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With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change
     

With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change

5.0 3
by Fred Pearce
 

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ISBN-10: 0807085774

ISBN-13: 9780807085776

Pub. Date: 03/03/2008

Publisher: Beacon

Nature is fragile, environmentalists often tell us. But the lesson of this book is that it is not so. The truth is far more worrying. Nature is strong and packs a serious counterpunch . . . Global warming will very probably unleash unstoppable planetary forces. And they will not be gradual. The history of our planet's climate shows that it does not do gradual

Overview

Nature is fragile, environmentalists often tell us. But the lesson of this book is that it is not so. The truth is far more worrying. Nature is strong and packs a serious counterpunch . . . Global warming will very probably unleash unstoppable planetary forces. And they will not be gradual. The history of our planet's climate shows that it does not do gradual change. Under pressure, whether from sunspots or orbital wobbles or the depredations of humans, it lurches-virtually overnight. —from the Introduction

Fred Pearce has been writing about climate change for eighteen years, and the more he learns, the worse things look. Where once scientists were concerned about gradual climate change, now more and more of them fear we will soon be dealing with abrupt change resulting from triggering hidden tipping points. Even President Bush's top climate modeler, Jim Hansen, warned in 2005 that "we are on the precipice of climate system tipping points beyond which there is no redemption."

As Pearce began working on this book, normally cautious scientists beat a path to his door to tell him about their fears and their latest findings. With Speed and Violence tells the stories of these scientists and their work-from the implications of melting permafrost in Siberia and the huge river systems of meltwater beneath the icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica to the effects of the "ocean conveyor" and a rare molecule that runs virtually the entire cleanup system for the planet.

Above all, the scientists told him what they're now learning about the speed and violence of past natural climate change-and what it portends for our future. With Speed and Violence is the most up-to-date and readable book yet about the growing evidence for global warming and the large climatic effects it may unleash.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807085776
Publisher:
Beacon
Publication date:
03/03/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.03(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.82(d)

Table of Contents

Chronology of Climate Change     xi
The Cast     xv
Preface to the Paperback Edition     xix
Preface: The Chimney     xxiii
Introduction     xxvii
Welcome to the Anthropocene
The Pioneers: The men who measured the planet's breath     3
Turning Up the Heat: A skeptic's guide to climate change     10
The Year: How the wild weather of 1998 broke all records     18
The Anthropocene: A new name for a new geological era     21
The Watchtower: Keeping climate vigil on an Arctic island     26
Fault lines in the ice
Ninety Degrees North: Why melting knows no bounds in the far North     35
On the Slippery Slope: Greenland is slumping into the ocean     39
The Shelf: Down south, shattering ice uncorks the Antarctic     46
The Mercer Legacy: An Achilles heel at the bottom of the world     49
Rising Tides: Saying "toodle-oo" to Tuvalu     55
Riding the carbon cycle
In The Jungle: Would we notice if the Amazon went up in smoke?     63
Wildfires of Borneo: Climate in the mire from burning swamp     68
Sink to Source: Why the carbon cycle is set for a U-turn     71
The Doomsday Device: A lethal secret stirs in the permafrost     77
The Acid Bath: What carbon dioxide does to the oceans     86
The Winds of Change: Tsunamis, megafarts, and mountains of the deep     90
Reflecting on warming
What's Watts?: Planet Earth's energy imbalance     101
Clouds From Both Sides: Uncovering flaws in the climate models     105
A Billion Fires: How brown haze could turn off the monsoon     115
Hydroxyl Holiday: The day the planet's cleaner didn't show up for work     120
Ice ages and solar pulses
Goldilocks and the Three Planets: Why Earth is "just right" for life     127
The Big Freeze: How a wobble in our orbit triggered the ice ages     132
The Ocean Conveyor: The real day after tomorrow     141
An Arctic Flower: Clues to a climate switchback     148
The Pulse: How the sun makes climate change     155
Tropical heat
The Fall: The end of Africa's golden age     167
Seesaw Across the Ocean: How the Sabara Desert greens the Amazon     175
Tropical High: Why an ice man is rewriting climate history     178
The Curse of Akkad: The strange revival of environmental determinism     185
A Chunk of Coral: Probing the hidden life of El Nino     188
Feeding Asia: What happens if the monsoon falters?      194
At the millennium
The Heat Wave: The year Europe felt the heat of global warming     201
The Hockey Stick: Why now really is different     204
Hurricane Season: Raising the storm cones after Katrina     210
Ozone Holes in the Greenhouse: Why millions face radiation threat     217
Inevitable surprises
The Dance: The poles or the tropics? Who leads in the climatic dance?     225
New Horizons: Feedbacks from the stratosphere     229
Conclusion: Another Planet     237
The Trillion-Ton Challenge     241
Glossary     253
Acknowledgments     259
Notes on the References     261
Index     273

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With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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