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Weather's Greatest Mysteries Solved! Hardcover – June 23, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Randy Cerveny, PhD (Tempe, AZ), is President’s Professor in Geographical Sciences specializing in weather and climate at Arizona State University. He is the author of the highly acclaimed Freaks of the Storm and has appeared on the Today show, ,em>CBS Morning Show, CNN, Good Morning America, ABC News, NPR, the BBC, and the Weather Channel. His work has been featured in People magazine, USA Today, National Geographic, the New York Times, Science, and Nature, among other publications.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591027209
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591027201
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,953,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Holmes VINE VOICE on September 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Randy Cerveny, author of Freaks of the Storm: From Flying Cows to Stealing Thunder: The World's Strangest True Weather Stories, has written a very interesting book for those who enjoy their history served up one mystery at a time. "Weather's Greatest Mysteries" is arranged chronologically, starting 65 million years ago with the asteroid strike that produced global cooling and global drought, thus ending the reign of the dinosaurs. In between, the author explains how the eruption of the Mt. Toba supervolcano 75,000 or so years ago nearly extiguished the human species; why hippos once lived in what is now the Sahara Desert; what might have parted the waters of the Reed Sea during the Exodus; and what the future may hold for climate change. He also explores how climate affects civilizations--and sometimes affects them less than other factors like disease--from the famous lost city of Petra to the collapse of the Maya.

One point that comes through clearly is that climate change is a young science, and an extraordinarily complex one at that. When a new generation of supercomputers is created, they are often stress tested with climate problems. Interestingly, Cerveny notes that while the planet may experience global warming in the near future, the long-term prediction is for a return to the cycle of ice ages that have been with the earth for the last 40 million years or so. Measured on a scale of thousamds or tens of thousands of years, we'll run out of carbon-producing fuels eventually, the carbon load in the atmosphere will return to something resembling pre-industrial levels, and orbital cycles and other factors will take us back to "normal"--assuming we make it through the intervening bake off, it will be time to break out those winter jackets.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By VampireCowboy VINE VOICE on July 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First, a confession, I am a total weather geek. I love the science, I love the spectacle and I love people who study it and write about it. So it was with great excitement that approached this book.

Second, a suggestion: if you choose to read this book (and, if you are even considering it, you should) skip the fictional embellishments beginning and end of each chapter. They add nothing, and actually might distract from the book.

As for the work itself, this is top notch science writing across a spectrum of topical areas related to weather and climate. The science is strong (maybe too strong) and the book covers much (maybe too much) and there's no doubt the author is a brilliant and learned man in this field.

That said, the book is infused with what can only be described as confusing almost diametrically opposed positions related to man's affect on the climate and weather patterns. On the one hand, he cautions that these are complex systems which we don't fully (and may never) understand our affect upon; on the other, he suggests that climate is always changing and that we should just relax.

For my money, the scope and duration of climate affects created by the modern world - impacting a complex system in new and unanticipated ways - is something we should be quite concerned about. That these systems will change regardless of our influence and efforts (in other words, in a net neutral world) adds nothing to the argument that we should carefully examine and mitigate our role in changing the planet, possibly toward the uninhabitable.

The tension between these two positions makes for an interesting reading experience, but I recommend it fully to weather geeks and anyone who would like a more robust appreciation of the still evolving science of climatology.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Dorn on May 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Professor Randy Cerveny has written a book that every single person interested in climate change must read.

Far too many stories in the media (including blogs) about global climate change are written by individuals with no background in climate science. This book will provide them some understanding of how climate change works, but delivered in a way that fans of Sherlock will enjoy.

For citizens hearing all about climate catastrophe and how the world as we know it will come to an end, this book will move you from a state of confusion to position where you will feel like you have a handle on the entire topic.

For students interested in climate change, whether high school or college, this book will fill in gaps that you never knew you had. You may have seen videos, listened to lectures, and seen movies. I guarantee you that these presentations were missing the real story behind global climate change -- how climatologists figure out how and why Earth's climate changes.

Professor Cerveny is an award winning teacher at Arizona State. He teaches freshman courses, and he teaches graduate seminars. Dr. Cerveny brings these experiences to the table in this amazing book. You learn about climate change at the graduate level, but there are no prerequisites to reading this book! He gives you all of the background knowledge you will need to understand how the great climate mysteries are solved. It is this perspective that will make you the master of discussions, because you will be able to take his stories and re-explain them to friends who "just don't get it" -- because you will!
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