Libraries, Nonfiction

Climate change: How do we know?

Many scientists around the world are persuaded that the earth is heating up as a consequence of human activity; namely, releasing heat-trapping CO2 gas into the atmosphere by burning carbon-based fuels such as oil and coal. Others are not persuaded. This subject guide attempts to provide a point of entry into the subject by highlighting resources here at Otis Library and on the web.


bookcover (16).pngField notes from a catastrophe: man, nature, and climate change / Kolbert, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Kolbert’s environmental classic Field Notes from a Catastrophe first developed out of a groundbreaking, National Magazine Award-winning three-part series in The New Yorker . She expanded it into a still-concise yet richly researched and damning book about climate change: a primer on the greatest challenge facing the world today.  363.73874 KOL

bookcover.pngThe weather makers: how man is changing the climate and what it means for life on Earth / Flannery, Tim F. (Tim Fridtjof), 1956-

For the first time, a scientist provided an accessible and comprehensive account of the history, current status, and future impact of climate change, writing what has been acclaimed by reviewers everywhere as the definitive book on global warming.  The Weather Makers is both an urgent warning and a call to arms, outlining the history of climate change, how it will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future. 363.73874 FLA

bookcover (1)The invention of nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s new world / Andrea Wulf

The Spectator Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. Among Humboldt’s most revolutionary ideas was a radical vision of nature, that it is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone. Now Andrea Wulf discusses his prediction of human-induced climate change. With this brilliantly researched and compellingly written book, Andrea Wulf shows the myriad fundamental ways in which Humboldt created our understanding of the natural world, and she champions a renewed interest in this vital and lost player in environmental history and science. 509.2 WUL

bookcover (2)Brief answers to the big questions / Hawking, Stephen, 1942-2018

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The world-famous cosmologist and author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the biggest questions facing humankind. Hawking not only unraveled some of the universe’s greatest mysteries but also believed science plays a critical role in fixing problems here on Earth. Now, as we face immense challenges on our planet–including climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and the development of artificial intelligence–he turns his attention to the most urgent issues facing us. Will humanity survive? 523 HAW

bookcover (3)Climate of hope: how cities, businesses, and citizens can save the planet / Bloomberg, Michael,

The 2016 election left many people who are concerned about the environment fearful that progress on climate change would come screeching to a halt. But not Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope. They approach climate change from different perspectives, yet they arrive at similar conclusions. In Climate of Hope, Bloomberg and Pope offer an optimistic look at the challenge of climate change, the solutions they believe hold the greatest promise, and the practical steps that are necessary to achieve them. 363.7387 BLO

bookcover (4)On the future: prospects for humanityRees, (Martin, J.) 1942-

A provocative and inspiring look at the future of humanity and science from world-renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees. The future of humanity is bound to the future of science and hinges on how successfully we harness technological advances to address our challenges. If we are to use science to solve our problems while avoiding its dystopian risks, we must think rationally, globally, collectively, and optimistically about the long term. Advances in biotechnology, cybertechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence–if pursued and applied wisely–could empower us to boost the developing and developed world and overcome the threats humanity faces on Earth, from climate change to nuclear war.

190 REE

bookcover (5)Growing a revolution: bringing our soil back to life / Montgomery, David R., 1961-

The problem of agriculture is as old as civilization. Throughout history, great societies that abused their land withered into poverty or disappeared entirely. Now we risk repeating this ancient story on a global scale due to ongoing soil degradation, a changing climate, and a rising population. But there is reason for hope. David R. Montgomery introduces us to farmers around the world at the heart of a brewing soil health revolution that could bring humanity’s ailing soil back to life remarkably fast.  Regenerative practices translate into farms that use less water, generate less pollution, lower carbon emissions–and stash an impressive amount of carbon underground. Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, Growing a Revolution lays out a solid case for an inspiring vision where agriculture becomes the solution to environmental problems, helping feed us all, cool the planet, and restore life to the land. 577.57 MON

bookcover (6)Greenhouse of the dinosaurs: evolution, extinction, and the future of our planet / Prothero, Donald R.

Donald R. Prothero’s science books combine leading research with first-person narratives of discovery, injecting warmth and familiarity into a profession that has much to offer nonspecialists.  Prothero links the climate changes that have occurred over the past 200 million years to their effects on plants and animals.  The volume concludes with observations about Nisqually Glacier and other locations that show how global warming is happening much quicker than previously predicted, irrevocably changing the balance of the earth’s thermostat. Engaging scientists and general readers alike, Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs connects events across thousands of millennia to make clear the human threat to natural climate change. 567.84 PRO

bookcover (7)The water will come: rising seas, sinking cities, and the remaking of the civilized world / Goodell, Jeff

An immersive book about the drenching effects of global warming, and a powerful reminder that we can bury our heads in the sand about climate change for only so long before the sand itself disappears.” (Jennifer Senior, New York Times)  Across the globe, scientists and civilians alike are noticing rapidly rising sea levels, and higher and higher tides pushing more water directly into the places we live, from our most vibrant, historic cities to our last remaining traditional coastal villages. As he travels across twelve countries and reports from the front lines, acclaimed journalist Jeff Goodell employs fact, science, and first-person, on-the-ground journalism to show vivid scenes from what already is becoming a water world. 551.458 GOD

bookcover (8)The wizard and the prophet: two remarkable scientists and their dueling visions of tomorrow’s world / Mann, Charles C.

An incisive portrait of the two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment, laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty-first century will choose to live in tomorrow’s world.  Mann delves into diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces–food, water, energy, climate change–grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author’s insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth. 363.70092 MAN

bookcover (9)Early spring: an ecologist and her children wake to a warming world / Seidl, Amy, 1965-

An ecologist and mother brings the overwhelming problem of global warming to a personal level, with a mix of memoir and science. Amy Seidl looks at climate change through family walks in the woods, work in her garden, and seasonal community events throughout the year.  As an ecologist, Seidl explains how natural upheaval occurs in the microcosms of our backyards and parks: spring flowers blossom before pollinators arrive, ponds no longer freeze, and animals begin migrating at unexpected times. While the human community, including Seidl’s daughters, adapts to a changing climate, plants and animals also adapt, she shows, in ways both obvious and surprising. Through beautiful literary writing grounded in the science of ecology and evolutionary biology, Seidl offers both a personal and a research-based testimonial of global warming. 363.73874 SEI

bookcover (10)Don’t even think about it: why our brains are wired to ignore climate change / Marshall, George

Most of us recognize that climate change is real, and yet we do nothing to stop it. What is this psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but act as if it is not? George Marshall’s search for the answers brings him face to face with Nobel Prize-winning psychologists and the activists of the Texas Tea Party; the world’s leading climate scientists and the people who denounce them; liberal environmentalists and conservative evangelicals. What he discovered is that our values, assumptions, and prejudices can take on lives of their own, gaining authority as they are shared, dividing people in their wake. 363.73874 MAR

bookcover (11)Earth under fire: how global warming is changing the world / Braasch, Gary.

More than a warning, Earth under Fire is the most complete illustrated guide to the effects of climate change now available. It offers an upbeat and intelligent account of how we can lessen the effects of our near-total dependence on fossil fuels using technologies and energy sources already available. A thorough revision and a new preface for the paperback edition bring the compelling facts about climate change up to date. 363.73874 BRA

bookcover (12)This changes everything: capitalism vs. the climate / Klein, Naomi, 1970-

In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. 363.73874 KLE

bookcover (13)Hot, flat, and crowded / Friedman, Thomas L.

In his brilliant, essential new book, Friedman takes a fresh and provocative look at two of the biggest challenges we face today: America’s surprising loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11; and the global environmental crisis, which is affecting everything from food to fuel to forests. In this groundbreaking account of where we stand now, he shows us how the solutions to these two big problems are linked–how we can restore the world and revive America at the same time. 333.7907 FRI

bookcover (14)Hot: living through the next fifty years on earth / Hertsgaard, Mark, 1956-

A fresh take on climate change by a renowned journalist driven to protect his daughter, your kids, and the next generation who’ll inherit the problem For twenty years, Mark Hertsgaard has investigated global warming for outlets including the New Yorker, NPR, Time, Vanity Fair, and The Nation. But the full truth did not hit home until he became a father and, soon thereafter, learned that climate change had already arrived?a century earlier than forecast? 304.25 HER

As scientists carefully search for clues in the sun and storm patterns from our distant past, they are gradually writing a new history of Earth’s climate. It is now apparent that alterations in our climate can happen quickly and dramatically. Physical evidence reveals that centuries of slow, creeping climate variations have actually been punctuated by far more rapid changes. While this new paradigm represents a significant shift in our picture of Earth’s past, the real question is what it means for our future.

551.6 COX

bookcover (18)The fate of Greenland: lessons from abrupt climate change / MIT Press

Experts discuss how Greenland’s warming climate–seen in its melting ice sheets and retreating glaciers–could affect the rest of the world. 551.699 CON



Available Online: OverDrive Collection

bookcover (15)Climate Change: The Point of No Return / Mojib Latif

Online OverDrive Collection
There is no doubt: climate change is happening and mankind is having an increasing influence on the climate. This volume provides a solid introductory and scientifically sound account of the problems posed by climate change today. It neither casts gloom nor plays the issue down, eschewing a polemical stance to provide an objective description and evaluation of the facts. Mojib Latif uses the latest scientific information to explore the causes of climate change and what concrete changes are taking place. He deals with the common arguments of the skeptics and drafts scenarios of what the future might hold if we don’t dedicate ourselves to living sustainably.

Additional Resources for Understanding Climate Change


  1. The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media
  2. Comprehending the Climate Crisis
  3. Science News – Climate Change
  4. New Scientist Climate Change
  5. NASA Global Climate Change
  6. Maribo
  7. Inside Climate News
  8. Climate and Health: A World Health Organization Forum
  9. WWF Global Climate Change News
  10. National Center for Science Education Climate Change Education
  11. Antarctic Ocean Alliance
  12. Climate Change

1. International Governmental Agencies

2. U.S. Government Agencies

3. Policy Organizations

4. Publications

Climate Change Books

Online Reports

5. Maps, Images, Simulations






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.