Narrative long reads that make climate change make sense

Anecdotes aren't data, but they do make data memorable. Alice Bell has a list of books that use storytelling and narrative to explain the often complicated science of climate change. One of the books on the list — Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming — is an oft-recommended favorite of mine. If for no other reason than the fact that I like to see how people react when I explain that we have known about the science behind climate change since the 19th century. And if it didn't work the way we think it does, then Earth would be a cold wasteland, like Mars. (Bonus, Weart and the Institute of Physics have a fantastic website that delves deeper into Weart's sources and can help you do your own research and answer follow-up questions.)


  1. But if you are too cheap to buy a book, you can get your `history of global warming` fix on the internet:

  2. Anectdotal “evidence” is exactly why a lot of people don’t buy into the idea that warming is driven by carbon emissions.  Earth climate is super complex and barely understood by science, far as I can see– so how does one weigh anectdotal information without a complete understanding of the entire process?  It would also help if the models based on that theory actually worked as against actual real world data.

    1. Mike: You’re projecting. What you mean to say is not “barely understood by science”, you meant to say “barely understood by me”. As you’d know if you read some of the books on the list, the basics of climate science were established decades ago, and are now very well understood. And the models? They’ve made many successful predictions. Here are a few for you to get started with:

      1.  “And the models? They’ve made many successful predictions”

        There are about 25 different computer models being used, and each time they make about 1000 runs to get an average climate prediction. They do make many successful predictions, and many unsuccessful ones as well. Even a broken clock is correct at least once a day. 

  3. Works on Mars too. That’s why it didn’t used to be a cold wasteland. But Mars is too small to hold on to much of an atmosphere.

    1.  AGW also caused Mars to shrink, something we should worry about here on earth as well. Shrinkage, there’s nothing more embarrassing.

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