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Understanding Climate Change

Science, Policy, and Practice

Sarah Burch, Sara Harris

Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
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Understanding Climate Change provides readers with a concise, accessible, and holistic picture of the climate change problem, including both the scientific and human dimensions.

Sarah L. Burch is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo. Sara E. Harris is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia.


Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 328
Erscheinungsdatum 03.07.2014
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-1-4426-1445-1
Verlag University of Toronto Press
Maße (L/B/H) 22.8/15.4/2.5 cm
Gewicht 496 g
Verkaufsrang 19065


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  • 1. Climate Change in the Public Sphere 1.1. Communicating about climate change 1.2. The state of the science 1.3. Responding to climate change: mitigation and adaptation 1.4. The state of the policy 1.4.1. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol 1.4.2. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio, and Rio +20) 1.4.3. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1.5. The scale of the challenge: accelerating action on climate change 1.6. Roadmap to the book 2. Basic System Dynamics 2.1. What's a system? 2.1.1. System parts and interactions 2.1.2. Stocks and flows 2.1.3. Feedbacks 2.1.4. Lags 2.1.5. Function or purpose 2.2. Earth's Climate System: The parts and interconnections 2.2.1. Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere, Geosphere, and Anthroposphere 2.2.2. The Ins and Out of Earth's Energy Budget 3. Climate controls: Energy from the Sun 3.1. Incoming Solar Radiation 3.1.1. Blackbody radiation: the Sun versus Earth 3.1.2. Our place in space: the Goldilocks planet 3.2. Natural Variability 3.2.1. 4.5 billion years of solar energy 3.2.2. Orbital controls: baseline variability in the past million years 3.2.3. Sunspots: how big a deal? 3.3. Mitigation strategies and policy tools 4. Climate Controls: Earth's Reflectivity 4.1. Natural Variability 4.1.1. At Earth's surface: Ice, water, and vegetation 4.1.2. In the atmosphere: Aerosols and clouds 4.2. Anthropogenic Variability 4.2.1. Land-use changes 4.2.2. Anthropogenic Aerosols 4.3. Mitigation strategies and policy tools 5. Climate Controls: The Greenhouse effect 5.1. How does the greenhouse effect work? 5.1.1. Characteristics of a good greenhouse gas 5.1.2. Energy flows in a greenhouse world 5.2. The unperturbed carbon cycle and natural greenhouse variability 5.2.1. Carbon stocks and flows 5.2.2. Timescales of natural greenhouse variability 5.2.3. Feedbacks involving the greenhouse effect 5.3. Anthropogenic interference 5.3.1. Perturbed stocks, flows, and chemical fingerprints 5.3.2. Cumulative carbon emissions: a budget 6. The Core of Climate Change Mitigation: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Transforming the Energy System 6.1. Introduction to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 6.2. The Global Energy System 6.3. Mitigation Strategies 6.3.1. Demand-side mitigation: energy efficiency and conservation 6.3.2. Supply-side mitigation 6.3.3. Carbon capture and storage 6.4. Fostering accelerated and transformative mitigation 7. Climate Models 7.1. Climate Model Basics 7.1.1. Physical Principles 7.1.2. The Role of Observations 7.1.3. Time and Space 7.1.4. Parameterization 7.1.5. Testing climate models 7.2. Types of climate models 7.2.1. Energy Balance Models 7.2.2. Earth System Models of Intermediate Complexity 7.2.3. General Circulation Models 7.2.4. Regional Climate Models 7.2.5. Integrated Assessment Models 7.3. Certainties and Uncertainties 8. Future Climate: Emissions, climate, and what we do about it 8.1. Emissions scenarios SRES scenario 'families' and storylines 8.1.1. Post-SRES and Representative Concentration Pathways 8.1.2. 8.2. Global Climate in 2100 Temperature, precipitation, sea level rise, and extreme events 8.2.1. Uncertainty 8.2.2. 8.3. Regional forecasting 8.4. Backcasting 8.5. Scale of the challenge: Transforming emissions pathways 9. Climate Change Impacts on Natural Systems 9.1. Observed Impacts Impacts on Land 9.1.1. Impacts in the Oceans 9.1.2. 9.2. Adaptation in Natural Systems 9.3. Policy Tools and Progress International tools 9.3.1. National and sub-national tools 9.3.2. 9.4. Conclusions 10. Climate Change Impacts on Human Systems 10.1. Introduction 10.2. Key concepts in climate change impacts and adaptation 10.3. Observed and Projected Impacts 10.3.1. Climate change impacts on food and water 10.3.2. Climate change impacts on cities and infrastructure 10.3.3. Equity implications: Health, culture, and global distribution of wealth 10.4. Adaptation in human systems 10.5. Policy Tools and Progress 10.5.1. Policy tools for adaptation 10.5.2. International and national adaptation 10.5.3. Sub-national adaptation 10.5.4. Social movements and human behavior change: the root of the adaptation conundrum 11. The Frontier: Innovative Action on Climate Change 11.1. Integrating Adaptation and Mitigation: Pursuing Sustainability 11.2. What Road will we choose? The ethics of geoengineering 11.3. Transformative change: reorienting development paths to yield a sustainable future 11.4. Conclusions and future directions