The Whole Story of Climate

The Whole Story of Climate

What Science Reveals About the Nature of Endless Change

Book - 2012
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In the publicity surrounding global warming, climate scientists are usually the experts consulted by the media. We rarely hear from geologists, who for almost two hundred years have been studying the history of Earth's dramatic and repeated climate revolutions, as revealed in the evidence of rocks and landscapes. This book, written by a geologist, describes the important contributions that geology has made to our understanding of climate change. What emerges is a much more complex and nuanced picture than is usually presented.

While the average person often gets the impression that the Earth's climate would be essentially stable if it weren't for the deleterious effects of greenhouse gases, in fact the history of the earth over many millennia reveals a constantly changing climate. As the author explains, several long cold eras have been punctuated by shorter warm periods. The most recent of these warm spells, the one in which we are now living, started ten thousand years ago; based on previous patterns, we should be about due for the return of another frigid epoch. Some scientists even think that the warming of the planet caused by man-made greenhouse gasses tied to agriculture in the past few thousand years may have held off the next ice age. Though this may be possible, much remains uncertain.

But what is clearly known is that major climate shifts can be appallingly rapid--occurring over as little as twenty or thirty years. One danger of dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is that they may increase the chance that this "climate switch" will be thrown, with catastrophic effects on worldwide agriculture.

Besides her discussion of climate, the author includes chapters on how early naturalists pieced together the complicated geological history of Earth, and she teaches the reader how to interpret the evidence of rock formations and landscape patterns all around us.

Accessible and engagingly written, this book is essential reading for anyone looking to understand one of our most important contemporary debates.
Publisher: Amherst, New York : Prometheus Books, 2012.
ISBN: 9781616146726
1616146729
Branch Call Number: 551.5 Pete
Characteristics: 290 pages ; 24 cm

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bananaquiet
Jul 29, 2015

Her sources are mostly magazine and newspaper articles, heavily annotated to hide their paucity.

She thinks we would be better off with a warmer climate since she thinks most people live in temperate zones and most food is grown there.

Good information about previous climate shifts if you ignore her politics.

c
ChristineButler
May 10, 2014

Good read. It brought me up to date with the latest science on climate. Peters has a very easy-to-read writing style.

s
scottlaraerin
May 14, 2013

I just finished this book. Peters really does tell a much broader, deeper story of earth's climate and its long history (1.8million year!) of often very rapid climate change. She ends with the most surprising revelation (to me at least) of a major source of greenhouse and toxic gases that is never (that I am aware of) mentioned in the mainstream discussion.

She is a bit long on details early in the book but it is all worth it.

Reading this book changed my perspective regarding earths climate and climate change. I recommend it strongly.

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