The Atmospheric Environment
Effects of Human Activity
Michael B. McElroy
This comprehensive introduction to the physics and chemistry of Earth's atmosphere explains the science behind some of the most critical and intensely debated environmental controversies of our day. In it, one of the world's leading experts on planetary environments presents the background necessary to assess the complex effects of human activity on our atmosphere and climate.
Unique in its breadth and depth of coverage, The Atmospheric Environment includes a survey of Earth's climatic history to provide a context for assessing the changes underway today. It is written for--and will be of lasting value to--a varied audience, including not only students but also professional scientists and others seeking a sophisticated but readable introduction to the frontiers of contemporary research on biogeochemistry, depletion of stratospheric ozone, tropospheric air pollution, and climatology.
The book covers both the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere with an account of relevant aspects of ocean science, treats atmospheric science and the climate as an integrated whole, and makes explicit the policy implications of what is known. Its critical account of steps taken by the international community to address the issue of climatic change highlights the challenge of dealing with a global issue for which the political and economic stakes are high, where uncertainties are common, and where there is an urgent need for clear thinking and informed policy. The book also sketches key gaps in our knowledge, outlining where we need to go to fully understand the impact of our actions on the climate.
Thorough, timely, and authoritative, this is the book to consult for answers about some of the thorniest and most pressing environmental questions that we face.Michael B. McElroy is Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at Harvard University, where he also serves as Director of the Center for the Environment. He participated in the early Mariner missions to Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and the Viking mission to Mars. The author of more than 200 papers on atomic physics and planetary atmospheres, he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Astronautics, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.