Global Warming and the Future of the Earth (Google eBook)

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Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2007 - Science - 113 pages
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The globally averaged surface temperature of the Earth has increased during the past century by about 0.7°C. Most of the increase can be attributed to the greenhouse effect, the increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide that is emitted when fossil fuels are burned to produce energy.The book begins with the important distinction between weather and climate, followed by data showing how carbon dioxide has increased and the incontrovertible evidence that it is caused by burning fossil fuels (i.e., coal, oil, and natural gas). I also address the inevitable skepticism that global warming arouses and offer a number of responses to the global warming skeptics. After dealing with the skeptics, I analyze both the current and future effects of global warming. These future effects are based on scenarios or “storylines put forth by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. In closing, I address the controversial (and grim) suggestion that we have already passed the “tipping point, which is the time after which, regardless of our future actions, global warming will cause considerable hardship on human society. I intend this book to be approachable for all concerned citizens, but especially students of the sciences and engineering who will soon be in a position to make a difference in the areas of energy and the environment. I have tried to frame the debate in terms of what the engineering community must do to help combat global warming. We have no choice but to think in terms of global environmental constraints as we design new power plants, factories, automobiles, buildings, and homes. The best thing for scientists to do is to present what we know, clearly separating what is known from what is suspected, in a non-apocalyptic manner. If matters are clearly and passionately presented to the public, we must be prepared to accept the will of the people. This presents the scientific community with an enormous responsibility, perhaps unlike any we have had in the past.Contents: Weather and Climate (and a Little History) / Are the Concentrations of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere Increasing? / The Greenhouse Effect and the Evidence of Global Warming / The Skeptics: Are Their Doubts Scientifically Valid / Impacts: The "So What" Question / The Bottom Line
  

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Contents

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Copyright

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Page 11 - It is hardly necessary to add, that anything which any insulated body, or system of bodies, can continue to furnish without limitation, cannot possibly be a material substance ; and it appears to me to be extremely difficult, if not quite impossible, to form any distinct idea of anything capable of being excited and communicated in the manner the Heat was excited and communicated in these experiments, except it be MOTION.
Page 2 - Anyone, taken as an individual, is tolerably sensible and reasonable as a member of a crowd, he at once becomes a blockhead.
Page 11 - ... being 84, and at the given depth below no more than 53.* It appears to me to be extremely difficult, if not quite impossible, to account for this degree of cold at the bottom of the sea in the torrid zone on any other supposition than that of cold currents from the poles ; and the utility of these currents in tempering the excessive heats of those climates is too evident to require any illustration.
Page 1 - The treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally...

About the author (2007)

Robert G. Watts is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tulane University in Louisiana. His current research interests are in climate modeling, the socio-economic and political aspects of energy policy, and the physics of sea ice. His publications on these and other topics have appeared in Climatic Change, Journal of Geophysical Research and Nature as well as the mechanical engineering literature. Professor Watts is the author of Keep Your Eye on the Ball: Curveballs, Knuckleballs, and Fallacies of Baseball (with A. Terry Bahill; W. H. Freeman publishers, 1991, 2000) and is editor of Engineering Response to Global Climate Change (Lewis Publishers, 1997). He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and has been an ASME Distinguished Lecturer. Recently, he gave the prestigious George Hawkins Memorial Lecture at Purdue University.

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