(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
made to quantify each human influence on climate, and its possible
Compared to What?
||Does it really make a difference? A forcing only has
meaning when compared with the natural background of today, and events
occured in the past.
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.
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
still more a collection of notes rather than a coherent story, and may
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
||Paleoclimate is the study of the climate of the past.
enables us to better understand present changes in climate with the
perspective of what
has happened before. I recommend starting here.
||This section introduces the carbon cycle and global
balance, and examines the natural and human forces that affect the
||An explanation of how the so-called greenhouse effect
||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
||A history of the geology and evolution of life on Earth.
[future] discussion on the effects of global warming in the present and
in the future.
Politics of Climate Change
discussion of the political debate around the climate change issue.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
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
||I also have pages about the Milankovitch Cycles, and
drafts about Logical
Reviews, the Koran
and the Bible. [Also
Other Web Resources
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"
need to be scientifically literate and familar with climate science to
understand this document.
||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.
||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.
||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