Our Changing Climate: A Brand New Way to Study Climate Science

Monday, 15 December 2014: 9:45 AM
James A Brey1, Chad Kauffman2, Ira Geer1, Kira A. Nugnes1 and Elizabeth W. Mills1, (1)AMS-Education Program, Washington, DC, United States, (2)California University of Pennsylvania, Earth Sciences, California, PA, United States
Earth’s climate is inherently variable, but is currently changing at rates unprecedented in recent Earth history. Human activity plays a major role in this change and is projected to do so well into the future. This is the stance taken in Our Changing Climate, the brand new climate science ebook from the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Our Changing Climate investigates Earth’s climate system, explores humans’ impact on it, and identifies actions needed in response to climate change.

Released in August 2014, Our Changing Climate is the result of a year’s worth of intensive research and writing, incorporating the latest scientific understandings of Earth’s climate system from reports such as IPCC AR5 and the Third National Climate Assessment. To encourage additional exploration of climate science information, scientific literature, from which chapter content was derived, is cited at the conclusion of each chapter. In addition, Topic In Depth sections appear throughout each chapter and lead to more extensive information related to various topics. For example, a Topic In Depth in Chapter 11 describes the effect of climate extremes on ranching enterprises in Nebraska.

Climate science is multi-disciplinary and therefore Our Changing Climate covers a breadth of topics. From understanding basic statistics and geospatial tools used to investigate Earth’s climate system to examining the psychological and financial reasons behind climate change denial, the AMS believes that a multi-disciplinary approach is the most effective way to increase climate literacy.

Our Changing Climate is part of the AMS Climate Studies course which is intended for undergraduate-level students. Other course materials include an eInvestigations Manual and access to the RealTime Climate Portal, both of which provide weekly activities corresponding to that week’s chapter content. The RealTime Climate Portal also has links to climate data as well as societal interactions and climate policy websites to spur further interest. Faculty support materials are also provided. AMS Climate Studies has been licensed by 130 institutions since Fall 2010.

Our Changing Climate reveals the impact that each of us has on the climate. With this understanding come choices and actions for a more sustainable future.