The Rough Guide to Climate Change: A book review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:47 PM GMT on January 29, 2008

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If you're bewildered by the complexity of the climate change/global warming issue, and want a comprehensive, easy-to-understand guide that presents an unbiased view of the important issues, look no further than Robert Henson's Rough Guide to Climate Change. In fact, we've found the Rough Guide to Climate Change so helpful and well written, that wunderground has licensed a copy of the introductory chapter and featured it on our Climate Change web page. This chapter is a "sneak preview" of the Second Edition, which is scheduled to be released February 4. If I were teaching a course on climate change at the high school or introductory college level, this would be the text.

However, the Rough Guide does not read like a textbook. It presents the key issues in a straightforward, clear, and conversational manner. The author, Robert Henson, is a meteorologist and journalist who works as a writer/editor at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He organizes his book into four sections: "The basics"--global warming in a nutshell; "The symptoms"--what's happening now, and what might happen in the future; "The science"--how we know what we know about climate change; and "Debates & solutions"--from spats and spin to saving the planet. The book has information current up to September 2007, and discusses the major climate change event so far this century--the record melting of the Arctic's sea ice that peaked in September 2007, opening the Northwest Passage for the first time in recorded history.

Helpful graphics and interesting sidebars are interspersed throughout the text. Some of the more interesting sidebars include an interview with James Lovelock, originator of the Gaia Hypothesis that treats Earth as a living being; "The Nights Chicago Fried", an account of the deadly 1999 heat wave in Chicago; and "The Fast-Disappearing Snows of Kilimanjaro", discussing the controversy over why Mt. Kilimanjaro's ice is disappearing. My favorite sidebar is "Climate Change and the Cinema", where we learn that the first movie to discuss artificial climate change was probably Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952), which featured a young Leonard Nimoy as part of a gang of Martians bent on exploding Earth from its orbit so Mars can move sunward and benefit from a warmer climate. The sidebar also discusses the impact of movies like The Day After Tomorrow and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

The 2006 first edition of the Rough Guide is my favorite climate change reference book, and I highly recommend purchasing the second edition when it comes out February 4. You can preorder a copy of the second edition from amazon.com ($16.99, softcover). Overall rating: four stars out of four.

Jeff Masters

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153. Donna
4:32 AM GMT on May 06, 2008
I just started reading this book, got it from the library, and *love* it. Thank you very much for reviewing it and bringing it to my attention.

Learning a lot, even though I thought i knew a bunch already! ;)

best
Donna Jones
Member Since: January 7, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 2
152. SteveBloom
9:36 PM GMT on February 03, 2008
Re #147: Spamming that all over the place, eh jer? If you followed the links in that piece and looked at the descriptions of the conditions during the prior passages, the truth would become obvious. Was it only a good article in your view because it tells you what you want to hear?

Let's have a look at the very first claim in the article:

The BBC is quoted as saying last September that "the most direct shipping route from Europe to Asia is fully clear of ice for the first time since records began." This is claimed to conflict with a 2000 article's statement that "a Canadian police patrol boat has completed a voyage through the fabled Northwest Passage without encountering any pack ice."

Does a lack of pack ice mean a lack of any ice, and is it even the same route under discussion? On the latter point, have a look at the route maps here and compare them with this satellite map of the 2007 minimum. See the new and much more navigable route?
151. Starwoman
6:01 AM GMT on February 01, 2008
Thanks LittleMul und SormJunky!

Great links!

SJ: you've got so many links on your site - I often don't know where to start. But in the meantime I've got a nice list in my bookmarks, thanks to you all.

Have a nice day :-)
Member Since: September 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 196
150. StormJunkie
10:42 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Thanks LMul and Circle

The GHCC site and the Rota site that can be accessed from that link I posted are both pretty good views of that region as well. I think the Eumetsat and the Rota site update most often though. I think all three of those sites are a little closer view then that NOAA WV, although that is a nice large scale view.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16504
149. LittleMul
10:16 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Thanks Starwoman

This link to the World Sunlight Map is updated every 3 hours with current satellite weather images. (The clock shows Pacific Standard Time).
148. tmangray
10:15 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Vortfix: Isn't a "retrograding warm front"---a cold front?
147. sebastianjer
10:10 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
A good article on the facts about the North West Passage for anyone interested, posted a couple excerpts

Bad reporting about the Northwest Passage issue.

You get the drift. The world's media is saying variations on the same theme. Google news shows almost 1,300 outlets reporting this story. The basic claim is that the Passage is passable today and this is the first time in recorded history. Some mention that the recorded history is since 1978, while others make it sound like this is the first since human history began, a much longer period and a far more dramatic claim. Either claim is false. As noted the BBC reported the exact same story in 2000.


We should also look at the claim that the ice has always been so thick that the Northwest Passage has been historically impassable. Most attempts by explorers to find this passage happened during the Little Ice Age. I would think they would have had great difficulty making it through the Passage under ice age conditions. But are they saying that after the Little Ice Age ended that no one has made it through the Passage? They seem to be.

The problem is that ships have sailed through the Northwest Passage before today and long before a police patrol did it in 2000. It has happened several times. The historically impassable route has been passed through numerous times for over a century now.


AND

Regardless of that, the history of ships traveling through the Northwest Passage has been well documented. This is not conjecture or guessing. It is a historical fact. We%u2019ve had small wooden ships do it, luxury tourist boats, a solo voyage, and numerous other incidents, all of which I have documented here.

The only reason I can think of that explains why journalists, who repeated the false claims of this story, didn't bother to do any research is because these claims have been linked to global warming. They don't want to be called deniers by the warming alarmists. Global warming to the Left is what terrorism is to the Right. It is an issue that is meant to be so scary that one is supposed to close down their mind, repeat the slogans, and obey.
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197
146. Starwoman
9:33 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
LittleMul, thank you for the NOAA link!!
Didn't know that the NOAA had info so far east *s*
Just what I need, being in the middle of Europe.
Member Since: September 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 196
145. LittleMul
9:21 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Circle

StormJ is right, EUMETSAT is the source you need. However the NOAA water vapor loop for the North-East Atlantic gets you close to the action.
144. Circle
8:42 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Thank you StormJ, very helpful! You've got a great site! I hadn't actually been at the Eumet site earlier as I found that pic in a newspaper :)
143. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
8:14 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
track mark 21n57.4w CCC detected
(counter clockwise cirulation)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53782
142. weathermanwannabe
8:10 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Looks like the Missisippi Valley and Northern Gulf coast will be in for a windy/t-storm afternoon and evening...........Tallahassee NWS is talking about the possibility of 40-50 knot lower level shear (ouch)..

.SHORT TERM...VERY INTERESTING FCST OVER THE NEXT 12-18 HRS AS THE
VIGOROUS SHORTWAVE OVER TX HEADS GENERALLY EASTWARD BEFORE TURNING
MORE NORTHEASTWARD ON FRIDAY. THIS WILL KEEP OUR CWA VERY CLOSE TO
THE NEGATIVELY TILTED TROF AXIS...WHICH SHOULD ALLOW LOW LEVEL SHEAR
TO BE QUITE STRONG AS THE DEVELOPING SQUALL LINE APPROACHES. THE 12
UTC RUN OF THE GFS NOW SHOWS 0-3 KM BULK SHEAR OF 40-50 KTS OVER
MUCH OF THE FL BIG BEND AND PANHANDLE AND 50-60 KTS OVER SE AL AND
SW GA...IN ADDITION TO POTENTIAL 0-1 KM HELICITIES GREATER THAN 300
M2/S2 OVER MUCH OF THE CWA AND GREATER THAN 400 M2/S2 OVER MUCH OF
SE AL AND SW GA. SHEAR VALUES THIS STRONG OBVIOUSLY HEIGHTEN OUR
CONCERN FOR POTENTIAL TORNADIC DEVELOPMENT WITH ANY DISCRETE
SUPERCELLS OUT AHEAD OF THE MAIN SQUALL LINE...
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9122
141. StormJunkie
8:09 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
duh, guess your image is already from Eumetsat...Should have looked a little closer...lol@myself

Try the NEMOC Rota site.

Global Hydrology & Climate Data Center link also has some coverage of that area.

Both of those are on that same link I posted below.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16504
140. StormJunkie
8:04 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Great to see ya atmo...Hope 08 is going great....

Circle-There are several imagery sites here. Looks like the Eumetsat is your best bet. Once you select the Eumetsat link, click on the number 2 box at the top, 2 should be the region you are looking for.

And welcome aboard :~)
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16504
139. atmoaggie
7:59 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Just in case this is useful to some of you, I just got this in my email (Note that the storm detailed is merely an EXAMPLE!):

"-------- Original Message --------

415
NOUS41 KWBC 311934
PNSWSH

SERVICE CHANGE NOTICE 08-03
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON DC
235 PM HST DAY JAN 31 2008

TO: SUBSCRIBERS:
-FAMILY OF SERVICES
-NOAA WEATHER WIRE SERVICE
-EMERGENCY MANAGERS WEATHER INFORMATION NETWORK
OTHER NWS PARTNERS...USERS AND EMPLOYEES

FROM: JAMES WEYMAN
METEOROLOGIST IN CHARGE
WEATHER FORECAST OFFICE /WFO/ HONOLULU HAWAII

SUBJECT: CHANGES TO THE TROPICAL CYCLONE SUMMARY TO FIX /TCS/
PRODUCTS: EFFECTIVE JUNE 1 2008

EFFECTIVE JUNE 1 2008...WFO HONOLULU HAWAII WILL CHANGE THE
FORMAT OF THE TCS PRODUCTS FROM A NARRATIVE FORMAT TO A
TABULAR FORMAT.

EXAMPLE: OLD FORMAT

TROPICAL CYCLONE CLIFF LOCATED NEAR 22.2S 176.2W AT 05/1038 UTC
BASED ON MTSAT IR SECTOR AND ANIMATION. POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN
60 NM. ESTIMATED MAXIMUM 1 MINUTE WIND SPEED 45 KT. MOVEMENT
ESTIMATED TOWARD 140 DEG AT 15 KT OVER PAST 12 HRS.

T3.0/3.0/S0.0/12 HRS

REMARKS...CURVED BAND WRAPPING 0.6 ON A LOG10 SPIRAL YIELDS A DT
OF 3.0. MET AND PT ARE 3.5. FT BASED ON DT AND 6 HR CONSTRAINTS.

EXAMPLE: NEW FORMAT

A. TROPICAL CYCLONE CLIFF

B. 05/1038Z

C. 22.2S

D. 176.2W

E. MTSAT

F. T3.0/3.0/S0.0/12 HRS

G. IR/EIR

H. REMARKS...CURVED BAND WRAPPING 0.6 ON A LOG10 SPIRAL YIELDS A
DT OF 3.0. MET AND PT ARE 3.5. FT BASED ON DT AND 6 HR
CONSTRAINTS.

ADDITIONALLY THE GEOGRAPHIC AREA COVERED BY THE TCS PRODUCTS WILL
EXPAND. THE CURRENT AREA IS NORTH OF THE EQUATOR BETWEEN 180 AND
140W. THE WESTERN BOUNDARY WILL EXPAND TO COVER THE AREA NORTH OF
THE EQUATOR FROM 160E TO 140W.

THESE CHANGES AFFECT THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS:
WMO HEADERAWIPS IDENTIFIER
TXPN40 PHFOTCSCP
TXPS40 PHFOTCSSP

IF YOU HAVE COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS...PLEASE CONTACT:

JAMES WEYMAN
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
WEATHER FORECAST OFFICE HONOLULU HI
2525 CORREA ROAD SUITE 250
HONOLULU HAWAII 96822-2219
EMAIL: JAMES.WEYMAN@NOAA.GOV
PHONE: 808-973-5272

NWS NATIONAL SERVICE CHANGE NOTICES ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT
/USE LOWER CASE LETTERS/:

HTTP://WWW.NWS.NOAA.GOV/OM/NOTIF.HTM

"
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
137. Bonedog
7:35 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
hey folks. glad to see everyone is fine.

looks like a ice storm for my area late tonight :( Going to be one hell of a morning commute at 4am. Usually driving before the salters and plows get out.

Anyways I hope everyone is fine and if anyone wants to talk just shoot me an email.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
136. Circle
7:05 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Do you know where I can find satellite pictures/loops ir or visible for Northern Europe, and Norway? I have only found this:

"Tuva" storm north of Scottland.


134. TheCaneWhisperer
5:04 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Afternoon All!

Where you at Biff, North Fla? I wish we were getting that normal wet winter you speak of down here in SFL. To date we're 2.3 inches below normal for the month in West Palm. More dry warm weather to come for the next week.
132. JRRP
4:36 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
what happen with the low in the central atlantic ?????
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5789
131. biff4ugo
3:52 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
I have emailed radar loops to folks, and since it is a link... they keep looking at my old mail for up to date weather months later.
That is freaky in a good way.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1569
129. LakeShadow
3:41 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
morning! boy what a day we had here yesterday. I was posting on Sullivanweather's blog in and out throughout the day... the Lake had a 10 ft storm surge with the hurricane force wind gusts and blizzard-like conditions...it was crazy!
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
128. NEwxguy
3:36 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
morning storm,and thanks.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 878 Comments: 15727
127. NEwxguy
3:35 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
morning vort,hows things
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 878 Comments: 15727
125. StormJunkie
2:44 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Morning all :~)

Looks like a rough day in the SE and a pile of snow further N for some.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16504
123. NEwxguy
2:17 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
a lot of moisture and a lot of energy with that system in the south,expect some serious weathter with that front
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 878 Comments: 15727
121. cchsweatherman
1:53 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Storm,
Will these satellite loops automatically update themselves? Thanks.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
115. biff4ugo
1:15 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Wow,
Africa looks to be getting hit pretty good.
Hopefully that storm front heading to florida will hit late in the day and not mess up Kid's day at the fair.
Send snow to Finland.
Check.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1569
114. biff4ugo
1:01 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
For the record, Florida is having the first normal wet winter in years. If we get afternoon showers this spring, like we did 20 years ago, I will be extatic.

On the flip side, we still have the brown scummy layer obscuring our sunsets that we didn't have.

As for Climate change, global weather is not acting normally. I point to the vanishing glaciers and say to the deniers... duh.
News alwas goes after fear... more duh.
Corporations are motivated by profit, so if there is a little fear to motivate the public to stop green house gasses or get China off coal and more environmentally concious, I'm all for it. On the other hand we do need to start comming up with methods to combat the effects of extreme weather and keep folks safe.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1569
112. cchsweatherman
12:56 PM GMT on January 31, 2008
Good morning all! Here we go again with another severe weather event developing in the Southeast. Good news for the drought, bad news for homes and businesses. Stay safe anyone in the path of this system. It looks like this storm system has just begun to gear up.

BTW Does anyone have a nice color IR satellite loop of the Tropical Atlantic that I could post on my website for hurricane season? If it is a JAVA script loop, I cannot place it in my website. Thanks in advance.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
108. BahaHurican
10:47 AM GMT on January 31, 2008
Morning all.

Still relatively cool here. I've been needing my jacket all the time except for the height of the day - 11:30 to 3:30.

Still, I'm glad I'm not at Mt Rainier . . . - 11!

Have a good one.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22074
107. sullivanweather
9:23 AM GMT on January 31, 2008
Forecast for Mt.Rainier is quite snowy...emphasis on 'quite'

Overnight: Periods of snow. Low around 5. Breezy, with a west southwest wind between 21 and 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 23 to 29 inches possible.

Thursday: Periods of snow showers. Temperature falling to around 3 by 5pm. Breezy, with a west southwest wind around 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 20 to 26 inches possible.

Thursday Night: Periods of snow showers. Low around -7. Breezy, with a west southwest wind between 22 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 18 to 24 inches possible.

Friday: Periods of snow showers. High near 14. Breezy, with a west wind between 18 and 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Friday Night: Snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around -6. West wind between 13 and 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Saturday: Periods of snow. High near -4. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Saturday Night: Periods of snow. Low around -11. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Sunday: Periods of snow showers. Cloudy and cold, with a high near -1.

Sunday Night: Snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around -3.

Monday: Snow showers likely. Cloudy and cold, with a high near 10.

Monday Night: Snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 10.

Tuesday: Snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 15.

Tuesday Night: Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -10.

Wednesday: Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy and cold, with a high near 3.
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
106. Cavin Rawlins
9:15 AM GMT on January 31, 2008
Thanks to all who reply. I was wondering if he was quiting cause he could not take it any more.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
105. weatherbro
4:52 AM GMT on January 31, 2008
A stalled out frontal boundary in Florida for this time of year? Guess it's what La Nina's do...As longs the humidities comfortable on either side I don't mind.

I hope a fog accident doesn't happen again...
Member Since: May 26, 2007 Posts: 47 Comments: 1290
104. sullivanweather
4:13 AM GMT on January 31, 2008
There's gaps in the data for other datasets.

I found this the other day on another blog site which shows the gaps in the HADCRU compared to the GISS.

It should be noted that the GISS dataset extrapolates the temperature for the polar regions, so those areas filled in are really just estimates...
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
103. sebastianjer
3:58 AM GMT on January 31, 2008
Hey Sully,
What is the explanation for 2007, only GISS going up while the rest go down, is there an explanation?

JER
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.