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Weather's Greatest Mysteries Solved! Hardcover – June 23, 2009
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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.
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you relied on weather forecasts 50 years ago, you'd be laughed into oblivion. Times have changed! Read morePublished on September 27, 2013 by D. Wayne Dworsky
As a geography major who graduated from ASU (the author's university) I was very interested to see how he couched his solutions to the mysteries. Read morePublished on March 13, 2012 by Susan K. Dunaway
So many non-fiction books contain a lot of review and repetition of material the interested reader has probably seen before. Read morePublished on October 30, 2010 by R. Schultz
Climatologists and their research are presented in a lively narrative packing in facts presented by well-known climatologist author Randy Cerveny, who examines history and climate... Read morePublished on September 18, 2009 by Midwest Book Review