For November, we turn our attention to our immediate environment. Hurricanes. Blizzards. Flooding. Drought. If extreme weather events like these seem to be on the rise, your powers of observation are accurate. The first three-quarters of 2012 brought the worst European winter in 25 years, massive flooding in Australia, Brazil and China, and a deepening drought in the U.S. affecting more than 50 percent of the country. And then came the superstorm Sandy late last month, inflicting billions of dollars of damage to the Northeast. The likelihood of such extreme weather events is increasingly being tied to anthropogenic—or manmade, mostly through overproduction of carbon dioxide—global warming. It’s no longer an abstract idea; it’s being experienced directly and locally, on nearly every level.
Scientific American‘s latest eBook, Storm Warnings: Climate Change and Extreme Weather, gives readers the tools to better understand what is driving climate change, what might be in store in the coming decades and how we can begin to reverse the detrimental effects that human activity is having on Earth’s climate systems. The first half of the book focuses on unprecedented weather events and the science behind them, from the devastation of Sandy to the collapse of glacial ice shelves in the Antarctic. Chapter 5 delves into greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on global warming, including an excellent piece by leading climate expert James Hansen, who exposes the main culprits of climate change. The last chapters focus on addressing and reducing the problems caused by climate change at both the public policy and local levels. In particular, Scientific American Editor David Biello lays out 10 solutions that include small changes we all can make in our daily lives—practical, but effective, consumer choices that add up. It might be a drop in the bucket, but every drop counts.
Storm Warnings: Climate Change and Extreme Weatheris available at most e-Book retailers, including: