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The award-winning book is now revised and expanded.
In 2001 an international panel of distinguished climate scientists announced that the world was warming at a rate without precedent during at least the last ten millennia, and that warming was caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases from human activity. The story of how scientists reached that conclusion—by way of unexpected twists and turns—was the story Spencer Weart told in The Discovery of Global Warming. Now he brings his award-winning account up to date, revised throughout to reflect the latest science and with a new conclusion that shows how the scientific consensus caught fire among the general world public, and how a new understanding of the human meaning of climate change spurred individuals and governments to action.
Charting the evolution and confirmation of the theory [of global warming], Weart dissects the interwoven threads of research and reveals the political and societal subtexts that colored scientists’ views and the public reception their work received.
— Andrew C. Revkin
Posted February 20, 2010
Posted April 6, 2009
Drawing from scientific discoveries in oceanography, meteorology, geochemistry, biology and astrophysics, author Spencer R. Weart draws you into the puzzle of climate change as it is unfolding through time. No one person had an "aha" moment and discovered global warming. Instead, today's understanding required an accumulation of theories from disparate areas of research, shaped by the rigors of the scientific method. These discoveries convinced most scientists that global warming is a serious phenomenon. Weart outlines the scientific process that led to today's climate diagnosis. He also relates lively stories about the people behind the discoveries. That may not be as immediately applicable, but getAbstract finds that it is illuminating and could help readers feel like insiders in this fight.
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Posted December 3, 2004
This book gives a good historical and scientific overview of global warming. Among the things it covers well are where the idea came from about 100 years ago, the way science now works and its unquenchable thirst for ever increasing funding, the complexity of the global climate, and how our understanding of the the global climate is basically determined by the sophistication and power of the computer programs used to model it. On the down side, little unbiased attention is given to the dissenters from the current global warming concensus, and, in the end, although the evidence is convincing that warming has occurred over the last century or so, how much of it is due human civilization (i.e., the fossil fuel economy) and how much is due to the inherent cyclicality of the global climate is not elucidated. Also, specifics are not given on the consequences of the rise in temperature. An understanding of this is necessary to determine the best approach to the problem.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.