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Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas and the Weather of the Future [Hardcover]

by Climate Central
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 24, 2012 0307907309 978-0307907301 1

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.

With black-and-white images interspersed throughout.

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Editorial Reviews


“Without talking down to readers, the authors do a masterful job of clarifying all aspects of a complicated and alarming topic, making it that much more difficult for global-warming denialists to keep their heads in the sand.” –Booklist (starred review)
"With quippy titles, helpful summaries, and a jargon-free writing style, Climate Central integrates scientific, historical, and sociological facts in an appealing and informative manner.... A great starter text on climate-change issues--fans of Bill McKibben will enjoy this work and then pass it along to skeptical friends." –Library Journal

“An ideal introduction to the facts about global warming . . . Lucidly written and thoughtful.”
Kirkus Reviews
“An easily digestible read, with most chapters less than three pages long. Divided into four sections (‘What the Science Says,’ ‘What’s Actually Happening,’ ‘What’s Likely to Happen in the Future,’ and ‘Can We Avoid the Risks of Climate Change?’), the book covers all the basics, including descriptions of Earth’s previous climates and how hard it is for different cultures to adjust to changes; the difference between weather and climate; the greenhouse effect; and how climate scientists’ predictions are coming true.”
Publishers Weekly

“Slim and elegant…written in the kind of plain English of which Strunk and White would approve, that lays out what we know about climate change while hewing to the facts and taking great care to avoid bias and hysteria.”
The New York Times
“Written in straightforward prose and fact-checked by the world’s eminent climate scholars, Global Weirdness reads like the 9/11 Commission Report: all of the facts, none of the hyperbole. In four succinct sections, its authors detail the truth about climate change.”
—CBS Smart Planet
 “a breath of fresh air: just the facts, efficient and easy to understand. It’ll be within arm’s reach of my own desk.”
Scientific American
Global Weirdness is probably the weirdest book about global warming you’re going to read…because it’s nonpartisan, making absolutely zero attempts to agitate for legislation.”
Time Out Chicago
 “so welcome…explains climate change in simple, easy-to-understand language and ultrashort chapters.”
—Mark Bittman, The New York Times

“This primer on the science of global warming provides a fact-filled explanation of how climate change impacts, and will continue to impact, our daily lives. The 60 concise and easily digestible chapters tackle such questions as: Is climate ever ‘normal’? What risks does climate change pose for human health? What are the economic costs and benefits of reducing carbon emissions? The authors are up-front about the potential downfalls of alternative energy and technological fixes.”
Conversation Magazine

“Written in language that most people can understand, with nine pages of supporting scientific references, the book probably comes as close as possible to satisfying journalist Thomas Friedman’s 2010 public plea in The New York Times for a report ‘summarizing everything we already know about climate change in language a sixth grader could understand, with unimpeachable peer-reviewed footnotes’…A concise summary for anyone who wants a better understanding of what is happening to the planet and the possible actions that can be taken.”
Santa Fe New Mexican’s Pasatiempto

About the Author

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).

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1 edition (July 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307907309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307907301
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK, But Not Great, Survey Book On Global Warming July 29, 2012
By Lowell
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a retired university bioscience professor and I have spent much of the last 4-5 years educating myself on the science and consequences of global warming. I've read most of the available books on the subject, attended conferences, followed climate blogs and read scientific papers. When I learned of this new book from Climate Central, a highly respected non-profit that deals with communicating climate change issues to the public, I immediately ordered it from Amazon. The book is an easy read for someone who already has some background understanding of climate change/global warming. In the book's introduction, the authors state that their rationale (provided by author Thomas Friedman) for writing the book was to summarize "..everything we already know about climate change in language that a sixth grader could understand, with unimpeachable, peer-reviewed footnotes."

So did they accomplish this goal? Probably not that well - while the book does give a shallow, broad overview of what is scientifically known about climate change, what's actually happening, what's likely to happen in the future and can we avoid the trouble climate change will bring, I'm not sure it would hold the interest of the average sixth grader for two reasons. (i) The book is very poorly illustrated. I counted a total of 12 illustrations, all in black and white with very small print, in this 200 page book. None of these illustrations are particulary compelling. (ii) While one of Climate Central's highly experienced journalists (Michael Lemonick) co-authored the book, it reads like something a less-experienced journalist might compose.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Though I understand the first reviewer's comments about this book coming from his erudite position, I would give the book five stars for a very different reason.
I don't believe this nation is facing the perilous path it is heading down, and leadership isn't helping to make this situation the prime, number one concern it is.
A huge portion of the populace listen to news and radio channels which propagate notions that science isn't correct regarding climate concerns.

If you are a scientist, if you are highly educated, or if you are curious, you would find relevant articles about climate changes over the past years. Many folks are
not and this information has to get out to the public in one form or another. In addition, people do what is called 'selective inattention' as they lead their lives.
There are other things to worry about, there are families to raise, there are jobs to be found and finances to manage. This is where attention goes.

I find this book to be clear, focused, and filled with good information. The title itself is something that people would relate to in terms of their own experiences
these days, whether with wild,severe storms or drought. Yes, as reviewer one said, there are places where the authors seem to be hedging, though I thought as reading
this that they were soft pedaling to bring disbelievers on board.

Read this book and pass it forward asking others to do the same. Ask your politicians and our presidential candidates how critical they see climate change issues to
be and don't vote for them if they are evasive, or don't get the peril our planet is in.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars will use in 6th grade August 10, 2012
By S. Adey
I teach 6th grade language arts and plan to use the book this coming school year as part of my non-fiction curriculum. My plan: two "chapters" a week, spending maybe 10 - 15 minutes reading and discussing each chapter. The chapters are generally two short pages, so this works for me. I also have a good background in the issue, so can fill in any missing spaces, answer questions, and so on. I'd guess a similar process would work for almost any middle through high school teacher who wants to cover the subject.
A general interest reader could surely find a more compelling book on the issue. This one is weak on graphics and would be boring to try to read straight through.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost works for me August 17, 2012
I read a lot about climate change and wanted to find a simple overview for myself and to show to a few of my more skeptical friends. This book almost works for my purposes, since it is accurate, simply argued,and discusses most of the important issues regarding climate change. However, it lacks two things needed for almost any non-fiction book: a table of contents (or index)and footnotes.

A simple table of context listing each of the 60 "chapter" titles would allow me to find and show a chapter to a friend and ask them to read the two or three pages on the topic. Footnotes would allow them to look into the issue more deeply if they remained skeptical. Instead, you have to flip through multiple chapters to find a topic and then hope that the general references actually address that topic. What a shame - with a little more effort, this book could have been a valuable asset for introducing climate change to skeptics.

One issue I wished the book had discussed more involves the impact of climate change on civilizations. To oversimplify, unstable climate = unstable food supplies = unstable civilizations = loss of life as the civilization crumbles. I know we can't prove that the drought and fires in Russia caused the price of wheat to increase and that the price increase was a major factor in the Arab Spring uprisings but, to me, that is one of the side effects of climate change that should have been mentioned - at least as a possibility.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good basic overview of the science
I am currently listening to Global Weirdness on CD. My purpose is to get a clear basic understanding of the different aspects of climate change and it is doing that for me. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Emily Ellis
4.0 out of 5 stars good info
Interesting reading based on many possible scenarios of what might happen in the future. No one knows what is going to happen but educated guesses are offered.
Published 3 months ago by Reader
2.0 out of 5 stars Too shallow
I like charts, tables and in-depth analysis. This book was too shallow for me. I have doubts that non-technical people will like it.
Published 3 months ago by R. Ostensen
4.0 out of 5 stars A competent summary of expectations for global warming
Book written by two people at Climate Central, reviewed by entire scientific staff, then outside reviewers (list of referees at end of book). Read more
Published 7 months ago by DavidMills
1.0 out of 5 stars No exploding heads
Although Climate Central initially (2008) claimed to be a neutral, unbiased source, concerned with research related to climate change and disseminating information, in 2012 they... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Diogenes
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read of the hard truths of climate change.
This books helps provide an understanding of the facts and threats from climate change in easily read short sections. Great basic fact source.
Published 9 months ago by Tom
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief and succinct, this is one of the better nontechnical overviews...
Physicist Richard Feynman wrote the book QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter in a style that an educated audience of nonscientists could understand. Read more
Published 11 months ago by R S Cobblestone
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Catalogue
If you believe in Climate Change, this provides a brief but comprehensive list of examples of where the world is falling apart. Depressing.
Published 11 months ago by John Hemphill
5.0 out of 5 stars handy book
This is a very nice collection of very brief summaries on practically every topic associated with weather. Read more
Published 12 months ago by W. Jamison
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book
This was an easy read. If you ever doubted that climate change was real or wanted to learn up on the issue so you could talk about it intelligently at parties, read this book.
Published 13 months ago by P. J. Dolan
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