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

Mooney, Chris
Harcourt Inc. 2007
ISBN 978-0-15-101287-9
381pp
Date finished: 2007-10-08

The debate over whether and how hurricanes would be affected by climate change was bubbling in academic journals and conference debates for a while, but the busy 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons attracted the attention of the popular media, and Katrina's impact on New Orleans was the capstone, making the issue very political. Mooney personifies the debate using two representatives of each side, MIT's Kerry Emanuel and Colorado State's William M. Gray. Both of them studied with mentors who provide a connecting thread to the origins of hurricane research and climate modeling. Gray studied with Herbert Riehl, and comes from a background of collecting data and finding empirical rules. Emanuel studied with Jule Gregory Charney, who worked with theoretical models of meteorological phenomena and pioneered the use of computers to predict weather through physical simulations.

Mooney's interest is in the historical background underlying the two viewpoints, and in how the scientific process is thrashing toward distant conclusions. He describes how the infusion of politics has made the debates increasingly bitter, and discuses the succession of papers that show one trend or fail to confirm another trend. The book is a snapshot of a subfield that's trying to resolve a controversy, and would be an interesting companion to Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming.

Tagged: meteorology

Permalink: http://books.amk.ca/2007/10/Storm_World.html

%T Storm World
%A Mooney, Chris
%@ 2007-10-08
%I Harcourt Inc.
%S Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming
%D 2007
%K meteorology
%G ISBN 978-0-15-101287-9
%p 381pp

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