Resources on basic climate science

To those who want to reinforce their understanding of the first principles of climate change science, here are a couple of straightforward explanations worth examining:

  • The Carbon Cycle: this page from NASA’s Earth Observatory describes how carbon behaves in the atmosphere, hydrosphere (oceans), and lithosphere (rocks).
  • The Greenhouse Effect: this page from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research provides a basic description of what the greenhouse effect is.

Understanding these two basic areas of science is a fundamental prerequisite for being knowledgeable about climate change. The BBC also has a rather good website explaining the key concepts for laypeople.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

3 thoughts on “Resources on basic climate science”

  1. I’m not saying we don’t understand the greenhouse effect. We understand the basic physics just fine, and can explain it in a minute to a curious non-scientist. (Like this: greenhouse gases let sunlight through to the Earth’s surface, which gets warm; the surface sends infrared radiation back up, which is absorbed by the gases at various levels and warms up the air; the air radiates some of this energy back to the surface, keeping it warmer than it would be without the gases.)

  2. The CO2 problem in 6 easy steps

    We often get requests to provide an easy-to-understand explanation for why increasing CO2 is a significant problem without relying on climate models and we are generally happy to oblige. The explanation has a number of separate steps which tend to sometimes get confused and so we will try to break it down carefully.

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