climate change library. It is a powerful weapon! Grant Foster is a genius at delivering complex statistics to the average person. He explains the statistics (without using equations!) in a writing style that is far more typical of a liberal arts professor or a high school teacher than that of a world-class mathematician. At 120 pages, it is a quick read and it fits in one's back pocket. Armed with the helpful information in this handy guide, any person will be able to shoot down the BS from those that try to mislead with bad analyses. Grant Foster shows the ways these fraudsters are trying to trick unwitting persons with cherry-picked data and outright lies while at the same time, he shows the reader how to look at data the correct way. For a chapter-by-chapter review please read my blog post on this book.
To What Degree? What Science is Telling Us about Climate Change
A National Science Foundation (NSF) video series that features many of the world's top scientists discussing climate change and why humans are responsible for today's changes. Using plain language combined with stunning video this series is a must-see for anybody interested in the issue. Topics include: How Do We Know?, IPCC, Carbon Cycle, Water Cycle, Earth's Heat Balance, Climate Modeling, What Americans Believe about Climate Change, and History of Climate Change Research.
Global Warming: is It True?
Author and scientist Dr. James Powell published this video outlining the many lines of evidence for a warming world. This ten minute video is easy to follow and is quite convincing.
Climate Denial Crock of the Week
Peter Sinclair is a long time advocate of environmental awareness and energy alternatives. An award winning graphic artist, illustrator, and animator, Mr. Sinclair runs Greenman Studio from his home in Midland, MI. Mr. Sinclair's cartoons and illustrations have appeared in newspapers around the world, and his work has been profiled in numerous publications, including the New York Times, The Utne Reader, and HaAretz of Jerusalem. Constantly updated information, made vivid with striking, clear graphics and animations, many derived from NASA, The National Snow and Ice Data Center, and top international sources, an expert knowledge of the issues of energy and environment, and an informal, good humored delivery, make difficult concepts easy to see and grasp.
ClimateTV is an interactive, high-definition online television channel bringing you movies, live interviews, interactive talk shows and events on climate change related issues. ClimateTV is all about interactive video content. Their goal is to offer viewers high quality content and the opportunity to pose questions and offer comments in real time to ClimateTV hosts and special guests.
David Archer's Lectures for Global Warming Course
David Archer, a professor in the Department of The Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago, offers a course called Global Warming which is based on his book Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast. These videos are a compilation of his weekly lectures for the course and they offer an introduction to all aspects of global warming. Watch the videos and save your tuition!
Greg Craven's: How It All Ends
These videos from high school science teacher, Greg Craven, reframe the question "Are we certain we're responsible for global warming?" to "Given the risks and uncertainties of global warming, what is the best action to take?" Greg uses simple explanations of complex topics, along with humor, to get the viewer to understand the scientific method and risk management regarding the topic of climate change. A brilliant collection of videos.
The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth's Climate System
A video by Dr. Richard B. Alley of Penn State University that shows the multiple lines of evidence that CO2 has been the climate thermostat for millions of years. Dr. Alley is a wonderful speaker who is able to break down complex issues into simple concepts. With much humor, this video delivers a knock-out blow to those who think CO2 plays a minor role in climate change.
Professor Mandia's Presentations:
Climate Change: What Does It Mean for New York?
Four times in April 2012, I presented this talk to faculty, students, and the general public.
Abstract: Human activities, especially emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas, are causing the climate to rapidly warm. Join Scott Mandia as he shows how New York is already being impacted by global warming and what the expected further warming means for residents of our home state. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the choices we can make now to minimize future impacts.
1.Evidence that the global climate is warming
2.Evidence that humans are causing this warming
3.The impact of this warming on New Yorkers
4.Solutions to the problem than can also save $$$
Global Warming: Man or Myth?
On May 26, 2011 I offered an online presentation about human’s role in global warming to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (Virtual Local Section).
Abstract: Warming of the climate system in the modern era is unequivocal and multiple lines of evidence point to human activity, primarily the emission of carbon dioxide, as the cause of most of this warming. The author will illustrate the evidence for planetary warming, highlight the human fingerprints of greenhouse warming, and show why many of the skeptic arguments are either false or highly misleading.
I was asked to present in response to April’s speaker, Dr. Arvid Pasto, who believes that human-caused global warming is a scam. (One can see a January 2011 presentation by Dr. Pasto here: and his April AIChE presentation here. Dr. Pasto’s April presentation was riddled with mistakes and many of his sources were typical deniers such as: Jo Nova, Will Happer, Anthony Watts, etc. It would have been very easy to go through each slide and point out the mistakes but I chose the high road instead and focused on the science (why reinforce myths by repeating many of them?) I do correct a few of his “mistakes” toward the end of the presentation.
Climate Change is Not Being Nice to Mother Nature
I first gave this talk on Friday, March 26, 2011 to a group of mostly college-aged people. Although I spoke about the various far-ranging impacts of climate change, I focused on the impact on humans and especially the impact on New Yorkers. It is always important to focus one’s presentation to the audience at hand. The main take-home points from Friday’s presentation include:
- Humans are warming the planet by dumping too much carbon into the air and oceans.
- Virtually all scientists agree.
- Climate change is increasing risk in the following areas: national security, health, and economics.
- Many species are vulnerable to climate change, not the least of which, humans.
Little Ice Age vs. Global Warming
On Friday, September 24, 2010 I gave a public presentation on The Little Ice Age (LIA). Much of the historical information comes from my Little Ice Age in Europe web page published quite a few years ago. The LIA (a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850) brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating effect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea. So how does the climate change experienced during the LIA compare to what lies ahead?
Climate Change: What is the Role of Humans?
Designed to bring awareness about climate change for Earth Day (April 22, 2010), this presentation features images from this Website and also from Climate Change: What Does It Mean for Our World? by Katharine Hayhoe, Research Professor at Texas Tech University. This presentation is currently being displayed in the lobby of Suffolk County Community College's (Ammerman Campus) Smithtown Sciences Building in Selden, NY.
Global Warming: Man or Myth?
A public presentation from March 2009 that shows how climate is changing and why the modern day global warming is being driven by humans and not nature. This presentation led to the creation of this Website!
Global Warming FAQ
A public presentation from April 2008 that shows how climate is changing according to the IPCC WGI Report.
Scott A. Mandia
T-202 Smithtown Sciences Bldg.
533 College Rd.
Selden, NY 11784
Last updated: 04/29/12