NS Book Review: CLIMATE CHANGE: PICTURING THE SCIENCE

CLIMATE CHANGE: PICTURING THE SCIENCE

- A Nuclear Street Book Review by Randy Brich -

Editors Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climate scientist and co-founder of RealClimate.org, and photographer Joshua Wolfe collaborate with nine contributors in CLIMATE CHANGE: PICTURING THE SCIENCE.  Dramatic photographs and pessimistic prose portray the world as seen by these climate scientists.  CLIMATE CHANGE reveals an insider’s view of the science using stunning photographs and forceful essays.  The photos take the reader to the forefront of climate change research documenting earth’s dynamic, diverse and distinct ecosystems.  The concisely written essays convey the researchers’ current findings, extrapolations and speculations of future trends.

Mirroring a medical metaphor, CLIMATE CHANGE contains three distinct parts:  Symptoms, Diagnosis and Possible Cures.  Attributing Earth’s recent rise in global average temperature to man’s emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, CLIMATE CHANGE predicts increasing future temperatures if significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions fail to materialize.

A fascinating compendium of explorations into the symptoms of climate change takes the reader on an exciting adventure journeying from pole to pole as researchers qualify their findings in words and photos.  Categorization of the usual graphic symptoms associated with climate change provides a glimpse of the world that researchers encounter on a daily basis.

The researchers world, though far removed from that of most readers, collectively pieces together a theory describing what they see.  Based on their diagnosis, they have determined that human emissions of carbon dioxide cause unprecedented global warming.  Further, their complex models predict future harmful warming and associated dire consequences if carbon dioxide emissions continue or exceed the current rate.

As a possible cure to the illness of anthropogenic global warming, CLIMATE CHANGE stresses the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by substituting carbon-free energy sources for fossil fuels.  Carbon-free energy sources most cited include solar, wind and geothermal.  The lack of emphasis on nuclear power as a possible cure to the illness of man-made global warming might dissuade most Nuclear Street readers.   Similarly, the reliance on carbon sequestration as a possible solution elicits a raised eyebrow from knowledgeable readers.

CLIMATE CHANGE succinctly illustrates the consensus climate scientists’ opinion of the ramifications of our current dependence on fossil fuels.  According to them, the impacts are easily seen and irrefutably driven by carbon dioxide levels present in the atmosphere.   Equally, their complex global climate models predict severe future impacts unless significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions occur. 

For anyone interested in seeing why so many climate scientists believe carbon dioxide emissions cumulatively create catastrophic consequences on Planet Earth, CLIMATE CHANGE is a good place to start.

Editors: Gavin Schmidt and Joshua Wolfe
CLIMATE CHANGE: PICTURING THE SCIENCE
320 pp. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, Paperback, 2009
978-0-393-33125-7

LAST BOOK REVIEW:

NS Book Review: SUSTAINABLE ENERGY – WITHOUT THE HOT AIR

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY – WITHOUT THE HOT AIR - A Nuclear Street Book Review by Randy Brich - One of my winter diversions while growing up on the frigid Northern Great Plains in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s involved frequent doses of the TV series Dragnet.  The detectives’ obsession with details always offended the ...
About Randy Brich
Randy graduated from South Dakota State University in 1978 with a M.S. in Biology.  Following graduation he switched gears and began a lifelong study of ionizing radiation and its beneficial applications to humanity.  During the course of his study he worked as a staff Health Physicist with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission specializing in the licensing and inspection of uranium recovery facilities.  He transferred to the Department of Energy where he worked as a Health Physicist at the Randy BrichNevada Operations Office and later to the Richland Operations Office specializing in environmental monitoring, dose reconstruction, worker protection, waste cleanup and systems biology.

Since then he has retired from the federal government and, after taking time out to build an energy efficient house near the Missouri River, has formed Diamond B Communications LLC.  Diamond B Communications LLC uses a multimedia approach to explain complex energy resource issues to technical and non-technical audiences.  He also guides for Dakota Bike Tours, the Relaxed Adventure Company, offering tours of the Badlands National Park, the Black Hills and Devils Tower National Monument.

If you have questions, comments, or know of a book that you think Randy should review E-mail Randy Brich>> randy@nuclearstreet.com

Anonymous comments will be moderated. Join for free and post now!