The Discovery of Global Warming                                       Spencer Weart
December 2007     [ HOME ]    Table of Contents     for printer

Where to Find Other Information

History books and articles are listed below.

For information on climate change today,
if you need basic facts go to the "START HERE " page maintained by climate scientists. There are many good books, although parts of them go out of date quickly. For a detailed review of current scientific understanding see the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 2007 reports. For the full physics with equations there's draft chapters of a textbook online here but for the whole story you must study the printed textbooks for graduate students. Web sites worth visiting at this time (December 2007) include:

Basic information, news and reports

  • Realclimate's start here page is indeed a good place to start. Also:
  • A teachers' guide from Carnegie-Mellon is one place to start.
  • The National Academy of Sciences offers a multi-media presentation.
  • Wikipedia's global warming pages offer much information with frequent updates (not always reliable).
  • New Scientist magazine's climate change guide has readable articles and news. The New York Times global warming page has the latest and a news archive.
  • A U.S. government Global Change Research Information site includes reports and some news items.
  • The Pew Center on Climate Change offers news and policy-related reports.
  • NOAA has a global warming FAQ page.
  • Illustrations: photos and diagrams, historical and contemporary.
  • If you want to really study it all, get acquainted with the meticulously compiled IPCC reports. The National Academy Press has many key reports available online (search on "climate"). The Congressional Research Service reports have lots on policy options.

    Controversy and action

  • See my own Personal Note and talking points for scientists (pdf download).
  • Hundreds of links and other tools (news, blog, sustainability, etc.) from ClimateArk.
  • is a blog run by reputable scientists who respond to new (and some old) issues with clear scientific explanations. They list many other blogs.
  • Jim Hansen's website offers reports and advice from the man who correctly predicted two decades ago where we would be now.
  • The industry-funded Cooler Heads Coalition offers arguments against the IPCC consensus; the Marshall Institute also gathers arguments motivated by conservative ideology. A thoughtful blog that attacks the IPCC consensus is climate science.
  • The World Resources Institute (mainstream environmentalism) has reports, including matters of business interest.
  • The WWF, Greenpeace, Environmental Defense, and the National Resources Defense Council, environmental activist organizations, have basic climate change information and arguments, news, and programs for action.
  • You can reduce greenhouse emissions! Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" Website offers ways to take action, Environmental Defense lists 20 simple steps you can take, the US government (EPA) suggests what you can do.
  • You can help scientists predict climate. Put your PC's idle time to good use by joining the team at

    Some other good Websites: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - Kyoto Protocol. The US Environmental Protection Agency's global warming site, including a KIDS' PAGE . The Exploratorium's interactive site. The Union of Concerned Scientists' Hotmap of impacts. The European Commission climate site from the European Union. The Canadian government's site.

    Seven recommended books:    BACK TO TOP

  • John Houghton, 2004. Global Warming: The Complete Briefing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 3rd ed.
         Excellent factual summary for the general public
  • Tim Flannery, 2006. The Weather Makers. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.
         Best-selling, readable report by a scientist-writer.
  • Mark Bowen, 2005. Thin Ice : Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains. New York: Henry Holt.
         Fascinating description of a climate scientist at work.
  • Michael Tennesen, 2004. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Global Warming. New York: Penguin-Alpha.
         Easy reading with many kinds of information.
  • Jeffrey Langholz and Kelly Turner, 2003. You Can Prevent Global Warming (and Save Money!): 51 Easy Ways. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel.
         Just what the title says.
  • John D. Cox, 2005. Climate Crash: Abrupt Climate Change and What it Means for Our Future. Washington, DC: National Academies (Joseph Henry Press). Text available online.
         Report for the general public on the risk of rapid climate change.      
  • Spencer R. Weart, 2003. The Discovery of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
         The much shorter narrative version of this history Website -
    more info here.

    For the history, here are some other useful printed works:

  • Christianson, Gale E. 1999. Greenhouse: The 200-year Story of Global Warming. New York: Walker.
  • Dansgaard, Willi. 2004. Frozen Annals. Greenland Ice Sheet Research. Copenhagen: Dept. of Geophysics of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.
  • Edwards, Paul N. 2000. "A brief history of atmospheric general circulation modeling." In General Circulation Model Development, edited by D. A. Randall. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Fleagle, Robert G. 1992. "From the International Geophysical Year to global change." Reviews of Geophysics 30: 305-13.
  • Fleming, James R. 1998. Historical Perspectives on Climate Change. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Fleming, James R., ed. 1996. Historical Essays on Meteorology 1919-1995. Boston: American Meteorological Society.
  • Gelbspan, Ross.1997; 2004. The Heat Is On. The High Stakes Battle over Earth's Threatened Climate. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997; Boiling Point. How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists Are Fueling the Climate Crisis — and What You Can Do to Avert Disaster. New York: Basic, 2004.
  • Handel, Mark David, and James S. Risbey. 1992. "An annotated [historical] bibliography on the greenhouse effect and climate change." Climatic Change 21: 97-255.
  • Imbrie, John, and Katherine Palmer Imbrie. 1986. Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery. Rev. Ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Jones, M.D.H., and A. Henderson-Sellers. 1990. "History of the greenhouse effect. "Progress in Physical Geography 14: 1-18.
  • Kellogg, William W. 1987. "Mankind's impact on climate: The evolution of an awareness." Climatic Change 10: 113-36.
  • Mayewski, Paul A., and Frank White. 2002. The Ice Chronicles: The Quest to Understand Global Climate Change. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.
  • Miller, Clark A., and Paul N. Edwards, eds. 2001. "Changing the atmosphere. Expert knowledge and environmental governance." Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Mooney, Chris. 2007. Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming. New York: Harcourt.
  • Nebeker, Frederik. 1995. Calculating the Weather: Meteorology in the 20th Century. New York: Academic Press.
  • O'Riordan, Tim, and Jill Jäger. 1996. "The history of climate change science and politics." In Politics of Climate Change: A European Perspective, edited by T. O'Riordan and J. Jäger. London: Routledge.
  • Rodhe, Henning, and Robert Charlson, eds. 1998. The Legacy of Svante Arrhenius. Understanding the Greenhouse Effect. Stockholm: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
  • Schneider, Stephen H., and Randi Londer. 1984. The Co-evolution of Climate and Life. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.
  • Somerville, R., et al. 2007. "Historical Overview of Climate Change Science." In Climate Change 2007: The Physical Basis of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC, edited by Susan Solomon et al., pp. 93-127. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press (online at the IPCC site)
  • Stevens, William K. 1999. The Change in the Weather: People, Weather and the Science of Climate. New York: Delacorte Press.
  • Victor, David G. 2001. The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Weart, Spencer R. The Discovery of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003. - more info here.

    On this Website: HOME | Summary of the History of Climate Science | The Modern Temperature Trend | Past Cycles: Ice Age Speculations | Temperatures from Fossil Shells | Rapid Climate Change | Uses of Radiocarbon Dating | The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect  | Roger Revelle's Discovery | Other Greenhouse Gases | Aerosols: Effects of Haze and Cloud | Biosphere: How Life Alters Climate | Changing Sun, Changing Climate? | Ocean Currents and Climate | Simple Models of Climate | Chaos in the Atmosphere | Venus & Mars | General Circulation Models | Basic Radiation Calculations | Arakawa's Computation Device | The Public and Climate Change (1) (2) | Wintry Doom | Ice Sheets and Rising Seas | Government: The View from Washington | Climate Modification Schemes | Money for Keeling: Monitoring CO2 Levels | International Cooperation | Climatology as a Profession | Reflections on the Scientific Process | History in Hypertext | A Personal Note | Timeline of milestones | Bibliography by authorBibliography by year

    copyright© 2003-2007 Spencer Weart & American Institute of Physics

  • history of global warming history of climate science greenhouse effect history