Dire Predictions - Understanding Climate Change

Publisher's Book Description

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been issuing the essential facts and figures on climate change for nearly two decades. But the hundreds of pages of scientific evidence quoted for accuracy by the media and scientists alike, remain inscrutable to the general public who may still question the validity of climate change.

Esteemed climate scientists Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump, have partnered with DK Publishing to present Dire Predictions-an important book in this time of global need.Dire Predictions presents the information documented by the IPCC in an illustrated, visually-stunning, and undeniably powerful way to the lay reader. The scientific findings that provide validity to the implications of climate change are presented in clear-cut graphic elements, striking images, and understandable analogies.








Here's a powerful, straight-forward guide to how scientists, economists, and engineers really understand the problem of global warming. It makes 20 years of research and consensus-building completely accessible to anyone who cares to know the truth--and to do something about it. 

- Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

In Dire Predictions, two respected scientists offer a clear and compelling summary of our understanding of Earth's changing climate. This book is an excellent guide to an issue of fundamental importance to all of us on the planet. 

- Sally K. Ride, PhD former astronaut; CEO, Sally Ride Science

With its eye-grabbing graphics and reader-friendly prose, Dire Predictions walks us through the findings of the world's leading climate scientists - and places the ultimately responsibility for the human future directly at our feet. 

- Ross Gelbspan, author of The Heat Is On and Boiling Point

Dire Predictions is a must read for anyone who wants the straight facts on global warming. It cuts to the heart of the massive 2007 IPCC report, presenting major scientific findings in easy to understand language and graphics. Written by two of the scientific community's most thoughtful researchers, Dire Predictions' unbiased message about global warming arrives at a time when people need it most! 

- Heidi Cullen, The Weather Channel

Media Reviews

  • A'ndrea Elyse Messer, Research Penn State:
    "A key element is accurate information debunking the most commonly held myths about climate change, including the ideas that carbon dioxide is causing the holes in the ozone, that the increase in carbon dioxide is the result of natural cycles, and that our atmosphere is not warming at all. The authors consider each myth or misunderstanding and explain any kernel of truth within it before providing its refutation."
  • Dan Vergano, USA Today
    "[Michael] Mann and his colleague Lee Kump have written a terrific illustrated guide to global warming...with graphics that make even the most complex climate questions easily understandable. Our graphics department will be plundering the book for the next few years."
  • Bud Ward, Yale Climate Forum:
    "Practically every page spread...is studded with stunning and informative graphics and illustrations. Hear that? Repeat: Stunning AND informative."
  • Gerry Karey, Platt's The Barrel
    " 'Dire Predictions - Understanding Global Warming,' ... is likely to infuriate climate skeptics because it is so user friendly that it could become a popular default source for information on global warming."
  • Janet Raloff, ScienceNews
    "[T]he authors have tackled a tough job and given lay readers a nice primer to begin wading into the complexities of Earth's climate.
  • Margot Roosevelt, Greenspace, Los Angeles Times
    "[A] handy guide for every harried individual daunted by the complexities of greenhouse effects, carbon-cycle feedbacks, ocean conveyor belts and climate modeling."
  • Jay Gulledge, Nature Reports
    "The main tool of communication and by far the best feature of the book is its high-quality data graphics showing the key observations and projections from which the IPCC developed its conclusions." See also Olive Heffernan's synopsis on Nature's Climate Feedback blog.
  • Nola Theiss, Sanibel-Captiva Islander
    "[I]t almost reads like a travel guide that helps the reader traverse the difficult terrain of climate change facts and figures through the use of photos, charts, and maps. It doesn’t downplay the science behind the articles, but it really is all about presentation and the implications of that science."
  • Marcus Schneck, The Harrisburg Patriot-News
    "[I]t's heavily focused on photos and graphics, which made the facts it included even more terrifying. That style forces the writers to encapsulate everything, meaning the presentation on coming extinctions really pops."
  • Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth, The New York Times: (see "illustrated books" link in 2nd paragraph of piece)
  • William F. Hewitt, Nature Reports:
    "Climate Change: Picturing the Science is the latest of various efforts to convey the seriousness of the climate situation through imagery as well as words. In this regard, it follows from Earth Under Fire ... and Dire Predictions."
  • Robert Brinkmann, University of South Florida in Southeastern Geographer (Subscription required)
  • Richard Hilderman, guest columnist, The Greenville News
  • C. Gregory Knight, Penn State, in Annals of the Association of American Geographers:
    "[Mann and Kump] take the reader through the basics of global warming and climate change, climate projections, impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and potential solutions" Read PDF>>
  • Nola Theiss, Kliatt: 
    "I found [Dire Predictions] to be one of the clearest and easiest to digest explanations of climate change I have ever read."
  • Katie Lepri, WLRN Television: 
    "Mann is one of the leading climate experts, yet can write for wide audiences. This book is loaded with powerful illustrations and graphics."

Blog Reviews

  • DarkSyde, Daily Kos
    "What sets the book apart...is the extraordinary scientific accuracy within. Official documents, peer reviewed papers, and IPCC reports can be tedious and confusing for the layman to slog through. That immense body of work is translated into a well organized overview composed of readable chunks flowing along at a brisk pace, each with just the right touch of technical detail for readers with a reasonably good understanding of basic physical science."
  • Richard Littlemore, DeSmogBlog
    "[Mann and Kump] have crafted an accessible primer on climate change, how it's happening and who's to blame."
  • Green LA Girl
    "Dire Predictions is intended for the layperson who wants to understand the wonky science behind climate change without going back to college for a science degree. Basically, the book takes the findings of the IPCC — you know, the United Nations panel that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore — about global climate change and puts it in a language the average person has a chance at following."
  • David Appell, Quark Soup: 
    "You can learn something no matter at what level you already understand climate change, but it would be especially suited for people who are not scientifically-oriented but want a nontrivial introduction to the topic -- below a Scientific American level."
  • The Naib, The Sietch Blog: "
    If you know someone who just 'doesn’t get it' when it comes to the IPCC and climate change, I recommend you get them this book.
  • James Wang, Environmental Defense Fund
    "One of the strengths of Dire Predictions is its strong, to-the-point rebuttals of common misconceptions fueled by global warming skeptics. The authors expertly explain why the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 is not natural, how today's warming is greater than and fundamentally different from that during the 'Medieval Warm Period', why higher CO2 levels are not beneficial for ecosystems, and why the excuses for inaction on global warming are wrong."
  • Olive Heffernan, Climate Feedback, Nature: A synopsis of Pew Center's Jay Gulledge's review in Nature Reports.
  • A Change in the Wind:
    "This could be described as a book written by two particularly thoughtful experts for National Geographic. Not only does the slim volume of 207 pages rely mostly on brilliantly executed visuals to get its ideas across, but the prose is simple and honest...Highly recommended."
  • Dickenson College COP15 Delegation Course Blog:
    "Reading Dire Predictions by Michael Mann and Lee Kump...is...very convincing. Mann and Kump, mindful of counter-arguments, provided a simple and concise account of climate change."
  • Milan Ilnyckyj, A Sibilant Intake of Breath:
    "The...book is a quick and easy read, even for those who are not well acquainted with scientific principles and terminology. It responds directly to many issues raised in the media (such as common climate change denier talking points) and it includes a great many illuminating charts and illustrations."
  • Digerati & Technology Reports:
    "I rate this book 5 stars out of 5 possible and strongly encourage that it be purchased and read by everyone in your family. This material should be easy enough for people with a high school education to understand, and it has enough detail for people with higher education to enjoy."


  • Exploration - January 26, 2010 interview with Dr. Michael Mann 


Jenna Ekdahl, The Daily Collegian

Dan Vergano, USAToday

David S. Hirschman, Forbes Traveller: "Global Warming's Winners"

Nature: "Crisis Reading"

Virginia Festival of the Book: "Global Warming, the Oceans, and You"


Resources for educators are available at the Pearson Education site.