Archive for August, 2010

The Resilient Earth

August 7, 2010

I bought this book published in 2008 ten months ago, and found only now the time to read it. The authors are not climatologists, but scientists specializing in computer systems (Allen Simmons) and mathematics as well (Dough L. Hoffman). Both participated in cutting edge projects, as computers systems for the TIROS satellite or molecular dynamics simulations. The 400 page book starts with a big chunk ( ~200 pages) of the past:  climate changes of the past, ice ages, moving continents, astronomical changes etc. This part is well and clearly written. A very interesting chapter is on experimental data and error and on the limits of climate science. Than follows a discussion of the prophets of doom, and about the worst that can happen (according to the authors:  probably nothing to lose your head). They conclude on mitigation strategies and on a plan for the future.

The authors clearly are not impressed by the IPCC consensus, neither by the hysterical and politically motivated cries of environmental activists or politicians riding the band-wagon. Nevertheless they worry about our future, and present very sensible guidelines:

– use renewable energy here economically viable
– build energy efficient homes
– overhaul the power grid
– rapidly expand nuclear power

This last recommendation makes European green activists howl, even if more and more scientists with a green agenda espouse it (think of Lovelock, Mc. Kain, …).

The book holds a very complete reference section, with 517 clearly documented items.There are a couple of minor editorial glitches, and all figures are in gray-scale. Clearly color would have been better, at least for multi-curve graphs.
I recommend the book!