Friday, December 28, 2007

Will our world become a "Storm World"?

Is the Earth becoming warmer due to human activity? Almost certainly. Are typhoons and hurricanes becoming stronger and more frequent because of global warming? Believe it or not, the jury is still out on that one. In his excellent new book "Storm World", New Orleans born author Chris Mooney presents both sides of the still raging debate about whether human induced global warming is in fact causing stronger and more frequent cyclones.

One reason that there is a debate at all about storm intensity and frequency is that we have only since the early 1970's had the ability to monitor our globe via satellite. Before then the data that we would need to prove conclusively that storms are more frequent and intense, is simply too incomplete to be entirely useful.

The full title of Chris Mooney's book, "Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming", tells you that it is not just about climate science but also about the politics of warming, a topic which is not easily ignored.

The Sierra Club even gets a mention on page 225 where Casey DeMoss Roberts, former chair of the New Orleans Group, is quoted as saying that she became a "climate refugee" because of Katrina.

This book is important because it lays out both sides of the debate for the reader to come to his or her own conclusion. Which is interesting in that the author himself begins the book as a neutral observer but by the end seems pretty convinced that storms are getting stronger and more frequent even though the evidence is still inconclusive.

A review of the book on

Other books by the author: "The Republican War on Science".