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The Change in the Weather: People, Weather,…

The Change in the Weather: People, Weather, and the Science of Climate (1999)

by William K. Stevens

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Introduction. Chicago/July 1995 -- The most lethal weather disaster in the city's history arrived not with the terrifying roar of a tornado but quietly, deceptively, until America's third largest metropolis lay smothered under a suffocating blanket of heat and humidity unprecedented in meteorological records.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385320124, Hardcover)

In the summer of 1995, Chicagoans endured weather of extremes they had never seen: daytime temperatures that, adjusted for humidity, exceeded 125 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures that did not fall below 90. In four days, 583 people died of heat exhaustion and related causes. It was by far Chicago's greatest mass disaster, and one for which the city was utterly unprepared.

William Stevens, a science reporter for The New York Times, opens his vivid--and sometimes frightening--book The Change in the Weather with a look at the Chicago disaster, moving on to consider it and other calamities in the context of millions of years of climatic change. In the last several decades, violent storms, long considered to be aberrations of nature, have come to seem almost the norm. The jury is still out, but much evidence suggests that the so-called greenhouse effect is fueling these ever-more-powerful storms. With global warming come hotter average temperatures; hotter temperatures mean increased water vapor, the stuff from which storms are made; more storms mean more flooding; more flooding means more soil erosion and the destruction of the world's estuaries and coastlines; and so on. Stevens carefully describes some of the scientific debates on global warming and ever-nastier weather, and on what, if anything, might be done to reverse or slow these apparent trends.

Lacing his narrative with interviews with leading climatologists, Stevens offers an engrossing scientific detective story--one that threatens to become a horror story in the very near future. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:31 -0400)

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Examines the science of climatic change, looking at the work of scientists around the world who are trying to determine whether the Earth has entered a new era of climate in which the extreme will become normal.

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