Historical Perspectives on Climate Change

Paperback | August 15, 2005

byJames Rodger Fleming

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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 haveunderstood, 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 earlycontributions 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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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 haveunderstood, experienced, and feared about the cl...

James Rodger Fleming is at Colby College.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9.45 × 6.1 × 0.98 inPublished:August 15, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195189736

ISBN - 13:9780195189735

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Apprehending climate change1. Climate and culture in Enlightenment thought2. The great climate debate in colonial and early America3. Privilieged positions: The expansion of observing systems4. Climate discourse transformed5. Joseph Fourier's theory of terrestrial temperatures6. John Tyndall, Svante Arrhenius, and early research on carbon dioxide and climate7. T.C. Chamberlin and the geological agency of the atmosphere8. The climate determinism of Ellsworth Huntington9. Global Warming? The early twentieth century10. Global cooling, global warming: Historical dimensionsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This remarkable book documents the history of ideas concerning climate change since the 17th century. The 10 chapters are arranged in historical sequence. The first two chapters describe the rise of climatic determinism . . . Chapters 3 and 4 describe the development of instruments formeasuring temperature and pressure . . . Chapters 5 and 6 are devoted to history of the greenhouse concept . . . Chapter 7 discusses T. C. Chamberlain's application of ideas of climate change to the geological record. Chapter 8 describes the revival of climatic determinism by Ellsworth Huntington .. . Chapters 9 and 10 are devoted to the changing ideas concerning global warming during this century . . . This book is a must for anyone who teaches about climate change and the possibility of human influence on climate. It provides a sobering historical perspective. It deserves to be read andreread, especially before discussing our changing ideas about climate change with students and colleagues."--GSA Today