by Jeffrey B. Halverson
Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming
Author: Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump
Publisher: DK Adult
Details: 208 pp., $25.00 paperback, 2008,
Public understanding of global warming and climate change is often strongly influenced by media perceptions and distortions. Our present global warming—believed to be the result of an anthropogenic enhancement of Earth’s natural greenhouse effect—is a richly complex process involving all of Earth’s natural systems. Every few years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issues a consensus assessment on the state of the climosphere. While some might be familiar with the IPCC’s written and online documents (the Fourth IPCC Report was issued early in 2007), the 142-page “Summary for Policymakers” can seem intimidating due to its length and technical detail. What is needed is a simplified, visually engaging synopsis for the lay audience that doesn’t dumb down the IPCC’s core principles and findings, yet also provides enough background material on climate science to place global warming in context.
Pearson Education has filled this need with a no-nonsense book titled Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming by Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump. Touted as “The illustrated guide to the findings of the IPCC,” the book is written by 2 authoritative climate experts (Mann is an Associate Professor at Penn State, Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, and a Nobel laureate; Kump is a Full Professor at Penn State and an Associate at the Earth System Science Center). The book also showcases the high quality, engaging style of Editor Dan Kaveney, who spearheads Pearson’s popular line of college-level Earth science textbooks.