Stanford's Precourt Institute and KQED launch new e-book series on climate change

The new four-part iBooks Textbook series, Clue into Climate, and an accompanying iTunes U course can be downloaded for free on iPad.

Clue into Climate, an interactive e-book series on climate change, is now available free of charge on iPad. The four-part iBooks Textbook series was produced by KQED, public media for Northern California, in partnership with Stanford's Precourt Institute for Energy and the University of California Museum of Paleontology.

KQEDe-book series cover art

'Clue into Climate' is a four-part e-book series on climate change. The free, interactive volumes are designed primarily for middle- and high-school students.

Primarily developed for middle- and high-school students, but also relevant for lifelong learners, the series explores the causes of climate change, its impacts on freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, and innovative strategies for curbing and adapting to change.

The four iBooks Textbooks and an accompanying free iTunes U course can be downloaded through the iBooks Store. Infographics, videos and other media from the series will be available on KQED's QUEST website on Dec. 12.

"Responding to climate change involves many thousands of conversations around the world," said Michael Mastrandrea, a co-director of science for Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "The KQED books put the science in clear, vibrant terms, inviting dialogue on risks in a changing climate and the opportunities for response."

Here is a summary of the four-book series:

  • Clue into Climate: Causes of Change (29 pages) investigates what climate change is, and explores its causes and how scientists make projections about future changes. The book features animations and videos on greenhouse gases and the carbon cycle.
  • Clue into Climate: Changing Water (33 pages) explains how climate change influences rainfall patterns and the loss of glaciers. This book examines preparations for these changes, and features animations and videos about the water cycle and the cryosphere.
  • Clue into Climate: Changing Ecosystems (32 pages) explores the impact global warming will have on plant and animal species, and how an increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is impacting our forests and oceans. Highlights include interactive animations and videos about Arctic animals, ocean acidification and redwood trees.
  • Clue into Climate: Facing Our Future (39 pages) shows how communities can prepare for and adapt to climate-related issues, such as sea-level rise, increased wildfires and impacts to agriculture. Through audio reports, interactive graphics and videos, the book also examines California's Cap-and-Trade Program and alternative energy sources, such as biofuels and solar power.

"From California's severe drought to the United Nation's recent warning that the world must phase out fossil fuels completely by 2100, climate issues are in the news more than ever," said Robin Mencher, director of education and media learning for KQED. "KQED's climate iBooks Textbooks for iPad couldn't have been published at a better time for educators and students. The books offer a real-life, media-rich experience, exploring what climate change looks like on the ground and what can be done to stem its effects."

Each book in the series features a career spotlight video, highlighting people working on climate change issues. The books also include opportunities for students to engage in discussion through a social media activity called Do Now, and to create and share their own media projects on climate-change topics. The books and iTunes U course also align with the Next Generation Science Standards and Climate Literacy, a set of climate principles developed by scientists, educators and several federal agencies.

"Even though recent polls show that a majority of Americans now believe climate change is happening, climate change remains a controversial and divisive issue when it comes to policymaking," says Lisa White, director of education at the University of California Museum of Paleontology. "These new books offer a way for KQED's partners to bring relevant research to life, and promote greater access to information about climate and global environmental change in an easy-to-understand package for not only students but also the public."

Clue into Climate follows the release last June of the two-part e-book series, Energy, produced by KQED and Stanford's Precourt Institute for Energy. Volume 1, Energy: The Basics, investigates the nature of energy and energy resources. Volume 2, Energy: Use and Efficiency, explores how people use energy, from generating electricity to developing energy-efficient technologies. The Energy books and a companion iTunes U course can also be downloaded free of charge on iPad.

Clue into Climate is a project of KQED Science with support from KQED's Campaign 21. The series was developed by Andrea Aust, KQED science education manager, and produced by Lauren Farrar, KQED science interactive media producer, with contributions from KQED's David Pierce, Craig Miller and Molly Samuel.

Additional contributors to the iBooks Textbook series include Christopher Field, Robert Jackson, Katharine Mach, Michael Mastrandrea and Mark Shwartz from Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution at Stanford; Lisa White and Jessica Bean from the University of California Museum of Paleontology; and Minda Berbeco from the National Center for Science Education.

Mark Shwartz, Precourt Institute for Energy: (650) 723-9296,

Dan Stober, Stanford News Service: (650) 721-6965