While global warming garners the majority of the media attention in the debate/discussions of climate change, the change in frequency of floods and droughts may prove the greater challenge to society.
In Floods, Droughts, and Climate Change, authors Michael Collier and Robert H. Webb provide a very clear account of the interactions of global and regional weather patterns including the El Niño/Southern Oscillation events with the ebb and flow of flood and drought. If we exclude those flash floods caused by localized downpours, flood and drought generally emerge out of larger and longer scale weather patterns than our usual day-to-day weather variations.
Collier and Webb open the book with a general overview of the major controls on climate: solar radiation inputs, geological features and ocean circulations. They then move into a discussion of the El Niño/La Niña phenomena and their roles in affecting regional rainfall patterns. This leads into a good discussion of teleconnections, those interesting couplings of weather conditions in one part of the world with conditions in a distant part of the globe, for example tropical Pacific water temperatures and Atlantic hurricane formation. The role of hurricanes and flooding events is then discussed using Hurricane Mitch's devastation in Honduras and northern Nicaragua under its persistent, torrential rains. They finish with a look at changing flood/drought patterns correlated with current and predicted climate changes.
I felt the authors could have presented more materials specifically on flood and drought. I was disappointed at the lack of detail on these two phenomena. In addition, more material linking human influences on the frequency or degree of impact of flood and drought events within the context of changing climate patterns would have enhanced the book.
What material the authors present in Floods, Droughts, and Climate Change is well-written and well explained, and I recommend this book for anyone looking for a good overview of global climate and weather patterns. However, based on its title, I expected more material on the specifics of floods and drought than this book provided. In my opinion, a better title would have been Climate Change Influences on Floods and Drought.
Weather Doctor's Book Review: Floods, Droughts, and Climate Change ©2003, Keith C. Heidorn, PhD. All Rights Reserved.
Correspondence may be sent to: Email: email@example.com.