I have just read The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet by Heidi Cullen, and I want everyone to read it.
I’ve been following climate change closely and writing about its local impact for a while now. (see my posts: 6 Sites You Should Be Reading on Climate Change, Climate Change in My Back Yard and Climate Change: What Experts Expect for the Upper Midwest ).
The most powerful thing I’ve read yet is Weather of the Future. Cullen is a senior research scientist with Climate Central, a nonprofit research organization through which she reports on climate change for many news outlets. She’s a visiting lecturer at Princeton University and associate editor of the journal Weather, Climate, and Society.
This woman knows what she’s talking about.
She makes a convincing case for the methods and accuracy of current climate predictions that show we are facing climate change that will radically alter the world by midcentury. Then she makes it personal by using state-of-the-art climate-model-projections plus interviews with experts to spell those changes out, step by step, for some of the most vulnerable parts of the world.
The Sahel, Africa – desertification to an already stressed landscape
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia – a dying coral community
Central Valley, California – the hub of the state’s water supply
Inuit Nunaat, Canada – climate change is happening fastest in the Arctic
Greenland – where permafrost is not permanent and becomes less and less frozen till it resembles the sterile surface of the moon
Dhaka, Bangladesh – where droughts and floods will amplify regional competition for resources
New York, New York – where much of the city’s infrastructure sits less than 10 feet above sea level – you do the math.
Cullen makes it very real. We are not talking about something happening somewhere else in the distant future. It’s already started, and it’s going to change everyone’s life.
Melting ice is just (excuse me I have to say it) the tip of the iceberg.
This book is riveting and powerful.
But don’t use it for bedtime reading if you want a good night’s sleep.
Categories: Climate Change