Author: Frank P. Incropera, Author

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 978-1-107-52113-1

Frank Incropera, author of Climate Change, is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. (insert, 2016) Previously, Incropera was Dean of Engineering from 1998 thru 2006. His primary interest is in heat and mass transfer which makes him a wonderful candidate for writing this timely book. He is a Fellow of the ASME and the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). He has co-penned books on the topics of Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer and applications on Energy Conversion, Biomedical Engineering, Electronics Cooling, and Material Processing. Frank Incropera has a passion for transition to a sustainable energy future. For more information about Frank Incropera and his ground breaking work please email his publicist, Chris Burrows, at cburrows@cambridge.org.

Chapter 1 opens with Energy, economics, and climate change. Frank Incropera speaks discusses how energy is an indispensable resource to mankind. “It is the resource that sustains all life and economic activity. It enables the production and distribution of all manner of goods, and services, as well as, human mobility on the ground and in the air. It is absolutely essential to achieving an acceptable standard of living…” (2016, p.1) No doubt energy has changed the way we all live and has improved the quality of our lives. The lingering question is how sustainable is our current energy source.

If an energy source is to be used responsibly, harmful environmental consequences must be identified and reduced to acceptable levels.” (2016, p.8) Furthermore, Incropera states that “We know with absolute certainty that some atmospheric gases absorb radiant energy emitted by the Earth’s surface, energy that would otherwise be transmitted directly to outer space.” (p.9) And that, “Greenhouse gases exist naturally in the atmosphere… Without them the Earth would be a colder and less hospitable planet. …as the concentration of greenhouse gases increase, more of the Earth’s emitted radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere and the Earth’s temperature must increase.”

In order to be sustainable Incropera says “…sustainable or sustainable development is inextricably linked to the use of natural resources and environmental conservation.” (2016, p.11) No doubt there are challenges to this approach. “Challenges to addressing the goal of sustainable development are economic and environmental, as well as, technological, political, and cultural.” Because there is no absolute consensus on this topic we must endeavor to work together to solve it and to educate the masses on what this means to us as a society. “Whether the solution is right or wrong will not be judged by absolute or objective standards, but by the beliefs and values of the stakeholders.” (p.14) “…if mitigation measures require behavioral and lifestyle changes, society is less inclined to adopt the measures than it is to let its progeny adapt to climate change.” (p.15)

Many debate the existence of climate change or global warming and use the two terms interchangeably. However, they are not the same. Incropera defines it as “Global warming refers to an increase in the Earth’s average surface temperature, while climate change refers to long term changes in atmospheric conditions that can result from global warming. Global warming is the cause, climate change is the effect.”. (2016, p.19)

Incropera explains how changes in the Earth’s biosphere (changes in the Earth’s carbon dioxide levels due to photosynthesis) and cryosphere (terrestrial snow and ice and permafrost) create changes in the Earth’s climate. The dialogue makes sense and Incropera adds facts and comparisons from the ice sheets during and after the ice age to those melting on Antartica and Greenland. All he says promote warming.

I found this a very interesting and enlightening read because I have had an interest in climate change and was under the mistaken assumption that climate change and global warming was one and the same. If you care about our plant and want to know what we need to do to reverse the effects of climate change this is a read for you.