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Water From Heaven: the Story of Water From the Big Bang To the Rise of Civilization, and Beyondby Robert S. Kandel
Synopses & Reviews
Covering a vast array of scientific fields and recent discoveries, this book tracks a remarkable substance in its liquid, solid, and gaseous states as it cycles through the seas, the atmosphere, land, icecaps and under the earth. Robert Kandel describes what we humans are doing to the water cycle and the climate and explains where we are heading.
The book investigates how nuclear reactions in the interiors of stars produce the oxygen needed to form H20. After showing how the atmospheres motions apportion moisture, the book follows the course of water over the land, into the soil, and through plants back to the atmosphere. From there, water travels along streams and great rivers back to the seas. The role of irrigation, the quest for clean water for cities, and the problems of pollution and public health are important elements of the story. The author considers climate change and how political and economic decisions that we make today will affect water resources for the next century. Finally, the author considers the geopolitical role of water and the tensions generated by the control of a nations water by other countries who "own" the watershed or upstream resources.
Book News Annotation:
Kandel, a Brooklyn-born scientist at the National Scientific Research Agency of France (C.N.R.S.), begins by tracing the peculiar compound of hydrogen and oxygen from the beginning of the universe to the appearance of humans. Then he considers water in today's world from such perspectives as energy cycles, air and oceans, clouds and rain. Finally, he returns to a historical approach, looking at water in human history past and yet to come. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Covering an array of scientific fields and discoveries, this text tracks the substance water in its liquid, solid and gaseous states as it cycles through the seas, the atmosphere, land, icecaps and under the earth.
From where — and what — does water come? How did it become the key to life in the universe? Water from Heaven presents a state-of-the-art portrait of the science of water, recounting how the oxygen needed to form H2O originated in the nuclear reactions in the interiors of stars, asking whether microcomets may be replenishing our world's oceans, and explaining how the Moon and planets set ice-age rhythms by way of slight variations in Earth's orbit and rotation. The book then takes the measure of water today in all its states, solid and gaseous as well as liquid.
How do the famous El Ni?o and La Ni?a events in the Pacific affect our weather? What clues can water provide scientists in search of evidence of climate changes of the past, and how does it complicate their predictions of future global warming? Finally, Water from Heaven deals with the role of water in the rise and fall of civilizations. As nations grapple over watershed rights and pollution controls, water is poised to supplant oil as the most contested natural resource of the new century. The vast majority of water used today is devoted to large-scale agriculture and though water is a renewable resource, it is not an infinite one. Already many parts of the world are running up against the limits of what is readily available.
Water from Heaven is, in short, the full story of water and all its remarkable properties. It spans from water's beginnings during the formation of stars, all the way through the origin of the solar system, the evolution of life on Earth, the rise of civilization, and what will happen in the future. Dealing with the physical, chemical, biological, and political importance of water, this book transforms our understanding of our most precious, and abused, resource. Robert Kandel shows that water presents us with a series of crucial questions and pivotal choices that will change the way you look at your next glass of water.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -298) and index.
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