This new book by physicist Lawrence Krauss is a great, concise summary of the scientific evidence from the physics community that confirms the drastic effect of human activity on the Earth’s atmosphere. It is squarely aimed at the climate sceptic, with its clear accessible style and many helpful illustrations and graphs, although it will be invaluable for students and teachers alike. Krauss very much sticks to the science, and while not shying away from showing how the physical changes must be down to the modern industrial activities of mankind, he does largely keep away from politics or blame, and his book is all the better for that.

It opens with sweeping passages in which Krauss goes from the astrophysics of the planet in its cosmic context and then back down to the Earth, placing humankind firmly within the physical system. He then brings it down to his own personal experience of being on the Mekong River and gives this crucial waterway as a prime example of how rising water levels will cause great damage and disruption to lives and communities. He outlines clearly how there is a sustained long-term attack on sea levels, and that this is already a question of when and how much, rather than if.

The book is a succinct portrait of the physics that has been going on for 150 years, allied to a growth in science infrastructure over the last 50 years, which has led to more detailed measurements being taken in the ice, the sea and the Earth’s atmosphere.

This process has been taking place in the background while environmentalists have been in the foreground, and there is a strong sense in this book that once-radical ideas are now mainstream science.

The Physics of Climate Change is a great read for anyone who wants an up-to-date reminder of the science behind climate change, a succinct resource for teachers and students, or a not very subtle present to buy any friends or family who are still resistant.

Stuart Hobday is a PhD researcher at UEA and is the author of Encounters with Harriet Martineau.