A Must-Read Review

Dr. Judith Curry is a full-time, well-credentialed, climate scientist. She has written a review of Donna Laframboise’s new book, The Delinquent Teenager, a highly-critical critique of the IPCC. Some highlights of Judy’s review:

…Overall, Donna Laframboise is to be congratulated for writing an important book. 

So, how will this book be received by the climate establishment?  First, I suspect that they will attempt to smear Laframboise as a denier.  This is not the case.  Her prime motivation seems to be a concern about free speech; she has a long standing involvement in free speech issues in Canada.  Second, people will pick apart some of the minor points that are arguably suboptimal interpretations.
In terms of the broader audience, I have to say that I hope that this book leads to the discontinuation of the IPCC after the AR5 report (which is already well underway, and is arguably sufficiently tarnished that it is likely to have much less influence than previous reports.)
My personal reaction as a scientist is to be very thankful that I am not involved in the IPCC.  I already feel duped by the IPCC (I’ve written about this previously), I am glad that I was not personally used by the IPCC.
Does the problems with the IPCC mean that WG1 science is incorrect?  Not necessarily, but I agree that a “new trial” is needed.  
I regret that so much of our intellectual horsepower and research funding has gone into supporting the IPCC assessments.  Donna’s book could provide some impetus for changing this.

I still have not read the book and probably won’t for at least another week due to heavy travel. It is getting great reviews from people I respect.

I can say this: I agree 100% that the IPCC has done more harm than good and should be disbanded.

New Book About the IPCC

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has never been the collection of experts that Al Gore and others have made it out to be.

There is a new book out that promotes itself as an expose of the IPCC. It is titled, The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate ExpertI have not read it and cannot recommend it one way or another. However, the following brief excerpt is right on the money.

It is in this virtual world where it is new discovery that the sun affects the climate.

This quote is so right on the money that I will read it and will report back after I have done so.

Book Review: "Joplin 5:41"

Published by The Kansas City Star, ”Joplin 5:41” is the story of the Joplin tornado in a “coffee table”-style book.

It merges a number of stories into book form with lots of color photos. The single most innovative item in the book is a 360° “fold out” of tornado damage and time-line/geography diagram. It is a great idea but the execution is mediocre.

The writing is a little uneven in places. It is strongest when talking about the hospital and start of the 2011 school year. Its writing about the storm itself and its genesis is weak. That said, I like the book and would recommend it to those that are interested in learning more about this horrible storm.

It is very reasonably priced at $29.95 considering the number of high-resolution color photos.

I would give it 3 out of 4 stars.

Two Great Movies Running on TV This Weekend

When I wrote Warnings, I didn’t want it to be a dull “science book.” So, I studied the writing style of three books that I admired and enjoyed reading. Those were, The Right Stuff, Rocket Boys, and Isaac’s Storm. 

The first two books had outstanding movies made about them, although the title of the Rocket Boys’ movie is October Sky. 

As I write this, the movie of The Right Stuff is running on HDnet and it runs again tomorrow and again later in the week.

October Sky ran earlier today on the HBO family of channels. It, too, runs again tomorrow and later in the week.

If you have never seen these movies, I highly recommend them.

Reading for Evacuees or Those Waiting Out the Storm

I have been working on Irene since 7:30 this morning, so I’m turning in for the night. It has been a very long day. The hurricane will be a major storm in North Carolina, so I hope coastal residents are boarding up and getting out.

My colleagues at AccuWeather continue to work through the night to keep you informed and safe. I’ll tackle things again first thing in the morning, but I wish to leave you with a thought…

A few minutes ago, I received a Tweet from a woman who told me she is “freaking out” about Irene (she lives in the area it is forecast to affect). I am also hearing from people getting ready to evacuate as well as those staying home.

If this is your first hurricane, you might be feeling slightly silly in case the whole thing is a “false alarm” but you think evacuation is the right thing. Or, you’re in the path of the storm but not in an evacuation area so you purchase essentials (see posting below) so you can hunker down. Or, you are just anxious about what the storm will bring. As you purchase supplies, think about one more purchase that just might give you a little peace of mind.

I’d like to recommend two books that will reassure you about the people making these hurricane forecasts, what goes into the forecasts, and — equally important — will help you pass the time by thoroughly entertaining you: 
  • Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson. It is the story of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 that killed 8,000 people which would easily happen with Irene if there were no warnings. It is an excellent book that I used to help determine the style of writing I used in Warnings. It has a 4-star rating at Amazon, but I believe it deserves 5-stars. 
  • Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by yours truly. It is the never-before-told story of how the storm warning system — that is saving lives as you read these words — came to be. It is very much a people story; and it is a light and uplifting read. You’ll learn how the forecasts you are relying on are made and about the dedicated people working night and day, weighing the evidence, and making decisions. It has a 5-star rating at Amazon.  
Warnings is available in hardcover, Kindle and Nook. Isaac’s Storm is available in softcover and audio book. 
Read either book in this situation. I promise, you won’t be sorry.

Talk with you in the morning.  

Book Review

This is one of the best books I have read in years. Because there is quite a surprise (at least to me) at the end, I don’t want to give a detailed review. Suffice to say, if you like a great story (narrative non-fiction), you’ll love this book.

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Which Reader is Better for the Beach?

While I love Apple’s products (Steve Jobs should be sending me checks), the iPad does not work well in the sun. If you want a book reader for the pool, patio, or beach, you’ll want a Nook or Kindle.

Which is best? The Wall Street Journal has a review of both today, just click here.

Warnings is available for both the Nook and the Kindle. Of course, an old-fashioned hardcover book works fine outdoors.

The Forecast Shows a Great Gift for Grads, Moms and Dads!

Warnings by Mike Smith featured on the CBS Evening News.
It’s the season for gifts galore: Mother’s Day, Graduation and Father’s Day are all right around the corner. I’d like you to consider giving a copy of Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather. It is an exciting book to read and readers from 9 years old to 90 years old have told me that they felt like they were in the middle of the storm action.
The book is an uplifting story (note: not a heavy “science book”) of how meteorologists unraveled the mystery of storms and applied that knowledge to save lives in tornadoes, hurricanes, and in wind shear dangerous to airliners. While a true story, it is written in the style of a mystery novel and has received excellent reviews. Amazingly, Warnings even anticipated what happened when Lambert Airport in St. Louis Friday evening!

A good book is a gift treasured by most people. So, if you enjoy reading this blog or just enjoy a fast-paced, fun book pick up a copy of Warnings. You can buy it online here or from any of the major retail booksellers (links here on the right).

New postings follow below. 

Book Review – "Turbulence"

“Turbulence” by Giles Foden is a book I had looked forward to reading so much that I saved it to read by the pool during a few days of vacation time and it was well worth the wait. It is a fictionalized story of the meteorologists who made the forecasts for World War II’s D-Day. Foden, who is not a scientist, nevertheless did a terrific job of getting the science correct while writing a great story. I highly recommend it.

And, if you want to read a brief version of the true story of the meteorologists during WWII, click here
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Or, You Can Buy "Warnings" and Save $11,499,975.05

In a four-minute bidding battle in London that set Sotheby’s astir, an original edition of John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” on Tuesday set what the company called a record for the sale of printed books at auction.
Michael Tollemache, a London fine art dealer and bird enthusiast, bought the four-volume illustrated work for $11.5 million.

Entire story here (subscription may be required).

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Book Review: "Crashers" by Dana Haynes

Friends suggested I read and review Crashers because of the numerous aircraft crash investigations I have been involved in. Crashers is the fictional story of an airliner that crashes in Oregon and how investigators go about solving the mystery of why the plane crashed. 
I’m going to review on two levels:  
How good is the book?  **** out of 5 stars as a read. The book is engaging. It can easily be read in 2-3 days, good vacation reading.
Technical accuracy:  It is reasonably good except in the field of – you guessed it – meteorology (which might be why my friends might have wanted me to review it). When the types of expert investigators are listed in the fictional narrative, meteorology is left off the list (as is air traffic control). In real life, there is no such thing as an NTSB airline accident without a meteorology expert named.  There are also a couple of plot points that could not take place in the weather conditions stated in the book, but I can’t go into them without revealing critical points. 
I recommend the book.  

"Waiting On A Train"

While on vacation, I read an excellent book, “Waiting On A Train,” which makes a practical case for a major increase in passenger train frequency and numbers across our nation.  The fact is that faster and more frequent trains could make a major difference in markets like Dallas – Houston, Kansas City – St. Louis, or St. Louis – Chicago where 90 to 120 mph trains (which can be run on existing railroad rights-of-way) would make the downtown to downtown trip faster than by air and take thousands of vehicles off of our overextended highways. Upgrading railroad track is much less expensive than building new highways and much less disruptive, as well.

I highly recommend this book.

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And We Wonder Why the U.S. is Facing A Shortage of Scientists

  1. Student enrolls in “technology” middle school.
  2. Student brings harmless science fair homemade motion detector to school.
  3. Vice Principal (who obviously knows nothing about science or technology) panics, locks down school.
  4. Vice Principal then decides to evacuate the school and calls San Diego Fire-Rescue. 
  5. The Metro Arson Strike Team robot examines and X-rays the “device” and it is found to be “harmless.”
  6. Officials are then sent to student’s home to look for explosives and hazardous materials after the device is found to be “harmless.”
  7. Officials then graciously decline to “prosecute.” Instead, the student and parents will get “counseling.” The student will not be prosecuted, but authorities were recommending that he and his parents get counseling, the spokesman said. The student violated school policies, but there was no criminal intent, Luque said.”

The entire article is here. We seem to have regressed a great deal in our approach to students interested in science since the days of the Rocket Boys and the inspirational teacher who encouraged them, Miss Riley.

Another Book from Roger Pielke, Jr.

My friend, and former WeatherData board member, Roger Pielke, Jr. has another book coming out.  The title is: The Climate Fix: Why Decades of Magical Thinking Have Not Solved Global Warming – and What to Do About it 

Roger believes action needs to be taken with regard to global warming, but he has a fresh, thoughtful perspective that adds value to the debate. Click on the link and check it out.

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Christmas Gifts for Weather Buffs

After posting the item about measuring rain and snow (below), the question came up, “Is a rain gauge a good gift for a weather buff?”

My thought is, no.  Because it has to be mounted outdoors and read periodically, it ‘obligates’ someone to do this do demonstrate they liked the gift.  So, unless a hint is dropped that a gauge is desired I probably wouldn’t give one.

Here is a good gift suggestion:  My friend Jim Reed’s book, Storm Chaser.  Its a really good book with great pictures.  I recommend the paperback version because it has been updated since the hardcover version was published.

Oh, and running toward a tornado is not a good idea!

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