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Hardcover Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming Book

ISBN: 0151012873

ISBN13: 9780151012879

Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming

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Book Overview

Are hurricanes increasing in ferocity and frequency because of global warming? In the wake of Katrina, leading science journalist Chris Mooney follows the careers of top meteorologists on either side... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Probably the most significant addition to current issues in meteorology...

It was probably a coincidence that this book reached our library just as I started teaching an online meteorology class at a local university. Whether or not, I found it invaluable in directing the discussions for this class since global warming is the most significant current issue for this science, and all roads/students/newspapers etc. lead directly to the issue. For such a topic that is wrought with both political and emotional issues, I thought Chris Mooney did a wonderful job of presenting all the sides. There are never just one or two sides in any science. I saw that when I did research in HIV encephalitis in med school. It was amazing not only the good research that was done and reported but also the quacks that came out of the woodwork. They could have done reasonable and valid research prior to their introduction of mistaken theories and concepts, but boy, if you insisted they were wrong...even if it did turn out later they were wrong, they would cling to those theories like velcro. Not only did they cling to the theories, but if they couldn't get published in recognized peer reviewed journals, they started up their own journal! This inability of both scientists and politicians to admit to mistakes about previously held beliefs is a real problem in science. Not just in meteorology, though I can see from Mooney's book that due to the attention that hurricanes brought to global warming, these guys who are often social inept were thrown into a maelstrom they didn't have the foggiest idea how to contend with (weather puns definitely intended). I recommended this book to my students, and I don't do that often. I will continue to refer back to this book because it put very well the divides that not only exist in science, but even among communities and families concerning this issue (my husband is a wait-and-see guy, while I am one of those people who think we should do whatever we can possibly do to minimize our impact on climate). Great book...great discussion. Karen Sadler

A meteorologist for 35 years loves it!

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

The Best Science Book of 2007 So Far

"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. From Mooney's perspective, meteorology is seen as an intellectual struggle between empiricists who've relied exclusively on collecting data and modelers willing to employ complex mathematical equations and computer simulations in trying to get a better understanding for current and future climatic trends. This a distinction that is not unique to meteorology itself, but indeed, in much of science, demonstrating how "messy" a business science can be. But it is an important distinction which Mooney has made simply because these two distinct groups of meteorologists and climatologists have shaped not only the scope, but also, regrettably, the tenor of the debates over the validity of global warming and its possible relevance to the formation, relative severity and frequency of hurricances forming in the North Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere around the globe. As a graduate student of evolutionary biology and paleobiology nearly twenty years ago, I was keenly aware of the raging debates in these sciences from the tempo and mode of evolution - as expressed in assessing the validity of the evolutionary theory of "Punctuated Equilibrium" and the evolutionary implications of stasis - to kin and group selection, and of course, sociobiology too - and last, but not least, systematic biology (cladistics

Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming

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!

One of the most important science books of the year

As a member of the National Book Critics Circle, I have recommended this title to our Awards Committee. Here is part of a longer review from my Science Shelf web site: On May 23, 2005, three months before Hurricane Katrina started churning the Atlantic Ocean, Chris Mooney, Washington correspondent for Seed magazine, published an article in the American Prospect Online warning about the vulnerability of his native New Orleans to a direct hit by a powerful hurricane. Katrina was not quite the storm Mooney had envisioned in his article. It was powerful--category 5 at its peak--but it had weakened to category 3 by the time it made landfall. And it wasn't quite a direct hit. The levees were supposed to withstand such a storm, but they failed. In the aftermath, Mooney's "piece ricocheted around the internet," bringing added attention to his just published first book, the meticulously researched and provocative The Republican War on Science (RWOS). Now a new hurricane season has begun with the publication of Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming, Mooney's latest foray into the contentious intersection of science and politics. This time, his research produced a much less partisan conclusion.... [O]n the question of how global warming would change hurricanes, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conclusion is much less certain [than of the human cause for global warming itself]. Warmer seas might produce more frequent or more severe hurricanes, but many other atmospheric and climate factors also contribute to storm development. To climate scientists, this is an important and exciting open research question.... The question is also central to Storm World. The book captures not only the scientific and political stories, but also the personal stories of those involved on all sides of this important scientific and political issue. It begins with a history of how scientists' understanding of hurricanes has developed over two centuries. There has always been a creative tension, usually played out between dominant personalities with different scientific approaches. On one side are the empiricists who emphasize collecting data. On the other are those who seek the underlying physical principles. Today, the latter group is armed with supercomputers and mathematical climate models, which they are constantly refining and in which many of the former group place little confidence. Therein lies the disagreement. Predicting the climate of a future greenhouse Earth requires more than the weather data from the familiar planet Earth of the recent past. The empiricists focus on an apparent natural multi-decadal storm cycle. The modelers view the same data as the result of changing emissions from changes in fossil-fuel burning engines and power plants. Mooney genuinely seems to admire them all, visionaries and curmudgeons alike. But he seems to question whether today's political argument has led to polarization rather than
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