Saturday, October 2, 2010

Heidi Cullen's "The Weather of the Future," an urgently relevant book for our times

Heidi Cullen, a climatologist with a PhD from Columbia University, and who has appeared on PBS News Hour," has written "The Weather of the Future." Its subtitle, "Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed" contains elements of the some of the extreme weather trends in North America in the last few years.
New York City has seen two tornadoes in the past three months, something that we rarely expect to see in the city. Frequently, storms in recent months have involved uprooting of trees, felling of major tree branches and heavy local flooding.
Heat waves in cities have become longer, devastating wildfires have become more damaging.
Cullen's book notes how low-lying areas such as nearly the entire nation of Bangladesh could become devastated due to rising sea levels. In the United States, much of the southern half of Florida is similarly low-lying.

The profound vulnerabilities that the world faces high-lights the need to take decisive action to reverse the ill effects of greenhouse gases. Republicans like to rant against carbon caps as job killers. They need to realize that inaction will lead to disaster-movie scenario with variations across the planet. In terms of life-style policies we need to expand mass transit, encourage tree planting, and encourage local food networks to minimize the carbon impact that is attendant with transporting food.

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