The Future of the World's Climate

The Future of the World's Climate

2nd Edition - November 3, 2011

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  • Editors: Ann Henderson-Sellers, Kendal McGuffie
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123869579
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123869173

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At a time of so much politicized debate over the phenomenon of global warming, the second edition of The Future of the World's Climate places the discussion in a broader geological, paleo-climatic, and astronomical context. This book is a resource based on reviews of current climate science and supported by sound, accurate data and projections made possible by technological advances in climate modeling. Crucially, this title examines in detail a wide variety of aspects, including human factors like land use, expanding urban climates, and governmental efforts at mitigation, such as the Kyoto Protocol. It also examines large-scale, long-term changes in oceans, glaciers, and atmospheric composition, including tropospheric ozone and aerosols. Weather extremes are addressed, as well as the impact of catastrophic events such as massive volcanism and meteorite impacts. Readers will find a complete picture of the Earth's future climate, delivered by authors drawn from all over the world and from the highest regarded peer-reviewed groups; most are also contributors to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Assessment Reports.

Key Features

  • Winner of the 2012 ALSI Choice Award from Atmospheric Science Librarians International
  • Each chapter has undergone major revisions and new content has been added throughout
  • More than 200 tables, diagrams, illustrations, and photographs
  • A cross-disciplinary resource encompassing the geosciences, life science, social science, and engineering


Includes (but is not limited to) the geosciences, life science, social science, and engineering; Instructors and students at the undergraduate and graduate levels studying climatology, atmospheric science, oceanography, geology, environmental science and engineering, ecology, and, to a lesser extent, political science

Table of Contents

  • Dedication



    Abbreviations & Acronyms

    Stephen H. Schneider: In Memoriam


    Chapter 1. Seeing Further

    1.1. The Future of Our Climate: Introduction and Outline

    1.2. Global Warming: Climate’s ‘Elephant in the Room’

    1.3. The Complexity of the Future of the World’s Climate

    1.4. Climate Future of the Coorong: Communicating from Global ‘Ground Zero’

    1.5. Futurology of Climate


    Chapter 2. People, Policy and Politics in Future Climates

    2.1. Introduction: Human and Ecological Systems and Paradigm Change

    2.2. The Challenges of Governance for Mitigation of Climate Change

    2.3. A Governance Approach to Address Climate Change

    2.4. Science and Politics in the International Climate Regime

    2.5. The Role of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol

    2.6. Top-Down Actions Stemming From Inside and Outside UNFCCC/Kyoto

    2.7. Bottom-Up Approaches: Civil Society Participation and Influence

    2.8. Prospects for the Future

    2.9. Future Unknowns: Living on a Warmer Earth?

    Chapter 3. Urban Climates and Global Climate Change

    3.1. Introduction: Living in Cities

    3.2. Local and Regional Urban Climates: The Biophysical Basis

    3.3. Cities and Global Climate Change

    3.4. Current State-of-the-Art in Simulating Urban Climates

    3.5. Cities and the Future Climate

    Chapter 4. Human Effects on Climate Through Land-Use-Induced Land-Cover Change

    4.1. Introduction: Land Change and Climate

    4.2. The Scale of Human Modification

    4.3. Mechanisms/Processes Through Which LULCC Affects Climate

    4.4. Links Between LULCC and Climate

    4.5. Land Use and Understanding our Future Climate


    Chapter 5. Fast and Slow Feedbacks in Future Climates

    5.1. Introduction: The Sensitive Climate

    5.2. Fast-Feedback Climate Sensitivity

    5.3. Slow Feedback Processes Related to the Carbon Cycle

    5.4. Coupled Climate–Carbon Cycle Model Results and Linear Feedback Analysis

    5.5. Other Slow and Less-Considered Feedbacks

    5.6. Climate Feedbacks and the Future Climate

    Chapter 6. Variability and Change in the Ocean

    6.1. Introduction: Climate Variability

    6.2. Observed Ocean Variability and Change

    6.3. Projections for the Future

    6.4. Ocean Biogeochemical Feedbacks

    6.5. Oceanic Variability and Change

    Chapter 7. Climatic Variability on Decadal to Century Timescales

    7.1. Introduction: Oceans and Future Climate

    7.2. Tropical Decadal Variability

    7.3. Description of Extra-tropical Decadal Variability

    7.4. Evidence of Centennial Variability

    7.5. The Stochastic Climate Model: The Null Hypothesis For Climate Variability

    7.6. Summary: Future Unknowns

    Chapter 8. The Future of the World's Glaciers

    8.1. Introduction: Climate and the Cryosphere

    8.2. Elements

    8.3. Glacier Mass Balance

    8.4. Modelling Tools

    8.5. Recent and Present States of the World’s Glaciers

    8.6. The Outlook for Glaciers

    8.7. Reflections: Glaciers and the Future Climate

    Chapter 9. Future Regional Climates

    9.1. Introduction: Close-up of Climate Change

    9.2. Regional-Scale Climate Phenomena

    9.3. Downscaling Global Climate Projections

    9.4. Sources of Uncertainty

    9.5. Achieving Regional Climate Predictions

    9.6. Regionalizing Future Climate


    Chapter 10. Climate and Weather Extremes

    10.1. Introduction: Extremes of Climate

    10.2. Methodological Issues Regarding the Analysis of Extremes

    10.3. Observed Changes in Extremes

    10.4. Climate Processes and Climate Extremes

    10.5. How Well do Climate Models Simulate Extremes?

    10.6. The Future

    10.7. Extremes in Our Future Climate

    Chapter 11. Interaction Between Future Climate and Terrestrial Carbon and Nitrogen

    11.1. Introduction: Cycling Terrestrial Nutrients

    11.2. Climate System Feedbacks

    11.3. Biogeochemical Processes

    11.4. Observational Constraints

    11.5. Modelling Nitrogen–Carbon Interactions

    11.6. Consequences of Land-Use and Land-Cover Change for Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles

    11.7. Vegetation and the Future Climate

    Chapter 12. Atmospheric Composition Change

    12.1. Introduction

    12.2. Key Interactions in the Climate–Chemistry System

    12.3. Trends in Emissions of Chemical Species and in Chemically Active Greenhouse Compounds

    12.4. Distribution and Changes of Chemical Active Greenhouse Gases and Their Precursors

    12.5. Climate Impact from Emission Changes

    12.6. Contributions to Tropospheric Changes from the Transport Sector and for Different Regions

    12.7. Impact on Tropospheric Composition from Climate Change and Changes In Stratospheric Composition

    12.8. Cross Cutting Issues (Policy Relations, Integration)

    12.9. Summary and Conclusions

    Chapter 13. Climate–Chemistry Interaction

    13.1. Atmospheric Composition, Chemistry, and Climate

    13.2. Climatically-Important Chemical Compounds

    13.3. Climate–Chemistry Interaction of Tropospheric Ozone

    13.4. Climate–Chemistry Interaction of Tropospheric Sulfate Aerosols

    13.5. Mitigation Policies for Climate and Air Quality

    13.6. Future Study of Climate–Chemistry Interaction


    Chapter 14. Records from the Past, Lessons for the Future

    14.1. Timescales of Climate Change, their Causation, and Detection

    14.2. Regional Responses to Millennial-Scale Forcing

    14.3. Rapid Climate Changes

    14.4. Biosphere Feedbacks

    14.5. Lessons from the Past for the Study of Climate Changes

    14.6. Lessons from the Past for Future Climates

    Chapter 15. Modelling the Past and Future Interglacials in Response to Astronomical and Greenhouse Gas Forcing

    15.1. Introduction: Interglacials and Warm Climate

    15.2. Model and Experiments Used for Simulating the Last Nine Interglacials

    15.3. Precession and Obliquity During the Interglacials

    15.4. Latitudinal and Seasonal Distribution of Insolation

    15.5. Modelling the GHG and Insolation Contributions to the Difference Between Pre- and Post-MBE Interglacials

    15.6. GHG and Insolation Contributions to the Individual Interglacial Climates

    15.7. Future of Our Interglacial

    15.8. Probing Future Astro-Climates

    Chapter 16. Catastrophe

    16.1. Introduction: What is a Climate Catastrophe?

    16.2. Massive Volcanism: Case Study of the Triassic–Jurassic (Tr–J) Event

    16.3. Extraterrestrial Impacts: Case Study of the End-Cretaceous Events

    16.4. The Potential of the K–Pg Impact to Cause Environmental Change

    16.5. Comparison of the Tr–J And K–Pg Events

    16.6. ‘Deep-Time’ Context for Anthropogenic Environmental and Climate Change

    16.7. Future Climate Catastrophes


    Chapter 17. Future Climate Surprises

    17.1. Introduction: Probing Future Climates

    17.2. Defining Climate Surprises

    17.3. Melting of Large Masses of Ice

    17.4. Changes in Atmospheric and Oceanic Circulation

    17.5. Loss of Biomes

    17.6. Coping with Climate Surprises

    17.7. Future Climate: Surprises, Responses, and Recovery Strategies

    17.8. Conclusion: Gaps in Knowledge

    Chapter 18. Future Climate

    18.1. Gaia and Earth System Science

    18.2. Humans in the Earth System

    18.3. Trans-Disciplinary Earth System Science



    Editors’ Biographies


Product details

  • No. of pages: 660
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier Science 2011
  • Published: November 3, 2011
  • Imprint: Elsevier Science
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123869579
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123869173

About the Editors

Ann Henderson-Sellers

Affiliations and Expertise

Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Kendal McGuffie

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

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