Synopses & Reviews
. . . skillfully anatomizes the scientific and political debate over hurricanes and global warming . . . Mooney convincingly portrays that debate as a classic paradigm shift in progress."Washington Post
Are hurricanes increasing in ferocity and frequency because of global warming? And, if so: What can we do to protect ourselves? In the wake of Katrina, leading science journalist Chris Mooney delves into these urgent questions. Storm World charts the work of top meteorologists on both sides of the argument through the 2006 hurricane season and, in this updated edition, the record-breaking events of 2007. The result is a startling and dynamic account of how the media, special interests, politics, and the weather itself have skewed and amplified what was already a red-hot scientific dispute.
"A clear-eyed, uncompromising account of storms and climates (of the both the planetary and political sort) . . . Storm World has everything a non-expert would want from a book on hurricane sciencethe context, the basic concepts, the key players, and the implications."American Prospect
"Mooney has hit upon an important and controversial topic, and attacks it with vigor."Boston Globe
Chris Mooney is the author of the Republican War on Science and has written for Harper's, Wired, and many other publications. He lives in Los Angeles.
Are hurricanes increasing in ferocity and frequency because of global warming? In the wake of Katrina, leading science journalist Chris Mooney follows the careers of top meteorologists on either side of this red-hot question through the 2006 hurricane season, tracing how the media, special interests, politics, and the weather itself have skewed and amplified what was already an intense scientific debate.
In this fascinating and urgently important book, Mooneya native of New Orleansdelves into a compelling consequence of the great inconvenient truth of our day: Are we responsible for making hurricanes even bigger monsters than they already are?
Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science
and one the leading young environmental journalists and bloggers working today, immerses readers in the world of those who study hurricanes. What was once an arcane branch of meteorology (itself an arcane science) has become embroiled in one of the politicized and hotly contested debates in American science: whether or not the recent hurricane disastersculminating in Katrinaare connected to global warming. Mooney follows the lives and careers of the two leading scientists who stand, bitterly opposed, on either side of the issue. One believes global warming has nothing to do with hurricane ferocity or frequency; the other believes as fervently that it does; both have staked their reputations on their respective positions. Mooney shows these two men in action as they debate the issue across the country and are followed by the media. He also uses them as a way of showing how Hurricane Studies have evolved, and how government, the media, Big Business, and politics, have affected the ways we study and interpret weather patterns. Hurricanes are natural disasters, capable of inflicting almost unimaginable destruction. The culture that has grown up around predicting, charting, and even defining them is very much man-made.
Combining lively portraits of the leading figures, vivid science journalism, and the very latest reportage from weather front (the last section of the book will cover the 2006 hurricane season), Mooneya native of New Orleanshas written what will surely be one of the most talked-about books of the year.
About the Author
CHRIS MOONEY is the Washington correspondent for Seed magazine and author of The Republican War on Science. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
Prologue: 6229 Memphis Street 1
Introduction: “The Party Line” 5
Warming and Storming
1 • Chimneys and Whirlpools 15
2 • Of Heat Engines . . 31
3 • . and Computer Models 44
4 • “Lay That Matrix Down” 59 5 • From Hypercanes to Hurricane Andrew 80 Part II
Interlude: Among the Forecasters 103
6 • The Luck of Florida 109
7 • Frictional Divergence 123
8 • Meet the Press 137
9 • “The #$%^& Hit the Fan” 155
10 • Resistance 169
11 • “Consensus” 180
12 • Preseason Warm-Ups 205
13 • Where Are the Storms? 224
14 • Hurricane Climatology 245
Conclusion: Home Again 260
Appendix I: The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale; Note on Units of Measurement 281
Appendix II: Cyclone Typology 285
Appendix III: Early Hurricane-Climate Speculations 287
Appendix IV: Consensus Statements by Participants
In the World Meteorological Organization’s 6th International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones, San Jose, Costa Rica, November 2006 293
Bibliography and Recommended Reading 371
List of Interviews 377