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Climate Crash: Abrupt Climate Change And What It Means For Our Future

Climate Crash: Abrupt Climate Change And What It Means For Our Future



  • John D. Cox


  • Hardcover: 215 pages
  • Publisher: Joseph Henry Press (April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0309093120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0309093125
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces


Book Description

Watch out for natural climate change. From warm to cold, wet to dry, it doesn’t behave the way scientists thought it did. A drastic climate shift more sudden and troublesome than we’d ever imagined could already be underway.

As scientists carefully search for clues in the sun and storm patterns from our distant past, they are gradually writing a new history of Earth’s climate. Layers extracted from cores drilled into glaciers and ice sheets, sediments collected from the shores of lakes and oceans, and growth rings exposed in ancient corals and trees all tell the same surprising story.

It is now apparent that alterations in our climate can happen quickly and dramatically. Physical evidence reveals that centuries of slow, creeping climate variations have actually been punctuated by far more rapid changes. While this new paradigm represents a significant shift in our picture of Earth’s past, the real question is what it means for our future.

Many researchers are now quietly abandoning the traditional vision of a long, slow waltz of slumbering ice ages and more temperate periods of interglacial warming. While they’ve long recognized the threats posed by global warming, they must now consider that the natural behavior of our climate is perhaps a greater threat than we’d imagined. And though there is no need for immediate alarm, the fact that changes in our climate can happen much more quickly than we’d originally thought—perhaps in the course of a human lifetime—makes it clear that science has a lot of questions to answer in this area.

What are the mechanisms for triggering a significant climate change? In what ways should we expect this change to manifest itself? When will it likely happen? Climate Crash seeks to answer these questions, breaking the story of rapid climate change to a general public that is already intensely curious about what science has to say on the topic.

About the Author

John D. Cox is a veteran journalist and author who has focused on hard news in the areas of science, environment, and politics. As an award-winning reporter, he has written extensively about such events as El Niño and such hotly debated climate issues as global warming and its ecological ramifications. The author of Storm Watchers and Weather for Dummies, he has mastered the art of explaining complexity in everyday terms. In 1995-1996, Cox was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied atmospheric and other earth sciences.  



Earth’s Climate Flip-Flops More Than Any Politician, July 1, 2005

Even though the subtitle of the book is "Abrupt Climate Change and What It Means for Our Future" [in which the author does a good job at showing why the future of our planet’s climate is still unknown and possibly unknowable], the real importance of John D. Cox’s Climate Crash is the book’s detailed description of at least 80 years of research on the past climates of the planet Earth. Cox, a science journalist well versed in the earth sciences, shows step-by-step how scientists have arrived at the conclusion that the Earth’s climate can shift very quickly [on scales of years or decades] from state to state. This is important information for anybody interested in the current scientific and political debates concerning the future of our planet’s climate. My only complaint is that the book contains a few typos [In chapter 1, we meet Alfred Lohar Wegener, but at the beginning of chapter 3, he’s Alfred Wegner. I’m sure the ghost of Alfred Lothar Wegener doesn’t mind – it’s nice to see him mentioned in a context other than plate tectonics.] If you read this book and then you still think that NOT dealing with the level of anthropogenic greenhouse gases is an okay way to go, you’re a much braver person than I am! I enjoyed Climate Crash immensely and recommend it to anyone with an interest in climatology, geology, polar research, or the scientific method.  

Providing Context for Climate Change, November 9, 2006

Despite the title of this book, which I’m sure must have been chosen by the publisher to sell the book, this is an extremely clear and well written account of the evidence for abrupt climate change in ice cores, ocean floor sediments, and the like. That sounds boring, but the book is anything but. I read it twice in succession because it does such a great job of providing the context for understanding current issues in climate science, and because the story is written in such a compelling fashion. Cox is a science journalist, and a good one. The book is pitched, I think, for someone who has had some science courses in college, but requires no specialized knowledge of climate science. I’ve been replacing all the light bulbs in my house with compact florescents ever since I read this excellent book!