The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity has significantly increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—most dramatically since the 1970s. In February 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that global warming is "unequivocal" and that human-produced carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are chiefly to blame, to a certainty of more than 90 percent. Yet global warming skeptics and ill-informed elected officials continue to dismiss this broad scientific consensus.
Tectonic faults are sites of localized motion, both at the Earth's surface and within its dynamic interior. Faulting is directly linked to a wide range of global phenomena, including long-term climate change and the evolution of hominids, the opening and closure of oceans, and the rise and fall of mountain ranges. In Tectonic Faults, scientists from a variety of disciplines explore the connections between faulting and the processes of the Earth's atmosphere, surface, and interior.
Children ask, "Why is the sky blue?" but the question also puzzled Plato, Leonardo, and even Newton, who unlocked so many other secrets. The search for an answer continued for centuries; in 1862 Sir John Herschel listed the color and polarization of sky light as "the two great standing enigmas of meteorology." In Sky in a Bottle, Peter Pesic takes us on a quest to the heart of this mystery, tracing the various attempts of science, history, and art to solve it.
Seen from space, the earth is blue. That luminous blueness is water—the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic oceans. Seventy percent of what we call "earth" is under water. Life began in the ocean, and the ocean still plays a vital role in our lives and the earth's ecosystem. More than half the world's population lives within a few miles of the sea; we're drawn to it to swim, surf, sail, or simply gaze out across the waves.
Earth System Analysis for Sustainability uses an integrated systems approach to provide a panoramic view of planetary dynamics since the inception of life some four billion years ago and to identify principles for responsible management of the global environment in the future. Perceiving our planet as a single entity with hypercomplex, often unpredictable behavior, the authors use Earth system analysis to study global changes past and future.
Scientists Debate Gaia is a multidisciplinary reexamination of the Gaia hypothesis, which was introduced by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the early 1970s. The Gaia hypothesis holds that Earth's physical and biological processes are linked to form a complex, self-regulating system and that life has affected this system over time. Until a few decades ago, most of the earth sciences viewed the planet through disciplinary lenses: biology, chemistry, geology, atmospheric and ocean studies. The Gaia hypothesis, on the other hand, takes a very broad interdisciplinary approach.
Rivers going underground, great springs emerging from the ground, independent hollows and basins instead of connecting valleys, deep potholes and vast caves, isolated towerlike hills reminiscent of the unbelievably steep peaks depicted in Chinese paintings—these are some of the distinctive features of karst, the name given to the kinds of country that owe their special characteristics to the unusual degree of solubility of their component rocks in natural waters.
Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) offer an efficient method for finding optimal cleanup strategies for hazardous plumes contaminating groundwater by allowing hydrologists to rapidly search through millions of possible strategies to find the most inexpensive and effective containment of contaminants and aquifer restoration. ANNs also provide a faster method of developing systems that classify seismic events as being earthquakes or underground explosions.
In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries—China and Indonesia—where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.
In this book fifteen distinguished scientists discuss the effects of life—past and present—on planet Earth. Unlike other earth science and biology books, Environmental Evolution describes the impact of life on the Earth's rocky surfaces presenting an integrated view of how our planet evolved. Modeled on the Environmental Evolution course developed by Lynn Margulis and colleagues, it provides a unique synthesis of atmospheric, biological, and geological hypotheses that explain the present condition of the biosphere.