Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 60s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Global Warming for Beginners

Global Warming for Beginners, Dean Goodwin, For Beginners LLC, 2008

Global warming is a very important subject in the present day. This book attempts to explain how and why Earth's climate interacts with the atmosphere.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a group of several hundred climate scientists from all over the world. Their job is to look at all the scientific data on various aspects of climate change. In their latest reoprt, in 2007, they concluded that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal. . . many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes. . . global greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities have grown since pre-industrial times, with an increase of 70% between 1970 and 2004."

Earth has experienced warming and cooling cycles in the past. Some people think that this is another of those warming cycles, and not really a cause for concern. Most sunlight is absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, while the rest is reflected back into space. Water vaopr, methane and carbon dioxide, present in the atmosphere, are very good at absorbing infrared radiation. Some global warming is need to keep Earth from turning into a giant ice cube. But too much of a good thing is just as bad. To get an idea of what happens with high levels of carbon dioxide, look at Venus, with its runaway greenhouse effect.

The rapidly rising amount of burning fossil fuels leads to more carbon in the atmosphere. It has a positive feedback effect, raising the Earth's temperature. Deforestation that is happening all over the world reduces the level of photosynthesis, which reduces the amount of carbon being removed from the atmosphere. If the forest has been burned, which is usually the case, then the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere rises, and the amount of carbon removed by photosynthesis drops at the same time.

The book also looks at the consequences of global warming; we are witnessing some of the hottest years on record; snow cover on mountain ranges is decreasing; as ice melts, it raises sea levels worldwide; ocean currents could change; biodiversity could also be affected. It also lists simple things that anyone can do to help reduce the effects of global warming.

This book is easy to read, and tries to adopt a facts-only approach. To get away from the hype on both sides of the issue, start right here.

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