The Coming Global Superstorm
By Art Bell, Whitley Strieber
|Value for money||8/10|
|Did it do what it said on the box?||6/10|
A good book, slightly spoilt by psueo-science
This book, which sired the recent blockbuster "The Day After Tomorrow", is a well-written and accessible analysis of how global warming may lead to not gradual but catastrophic climate change, potentially destroying much of our current civilisation. Given how the powerful fossil fuel lobby, led by the current US administration, seems determined to ignore such risks to ensure their own short-term profits, it is essential that books such as this exist and are able to present a discussion of wider considerations.
The core of the book is a straightforward presentation of the known facts about global warming, its measured effects on the polar ice sheets, and how that may indirectly cause the failure of the Gulf Stream plunging much of the northern hemisphere into a much colder climate. Worryingly some early warning signs suggest that this may already be starting.
The book then presents a combination of scientific explanations and fictionalised accounts which suggest that such change might not be gradual, but might take the form of a protracted global storm of several weeks’ duration and unprecedented ferocity. If this happened in the summer the aftermath would be flooding of biblical proportions. If it happened during the winter it would plunge the world into another ice age.
The authors quote recent scientific evidence suggesting that exactly this happened towards the end of the last ice age, and suggest that the physical evidence is supported by this being an explanation for the biblical flood, a myth shared by many separate cultures.
If the book focused only on these areas it would deliver a clear, powerful message. Unfortunately the authors weaken their message somewhat by also trying to link in some pseudo-scientific stuff about a lost civilisation destroyed by the last such event sending us a message through the zodiac. This is based on the totally discredited ideas of people like Graham Hancock, and sadly taints what is otherwise a reasonable extension of current mainstream science with an unworthy "lunatic fringe" component.
It would have been better to structure the book starting with a very direct account of the proven science, leading into a well-marked extrapolation discussing the "superstorm" concept (using both factual and fictional elements), and ending with the excellent "what can we do" sections. All the pseudo-science rubbish should have been dumped. This would have created a work whose important ideas would have been much more widely appreciated.
I recommend this book, but encourage other readers to apply the filtering that the authors weren’t able to impose.