Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Climate Change and the Health of NationsFamines, Fevers, and the Fate of Populations$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Anthony McMichael

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190262952

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190262952.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 July 2021

A Restless Climate

A Restless Climate

2 (p.22) A Restless Climate
Title Pages

Anthony McMichael

Oxford University Press

Instructions Accompanying New Domestic devices are tedious. So, uninstructed, we plunge into assembling the device … and the likely result is all too familiar. By analogy, a basic understanding of the climate system and the forces influencing it will shed more light on later chapters. The climate system has many interacting parts, encompassing the linkages between atmosphere, oceans, land, and ice surfaces. The atmosphere and oceans are the prime global distributors of that part of incoming solar energy that Earth retains in the form of heat, much of which is then re-expressed as water vapor, wind, and ocean currents. As part of the Earth system, the world’s climate is always changing. The internal dynamics of the climate system are complex and regionally distinctive, and include, on shorter time scales, chaotic behavior. Meanwhile, larger forces are at work. As continents coalesce and then drift apart; as massive mountain ranges get pressed skyward; as Earth’s elliptical orbit around the sun alternates between greater and lesser rotundity; as both the tilt and wobble of the planet’s axis vary; as solar sunspots come and go; as fluctuations occur in the great ocean-based regional climatic cycles (the Pacific’s El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole Oscillation, the North Atlantic Inter-Decadal Oscillation, and others); and as volcanic eruptions enshroud the lower atmosphere— so the world’s climate varies on time-scales ranging from tens of millions of years to just several years. The main engine of the climate system, the atmosphere, is made up of many local circulation subsystems, often interacting with (or “coupled” with) the oceans. At a regional scale, different combinations of local circulation systems account for changes in climate, such as the decline in rainfall in Mesopotamia during the third millennium B.C.E., or the southward encroachment of the Arctic polar vortex that imposed the Big Freeze on much of the north eastern USA in the 2013– 2014 winter.

Keywords:   anaerobes, climate change science, drought, easterlies, greenhouse effect, hailstorms, interglacial periods, meteorological droughts, oscillating systems

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .