The global environmental future is a matter of major scientific and public importance. Problems such as deforestation, pollution, the loss of natural habitats, and greenhouse-gas induced global warming have grave and often uncertain implications. But what do these processes involve? What is causing them and what will or might be their consequences? Global warming would, for example, have far-reaching effects on sea levels, rainfall, glacier dynamics, and the distribution of plants and animals, as well as on a wide range of human activities.
The Changing Global Environment provides a clear, well-integrated account by leading scientists of the nature of change in the earth's natural environment in the past, present and future. Taken as a whole, it is distinguished by its concern to understand and to link environmental variations at local, regional and planetary scales, by its clear analyses of human-environment interactions, by its historical perspective, and by an awareness of the social and political causes and consequences of environmental change. The subject is as complex as it is crucial: the authors have aimed not to simplify but to clarify uncertainties, issues and processes.
The book is divided into six parts. The first introduces the subject. The second describes patterns of global climatic change in the distant and recent past and models of the climatic future. The third examines the effects of climatic change or arctic and marine environments. Part four is concerned with the hydrological system. Part five focuses on tropical environments, humid, arid and savanna. Part six provides four detailed case studies of change in contrasting environments - desert, estuarine, river and mountain.
Written to be accessible to both specialist and non-specialist readers, this book also provides a powerful and stimulating framework for the teaching of environmental issues in higher education.