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

Emily Elert, Michael D. Lemonick, and Climate Central. Pantheon, $22.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-307-90730-1
Climate Central Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan science and journalism organization, wrote this guide in response to Thomas Friedman’s request in a 2010 New York Times column for the climate-science community to “convene its top experts” to provide a simple, unimpeachably peer-reviewed 50-page report “summarizing everything we already know about climate change in language that a sixth-grader could understand.” Except for exceeding the requested length, the book admirably fulfills Friedman’s request, and even at over 200 pages, it’s 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. Despite their inevitable inaccuracies, the book argues, climate models become increasingly reliable as they are refined. The book’s simple language and strong documentation make it just right for younger readers or complete novices, but considering the current contentious political climate and the book’s scary predictions, its calm tone feels odd. Agent: Markson Thoma Literary Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/09/2012
Release date: 07/24/2012
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MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-9216-7
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Paperback - 214 pages - 978-0-307-74336-7
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