Storms of My Grandchildren Hansen, J.

Climatologist James Hansen, describes the evidence for a dangerous global warming. Hansen makes a structured case drawing from many areas including fundamental physics, paleoclimatology, contemporary climate record, species habitation zones, and computer modeling.

Starting on the grand scale of the whole earth as a system which is out of energy balance due the rapid increase of CO2 he presents the climate science case that there are significant environmental consequences yet to play out if we continue on a business as usual path of burning fossil fuels. He shows compelling graphs of how changes in paleoclimate were driven by the known small changes in the earth’s tilt, orbital eccentricity,  and direction of rotation axis which occur over periods of thousands of years. The complex interplay of these changing external forcings and internal forcings due to natural CO2 release due to plate tectonics and CO2 capture by weathering, and other less significant forcings like aerosols provides compelling explanation for the paleoclimate record.

He emphasizes the paleoclimate record of much higher sea levels in the past shows the evidence for a complex non-linear interaction of many forcings of which, in the long run, CO2 has been the greatest.  The successes and shortcomings of computer modeling are described including the suggestion that the Antarctic ice cap may be at greater danger of collapse than the simplifying assumptions put into the models allow for.

Dr Hansen describes his experiences on an advisory panel to the first Bush administration, the attempts made by the White House to censor him and why he arrived at a target figure of 350 ppm CO2 + reduced methane and black soot in the atmosphere. He shows this is urgent to avert the most dangerous impacts as the earth changes in a direction to restore equilibrium.

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