The Discovery of Global Warming                                       Spencer Weart
June 2005      [ HOME ]    Table of Contents     for printer

Where to Find Other Information

For information on climate change today, if you need BASIC FACTS, try the Global Warming FAQs from the Union of Concerned Scientists or the multi-media presentation by the National Academy of Sciences. Most newspapers, magazines, and television are deeply inadequate on this topic. Still less trustworthy are some popular Websites that peddle bogus science for political purposes. This Website explores global warming through the history of climate change science. There are many good books, but parts of them go out of date quickly. For TECHNICAL current summaries and ideas for solutions, I'm personally impressed by papers of Hansen and colleagues in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (search for "James Hansen" with quotes). Other Web sites worth visiting at this time (June 2006) include:

Basic information, news and technical reports

  • A teachers' guide from Carnegie-Mellon is one place to start.
  • New Scientist magazine's climate change guide offers readable articles and news.
  • A U.S. government Global Change Research Information site includes answers to basic questions and many news items. For the latest science and policy news see their internet news items page.
  • NOAA's climatology site has tutorials on paleoclimatology and global warming, data, pictures, etc.; NOAA also provides the National Climate Data Center.
  • The interagency U.S. research program includes news items and reports assessing impacts.
  • If you want to really study it all: The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change) has detailed technical reports, with summaries. The National Academy Press has many key reports (search on "climate"). The Congressional Research Service reports have lots on policy options.

    News, controversy and action

  • My opinion: see my Personal Note and talking points for the American Physical Society (pdf download).
  • is a blog run by reputable scientists who respond to new (and some old) issues with clear and thorough scientific explanations.
  • The Pew Center on Climate Change offers news and policy-related reports.
  • The World Resources Institute (mainstream environmentalism) has reports and What business can do.
  • The industry-funded Cooler Heads Coalition offers arguments against the IPCC consensus; the Marshall Institute also gathers conservative-motivated arguments.
  • The WWF, Greenpeace, Environmental Defense, and the National Resources Defense Council, environmental activist organizations, have basic climate change information, news, and programs for action, including 20 simple steps you can take.
  • Hundreds of LINKS and other tools (news feed, sustainability, etc.) from ClimateArk.
  • You can help scientists predict climate! Put your PC's idle time to good use by joining the team at . We've been producing valuable scientific results.
  • Some other good Websites: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - Kyoto Protocol. The US Environmental Protection Agency's global warming site, including a Kids' page. The Exploratorium's interactive site. The Union of Concerned Scientists' Hotmap of impacts. The European Commission climate site from the European Union. The Canadian government's site. Explanations and many links by biologist A. Fuller. Wikipedia articles with frequent updates (expert and not so expert).

    Six recommended books:    BACK TO TOP

  • John Houghton, 2004. Global Warming: The Complete Briefing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 3rd ed.
        *Excellent factual summary for the general public
  • Mark Bowen, 2005. Thin Ice : Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains. New York: Henry Holt.
        *Fascinating description of a climate scientist at work.
  • Michael Tennesen, 2004. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Global Warming. New York: Penguin-Alpha.
        *Easy reading with many kinds of information.
  • Jeffrey Langholz and Kelly Turner, 2003. You Can Prevent Global Warming (and Save Money!): 51 Easy Ways. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel.
        *Just what the title says.
  • John D. Cox, 2005. Climate Crash: Abrupt Climate Change and What it Means for Our Future. Washington, DC: National Academies (Joseph Henry Press).
         *Popular history and explanations; covers many details not on this site,
          especially on rapid climate change.
    Text available online one page at a time.
  • Spencer R. Weart, 2003. The Discovery of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
        * The shorter narrative version of this history Website -
    info and reviews here.

    For the history, here are some useful printed works:

  • Christianson, Gale E. 1999. Greenhouse: The 200-year Story of Global Warming. New York: Walker.
  • Edwards, Paul N. 2000. "A brief history of atmospheric general circulation modeling." In General Circulation Model Development, edited by D. A. Randall. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Fleagle, Robert G. 1992. "From the International Geophysical Year to global change. "Reviews of Geophysics 30: 305-13.
  • Fleming, James R. 1998. Historical Perspectives on Climate Change. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Handel, Mark David, and James S. Risbey. 1992. "An annotated [historical] bibliography on the greenhouse effect and climate change." Climatic Change 21: 97-255.
  • Imbrie, John, and Katherine Palmer Imbrie. 1986. Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery. Rev. Ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Jones, M.D.H., and A. Henderson-Sellers. 1990. "History of the greenhouse effect. "Progress in Physical Geography 14: 1-18.
  • Kellogg, William W. 1987. "Mankind's impact on climate: The evolution of an awareness." Climatic Change 10: 113-36.
  • Miller, Clark A., and Paul N. Edwards, eds. 2001. "Changing the atmosphere. Expert knowledge and environmental governance." Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Nebeker, Frederik. 1995. Calculating the Weather: Meteorology in the 20th Century. New York: Academic Press.
  • O'Riordan, Tim, and Jill Jäger. 1996. "The history of climate change science and politics." In Politics of Climate Change: A European Perspective, edited by T. O'Riordan and J. Jäger. London: Routledge.
  • Rodhe, Henning, and Robert Charlson, eds. 1998. The Legacy of Svante Arrhenius. Understanding the Greenhouse Effect. Stockholm: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
  • Schneider, Stephen H., and Randi Londer. 1984. The Co-evolution of Climate and Life. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.
  • Stevens, William K. 1999. The Change in the Weather: People, Weather and the Science of Climate. New York: Delacorte Press.
  • Weart, Spencer R. The Discovery of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003 -info and reviews here.

    On this Website: HOME | Summary of the History of Climate Science | The Modern Temperature Trend | Past Cycles: Ice Age Speculations | Temperatures from Fossil Shells | Rapid Climate Change | Uses of Radiocarbon Dating | The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect  | Roger Revelle's Discovery | Other Greenhouse Gases | Aerosols: Effects of Haze and Cloud | Biosphere: How Life Alters Climate | Changing Sun, Changing Climate? | Ocean Currents and Climate | Simple Models of Climate | Chaos in the Atmosphere | Venus & Mars | General Circulation Models | Basic Radiation Calculations | Arakawa's Computation Device | The Public and Climate Change (1) (2) | Wintry Doom | Ice Sheets and Rising Seas | Government: The View from Washington | Climate Modification Schemes | Money for Keeling: Monitoring CO2 Levels | International Cooperation | Climatology as a Profession | Reflections on the Scientific Process | History in Hypertext | A Personal Note | Timeline of milestones | Bibliography by authorBibliography by year

    copyright© 2003-2005 Spencer Weart & American Institute of Physics

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