Climate Change and Information Cycles

  • Journals

    M. Mann and P.D. Jones produced a landmark scholarly article on the "Global surface temperatures over the past two millenia", published in Geophysical Research Letters in 2003. It can't tell you about immediate climate change, like the European heat wave of 2003, but it is a more authoritative source that establishes evidence for climate change. The article itself later sparks news reports and further scholarly research, extending into the present day.
  • News Sources

    News Sources
    Sometimes news sources interpret and report on a research finding, first published in a journal. For instance, the 2003 Mann and Jones study was reported on in Ian Samples's Guardian article, "Not just warmer: its the hottest for 2,000 years: Widest study yet backs fears over carbon dioxide" published on September 1, 2003. This report is both less authoritative and less timely than the journal article, but much more understandable.
  • Magazines

    Magazines can provide more in-depth exploration of a topic than newspapers, with more speculation and readability than journals. They're a vetted and understandable part of an intelligent but not scholarly conversation.
    For example, in "A State of Change", Mark Bird speculates about the importance of global warming across the U.S.
  • Informal Communications

    Informal Communications
    Informal communications are produced throughout the information cycle. For example, a blog about climate change and glacier shrinkage generates comments, discussion, and new blog entries until recently. Informal communications raise new questions, but they aren't authoritatively answered.
  • Books

    Field Notes from a Catastrophe, by Elizabeth Kolbert, combines information from earlier journal articles such as Mann and Jones' 2003 article on global surface temperatures and books, as well as personal experience, to heighten our awareness of the effects of climate change. Researchers and students may use this book to become aware of ideas, develop research plans, and later publish new articles.
  • Reference Sources

    Reference Sources
    The Atlas of Climate Change, a reference book about climate change, depends on many prior publications. By encompassing more information than an individual could quickly digest, a reference source can give you an overview of a topic and a big-picture view of scholarly discussions from which to start in-depth research. It isn't as current as a news source or as cutting-edge as a journal article, but it gives you a broader understanding.
  • Government Publications

    Government Publications
    Government publications can be produced at any time in the information cycle. They range from policy, as in the transcripts of a 2007 subcommittee hearing, Climate change: international issues, engaging developing countries, to data sets smaller institutions couldn't collect, like the National Climatic Data Center.
  • Journals

    A later journal article, "The millenial atmospheric lifetime of anthropogeic CO2", by D. Archer and V. Brovkin, published in the journal Climate Change, cites Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe. At some point, it may itself be cited in another book...