For any science or social science course in need of a basic understanding of IPCC reports.
Periodic reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) evaluate the risk of climate change brought on by humans. But the sheer volume of scientific data remains inscrutable to the general public, particularly to those who may still question the validity of climate change. In just over 200 pages, this practical text presents and expands upon the essential findings in a visually stunning and undeniably powerful way to the lay reader. Scientific findings that provide validity to the implications of climate change are presented in clear-cut graphic elements, striking images, and understandable analogies.
The Second Edition covers the latest climate change data and scientific consensus from the Fifth Assessment Report and integrates links to media and active learning to capture learning opportunities for students. The text is also available in various eText formats, including an upgrade option from MasteringGeography.
This product accompanies
A'ndrea Elyse Messer, Research Penn State:
"A key element is accurate information debunking the most commonly held myths about climate change, including the ideas that carbon dioxide is causing the holes in the ozone, that the increase in carbon dioxide is the result of natural cycles, and that our atmosphere is not warming at all. The authors consider each myth or misunderstanding and explain any kernel of truth within it before providing its refutation."
Dan Vergano, USA Today:
"[Michael] Mann and his colleague Lee Kump have written a terrific illustrated guide to global warming...with graphics that make even the most complex climate questions easily understandable. Our graphics department will be plundering the book for the next few years."
Bud Ward, Yale Climate Forum:
"Practically every page spread...is studded with stunning and informative graphics and illustrations. Hear that? Repeat: Stunning AND informative."
Gerry Karey, Platt's The Barrel:
" 'Dire Predictions - Understanding Global Warming,' ... is likely to infuriate climate skeptics because it is so user friendly that it could become a popular default source for information on global warming."
Janet Raloff, ScienceNews:
"[T]he authors have tackled a tough job and given lay readers a nice primer to begin wading into the complexities of Earth's climate.
Margot Roosevelt, Greenspace, Los Angeles Times:
"[A] handy guide for every harried individual daunted by the complexities of greenhouse effects, carbon-cycle feedbacks, ocean conveyor belts and climate modeling."
Jay Gulledge, Nature Reports:
"The main tool of communication and by far the best feature of the book is its high-quality data graphics showing the key observations and projections from which the IPCC developed its conclusions." See also Olive Heffernan's synopsis on Nature's Climate Feedback blog.
Nola Theiss, Sanibel-Captiva Islander:
"[I]t almost reads like a travel guide that helps the reader traverse the difficult terrain of climate change facts and figures through the use of photos, charts, and maps. It doesn’t downplay the science behind the articles, but it really is all about presentation and the implications of that science."
Marcus Schneck, The Harrisburg Patriot-News:
"[I]t's heavily focused on photos and graphics, which made the facts it included even more terrifying. That style forces the writers to encapsulate everything, meaning the presentation on coming extinctions really pops."
Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth, The New York Times: (see "illustrated books" link in 2nd paragraph of piece)
William F. Hewitt, Nature Reports:
"Climate Change: Picturing the Science is the latest of various efforts to convey the seriousness of the climate situation through imagery as well as words. In this regard, it follows from Earth Under Fire ... and Dire Predictions."
Robert Brinkmann, University of South Florida in Southeastern Geographer (Subscription required)
C. Gregory Knight, Penn State, in Annals of the Association of American Geographers:
"[Mann and Kump] take the reader through the basics of global warming and climate change, climate projections, impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and potential solutions" Read PDF>>
Nola Theiss, Kliatt:
"I found [Dire Predictions] to be one of the clearest and easiest to digest explanations of climate change I have ever read."
Katie Lepri, WLRN Television:
"Mann is one of the leading climate experts, yet can write for wide audiences. This book is loaded with powerful illustrations and graphics."
DarkSyde, Daily Kos:
"What sets the book apart...is the extraordinary scientific accuracy within. Official documents, peer reviewed papers, and IPCC reports can be tedious and confusing for the layman to slog through. That immense body of work is translated into a well organized overview composed of readable chunks flowing along at a brisk pace, each with just the right touch of technical detail for readers with a reasonably good understanding of basic physical science."
Richard Littlemore, DeSmogBlog:
"[Mann and Kump] have crafted an accessible primer on climate change, how it's happening and who's to blame."
Green LA Girl:
"Dire Predictions is intended for the layperson who wants to understand the wonky science behind climate change without going back to college for a science degree. Basically, the book takes the findings of the IPCC — you know, the United Nations panel that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore — about global climate change and puts it in a language the average person has a chance at following."
David Appell, Quark Soup:
"You can learn something no matter at what level you already understand climate change, but it would be especially suited for people who are not scientifically-oriented but want a nontrivial introduction to the topic -- below a Scientific American level."
The Naib, The Sietch Blog: "
If you know someone who just 'doesn’t get it' when it comes to the IPCC and climate change, I recommend you get them this book.
James Wang, Environmental Defense Fund:
"One of the strengths of Dire Predictions is its strong, to-the-point rebuttals of common misconceptions fueled by global warming skeptics. The authors expertly explain why the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 is not natural, how today's warming is greater than and fundamentally different from that during the 'Medieval Warm Period', why higher CO2 levels are not beneficial for ecosystems, and why the excuses for inaction on global warming are wrong."
Olive Heffernan, Climate Feedback, Nature: A synopsis of Pew Center's Jay Gulledge's review in Nature Reports.
A Change in the Wind:
"This could be described as a book written by two particularly thoughtful experts for National Geographic. Not only does the slim volume of 207 pages rely mostly on brilliantly executed visuals to get its ideas across, but the prose is simple and honest...Highly recommended."
Dickenson College COP15 Delegation Course Blog:
"Reading Dire Predictions by Michael Mann and Lee Kump...is...very convincing. Mann and Kump, mindful of counter-arguments, provided a simple and concise account of climate change."
Milan Ilnyckyj, A Sibilant Intake of Breath:
"The...book is a quick and easy read, even for those who are not well acquainted with scientific principles and terminology. It responds directly to many issues raised in the media (such as common climate change denier talking points) and it includes a great many illuminating charts and illustrations."
Digerati & Technology Reports:
"I rate this book 5 stars out of 5 possible and strongly encourage that it be purchased and read by everyone in your family. This material should be easy enough for people with a high school education to understand, and it has enough detail for people with higher education to enjoy."
Here's a powerful, straight-forward guide to how scientists, economists, and engineers really understand the problem of global warming. It makes 20 years of research and consensus-building completely accessible to anyone who cares to know the truth--and to do something about it.
- Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
In Dire Predictions, two respected scientists offer a clear and compelling summary of our understanding of Earth's changing climate. This book is an excellent guide to an issue of fundamental importance to all of us on the planet.
- Sally K. Ride, PhD former astronaut; CEO, Sally Ride Science
With its eye-grabbing graphics and reader-friendly prose, Dire Predictions walks us through the findings of the world's leading climate scientists - and places the ultimately responsibility for the human future directly at our feet.
- Ross Gelbspan, author of The Heat Is On and Boiling Point
Dire Predictions is a must read for anyone who wants the straight facts on global warming. It cuts to the heart of the massive 2007 IPCC report, presenting major scientific findings in easy to understand language and graphics. Written by two of the scientific community's most thoughtful researchers, Dire Predictions' unbiased message about global warming arrives at a time when people need it most!
- Heidi Cullen, The Weather Channel
- NEW! Incorporation of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report data.
- NEW! The second edition is available in various eText formats, including CourseSmart and Pearson eText.
- Authoritative material is provided by esteemed climate scientists Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump. Mann’s work, along with that of other IPCC report contributors, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2007.
- The scientific basis for climate change, impacts, adaptation and vulnerability of natural and socioeconomic systems, and mitigation of climate change are covered.
- The authors avoid complicated chemical and mathematical data, focusing instead on building important concepts through analogy, example, and graphic representation.
- Complicated material from the IPCC reports is simplified for the lay reader. Readers will be familiar with the key concepts employed, including scientific uncertainty, how to build a climate model and use it to predict future climates, and geoforensics: piecing together the clues about past climates.
- PowerPoint slides of key graphics from the book may be downloaded by adopters from the Instructor's Resource Center Website.
New to This Edition
- Updated coverage includes the latest data and findings of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report.
- New modules cover Ocean Heat Content, Deoxygenation, Migrating Climate Zones, Tipping Points, and Student Sustainability Initiatives.
- Updated graphics and cartography include presentation in both metric and standard units.
- eText formats are now available, including CourseSmart and Pearson eText.
- Mobile-enabled QR codes link readers to online media and data sources.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Climate Change Basics
The relative impacts of humans and nature on climate
Taking action in the face of uncertainty
Why is it called the greenhouse effect?
Feedback loops compound the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide
What are the important greenhouse gases, and where do they come from?
Greenhouse gases on the rise
Could the increase in atmospheric CO2 be the result of natural cycles?
It’s getting hotter down here!
Where is all that heat going?
Is our atmosphere really warming?
Back to the future
Suffocating the ocean
Weren’t scientists warning us of a coming ice age only decades ago?
How does modern warming differ from past warming trends?
Welcome to the Anthropocene
What can a decade of western North American drought tell us about the future?
Signs of things to come? The 2012 North American heat wave
• The 2003 European heat wave
• Does a cold snap in Peoria invalidate global warming?
• A tempest in a greenhouse
• The vanishing snows of Kilimanjaro
• The last interglacial
• How to build a climate model
Profiles: James Hansen, Warren Washington, Stephen Schneider, and Susan Solomon
Comparing climate model predictions with observations
Regional vs global trends
Some climates disappear as others emerge
“Fingerprints” distinguish human and natural impacts on climate
Part 2 Climate Change Projections
How sensitive is the climate?
Fossil-fuel emissions scenarios
The Faux Pause
Past IPCC projections—how did they do?
The next century
The geographical pattern of future warming
Tipping points, irreversibility, and abrupt climate change
Melting ice and rising sea level
Future changes in extreme weather
Stabilizing atmospheric CO2
Part 3 The Impacts of Climate Change
The rising impact of global warming
Is it time to sell that beach house?
The highway to extinction?
Too much and too little
Is warming from carbon dioxide leading to more air pollution?
Pestilence and death
Earth, wind, and fire
Too wet and too hot
The polar meltdown
Part 4 Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change
Is global warming the last straw for vulnerable ecosystems?
What is the best course for the coming century?
It’s the economy, stupid!
A finger in the dike
Keeping the water flowing
A hard row to hoe
Part 5 Solving Climate Change
Solving global warming
Where do all those emissions come from?
Keeping the power turned on
On the road again
Reducing industrial CO2 pollution
The water–energy nexus
Waste not, want watts?
But what can I do about it?
Sustainability success stories
What’s your carbon footprint?
Global problems require international cooperation
Can we achieve sustainable development?
The ethics of climate change
The known unknowns and the unknown unknowns
The urgency of climate change
Websites and online courses
Other Student Resources
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About the Author(s)
Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).
Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. His research involves the use of theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth's climate system.
Dr. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. He has received a number of honors and awards including NOAA's outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012 and was awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation in 2013. He made Bloomberg News' list of fifty most influential people in 2013. He is a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.
Dr. Mann is author of more than 160 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming in 2008 and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines in 2012. He is also a co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning science website RealClimate.org.
Lee R. Kump is a Professor in the Department of Geosciences, and an associate of the Earth System Science Center and Astrobiology Research Center at the Pennsylvania State University. A native of Minnesota, he received his bachelor's degree in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago in 1981, and his Ph.D. in marine sciences from the University of South Florida in 1986. While in Florida he spent two summers as a geologist with the United States Geological Survey's Fisher Island Station. In August of 1986 he joined the faculty at Penn State.
Dr. Kump is a Fellow of the Geological Societies of America and London, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Geochemical Society, and the Geochemistry Division of the American Chemical Society. His research has been funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Gas Research Institute, the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society, and Texaco. Dr. Kump became Associate Director of the CIAR Earth System Evolution Program in 2004. Dr. Kump's primary research effort is in the development of numerical models of global biogeochemical cycles. His early work focussed on the carbon and sulfur cycles, and on the feedbacks that regulate atmospheric oxygen levels. More recently his emphasis has shifted to the study of the dynamic coupling between global climate and biogeochemical cycles. He studies the long-term evolution of the oceans and atmosphere, using a combination of field work, laboratory analysis, and numerical modeling.
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