(last updated: Sep 17, 2008)

This site examines the science of the forces that govern the world's climate. Human activities modify some of those forces and therefore can affect the climate. To place the human influence on climate into perspective, three questions should be asked:

1)  How Much? Vague declarations are often true but misleading. An attempt is made to quantify each human influence on climate, and its possible consequences.
2)  Compared to What? Does it really make a difference? A forcing only has meaning when compared with the natural background of today, and events that have occured in the past.
3)  Over What Time Frame? When will it matter? Some forces affect climate on a scale of days to years, while others are effective over hundreds or even millions of years. All too often changes in local weather are confused with what is happening with global climate.

Note:  This site is still a work in progress. It began as a organizing tool to help me understand the climate change issue, and is evolving into the web site I always hoped to find but never did. Some sections are still more a collection of notes rather than a coherent story, and may not always present a balanced viewpoint. As with any source, you should read it critically and check the references.

Table of Contents

(or use this Graphical Site Map)

Paleoclimate Paleoclimate is the study of the climate of the past. This enables us to better understand present changes in climate with the perspective of what has happened before. I recommend starting here.
Climate Science This section introduces the carbon cycle and global energy balance, and examines the natural and human forces that affect the world's climate.
Greenhouse Effect An explanation of how the so-called greenhouse effect actually works.
Polar Ice Caps The polar ice caps contain enough water to raise sea level by seventy meters. This page describes the various polar ice caps, investigates the melting of the much larger ice caps that covered the northern hemisphere during the last ice age, and attempts to estimate how quickly the ice caps will melt in response to rising temperatures from global warming.
Evolution Timeline A history of the geology and evolution of life on Earth.
Effects of  Global Warming A [future] discussion on the effects of global warming in the present and in the future.
The Politics of Climate Change A [future] discussion of the political debate around the climate change issue.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions A [future] discussion of how best to create a system of incentives to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The focus [will be] on economics rather than comparing energy producing technologies.
Other Topics I also have pages about the Milankovitch Cycles, and drafts about Logical FallaciesPolitical Dichotomy, Book Reviews, the Koran and the Bible.  [Also rough notes]

Li nk to my Blog for feedback Post Comments on my Blog

Other Web Resources

2007 Summary for Policy Makers This Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides a summary of the current state of climate science.  The "policy makers" will need to be scientifically literate and familar with climate science to understand this document.
James Hansen Slideshow A good introduction to climate change by one of the top scientists in the field, in the form of a slide show. Unfortunetely the images are all at the end of the document. The best way to read it is to open it twice, with one instance on the text and the other on the accompanying images. But note this one problem, which is not typical.
RealClimate Weblog This is the best source of information on climate change on the web, run by a number of the top scientists working in the field. It is organized as is a running commentary on current issues with a public forum. The relatively advanced level of discussion, the volume of information, and the lack of structure make it difficult to use as a learning resource.
Science References This page (of mine) collects references to climate related papers published in Science Magazine, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Only the abstracts are available without a subscription.

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