Historical Perspectives on Climate Change

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Oxford University Press, Sep 10, 1998 - Science - 208 pages
This intriguing volume provides a thorough examination of the historical roots of global climate change as a field of inquiry, from the Enlightenment to the late twentieth century. Based on primary and archival sources, the book is filled with interesting perspectives on what people have understood, experienced, and feared about the climate and its changes in the past. Chapters explore climate and culture in Enlightenment thought; climate debates in early America; the development of international networks of observation; the scientific transformation of climate discourse; and early contributions to understanding terrestrial temperature changes, infrared radiation, and the carbon dioxide theory of climate. But perhaps most important, this book shows what a study of the past has to offer the interdisciplinary investigation of current environmental problems.
 

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Contents

Apprehending Climate Change
3
1 Climate and Culture in Enlightenment Thought
11
2 The Great Climate Debate in Colonial and Early America
21
The Expansion of Observing Systems
33
4 Climate Discourse Transformed
45
5 Joseph Fouriers Theory of Terrestrial Temperatures
55
6 John Tyndall Svante Arrhenius and Early Research on Carbon Dioxide and Climate
65
7 T C Chamberlin and the Geological Agency of the Atmosphere
83
8 The Climatic Determinism of Ellsworth Huntington
95
9 Global Warming? The Early Twentieth Century
107
Historical Dimensions
129
Notes
139
Bibliography
167
Index
190
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