Science

Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum

How Humans Took Control of Climate

Author: William F. Ruddiman

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400834730

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 9549

The impact on climate from 200 years of industrial development is an everyday fact of life, but did humankind's active involvement in climate change really begin with the industrial revolution, as commonly believed? Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum has sparked lively scientific debate since it was first published--arguing that humans have actually been changing the climate for some 8,000 years--as a result of the earlier discovery of agriculture. The "Ruddiman Hypothesis" will spark intense debate. We learn that the impact of farming on greenhouse-gas levels, thousands of years before the industrial revolution, kept our planet notably warmer than if natural climate cycles had prevailed--quite possibly forestalling a new ice age. Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum is the first book to trace the full historical sweep of human interaction with Earth's climate. Ruddiman takes us through three broad stages of human history: when nature was in control; when humans began to take control, discovering agriculture and affecting climate through carbon dioxide and methane emissions; and, finally, the more recent human impact on climate change. Along the way he raises the fascinating possibility that plagues, by depleting human populations, also affected reforestation and thus climate--as suggested by dips in greenhouse gases when major pandemics have occurred. While our massive usage of fossil fuels has certainly contributed to modern climate change, Ruddiman shows that industrial growth is only part of the picture. The book concludes by looking to the future and critiquing the impact of special interest money on the global warming debate. In the afterword, Ruddiman explores the main challenges posed to his hypothesis, and shows how recent investigations and findings ultimately strengthen the book's original claims.
Science

Earth's Climate

Past and Future

Author: William F. Ruddiman

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 0716784904

Category: Science

Page: 388

View: 6233

'Earth's Climate' summarises the major lessons to be learned from 550 million years of climate changes, as a way of evaluating the climatological impact on and by humans in this century. The book also looks ahead to possible effects during the next several centuries of fossil fuel use.
Science

Volcanoes in Human History

The Far-Reaching Effects of Major Eruptions

Author: Jelle Zeilinga de Boer,Donald Theodore Sanders

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400842859

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 6177

When the volcano Tambora erupted in Indonesia in 1815, as many as 100,000 people perished as a result of the blast and an ensuing famine caused by the destruction of rice fields on Sumbawa and neighboring islands. Gases and dust particles ejected into the atmosphere changed weather patterns around the world, resulting in the infamous ''year without a summer'' in North America, food riots in Europe, and a widespread cholera epidemic. And the gloomy weather inspired Mary Shelley to write the gothic novel Frankenstein. This book tells the story of nine such epic volcanic events, explaining the related geology for the general reader and exploring the myriad ways in which the earth's volcanism has affected human history. Zeilinga de Boer and Sanders describe in depth how volcanic activity has had long-lasting effects on societies, cultures, and the environment. After introducing the origins and mechanisms of volcanism, the authors draw on ancient as well as modern accounts--from folklore to poetry and from philosophy to literature. Beginning with the Bronze Age eruption that caused the demise of Minoan Crete, the book tells the human and geological stories of eruptions of such volcanoes as Vesuvius, Krakatau, Mount Pelée, and Tristan da Cunha. Along the way, it shows how volcanism shaped religion in Hawaii, permeated Icelandic mythology and literature, caused widespread population migrations, and spurred scientific discovery. From the prodigious eruption of Thera more than 3,600 years ago to the relative burp of Mount St. Helens in 1980, the results of volcanism attest to the enduring connections between geology and human destiny. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
Science

The Long Thaw

How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate

Author: David Archer

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400880777

Category: Science

Page: 200

View: 1934

The human impact on Earth's climate is often treated as a hundred-year issue lasting as far into the future as 2100, the year in which most climate projections cease. In The Long Thaw, David Archer, one of the world’s leading climatologists, reveals the hard truth that these changes in climate will be "locked in," essentially forever. 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.
Science

Principles of Atmospheric Science

Author: John E. Frederick

Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Publishers

ISBN: 1449673929

Category: Science

Page: 211

View: 7094

The state of the atmosphere influences the activities of modern society and the quality of life, which is evident in agricultural productivity, the health impact of exposure to gases, particles, and sunlight, and property damage associated with sever weather events. Principles of Atmospheric Science provides a comprehensive introduction to atmospheric science for undergraduate students in the physical sciences, as well as those seeking to understand how physics and chemistry manifest themselves in the atmospheric environment. The text presents atmospheric science as an application of fundamental scientific principles meshed with observation. The author identifies the fundamental concepts and principles related to atmospheric science, presenting students with a
Medical

Yellow Fever, Black Goddess

The Coevolution of People and Plagues

Author: Christopher Wills

Publisher: Addison Wesley Publishing Company

ISBN: 9780201442359

Category: Medical

Page: 324

View: 3847

Explores the evolutionary interaction between microbes and humans through an examination of the growth, struggle to survive, and dissemination of disease-causing protoza, bacteria, and viruses
Social Science

Human Impact on Ancient Environments

Author: Charles L. Redman

Publisher: University of Arizona Press

ISBN: 9780816519637

Category: Social Science

Page: 239

View: 5599

Threats to biodiversity, food shortages, urban sprawl . . . lessons for environmental problems that confront us today may well be found in the past. The archaeological record contains hundreds of situations in which societies developed long-term sustainable relationships with their environmentsÑand thousands in which the relationships were destructive. Charles Redman demonstrates that much can be learned from an improved understanding of peoples who, through seemingly rational decisions, degraded their environments and threatened their own survival. By discussing archaeological case studies from around the worldÑfrom the deforestation of the Mayan lowlands to soil erosion in ancient Greece to the almost total depletion of resources on Easter IslandÑRedman reveals the long-range coevolution of culture and environment and clearly shows the impact that ancient peoples had on their world. These case studies focus on four themes: habitat transformation and animal extinctions, agricultural practices, urban growth, and the forces that accompany complex society. They show that humankind's commitment to agriculture has had cultural consequences that have conditioned our perception of the environment and reveal that societies before European contact did not necessarily live the utopian existences that have been popularly supposed. Whereas most books on this topic tend to treat human societies as mere reactors to environmental stimuli, Redman's volume shows them to be active participants in complex and evolving ecological relationships. Human Impact on Ancient Environments demonstrates how archaeological research can provide unique insights into the nature of human stewardship of the Earth and can permanently alter the way we think about humans and the environment.
Literary Criticism

Passions for Nature

Nineteenth-century America's Aesthetics of Alienation

Author: Rochelle Johnson

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

ISBN: 0820332895

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 300

View: 2649

Nineteenth-century Americans celebrated nature through many artistic forms, including natural-history writing, landscape painting, landscape design theory, and transcendental philosophy. Although we tend to associate these movements with the nation’s dawning environmental consciousness, Passions for Nature demonstrates that they instead alienated Americans from the physical environment even as they seemed to draw people to it. Rather than see these expressions of passion for nature as initiating environmental awareness, this study reveals how they contributed to a culture that remains startlingly ignorant of the details of the material world. Using as a touchstone the writings of nineteenth-century philanthropist Susan Fenimore Cooper (the daughter of famed author James Fenimore Cooper), Passions for Nature reveals that while a generalized passion for nature was intense and widespread in her era, cultural attention to the "real" physical world was quite limited. Popular artistic forms represented the natural world through specific metaphors for the American experience, cultivating a national tradition of valuing nature in terms of humanity. Johnson crosses disciplinary boundaries to demonstrate that anthropocentric understandings of the natural world result not only from the growing gulf between science and imagination that C. P. Snow located in the early twentieth century but also--and surprisingly--from cultural productions traditionally viewed as positive engagements with the environment. By uncovering the roots of a cultural alienation from nature, Passions for Nature explains how the United States came to be a nation that simultaneously reveres the natural world and yet remains dangerously distant from it.
Science

Rare Earth

Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe

Author: Peter D. Ward,Donald Brownlee

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 0387218483

Category: Science

Page: 338

View: 8997

What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? Questions such as these are investigated in this groundbreaking book. In doing so, the authors synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the universe. Everyone who has been thrilled by the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and the indications of life on Mars and the Jovian moon Europa will be fascinated by Rare Earth, and its implications for those who look to the heavens for companionship.
Science

The Two-Mile Time Machine

Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future

Author: Richard B. Alley

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400852242

Category: Science

Page: 248

View: 5680

In the 1990s Richard B. Alley and his colleagues made headlines with the discovery that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years. In The Two-Mile Time Machine, Alley tells the fascinating history of global climate changes as revealed by reading the annual rings of ice from cores drilled in Greenland. He explains that humans have experienced an unusually temperate climate compared to the wild fluctuations that characterized most of prehistory. He warns that our comfortable environment could come to an end in a matter of years and tells us what we need to know in order to understand and perhaps overcome climate changes in the future. In a new preface, the author weighs in on whether our understanding of global climate change has altered in the years since the book was first published, what the latest research tells us, and what he is working on next.
History

Climate Change and the Course of Global History

A Rough Journey

Author: John L. Brooke

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521871646

Category: History

Page: 631

View: 4270

Climate Change and the Course of Global History presents the first global study by a historian to fully integrate the earth-system approach of the new climate science with the material history of humanity. Part I argues that geological, environmental, and climatic history explain the pattern and pace of biological and human evolution. Part II explores the environmental circumstances of the rise of agriculture and the state in the Early and Mid-Holocene, and presents an analysis of human health from the Paleolithic through the rise of the state, including the Neolithic Demographic Transition. Part III introduces the problem of economic growth and examines the human condition in the Late Holocene from the Bronze Age through the Black Death, assessing the relationships among human technologies, climatic change, and epidemic disease. Part IV explores the move to modernity, stressing the emerging role of human economic and energy systems as earth-system agents in the Anthropocene. Supported by climatic, demographic, and economic data with forty-nine figures and tables custom-made for this book, A Rough Journey provides a pathbreaking model for historians of the environment, the world, and science, among many others.
History

The Cambridge World History: Volume 6, The Construction of a Global World, 1400–1800 CE, Part 1, Foundations

Author: Jerry H. Bentley,Sanjay Subrahmanyam,Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1316297918

Category: History

Page: N.A

View: 3065

The era from 1400 to 1800 saw intense biological, commercial, and cultural exchanges, and the creation of global connections on an unprecedented scale. Divided into two books, Volume 6 of the Cambridge World History series considers these critical transformations. The first book examines the material and political foundations of the era, including global considerations of the environment, disease, technology, and cities, along with regional studies of empires in the eastern and western hemispheres, crossroads areas such as the Indian Ocean, Central Asia, and the Caribbean, and sites of competition and conflict, including Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean. The second book focuses on patterns of change, examining the expansion of Christianity and Islam, migrations, warfare, and other topics on a global scale, and offering insightful detailed analyses of the Columbian exchange, slavery, silver, trade, entrepreneurs, Asian religions, legal encounters, plantation economies, early industrialism, and the writing of history.
Science

What We Know About Climate Change

Author: Kerry Emanuel

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262305143

Category: Science

Page: 120

View: 9354

The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity has significantly increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere--most dramatically since the 1970s. Yet global warming skeptics and ill-informed elected officials continue to dismiss this broad scientific consensus. In this new edition of his authoritative book, MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel -- a political conservative -- outlines the basic science of global warming and how the current consensus has emerged. He also covers two major developments that have occurred since the first edition: the most recent round of updated projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate simulations, and the so-called "climategate" incident that heralded the subsequent collapse of popular and political support in the United States for dealing with climate change.
Social Science

Trees, Knots, and Outriggers

Environmental Knowledge in the Northeast Kula Ring

Author: Frederick H. Damon

Publisher: Berghahn Books

ISBN: 1785332333

Category: Social Science

Page: 390

View: 9219

Trees, Knots and Outriggers (Kaynen Muyuw) is the culmination of twenty-five years of work by Frederick H. Damon and his attention to cultural adaptations to the environment in Melanesia. Damon details the intricacies of indigenous knowledge and practice in his sweeping synthesis of symbolic and structuralist anthropology with recent developments in historical ecology. This book is a long conversation between the author's many Papua New Guinea informants, teachers and friends, and scientists in Australia, Europe and the United States, in which a spirit of adventure and discovery is palpable.
Nature

El Niño in History

Storming Through the Ages

Author: César Caviedes,Cesar N. Caviedes

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Nature

Page: 279

View: 6932

Cesar Caviedes provides a comprehensive historical account of El Nino, the fascinating and disruptive weather phenomenon that has affected weather cycles all over the globe for thousands of years. Combining scientific accuracy with readable presentation, he brings together all existing information, references and clues about past El Nino occurrences and their impact on political, military, social, economic and environmental history. This sweeping demonstration of the impact of climatic fluctuation on human history should be fascinating to the scientific community as well as to the general public.
Business & Economics

Megadisasters

The Science of Predicting the Next Catastrophe

Author: Florin Diacu

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691133506

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 195

View: 1865

Explains cataclysmic events--including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and financial crashes--and details the mathematical modeling that researchers use to predict when the next big disaster will strike.
Science

Living in the Environment: Principles, Connections, and Solutions

Author: G. Tyler Miller,Scott Spoolman

Publisher: Cengage Learning

ISBN: 1133169546

Category: Science

Page: 800

View: 6756

Sustainability is the integrating theme of this current and thought-provoking book. LIVING IN THE ENVIRONMENT provides the basic scientific tools for understanding and thinking critically about the environment. Co-authors G. Tyler Miller and Scott Spoolman inspire students to take a positive approach toward finding and implementing useful environmental solutions in their own lives and in their careers. Updated with the most up-to-date information, art, and Good News examples, the text engages and motivates students with vivid case studies and hands-on quantitative exercises. The concept-centered approach transforms complex environmental topics and issues into key concepts that students will understand and remember. Overall, by framing the concepts with goals for more sustainable lifestyles and human communities, students see how promising the future can be. Important Notice: Media content referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.
Political Science

Climate of Fear

Why We Shouldn't Worry about Global Warming

Author: Thomas Gale Moore

Publisher: Cato Institute

ISBN: 9781882577651

Category: Political Science

Page: 175

View: 2910

The book calls into question the entire campaign led by Vice President Al Gore and others to ratify the proposed treaty on global warming scheduled to be debated in the U.S. Senate early in 1998.
History

The Climate of Rebellion in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire

Author: Sam White

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139499491

Category: History

Page: N.A

View: 3995

The Climate of Rebellion in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire explores the serious and far-reaching impacts of Little Ice Age climate fluctuations in Ottoman lands. This study demonstrates how imperial systems of provisioning and settlement that defined Ottoman power in the 1500s came unraveled in the face of ecological pressures and extreme cold and drought, leading to the outbreak of the destructive Celali Rebellion (1595–1610). This rebellion marked a turning point in Ottoman fortunes, as a combination of ongoing Little Ice Age climate events, nomad incursions and rural disorder postponed Ottoman recovery over the following century, with enduring impacts on the region's population, land use and economy.
Science

With Speed and Violence

Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change

Author: Fred Pearce

Publisher: Beacon Press

ISBN: 0807085855

Category: Science

Page: 312

View: 8086

Nature is fragile, environmentalists often tell us. But the lesson of this book is that it is not so. The truth is far more worrying. Nature is strong and packs a serious counterpunch . . . Global warming will very probably unleash unstoppable planetary forces. And they will not be gradual. The history of our planet's climate shows that it does not do gradual change. Under pressure, whether from sunspots or orbital wobbles or the depredations of humans, it lurches-virtually overnight. —from the Introduction Fred Pearce has been writing about climate change for eighteen years, and the more he learns, the worse things look. Where once scientists were concerned about gradual climate change, now more and more of them fear we will soon be dealing with abrupt change resulting from triggering hidden tipping points. Even President Bush's top climate modeler, Jim Hansen, warned in 2005 that "we are on the precipice of climate system tipping points beyond which there is no redemption." As Pearce began working on this book, normally cautious scientists beat a path to his door to tell him about their fears and their latest findings. With Speed and Violence tells the stories of these scientists and their work-from the implications of melting permafrost in Siberia and the huge river systems of meltwater beneath the icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica to the effects of the "ocean conveyor" and a rare molecule that runs virtually the entire cleanup system for the planet. Above all, the scientists told him what they're now learning about the speed and violence of past natural climate change-and what it portends for our future. With Speed and Violence is the most up-to-date and readable book yet about the growing evidence for global warming and the large climatic effects it may unleash.