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Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming Hardcover – July 2, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Having witnessed Katrina's devastation of his mother's New Orleans house, science writer Mooney (The Republican War on Science) became concerned that government policy still ignored worst-case scenarios in planning for the future, despite that unprecedented disaster. He set out to explore the question of whether global warming will strengthen or otherwise change hurricanes in general, even if it can't explain the absolute existence, attributes, or behavior of any single one of them. Since storm research's early 19th-century inception, Mooney found, there has been a split between those who believed the field should be rooted in the careful collection of data and observations (e.g., weathermen) and those who preferred theory-based deductions from the laws of physics (e.g., climatologists). Whirling around this longstanding antagonism is a mix of politics, personalities and the drama of these frightening storms. The urgency and difficulty of resolving the question of global warming's existence, and its relationship to storms, has only heated things up. Mooney turns this complicated stew into a page-turner, making the science accessible to the general reader, vividly portraying the scientists and relating new discoveries while scientists and politicians change sides—or stubbornly ignore new evidence. Mooney draws hope from some researchers' integration of both research methods and concludes that to be effective, scientists need to be clear communicators. (July)
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From Booklist

Mooney, whose The Republican War on Science (2005) offered a hard-hitting look at the political manipulation of scientific research, turns his attention to the hot topic of global warming. Does global warming cause increasingly vicious hurricanes? Is human arrogance and disregard for the environment responsible for Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans? Or is this whole idea a lot of hot air? Mooney looks carefully at all sides of the debate, weighing the evidence carefully, telling us not just what's being said but who's saying it and why. Of course, it's impossible to write a book like this without tackling the whole idea of global warming as myth, but Mooney doesn't get bogged down in the politics of that issue. He has different questions to answer: Are the increasingly intense hurricanes of recent years our fault, and if they are, what can we do to change the pattern before it's too late? His answers don't add to cheerful reading, but this is certainly one of the most thought-provoking and accessible accounts of climate change to appear since Katrina. Pitt, David

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (July 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151012873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151012879
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,053,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Glenn Schwartz on July 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is amazing. It's so hard to find any book that deals with global warming in any way that doesn't go to one extreme or the other. Instead, Chris Mooney gives a very balanced view of the debate on the global warming/hurricane connection. The science is explained well, and simply enough for a layman, so anyone with even a slight knowledge or hurricanes and/or global warming would follow it easily.
The most interesting part for me is the personal stories of the main scientists involved in the debate. It's easy to assume that anyone who is such a stubborn denier of global warming such as Dr. Bill Gray would be a political conservative. It's clear from this book that he is not. The way politics weighs on such legendary scientists as Drs. Gray and Emanuel is fascinating. No one ever taught us how not to have our views distorted by the media and used for political agendas when we were in college.

Glenn Schwartz
Chief Meteorologist
NBC10 Philadelphia
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Format: Hardcover
To provide a frame of reference for this review, I and my colleagues Peter Webster and Greg Holland are among the scientists that are featured prominently in Storm World. Our involvement in the issue of hurricanes and global warming began when we published an article in Science shortly before the landfall of Hurricane Rita, where we reported a doubling of the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes globally since 1970. When Chris Mooney first approached me with his idea for writing a book on this topic, I was somewhat skeptical. I couldn't see how this could be accomplished given the rapid changes in the science (I was worried the book would be outdated before it was published), the complexities of the technical aspects of the subject, a concern about how the individual scientists would be treated and portrayed, and a concern that the political aspects of the issue would be handled in a partisan way. Over the course of the past year and a half, it became apparent that Mooney was researching this issue extremely thoroughly and was developing a good grasp of both the history and technical aspects of the subject. Upon finally reading the book, I can only say Storm World has far exceeded any hope or expectation that I could have had for a book on this subject. The book is surprisingly rich in technical detail, and Mooney has grasped the nuances of the breadth of scientific arguments and uncertainties. He provides a fascinating history with rich insights into the current controversy. The individual scientists are portrayed accurately as well as sympathetically and colorfully. The political aspects are treated in an insightful and nonpartisan manner. I am most impressed by the fresh insights provided by this book, which besides being a "good read," Storm World is an important and timely contribution that deserves careful consideration in the dialogue and debate on hurricane policy in the U.S. Storm World is science journalism at its absolute best.
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Format: Hardcover
"Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming" is the best science book of 2007 which I have read so far, and one which clearly deserves all the praise it has earned already. It is an exceptional piece of science journalism which should earn awards for journalist Chris Mooney, the science writer for the Washingtion, DC-based SEEDS magazine. It is even more impressive a piece of brilliant scientific journalism when you realize that both the author and the magazine he works for have a strong liberal bias - which admittedly was quite apparent in his previous book "The Republican War On Science" - and yet, to his everlasting credit, Mooney has endeavored quite well to ensure that his book remains as nonpartisan as possible, treating with ample respect, all of the principal players depicted, from flamboyant Colorado State University meteorologist William Gray - a staunch critic of global warming - to MIT theoretical meteorologist Kerry Emanuel - among those who recognize a potential link between global warming and hurricane intensity and severity - to Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry, a co-author of an important recent paper which may support such a potential linkage. Without question, Mooney's book is a revealing, often insightful, examination of Hurricane meteorological research from 2004 to 2006 and of the relevant political and media issues which become associated with it, regrettably in the aftermath of the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Mooney offers a vivid portrayal of the history of meteorology, emphasizing research on hurricanes, from the early 19th Century to the present, in the first third of his book.
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Format: Hardcover
This book presents a very insightful, comprehensive, and refreshingly scientific analysis from all sides--empirical to theoretical--of the "hurricane-global warming" debate. It is very well-researched and written (though at times a bit repetitive), and is crammed with lots of factual information about the meteorologists who are at the forefront of shaping the future direction of research in the "hurricane-climate" debate. Chris Mooney succeeds in laying out all sides of the wide-ranging research viewpoints in this field without taking sides or pontificating his own biases or opinions. He even-handedly maintains his objectivity throughout his discussion, yet leaves the reader with lots of ideas, information, and questions to ponder. I think this book would make an excellent addition to any post-baccalaureate course whose core curriculum relates to climate change or hurricane modeling. Buy and read this book; you won't be disappointed!
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