Introduction

Espere Climate Encyclopaedia

For an introduction to climate science, visit the Espere Climate Encyclopaedia on their website or download the PDF version(s).

ESPERE stands for Environmental Science Published for Everybody Round the Earth. It is a pilot project funded by the European Commission which started in January 2003 and will finish at the end of 2004. The aim of our project is to put up-to-date and accurate scientific information on climate in a Climate Encyclopaedia on the web in a form which is understandable by all and useful in school lessons.


“the encyclopedia of the earth”: Article Topic: climate change

Hundreds of articles concerning climate change.


From the National Academy of Sciences here is a 28 page PDF file providing an overview of climate change:

Understanding and Responding to Climate Change

There is a growing concern about global warming and the impact it will have on people and the ecosystems on which they depend. Temperatures have already risen 1.4°F since the start of the 20th century – with much of this warming occurring in just the last 30 years – and temperatures will likely rise at least another 2°F, and possibly more than 11°F, over the next 100 years. This warming will cause significant changes in sea level, ecosystems, and ice cover, among other impacts. In the Arctic, where temperatures have increased almost twice as much as the global average, the landscape and ecosystems are already changing rapidly. …
The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to begin taking steps to prepare for climate change and to slow it. Human actions over the next few decades will have a major influence on the magnitude and rate of future warming. Large, disruptive changes are much more likely if greenhouse gases are allowed to continue building up in the atmosphere at their present rate. However, reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require strong national and international commitments, technological innovation, and human willpower.


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Multimedia

This resource collection highlights the best of NASA’s climate-related visualizations. Showcasing elements of the entire earth system, this compilation includes years of remarkable satellite data in one, convenient location.

From polar ice to phytoplankton, parts of the earth system are constantly changing. At NASA, scientists strive to better understand these changes and how they are interconnected. Using remote-sensing data from satellites, this research diagnoses our planet’s current health and will help future generations and explorers understand the earth system as a whole.


Global Climate Change Student Guide.

For anyone who is seriously interested in climate change and is willing to step beyond personal and political prejudice and bias, I recommend the online Global Climate Change Student Guide. You can download the entire guide in PDF form here.

The Global Climate Change Student Information Guide includes chapters on: the climate system; causes of climate change; empirical observation and climatic reconstruction; climate modelling; and palaeo- and contemporary climate change.


The Discovery of Global Warming.

From the American Institute of Physics: A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change.

This site includes “Simple Models of Climate“.
“This is a difficult subject: by long tradition the happy hunting ground for robust speculation, it suffers much because so few can separate fact from fancy.”


NewScientist Environment: Climate change: A guide for the perplexed .

Our planet’s climate is anything but simple. All kinds of factors influence it, from massive events on the Sun to the growth of microscopic creatures in the oceans, and there are subtle interactions between many of these factors.

Yet despite all the complexities, a firm and ever-growing body of evidence points to a clear picture: the world is warming, this warming is due to human activity increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and if emissions continue unabated the warming will too, with increasingly serious consequences.


ClimatePrediction.net: Basics you want to know about the climate.

This page presents a brief introduction to the Earth’s climate. It begins with the global energy budget, and then describes the Earth’s circulation as a response to this. It will treat the climate system as a heat pump that takes heat from the tropics and pumps it towards the poles. The introduction is divided into the following sections:
1. Energy Budget
2. Global Atmospheric Circulation
3. Oceanic Circulation
4. Atmosphere Ocean Interaction
5. Greenhouse Effect


American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): Climate Change: a 10 minute YouTube video


Monthly Review: The Scientific Case for Modern Anthropogenic Global Warming, John W. Farley.

Most Americans today believe that the burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming, but not everybody agrees. Climate contrarians proclaim that global warming is not occurring at all, or that it is occurring but is entirely natural, i.e., that the anthropogenic (human) contribution to global warming is negligible. The contrarian ranks include the well-known radical journalist Alexander Cockburn, who forcefully proclaimed anthropogenic global warming to be a myth in three articles published in 2007 on the CounterPunch Web site and in The Nation. …

Most climate scientists believe that the human contribution to today’s global warming is important, and cannot by any means be dismissed as negligible. The consequences of global warming are potentially very dangerous. In view of the importance of the issue, and in view of Cockburn’s prominent (and well-deserved) role as a left intellectual and his formidable powers of persuasion, it is worthwhile restating the scientific case for modern anthropogenic global warming.

The present article consists of (1) a summary of the scientific case for modern anthropogenic global warming, (2) a summary of the contrarian case advanced by Cockburn, (3) an assessment of global warming in greater depth, and (4) my detailed critique of the contrarian arguments advanced by Cockburn.

The scientific case is not dependent on citation of authority, no matter how distinguished the authority may be. The case is dependent upon experimental evidence, logic, and reason. The present article does not touch on the impact of global warming, or on policy questions: what to do about global warming, whether the Kyoto treaty is a good idea or not, etc.

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