Author: William F. Ruddiman
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2010-03-22
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.
Author: William F. Ruddiman
Release Date: 2007-10-12
'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.
Author: Jelle Zeilinga de Boer
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2012-01-02
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.
Author: John E. Frederick
Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Publishers
Release Date: 2011-11-01
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
Author: Charles L. Redman
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Release Date: 1999
Genre: Social Science
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.
Author: Rochelle Johnson
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Literary Criticism
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.
Author: David Archer
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2016-03-22
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.
Author: Richard B. Alley
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2014-10-26
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.
Author: John L. Brooke
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2014-03-17
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.
Author: Peter D. Ward
Release Date: 2007-05-08
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.
Author: Jerry H. Bentley
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2015-04-09
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.
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.
Author: Richard W. Battarbee
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2009-01-26
Whilst there is now overwhelming evidence that greenhouse-gas pollution is becoming the dominant process responsible for global warming, it is also clear that the climate system varies quite naturally on different time-scales. Predicting the course of future climate change consequently requires an understanding of the natural variability of the climate system as well as the effects of human-induced change. This book is concerned with our current understanding of natural climate change, its variability on decadal to centennial time-scales, the extent to which climate models of different kinds simulate past variability, and the role of past climate variability in explaining changes to natural ecosystems and to human society over the later part of the Holocene. The book highlights the need to improve not only our understanding of the physical system through time but also to improve our knowledge of how people may have influenced the climate system in the past and have been influenced by it, both directly and indirectly. This ground-breaking text addresses predictable modification in the climate system in the context of global warming. Ideal for researchers and advanced students, it explores current thinking on natural climate change. Addresses the natural variability of the climate system in the context of global warming Contributes substantially to the ongoing discussion on global warming Integrates state of the art research and brings together modeling and data communities in a balanced way Considers questions of climate change on different time-scales “Natural climate variability and global warming is clearly an important book, well-focused and distinctive, with fundamental things to say about Holocene science and its interface with the practical problem of global warming. It is an authoritative, up-to-date summary and synthesis of current knowledge in this area and is attractively produced with clear, colour illustrations throughout. It is a ‘must’ for all university libraries and our private book collections.” The Holocene, 2009.
Author: Robert B. Marks
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Release Date: 2015-02-05
This clearly written and engrossing book presents a global narrative of the origins of the modern world from 1400 to the present. Unlike most studies, which assume that the “rise of the West” is the story of the coming of the modern world, this history, drawing upon new scholarship on Asia, Africa, and the New World and upon the maturing field of environmental history, constructs a story in which those parts of the world play major roles, including their impacts on the environment. Robert B. Marks defines the modern world as one marked by industry, the nation state, interstate warfare, a large and growing gap between the wealthiest and poorest parts of the world, increasing inequality within the wealthiest industrialized countries, and an escape from the environmental constraints of the “biological old regime.” He explains its origins by emphasizing contingencies (such as the conquest of the New World); the broad comparability of the most advanced regions in China, India, and Europe; the reasons why England was able to escape from common ecological constraints facing all of those regions by the eighteenth century; a conjuncture of human and natural forces that solidified a gap between the industrialized and non-industrialized parts of the world; and the mounting environmental crisis that defines the modern world. Now in a new edition that brings the saga of the modern world to the present in an environmental context, the book considers how and why the United States emerged as a world power in the twentieth century and became the sole superpower by the twenty-first century, and why the changed relationship of humans to the environmental likely will be the hallmark of the modern era—the “Anthopocene.” Once again arguing that the U.S. rise to global hegemon was contingent, not inevitable, Marks also points to the resurgence of Asia and the vastly changed relationship of humans to the environment that may in the long run overshadow any political and economic milestones of the past hundred years.