The Rough Guide to Climate Change, 2nd Edition Reviews

The Rough Guide to Climate Change, 2nd Edition

  • ISBN13: 9781858281056
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The Rough Guide to Climate Change gives the complete picture of the single biggest issue facing the planet. Cutting a swathe through scientific research and political debate, this completely updated 2nd edition lays out the facts and assesses the options- global and personal- for dealing with the threat of a warming world. The guide looks at the evolution of our atmosphere over the last 4.5 billion years and what computer simulations of climate change reveal about our past, present, and future.

Rating: (out of 21 reviews)

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5 Responses to “The Rough Guide to Climate Change, 2nd Edition Reviews”

  • Brian H. Fiedler says:

    Review by Brian H. Fiedler for The Rough Guide to Climate Change, 2nd Edition
    Though small in size, this book is thorough and packed

    with the latest information about climate change. The

    margins are not overly generous. The typography is tight.

    The binding is excellent, with informative fold-out

    graphics on the front and back covers. A bargain price

    for such a well-edited, well-researched and well-constructed book.

    Although the book may be intended for the non-specialist,

    I would recommend that all university students of

    atmospheric sciences read this book. I will be

    recommending this book as a supplementary text in

    university courses — a purpose probably not intended

    for this sort of book. The book is not mathematical.

    Nevertheless, many issues are raised that will invite

    formal mathematical analysis in the classroom.

    The book has some rough spots. Indeed the rough spots

    provide the invitations for a mathematical re-examination.

    page 16: “Even if we turned off every fuel-burning

    machine on earth tomorrow, climate modellers tell us

    that the world would warm at least another 0.5 C

    (0.9 F) as oceans slowly release the heat they’ve

    collected in recent decades.” This should be stated as

    “…as oceans slowly warm and adjust toward the new

    radiative equilibrium state with higher greenhouse gas concentrations.”

    page 100: “Even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases

    tomorrow, we’re committed to some amount of warming…as

    the heat tucked away from the deep oceans gradually seeps

    upward.” This is the same mistake as on page 16. Even

    with CO2 fixed at the current 380 ppmv the oceans and

    atmosphere would warm for decades, with heat seeping

    downward into the oceans. The warming will be caused by

    more radiation entering the atmosphere than leaving.

    Another way to repair the sentence is to state: “Even

    if we returned greenhouse gases to preindustrial values

    tomorrow, we’re committed to elevated temperatures for

    many decades…as the heat tucked away from the deep

    ocean gradually seeps upward.”

    page 36: “…greenhouse gases carry several times more

    punch when they are emitted at altitude”. The word

    should be “exist” rather than “emitted”. The lifetime

    of a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is a “century” (p. 24).

    And on page 29: “the gas should be well mixed throughout

    Earth’s atmosphere”. On page 172: “Longer-lived greenhouse

    gases, such as carbon dioxide, are thoroughly mixed across

    the troposphere, both horizontally and vertically”. For a

    greenhouse gas molecule that will exist in the atmosphere

    for 100 years, what difference does it make as to where

    it was released?

    page 166: “Nobody doubts the existence of the heat-island

    effect, by which dense buildings and paved areas of cities

    absorb heat and ricochet it through the the city air.”

    A more rigorous explanation of the heat-island effect is

    warranted, preferably one that doesn’t use the word

    “ricochet”, and one that uses energy balance principles.

    The wikipedia has a decent summary of the physics.

    page 172: “Since ozone absorbs sunlight, its partial loss

    in the lower stratosphere for the last twenty years or so

    has allowed temperatures there to plummet..”. It would

    be worthwhile to mention that declining tempertures in

    the upper stratosphere are primarily attributable to

    increasing carbon dioxide. The cooling is happening

    right on schedule, and accord with our theories of

    atmospheric radiation. Indeed, radiative energy balance

    analysis (of the sort that exists in all climate models)

    shows that a cooling of the stratosphere amplifies the

    warming of the troposphere and surface.

    page 304: “Hydrogen, the simplest and most abundant element

    on Earth…”. Geology classes teach 34.6% Iron, 29.5% Oxygen,

    15.2% Silicon, … If we substitute “in the universe” for

    “on Earth”, the statement is true.

  • Frederick S. Goethel says:

    Review by Frederick S. Goethel for The Rough Guide to Climate Change, 2nd Edition
    I am using the Rough Guide to Climate change in a college course that I am currently taking about global warming and climate change. The second edition wasn’t out when I started the class, so I started with the first edition and then switched when this edition did come out.

    The book is a perfect example of how to write a science book for nonscientists. I have a degree in environmental science, but climate science involves so many disciplines that it is hard for even a trained professional to keep up and digest the information from all the various fields. Henson has done a remarkable job of taking the science and laying it out in an easy to understand way and in a very logical sequence.

    The book is broken into parts in a flow that works well. The first section is about the basics of climate change, the second is about the symptoms we are or will be seeing as a result of climate change, the third is about the actual science behind climate change and the fourth presents a nicely balanced set of solutions and some of the detractors from those solutions. There is also a very comprehensive further exploration section at the rear.

    The book is up to date and is, by far, the best source of scientific information available to the general reader about global warming. Buy it now…it might change your mind!

  • Theodore M. Horesh says:

    Review by Theodore M. Horesh for The Rough Guide to Climate Change, 2nd Edition
    The Rough Guide to Climate change was a surprising masterpiece. It presents complex scientific concepts in a highly readable manner. It is extremely informative, with more perspectives on the climate change debate than other sources I have checked out. And it makes sense of the diversity of opinions in the scientific community about the ways in which global warming is and will be effecting the world. In this sense, it is a very balanced sourcebook. Most of all, it is incredibly interesting. Not only does the formatting make for constantly intriguing reading, but the content itself is very interesting. Is it too much to say that on top of it all, Henson is a great writer. Making a book like this a Rough Guide really downplays what a gem this book is. Even if you already know a lot about climate change, this book will have a great deal to teach you.

  • Stephen A. Haines says:

    Review by Stephen A. Haines for The Rough Guide to Climate Change, 2nd Edition
    It seems almost extravagant to publish yet another book on climate change. This one, however, bears the benefit of being almost extravagantly comprehensive. Henson has assembled a wealth of data, presenting it in a superbly organised and accessible account. Although the term “Rough Guide” might imply a superficial approach to the topic, this book is anything but that. In slightly over three hundred pages, the author covers the current conditions, the history leading up to those and what processes are in place to influence climate. He also deals with how the sciences investigating climate change work, and why we should pay attention to them.

    His analysis of policies addressing climate change, in particular his descripton of the Kyoto Protocols, is unsurpassed. He even includes how the arts, well and poorly, have adopted climate themes into their productions. Although he recognises the failings of such films as “The Day After Tomorrow”, he accepts their role in raising public consciousness. This enlarged awareness has been manifested […]which uses idle computers to assess data used in modelling climate change. Henson’s explanation of computer modelling is on a par with the rest of his presentation; clear and informative.

    The author repeatedly stresses that while climate change is a global phenomenon, it is individuals who will make a difference in its onset and impact. Accordingly, his suggested solutions will bear close scrutiny. As well as Kyoto’s broad view, Henson examines the alternatives or enhancements for their likely effectiveness. The recent initiative by The Asia-Pacific Partnership, based on voluntary controls and shared technologies, is covered, as is the Contraction and Convergence model. Most importantly, the author’s coverage of personal changes in energy consumption and pollution reduction is very helpful. He makes clear that none of the steps requires drastic change in lifestyle nor the outlay of substantial funds. To this end he closes with a list of useful resources of information on all aspects of the topic. If there is a shortcoming in this book, it is the process used to save paper and money. The reduced size of the volume means packing all that information into a small space. The typeface is miniscule and the reading can be excruciating. Energy-saving lightbulbs in your house may lead to impaired vision from sifting through so much information. [stephen a. haines – Ottawa, Canada]

  • Jann Benson says:

    Review by Jann Benson for The Rough Guide to Climate Change, 2nd Edition
    This book is well organized and well written. The subject of climate change is not an easy one, and here Robert Henson has given explanation that any thoughtful reader should be able to understand. Maps, graphs, and pictures help to give life to the text. Short biographies of some of the main participants in the debate about global warming are interesting and revealing. On a subject so important, the book is an important contribution to citizens who want to be better informed. The print is very small, so people with eye-strain need to be warned, but even for that part of the audience, there are sections of the text that can stand alone and still be interesting and informative.

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