James Powell's iBook Going to Extremes is an informative read about the recent weather extremes around the globe, with an emphasis on the U.S. which experienced 14 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2011, the most in history. My short review will mostly be about the advantages of this - relatively - new type of book and not so much about the content which will be very familiar to regular readers of Skeptical Science.
The iBook-format is ideal for a topic like weather extremes and their relationship with climate change as it makes it easy to include not just pictures but also videos and interactive graphics. You'll come across videos from floodings as well as footage captured by satellite of events like the inundation of Cairo Beach:
These multi-media additions make reading this as an iBook a lot more interesting than reading it the "traditional way" as a printed book. I was especially impressed by several "before-and-after" satellite images depicting towns like Joplin before and after the tornado hit on May 22, 2011.
First you see this:
...and then - with just a little gesture or tip of your finger - this:
Another big advantage for both authors and readers of iBooks is the ease and speed with which it is possible to update them. For a book like Going to Extremes, this means that it can be kept current with regular updates to include more recent occurrences of extreme weather events. In fact, since being first published, James Powell has already added one chapter to the iBook with information up to June 6, 2012 and periodic future updates are planned.
With only around 100 iBook-pages, Going to Extremes is a very concise and quick read. For readers interested in more details, the author includes many live links to additional information available on the internet. Some of these links for example lead directly to the scientific literature supporting the theory that human caused global warming has become a major contributing factor in many extreme weather events around the globe (the author does make it clear that it's impossible to state that any single weather event was directly caused solely by global warming but, as the Earth warms and weather systems grow more energetic, an increase in extreme events has long been anticipated).
All in all a very worthwhile book to download as you'll get a lot of information readily available at your fingertips and at $0.99 this is really a bargain!
Posted by BaerbelW on Sunday, 24 June, 2012
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