The Rise of Climate Science: A Memoir

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Texas A&M University Press, 2020 - Biography & Autobiography - 336 pages
"In a career spanning four decades, Gerald R. North contributed groundbreaking research that continues to shape the modern field of climate science. However, the route he has taken was full of surprising twists and turns that included hate mail, eavesdropping by the KGB, and sometimes acrimonious debate with climate-change deniers. Ten years into a successful career as a physicist and professor, North made the unorthodox decision to change course and become a climate scientist. Since that pivotal decision, North's significant contributions to the field include his innovative "toy model" analysis of climate change based on ingeniously simplified models and his lead proposal for and successful approval of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. Launched in 1997, the TRMM's purpose was to collect data on the global climate system. The TRMM operated successfully for 17 years before it was deactivated in 2015. In The Rise of Climate Science, North recounts in detail his life in the vanguard of modern climate science. He offers an insider look at the academic research and government initiatives around global warming and what that means for the planet. He includes stories of conversations with top Soviet climate scientists at the height of the Cold War in the late 1970s-complete with clandestine electronic surveillance. He also describes the experience of testifying before Congress and engaging in public exchanges with those who doubted the reality of the phenomenon his research field described. Climate science today has advanced into a mature phase, combining global observations ranging from paleoclimate data retrieval to measurements of Earth's properties from space vehicles with field programs in the most remote parts of the planet and the continuously evolving power of supercomputers and simulations. As North notes, the give and take among observation, experiment, and theory via modeling are alive and constantly advancing our understanding."--

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About the author (2020)

GERALD R. NORTH is distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University. He has published more than 150 articles and authored or coauthored several books, including An Introduction to Atmosphere Thermodynamics; Paleoclimatology; Impact of Global Warming on Texas; and Energy Balance Climate Models. He resides in College Station, Texas.