Produced by Climate Central—a highly regarded independent, nonprofit journalism and research foundation founded in 2008—and reviewed by scientists at major educational and research institutions the world over,Global Weirdness summarizes, in clear and accessible prose, everything we know about the science of climate change; explains what is likely to happen to the climate in the future; and lays out in practical terms what we can and cannot do to avoid further shifts.
Sixty easy-to-read entries tackle such questions as: Is climate ever “normal”? Why and how do fossil-fuel burning and other human practices produce greenhouse gases? What natural forces have caused climate change in the past? What risks does climate change pose for human health? What accounts for the diminishment of mountain glaciers and small ice caps around the world since 1850? What are the economic costs and benefits of reducing carbon emissions?
Global Weirdness enlarges our understanding of how climate change affects our daily lives, and arms us with the incontrovertible facts we need to make informed decisions about the future of the planet and of humankind.
About Climate Central
This book was produced collectively by scientists and journalists at Climate Central, a nonprofit, nonpartisan science and journalism organization. It was written by Emily Elert and Michael D. Lemonick. Prior to external scientific peer review, it was reviewed by staff scientists Philip Duffy, Ph.D. (chief scientist), Nicole Heller, Ph.D. (ecosystems and adaptation), Alyson Kenward, Ph.D. (chemistry), Eric Larson, Ph.D. (energy systems) and Claudia Tebaldi, Ph.D. (climate statistics).
Written by scientists and journalists at Climate Central, a nonpartisan advocacy group, the book begins with what everyone, climate-change skeptic included, accepts: Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps the sun’s heat. While natural phenomena (volcanoes, fires, decay) produce carbon dioxide, the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) has added so much extra that levels have reached record highs and continue to rise. The consequences include rising temperatures, rising sea levels, increasing ocean acidity and shifting, unstable weather and rain patterns. Alarmist scenarios abound, but these scientists admit that it’s not clear what the future holds or how fast changes will occur because the Earth does not respond passively to increasing temperature. All agree, however, that burning fossil fuels is a bad idea. They explain that easy solutions (high-tech advances) are nowhere in sight, tolerable solutions (conservation, renewable energy) are only modestly effective, and powerful solutions (regulation and taxes) are painful. Not a call to action, the book is lucidly written and thoughtful, but skeptics likely won’t read it. Since fighting climate change requires government action, conservatives tend to dismiss it. President Obama, no skeptic, treats the topic as electoral poison and limits himself to uncontroversial actions such as urging international cooperation. – Kirkus Reviews
Does Global Warming Cause Severe Weather? “Global Weirdness” Excerpt
The Daily Beast Book Review – July 21, 2012 (Excerpt)
Based on their understanding of how the climate system works, scientists expect that a warming Earth should see more and more episodes of weather extremes such as droughts, floods, heat waves and severe storms. The reason for more heat waves is pretty obvious. If you define a heat wave as an extended stretch of days when the temperature is well above what we now think of as normal in a month when temperatures are already high (July and August in the U.S., for example), then a generally warmer world will have more stretches like this.
With droughts and floods, the reason may be less obvious. But in a warmer world, more water evaporates from the oceans and other bodies of water, and also from the soil. So the land will tend to be drier—but when it does rain or snow, there’s more water vapor stored up in the atmosphere, so precipitation should be heavier. That could lead in turn to a higher risk of flooding. Atmospheric scientists calculate that the warming over the 20th century should have put about 5% more water vapor into the atmosphere today, on average, that there was in 1900.
Even so, it’s difficult to prove definitively that extreme weather events have increased, unless we’re talking about averages over the entire globe, or at least over very large regions. That’s because the most extreme events—the worst storms, droughts and floods—tend to come less often than ordinary events. Climate and weather scientists talk about “100-year floods,” for example, meaning a flood so big it should happen s about once in every 100 years (or 10 times in a thousand years), on average, in a particular location. [Read the full article...]
Climate ‘Weirdness’ Throws Ecosystems ‘Out Of Kilter’
NPR Book Review – August 14, 2012 (Excerpt)
Science journalist Michael Lemonick doesn’t want to be a doomsday prophet, but he does want to be realistic about the threat of climate change. “Since I started writing about climate change all the way back in 1987, we’ve known what the cause is, we’ve known what the likely outcome is, and we’ve had time to act — and essentially we haven’t acted,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies.
Lemonick is the co-author of a new book, Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas, and the Weather of the Future. The book, published by the nonprofit research organization Climate Central, details the effects of climate change and greenhouse gases in ocean acidity, existing ecosystems, disruptions to food supply and rising sea levels. Lemonick says sea level has risen by about eight inches overall worldwide since around 1900, and the waters are expected to rise an estimated three feet by 2100.
“Sometimes we forget that the damage in New Orleans in 2005 from Hurricane Katrina came not from wind or rain, but from the storm surge [that caused flooding] ahead of that storm,” Lemonick says. If sea levels rise as expected, “all of those storm surges are going to be starting from a level three feet higher, which means that they have much greater potential to drive inland, to wash over barrier islands, and to really inundate the coast. … Many, many millions of people and trillions of dollars of infrastructure are in serious danger, if those projections are correct.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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