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The West without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us about Tomorrow Hardcover – August 1, 2013
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"Reads with the surprising velocity of a murder mystery and the intrigue of a rigorous, detective investigation."--Lou Fancher"Lamorinda Weekly" (10/23/2013)
"Given California's importance in our economy and culture and the intensity with which climate vagaries affect that state, 'The West without Water' is an important and timely addition to your library whether you live in California or not."--Anne Jefferson"Earth Magazine" (05/01/2014)
From the Inside Flap
"Earth’s climate has changed before, but always on a geological time scale. By burning millions of years worth of fossil fuels in a couple of centuries, humans have now forced atmospheric change onto our time scale. To make matters worse, in the American Southwest we have built a civilization on the assumption that we can get away with it. As The West without Water eloquently and passionately reveals, we can’t."James Lawrence Powell, author of Dead Pool
In this intriguing account of a past more distant than any we have known, these authors offer us all the rare gift of foresight about what counts the most: the direction our society must take to sustain the richness of life on earth."Tim Palmer, author of Rivers of California and Lifelines: The Case for River Conservation
Top Customer Reviews
Of course, any book on this topic must address the issue of present climate change, and indeed this one does, outlining current trends and predictions. Although these are ominous, I appreciate the perspective that the authors take on the subject, which is that being well-informed about our past can help us prepare for the future. Indeed, we must take these predictions seriously and prepare more effectively if we are to continue to thrive on this beautiful and beloved land we call the West. The final chapter offers examples of how our society can reverse environmental damage and cope with climate realities of the present and future.
A well-researched, well-written, and informative book, this is a great read for students, policymakers, and the generally interested public. The clear prose and relevant images used throughout makes the book accessible to a wide range of readers without skimping on scientific rigor.
However, I now know more about isotope analysis than I care to because it is repeated several times. Once is enough. My biggest issue with the book is that having gone thorugh historic climate changess, I was expected a look (implied by the title) of what the future climate may look like based on the trends of the past. revealed That seems to be lacking. Like a mystery where you get to the big reveal only to find out it doen't happen. I would have liked ENSO, PDO, Astronomy, etc. as forcers of climate change to at least be pulled together for a prediction. The only thing marring an otherwise excellent book.
The book suffers from being a bit juvenile: "Now here is what I told you in this chapter and here's what we will say in the next one." While that device is perhaps useful, it happens several times per chapter, so I got fairly tired of reading all the forecasts of what was to be said soon.
The summary chapters start to present some actions that need to be taken. Such actions are probably unlikely to occur, so that part of the book is less relevant than the collection of information into a single book.
Overall, it was a good read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I only gave it 3 stars because they kept repeating themselves. They stated at least 4 times how the Santa Barbara bay is a great place to take soil samples and then also repeated... Read morePublished 1 month ago by RKM
If you can get past the purple prose this is a very valuable reference. The title is nonsense, of course, probably concocted by the publisher. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Dr. George K. Colbath, GKC Geoscience LLC
Fascinating and enlightening....after reading it you will never look at water or weather in the west the same...Published 10 months ago by Curtis S. Sanders
Everyone in California (and the USA) should read this informative historical climate book. Every politician from the governor on down to city council members should look at all... Read morePublished 10 months ago by michael marquardt
Should be required reading for anyone in the west. Fun read as well.Published 11 months ago by A.R. Wallace
Well written comprehensive review of the science behind the drought. I am more educated about the history of El Nino and La Nina and the effects they bring to our western world. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Diane B. Richards