The Whole Story of Climate: What Science Reveals About the Nature of Endless Change (Paperback)

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A geologist explains the complex relationship between earth's geologic cycles and climate change.

This book, written by a geologist, describes the important contributions that geology has made to our understanding of climate change. What emerges is a much more complex and nuanced picture than is usually presented.

While the average person often gets the impression that the Earth's climate would be essentially stable if it weren't for the deleterious effects of greenhouse gases, in fact the history of the earth over many millennia reveals a constantly changing climate. As the author explains, several long cold eras have been punctuated by shorter warm periods. The most recent of these warm spells, the one in which we are now living, started ten thousand years ago; based on previous patterns, we should be about due for the return of another frigid epoch.

But how could we be on the cusp of another ice age when all indications point to a warming climate? Though much is uncertain, this book clearly shows that major climate shifts can be appallingly rapid--occurring over as little as twenty or thirty years. Dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere may increase the chance that this "climate switch" will be thrown, with catastrophic effects on worldwide agriculture. All the more reason to take the threat of climate change seriously.

Now available in paperback with a new epilogue by the author, this accessible and engagingly written book is essential reading for anyone looking to understand one of our most important contemporary debates.

About the Author


E. Kirsten Peters, PhD, is a retired member of the faculty of Washington State University (WSU). She taught geology and interdisciplinary science classes at WSU and for five years was the director of major grant development for the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences. This is her eighth book.

Praise For…

“This brilliant, engaging book will change the way one looks at the climate/global warming debate, climate change and climate science, human versus nonhuman drivers of climate change, and the implications of global warming/cooling for humans and societies…. Peters is thoughtful, thorough, and relentless… Essential.”


“A brilliant volume, unearthing new insight and churning the waters for a deeper hue and a better understanding of our dynamic world.”

San Francisco Book Review

“What to make of [confusing information on climate change]? Well, we laypersons can't make much of it at all, because we lack the knowledge to place the data in context. Luckily, for those really interested, a solution is available.”

Philadelphia Inquirer

"Modern geology has shown that the only constant is change. Peters's book - indispensable to those interested in climate change - takes the general reader on an elegantly written and engaging intellectual adventure into the history of the curious and clever ways that modern scientists have been able to construct a precise and richly detailed picture of the often-rapid variations of Earth's climate. No matter your attitude toward the climate-change controversy, this book will prove enlightening and valuable."

Jerry B. Gough, Emeritus professor, history of science, Washington State University

Product Details
ISBN: 9781633886025
ISBN-10: 1633886026
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication Date: August 13th, 2019
Pages: 304