Historical Perspectives on Climate Change

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Oxford University Press, May 19, 2005 - History - 208 pages
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This intriguing volume provides a thorough examination of the historical roots of global climate change as a field of inquiry, from the Enlightenment to the late twentieth century. Based on primary and archival sources, the book is filled with interesting perspectives on what people have understood, experienced, and feared about the climate and its changes in the past. Chapters explore climate and culture in Enlightenment thought; climate debates in early America; the development of international networks of observation; the scientific transformation of climate discourse; and early contributions to understanding terrestrial temperature changes, infrared radiation, and the carbon dioxide theory of climate. But perhaps most important, this book shows what a study of the past has to offer the interdisciplinary investigation of current environmental problems.
  

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Contents

Climate and Culture in Enlightenment Thought
11
The Great Climate Debate in Colonial and Early America
21
Privileged Positions The Expansion of Observing Systems
33
Climate Discourse Transformed
45
Joseph Fouriers Theory of Terrestrial Temperatures
55
John Tyndall Svante Arrhenius and Early Research on Carbon Dioxide and Climate
65
T C Chamberlin and the Geological Agency of the Atmosphere
83
The Climatic Determinism of Ellsworth Huntington
95
Global Warming? The Early Twentieth Century
107
Global Cooling Global Warming Historical Dimensions
129
Notes
139
Bibliography
167
Index
190
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Page 3 - I have of lateó but wherefore I know notó lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.

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About the author (2005)

James Rodger Fleming is at Colby College.