Is something going on with the weather?
A record-setting heat wave that just won't release its blistering grip. Balmy winter weeks followed by a sudden crippling snowstorm. Torrential rainfalls of rising frequency and force, deluging areas untouched by flood for decades. And coast-to-coast, a virtually endless parade of dramatically televised weather disasters--each seemingly more extreme than the last.
Examining today's headline-making questions through the authoritative lens of science and history, New York Times science reporter William K. Stevens's The Change in the Weather offers a definitive look at the science of climatic change. He introduces us to the international community of scientists leading the effort to determine whether a new era of climate has already dawned, one in which the extreme will become increasingly commonplace in an ever-warming world. From the impact of our own behavior on the delicate balance that keeps our climate hospitable to the degree to which we're too late to do anything about it, the answers and their implications could not be more profound.
How did we get here? How bad is it? How much worse will it get? How dramatically will it change life as we know it, and how quickly? The climate-science community's newfound consensus--that the earth is indeed getting warmer, and human activity is at least partially at fault--remains a topic of fierce debate, and Stevens helps us understand both the science and politics we'll need to know in the coming years.
Charting the "grand drama" that began with the formation of the planet and its atmosphere billions of years ago, Stevens reveals the patterns of extreme climate change that have always characterized earth history. He explores the inextricable link between the fate of humanity and the climate--from the shaping of human evolution to the devastation of entire civilizations--and our efforts to make sense of these vast forces beyond our control. And he both shows us these forces at work today, as manifested in melting Alaskan glaciers or distressingly brown New England autumns, and offers an informed speculative glimpse at what may be in store for the end of our new century.
As we enter the third millennium amid unfounded predictions of apocalyptic weather disaster, the very real debate about our planet's fate rages on beneath the clamor. An armchair scientist's guide to the science of climate--past, present, and future--The Change in the Weather is an eye-opening and authoritative exploration of today's world and tomorrow's uncertainty.
About William K. Stevens
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Published December 28, 1999
by Delacorte Press.
Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical.