Review: Floods, Droughts, and Climate Change

Article excerpt

Review: Floods, Droughts, and Climate Change By Michael Collier and Robert H. Webb Reviewed by Robert D. Hook University of Idaho, USA Michael Collier, & Robert H. Webb. Floods, Droughts, and Climate Change. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press, 2002. 160 pp. ISBN 0-8165- 2250-2 (paper). US$17.95

Intended for a general readership, this book could be used as a beginning textbook in a course on climatology. It is a well-written book by authors who have a good knowledge of weather and what it does to the earth. Michael Collier and Robert Webb, who work for the US Geological Survey, have written several books about geology and hydrology. Here they bring their expertise to bear on a basic introduction to climate and the forces behind it. The straightforward, balanced presentation of information gives the reader an overview of climate and the implications of what changes in the weather and ocean temperatures can do to different areas of the earth. They provide an historical as well as a current view on climate to help the reader see the big picture.

Collier and Webb say it is important to view "concepts of flood and drought, not as isolated events, but as phenomena connected on a worldwide scale" (p. 5). They present general discussions about the various factors which affect the earth's weather patterns including effects of the sun, the earth's rotation, ocean currents, landmasses, and winds. They discuss causes and effects of these factors. As an example, El Niño, a phenomenon familiar to many, is discussed in detail along with La Niña, one of its consequences. El Niño starts with abnormally warm ocean currents off the South American coast and eventually causes weather changes in the northern hemisphere. …