Web edition: February 26, 2010
Print edition: March 13, 2010; Vol.177 #6 (p. 31)
There’s an old saying among meteorologists: Climate is what you should expect, weather is what you’ll actually get. With explanations a little more complicated than that, The Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate Change provides enough detail for weather buffs of all ages.
Besides being lavishly illustrated with more than 2,000 color photos, maps, diagrams and other images, this hefty volume — organized into six topical sections, each written or vetted by a different expert — thoroughly explores Earth’s weather and climate. The authors tackle questions such as how meteorologists monitor, map and predict the weather; where on Earth tornadoes are most likely to strike; and how the planet-warming greenhouse effect works, among others.
From descriptions of flow patterns in the oceans and atmosphere to details about localized turbulence that can jostle or even bring down an aircraft, the entries are comprehensive yet easy to understand, with detailed captions and explanatory text alongside illustrations.
The book delves into how regional climate has sculpted ecosystems and enumerates the intricate connections linking climate and weather to phenomena that affect people, such as droughts, famine and disease. On the flip side, the authors graphically show how human activities — especially agriculture, industry and deforestation — have boosted atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and influenced climate dramatically, possibly for centuries to come.
Univ. of California Press, 2010, 512 p., $39.95.