Resources on basic climate science


in Science, The environment

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.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

. September 8, 2008 at 10:49 am

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.)

. September 8, 2008 at 10:50 am

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.

. September 12, 2008 at 2:27 pm

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