In 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change-representing a global consensus of hundreds of scientists-concluded that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal," citing observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level.
And they noted that human activity is "very likely" the cause. Whatever your views on climate change, it's important to understand how the current scientific consensus on global warming evolved out of basic physical principles and a broad range of observations.
This lucid series of twelve lectures is designed to do exactly that-reviewing the most up-to-date research and explaining the concepts, tools, data, and analysis that have led an overwhelming number of climate scientists to conclude that Earth is indeed warming and that we humans are in great part responsible.
In clear and accessible lectures designed for nonscientists, you'll learn about the "fingerprints" of global climate change-ranging from borehole temperatures to melting glaciers to the altered behavior of plant and animal species and other indicators-that convince scientists that our Earth has been warming at an unprecedented rate in recent decades. The lectures address only scientific issues and make no policy recommendations. Instead, they have been designed to serve as your personal scientific briefing to equip you to engage knowledgeably in one of the most important environmental issues of our time.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses
Business Physicist and Astronomer
I wasn't impressed with this lecture series but wonder if the method of delivery might have something to do with it.
My Great Courses library contains over 25 DVD courses and they are mostly in the 90% percentile for excellence. To date I have purchased three courses on the audio format and have not been impressed with any of them. I'm not sure if it is because the audio format fails against the full video courses or if I have simply chosen courses that do not come across well in audio alone.
For example, Greenberg's Wagner course is awful. He is constantly detracting from the material with sophomoric jokes. Without the silliness, the course would be excellent. Can't blame audio for that. I also purchased the Divine Comedy course. It's like a radio program with two panelists supporting each others position. That's right Bob, Dante based his work on the Bible! Sure Dave, and he used the style of the time.
I find it a bit annoying but haven't passed judgement yet.
This course didn't appeal to me at all. I do like professor Wolfson and greatly enjoy the video series, "Physics in You Life". In this course, he speaks way too fast. I had hoped to gain some scientific insight into climate change but there really is not any new material here. Essentially it amounts to telling us the earth is getting warmer, the warming is caused by carbon and man is at the heart of the problem.
If you already understand that, save the credit.
I wanted to understand the arguments that go like this: The earth has been warmer in the past, well before man, why? How did it cool? Why was the temperature so much higher 200 million years ago? Yes, there was a mini ice age 400 years ago, why? I know these questions do not have definitive answers but I had hoped for some science on those questions.
Also, I believe Wolfson is too definite on his outlook for the future. Carbon content goes up, temperature will rise by this range. He mentions that the earth my have trigger points which could cause climate to change in an opposite direction and then dismisses that in a sentence. I'm not so sure.
The earth is a lot more complex than Venus which is always used for comparison. I don't think we can say with certainty that a temperature increase here will not cause a reaction leading to a decrease in temperature there. For example, if warming causes the heat conveyor of the Atlantic to stop delivering warmth to England, then Europe could plunge into a deep cold period. It is not clear if this is possible but the oceans distribute heat---altering currents can change climate.
Okay, this isn't about my theories. The course is rather basic and might be better in video format.
If you are completely new to the subject, give it a go. If you already have some background, you can probably skip this without missing anything.
Too fast. Too shallow.
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