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The Weather makers: how man is changing the climate and what it means for life on Earth

Author: Flannery, Tim Publisher: Grove Press, 2005.Language: EnglishDescription: 357 p. : Photos ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0802165028Type of document: Book
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Book Asia Campus
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Print GE105 .F53 2005
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900185226
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Print GE105 .F53 2005
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The Weather Makers How Man is Changing the Climate and What it Means for Life on Earth Contents FOREWORD xvii MAP xviii THE SLOW AWAKENING 1 PART I GAIA'S TOOLS GAIA 11 A great-aunt's musings on the atmosphere. Wallace's astonishing aerial ocean. Lovelock's heresy: The data is thin and yet it lives. The importance of albedo. Ice crossing the line--until plankton tune the thermostat. Creating coal--another Gaian fine-tuning? THE GREAT AERIAL OCEAN 19 The atmosphere's four layers and the mystery of why, though closer to the sun, mountains are cold. The window in the brick wall of gases. A midsummer night's nightmare in New York. Earth's inspiration and indispensable interconnector. Pollution changes her nature and moods. Watching from Mauna Loa as the world draws breath. THE GASEOUS GREENHOUSE 27 Early disbelief at the power of CO2. A mighty tough carbon budget. The thirty gases that heat the world. Methane: swamps, farts, and belches. The CFCs--Frankenstein creations of human ingenuity. Where do all the gigatons go? Earth's carbon lungs, carbon stores, carbon kidney, and carbon Gaia. Lessons from a can of soda. The misleading Mississippi. viii CONTENTS THE SAGES AND THE ONION SKIN 36 Carbon queries Man's Place in the universe. Fumifugium and the suburbs of hell. Fourier's freezing Earth. Svante Arrhenius seeks refuge from a messy marriage in calculation and discovers climate change. A prescient Callendar ignored by orthodoxy. Milankovich cycles from prison and takes the Great Prize. Spots on the sun? The fake Medieval Warm Period. TIME'S GATEWAYS 45 Smutty Scots conquer time. Turning the key in time's gateways. Better to live between than at the end of times. The sedimentary pianola roll, as played on isotopes of oxygen and carbon. Any time like the present? Norwegians uncover the great Paleocene fish bake. Climate sets the pace of evolution: Change it and you change life itself. BORN IN THE DEEP FREEZE 54 From African cradle to world conquest against a backdrop of climate change. Secrets in timber and ice. The hot rocks of Greenland and the monster core from Dome C. Ten millennia of climatic see-saws herald dawn of the modern age. Just a few Sverdrups could sweep us into The Day after Tomorrow. MAKING THE LONG SUMMER 63 The Anthropocene--our own geological period. But is it 200 or 8,000 years long? No farm before summer. Ruddiman's gases nudge Milankovich, or do they? When things get crook in Uruk. Fagan's famines and Ruddiman's plagues. A stalled ice age? DIGGING UP THE DEAD 69 Big Bill Neidjie's wisdom. Coal, gas, and oil: the horsemen of the carbon apocalypse. Buried sunshine and carbon density. A brief history of coal. The Newcomen age, wherein coal is the universal fuel. Texan wildcats open the hydrocarbon century. The slipperiness of oil and the fortunate house of Saud. The dilemma of the deficit budget, the growing family, and the unquenchable addiction. CONTENTS ix PART 2 ONE IN TEN THOUSAND THE UNRAVELING WORLD 83 Passing through magic gates. The Methuselah coral. In 1976 the weather went wild and drove evolution. And again in 1998, this time with an El Nino turbo. The importance of quaint journals. Squeezing Edith's checkerspot and driving nature poleward with a lash. Of oaks and winter moths. Sterilizing Lake Tanganyika. Establishing the global footprint of catastrophe. Burning the Nong. PERIL AT THE POLES 95 A grassy Antarctic heralds the death of the cryosphere. The ever dwindling ice. Penguins follow crashing krill, and salps inherit the world. Bite of the spruce bark beetle. The demise of the lemming-- murder not suicide. Thinner polar bears lose the third cub. The ice seals, and fate of the caribou. 2050: THE GREAT STUMPY REEF? 104 No beauty like a coral reef. Astonishing diversity--suffocated in sewage. Beauty's crown of thorns. Fate of the virginal Myrmidon. So what is bleaching? The greatest half dead, the rest committed to die. The lesson of the Gobiodon. Fine fossil fishes of Verona. Is there hope in migration, or in adapting? A WARNING FROM THE GOLDEN TOAD 114 Marty Crump--woman of the moment. Just twenty-one, mostly underground, and in serious trouble. The last toad orgy. The parable of the quetzal and the toucan. Dying lizards and the fortuitous weather station. Twelve years later we understand. Gone is the gastric brooder. Could it be global? x CONTENTS LIQUID GOLD: CHANGES IN RAINFALL 123 The tragedy of the Sahel--a moral tale. America's west and Australia's south: the new Saharas? In the midst of life, we find ourselves in Perth. Great suffering Sydney's desalination solution? Way out west--cycles or the new climate? AN ENERGETIC ONION SKIN 135 What controls the storms? Of heat, water, and hurricane fuel. From sweat to cyclones--explaining the fury of Mitch. Sparing the Bay of Bengal. Europe's deadly summer. Svante warned us of warmer nights. You'll see it in America. PLAYING AT CANUTE 142 Of sea and land. Unleashing a juggernaut. Heat--easier to pull out of than push into the oceans. The big unknown, and the abrupt death of Larsen B. Great galloping glaciers. What of the WAIS? And Greenland? Add seven to seven. Two hundred and twenty feet to go. No home for Santa? PART 3 THE SCIENCE OF PREDICTION MODEL WORLDS 153 Captain Fitzroy launches the weather service. The world on a spinning dishpan. They got it right in '75--for all the wrong reasons. Testing the ten GCMs and how clouds cloud the issue. Stevenson's box and the embarrassment of the skeptics. Spitting ancestors. Predicting Pinatubo. Can we be more certain--and can 90,000 PCs be wrong? What about me? It's only human to ask--but better not to. The end of the English garden? Regional predictions--the curate's eggs of climatology. CONTENTS xi THE COMMITMENT AND APPROACHING EXTREME DANGER 166 The planetary fifty-year catch-up, and the true cost of the fin-backed Chevrolets. The oceans are living in the seventies, and so is our industry. Both define our commitment, but George Dubya considerably extends it. The threshold of extreme danger-400 or 1,200 parts per million; or have we already crossed it? LEVELING THE MOUNTAINS 171 Farewell the snows of Kilimanjaro. Submerging islands in the sky. If you're at the peak, you've nowhere to go. A dreadful degree of certainty. Of golden bowerbirds, green ringtails, and tree kangaroos. World heritage lost. Consider a world without mountaintops. HOW CAN THEY KEEP ON MOVING? 178 From Florida to Montreal--trees saved by a continent-long migration. Eucalyptus--the fate of 819 varieties. Demise of the fynbos and succulent karoo--the most beautiful flower gardens of the world. Australia's southwest, forced into a corner. Them that can move'll be the lucky ones. National parks become death traps. Megastudy sees commitment to extinction; but is it one in five, or six in ten? BOILING THE ABYSS 184 Why do they die when we see them? The promise of megamouth--a world of unexplored astonishment. Acid oceans and shell-less pectens at the Poles. Prospect of the last oyster? Of netdevils and sea devils. THE PACK OF JOKERS 189 The importance of positive feedback loops. Concert of the three scenarios. The Pentagon ponders the Gulf Stream--and sees in its demise the end of civilization. A sufficiency of Sverdrups. The tale of HadCM3LC and the TRIFFID. Death of the Amazon--a sign from the stomata. Unleash the clathrates! A clathrate bomb off a beach near you. Air conditioning, the mother of all positive feedbacks? xii CONTENTS CIVILIZATION: OUT WITH A WHIMPER? 203 Our vaunted civilization and the cities at its center. Cities are like rain forests. What size climatic wave can wipe out a city? Food production--as specialized as a saber-toothed cat. Poor crops in a CO2-enriched world. The genocidal and Gaia-cidal aspects of adaptation. Survival of the village, and why it will be a mean, lean dark ages. It should have been obvious. PART 4 PEOPLE IN GREENHOUSES A CLOSE-RUN THING 213 The discovery of ozone a result of pure science. "Bizarre" decline put down to instrument error, but Nobels sort it out. Chicken Little and the sky-blue gas? If bromine were chlorine ... CFCs for cancers, blindness, and blight. No proof positive, but political agreement nonetheless. The Montreal Cure. THE ROAD TO KYOTO 222 From Villach to Rio, things look rosy. Kyoto--attacking the toothless tiger. The carbon dollar and each nation's cut. Hot air and the Australian position--a Kama Sutra user's manual in matters of natural justice. Building the C-dollar: better top down or bottom up? The U.S. Senate warns of "free riders." So if Kyoto's broke, what next? Costs and damages--departures from the national self-interest prompted by delusions and greed. COST, COST, COST 232 What's driving the Kyoto renegades? The Department of Energy argues that saving the world is just too expensive. Mr. Lash exposed midstroke by Goodstein's vinyl wonder. Reinsurers do the really important sums. Why children of the frontier fear Kyoto. CONTENTS PEOPLE IN GREENHOUSES SHOULDN'T TELL LIES 239 The Intergovernmental Panel's TAR and the oily Axis of Evil. Bulldust baffles brains, and consensus subverts science. White House whitewashes--from NASA to Harvard. Fred Palmer's fertilization satisfies Bush Sr. The Climate Change Coalition and the crackpots. Wallop's whoppers and other weird wonders. $60 million buys you the planet. DuPont acts to save the world, and so too the wondrous Lord Browne of Madingley. Davos delegates split on climate, and Lavoisier fights a rearguard action from down under. xiii ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS? 249 Let's fertilize the oceans! Professor Ohsumi says don't worry about mass death. Pity the plankton. Geosequestration--the wonder fix for coal, or is it? Nyos belches a warning. The gigaton problem and the Z-class reserve. Storing carbon in trees and the soil: It's as easy as changing human nature. Well, maybe artificial photosynthesis will save us. LAST STEPS ON THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN? 258 Why big oil wants to get gassy. Necessity solves expensive problems with lightweight gas. The lure of hydrogen--a gas with very expensive habits. The FreedomCAR conks out. Burned by the invisible flame? The danger of stalling on the last step. PART 5 THE SOLUTION BRIGHT AS SUNLIGHT, LIGHT AS WIND 267 Do we have the means to save the world? The Princeton Solution and the top fifteen technologies. Is our future blowing in the wind? The xiv CONTENTS Danes don't doubt it, they just do it--despite rumors of noise and dead birds. The solar thermal-wind challenge. And then there is light-- wonders of the photovoltaic cell. How long the paybacks? NUCLEAR LAZARUS? 272 Dr. Lovelock champions nuclear, but is it a goer? The cost of a reactor, the expense of a meltdown, and the price of security. And then there is waste--Yucca Mountains­full of it. China and India go on regardless, but will this return to haunt us? Geothermal energy: why it used to run out of hot water. But new geothermal rules, or does it? Let's not forget stationary hydrogen. OF HYBRIDS, MINICATS, AND CONTRAILS 279 Is biomass big enough to do the job? The wondrous Prius--about as good as it gets right now. Electric cars and the compressed-air MiniCAT--huge challenges to big oil in the era of the decarbonized grid. By air and by sea, ways must be found to go carbon free. The curse and blessing of the contrails. THE LAST ACT OF GOD? 284 What a time the Sudanese would have in the courts! New England takes up the cudgels, and the Inuit follow. The dispossessed of Shishmaref--the world's first climate change refugees. Everyone has the right to a nationality, or do they? The extinction of nations: Is it a crime? A bullying Australia. Tuvaluans take out precautionary New Zealand citizenship. A lawyer's view on malnutrition and malaria, please! 2084: THE CARBON DICTATORSHIP? 290 Paul Crutzen--savior of the world twice over? Three possible outcomes. How the pollutors are giving birth to really big government. The Earth Commission for Thermostatic Control. How carbon-based government could end up controlling carbonbased life. An Orwellian nightmare. CONTENTS xv TIME'S UP 296 Time is up. Sequestering biomass--a new way forward for the coal burners. The Arthur C. Clarke Fund for Avoidance of the Ice Age. Industrial-strength energy efficiency. The role of good laws. Contraction and Convergence--strong medicine for a near-fatal disease. No votes for those who say it can't be done. OVER TO YOU 302 Easy ways to save the world--begin by picking up the phone. Getting serious about hot water. The importance of efficiency ratings, and getting the kids onside. Going the whole nine solar yards. The town of Schoenau shows how revolutions can be won. Walking, biking, and hybrids. POSTSCRIPT 307 AFTERWORD 308 CLIMATE CHANGE CHECKLIST 316 GREEN POWER 317 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 318 ILLUSTRATIONS 319 NOTES 320 INDEX 344

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