Environmental Science Classroom: Recommended Reading (The Long Thaw)

David Archer is professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago. His 2009 book The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 10,000 Years of Earth's Climate, places our current human-caused climate event in the context of the Earth's geologic record. This short, well-written, and sometimes amusing account carefully explains the inadvertent, yet significant, climate impacts of our actions that vaporize a long-buried geological resource (fossil fuels) and in short order release its combustion products into the atmosphere.

Here are Archer's first two sentences (and a fragment) in the prologue:  "Global warming could be one of humankind's longest lasting legacies. The climatic impacts of releasing fossil fuel CO2 to the atmosphere will last longer than Stonehenge. Longer than time capsules, longer than nuclear waste, far longer than the age of human civilization so far."

The book's contents.

 Prologue: Global Warming in Geologic Time. Chapter 1: The Greenhouse Effect. Chapter 2: We've Seen It with Our Own Eyes. Chapter 3: Forecast for the Century. Chapter 4: Millennial Climate Cycles. Chapter 5: Glacial Climate Cycles. Chapter 6: Geologic Climate Cycles. Chapter 7: The Present in the Bosom of the Past. Chapter 8: The Fate of Fossil Fuel CO2. Chapter 9: Acidifying the Ocean. Chapter 10: Carbon Cycle Feedbacks. Chapter 11: Sea Level in the Deep Future. Chapter 12: Orbits, CO2 and the Next Ice Age. Epilogue: Carbon Economics and Ethics.

The 180-page paperback version's ISBN is 978-0-691-14811-3.

The cover of the book The Long Thaw by David Archer.