David Archer is a professor of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. Dr Archer has published over 70 scientific papers on a wide range of topics on the carbon cycle and its relation to global climate. He teaches classes on global warming, environmental chemistry, and geochemistry. His previous books include Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast (2006, Wiley-Blackwell) and The Long Thaw: How Humans are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth Climate (2008, Princeton University Press). He is a regular contributor to the website realclimate.org.
Stefan Rahmstorf is professor of Physics of the Oceans, and head of department at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Dr Rahmstorf is a member of the Academia Europaea and of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU).He is also one of the lead authors of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In 2007 he became an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales. He has published over 50 scientific papers (14 of which in Nature and Science) and co-authored two previous books: Der Klimawandel (2006, C.H. Beck) and Wie bedroht sind die Ozeane? (2007, Fischer), published in English as Our Threatened Oceans (2008, Haus publishing). He a co-founder and regular contributor to the website realclimate.org.
If you think that global warming means slightly hotter weather and a modest rise in sea levels that will persist only so long as fossil fuels hold out (or until we decide to stop burning them), think again. In The Long Thaw, David Archer predicts that if we continue to emit carbon dioxide we may eventually cancel the next ice age and raise the oceans by 50 meters. A human-driven, planet-wide thaw has already begun, and will continue to impact Earth’s climate and sea level for hundreds of thousands of years. The great ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland may take more than a century to melt, and the overall change in sea level will be one hundred times what is forecast for 2100. By comparing the global warming projection for the next century to natural climate changes of the distant past, and then looking into the future far beyond the usual scientific and political horizon of the year 2100, Archer reveals the hard truths of the long-term climate forecast.
Archer shows how just a few centuries of fossil-fuel use will cause not only a climate storm that will last a few hundred years, but dramatic climate changes that will last thousands. Carbon dioxide emitted today will be a problem for millennia. For the first time, humans have become major players in shaping the long-term climate. In fact, a planetwide thaw driven by humans has already begun. But despite the seriousness of the situation, Archer argues that it is still not too late to avert dangerous climate change--if humans can find a way to cooperate as never before.
Revealing why carbon dioxide may be an even worse gamble in the long run than in the short, this compelling and critically important book brings the best long-term climate science to a general audience for the first time.
With a new preface that discusses recent advances in climate science, and the impact on global warming and climate change, The Long Thaw shows that it is still not too late to avert dangerous climate change—if we can find a way to cooperate as never before.
Global warming is the most significant environmental issue of our time, yet public response in Western nations has been meager. Why have so few taken any action? In Living in Denial, sociologist Kari Norgaard searches for answers to this question, drawing on interviews and ethnographic data from her study of "Bygdaby," the fictional name of an actual rural community in western Norway, during the unusually warm winter of 2000-2001.
In 2000-2001 the first snowfall came to Bygdaby two months later than usual; ice fishing was impossible; and the ski industry had to invest substantially in artificial snow-making. Stories in local and national newspapers linked the warm winter explicitly to global warming. Yet residents did not write letters to the editor, pressure politicians, or cut down on use of fossil fuels. Norgaard attributes this lack of response to the phenomenon of socially organized denial, by which information about climate science is known in the abstract but disconnected from political, social, and private life, and sees this as emblematic of how citizens of industrialized countries are responding to global warming.
Norgaard finds that for the highly educated and politically savvy residents of Bygdaby, global warming was both common knowledge and unimaginable. Norgaard traces this denial through multiple levels, from emotions to cultural norms to political economy. Her report from Bygdaby, supplemented by comparisons throughout the book to the United States, tells a larger story behind our paralysis in the face of today's alarming predictions from climate scientists.
The Global Carbon Cycle features a glossary of terms, suggestions for further reading, and explanations of equations, as well as a forward-looking discussion of open questions about the global carbon cycle.