Climate Change references

The environment has been important to me for a long time, and over the last ten years climate change (aka global warming) has emerged as the greatest threat to its future. I am particularly interested in what it means to us here in Australia but it is a global problem and most of my references are global.

I don’t claim any specialist knowledge of climate science but I can claim a good general knowledge and enough scientific literacy to avoid the commonest pitfalls. This page was written when a friend who knows his climate science told me my list of references might be useful to others. If this page helps anyone to become a better, or just better informed, global citizen, it will have repaid the time it took to create.

The science is advancing so quickly, and the public debate is changing so fast, that most references more than a few years old are seriously out of date. Please let me know (via Contact) if you notice any errors or broken links, and feel free to suggest new links.

These are all internet references – books are listed on a separate page, here, and movies with environmental themes are here and here.

The Science

Visualisations

The only drawback of the wonderful possibilities on show here is that they can be graphics-intensive: visiting them might be disappointing if you’re on a slow connection.

An animated graph of the rise of atmospheric CO2 over the last 800 000 years: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/history.html There’s no commentary – it doesn’t need one – but you may need to watch it a couple of times to understand everything it is showing.

The winds of the world in real-time animation. https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-210.00,0.00,436

Breathing Earth http://www.breathingearth.net/  Lots of information – and food for thought – in this visual representation of how many people are being born, how many are dying, and how much CO2 is being emitted around the world, shown by country and updated in real time. You can see the population of any given country by hovering your cursor over it, as well as the birth and death rate and the per capita carbon emission rate.

Sites in this group get more technical as you go down the list.

The hottest decade on record:

World: NOAA’s State of the Climate in 2010 released July 2011, summarised here.
World: NOAA reports that 2010 ties with 1998 as the hottest on record.
World: (ABC news reporting on NOAA’s State of the Climate report July 2010)

Australia: (ABC News, Jan 2010)

FAQ’s:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html

CSIRO: start at http://www.cmar.csiro.au/ and explore – lots of resources.

ABC Science unit http://www.abc.net.au/science/expert/realexpert/climatechange/

My review of Poles Apart (2009) by Morgan and McCrystal, which assesses the evidence for and against global warming.

Australia’s changing climate: http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/trendmaps.cgi lets you see the changes over different time spans and areas.

ABC Science:

The first link takes you to the main page of ABC’s Science unit, the second to their dedicated climate-change page. Both bring you the latest news stories.

RealClimate – Climate Science from Climate Scientists: http://www.realclimate.org/
A blog by, and mostly for, climate scientists. Experts discuss the implications – and accuracy – of the latest research: fascinating stuff.

How Much Will the Sea Level Rise?
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/category/climate-science/oceans/ from RealClimate.

An introduction to the core climate solutions
http://climateprogress.org/2008/10/22/an-introduction-to-the-core-climate-solutions/
Climate Progress is an authoritative blog which ‘occupies the intersection of climate science, economics and policy’, not surprising when you know its author Dr Joe Romm was Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy during the Clinton administration.

Dot Earth – 1988-2008: Climate Then and Now
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/23/1988-2008-climate-then-and-now/index.html

Changing perceptions of climate science over twenty years: The Discovery of Global Warming http://www.aip.org/history/climate/ How did we come to know what we know?

Take part 1: Climate Prediction Net http://www.climateprediction.net/
A ‘distributed computing’ project to produce predictions of the Earth’s climate up to 2080 and to test the accuracy of climate models. Help by running simulations on your home computer.

Individual Action

(1) What we can do

Zero Waste http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/zerowaste/

Get Tips to Fight Global Warming http://www.fightglobalwarming.com/

Earth Garden http://www.earthgarden.com.au/portal/news.php

(2) Why we should act

Why and how ‘business as usual’ is a global Ponzi scheme http://climateprogress.org/2009/03/08/ponzi-scheme-madoff-friedman-natural-capital-renewable-resources/

Eco-Buddhism: A Buddhist Response to Global Warming http://www.ecobuddhism.org/

Community Activism

The Climate Institute http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/

Australian Conservation Foundation http://www.acfonline.org.au/default.asp

The Wilderness Society (Australia) http://www.wilderness.org.au/

Rising Tide Australia http://www.risingtide.org.au/

Climate and Politics: This article by Rod Keenan from ABC News – http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s3006148.htm – is an unusually good, concise overview of the political problems inherent in dealing with climate change. A lot of it is a summary of Mike Hulme’s recent book, Why We Disagree About Climate Change, which could be a good read, too, for anyone who has the time.

Peak Oil

‘Peak Oil’ – the very strong likelihood that the world’s oil reserves are much smaller than we would like to think – is going to challenge the status quo whatever we try to do about climate change. It a very mixed curse, and we do need to think about it.

Last checked and updated Jan 2012

2 thoughts on “Climate Change references”

  1. Malcolm has been an excellent correspondent when it comes to Climate issues. He has managed to share many useful resources with me and the AMOS Education Committee in Melbourne. What I like about Malcolm’s work is that all the resources he has forwarded to me, he has added comments about the resource and his own thoughts on it. This adds value to the resource enourmously.
    Malcolm’s other work in photograph and the Green Path are stunning works in themselves, and wonderful works of art about nature which help us all, but perhaps especially children, to appreciate the natural world. Many thanks Malcolm! Cheers from Rob

  2. Thanks, Rob.
    Each person contributes to the world according to their unique pattern of skills and interests. My skills are in explaining (decades of being a teacher can do that for you!) and writing, and my interests are in the natural world (probably going all the way back to being a kid on a Victorian farm and turning over logs to see what lived underneath them!) and photography. Result: Green Path.

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