Foundations of Environmental Physics — Understanding energy use and human impacts

Foundations of Environmental Physics — Understanding energy use and human impacts

Though this book has the word “physics” in its title, it is not your classic balls-on-springs, equation-heavy physics book. Chapters on subjects such as population growth and environmental impacts, risk and economics, climate and climate change, and a few others emphasize pertinent data and how to interpret it, with only some basic equations introduced into the discussions. The book gets closer to an engineering treatment of its subject matter in chapters covering efficiency and the laws of thermodynamics. Chapters on renewable and nonrenewable energy cover subjects such as estimated reserves of fossil fuels and prospects for increased use of specific kinds of renewables. The book treats climate change by covering the physical processes that affect the earth's climate and the natural mechanisms that cause the changes. One disappointment, at least to this reviewer, was that other than in a section on the carbon cycle, there is basically no treatment of climate models and modeling, a subject that goes hand-in-hand with any discussion of climate change. The closest the book comes to the subject is an appendix on error analysis. Still, with real-world instructional problems at the end of every chapter, this engaging textbook will come in handy for those who need the basics for making informed decisions or explaining the fundamentals to theirs and managers.

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