551.5 is the Dewey Decimal System classification for meteorology.
In his post last weekend, Ground Truth, Andrew points out that seeing is believing: Because climate change "exists beyond our field of vision it's hard to be completely convinced of its existence, and therefore of the necessity of addressing it." Andrew Revkin expressed similar thoughts in his Dot Earth blog last month.
A new climate change book, published last year in the U.K., was released in the U.S. yesterday by National Geographic. It aims to address precisely that problem. Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet , by Mark Lynas, takes the dry data and analyses of climate science and puts them into human terms by describing the specific effects of each degree of warming predicted in the current range of scenarios documented in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, from 1°C to 6°C:
At 1 degree Celsius, most coral reefs and many mountain glaciers will be lost. A 3-degree rise would spell the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, disappearance of Greenland's ice sheet, and the creation of deserts across the Midwestern United States and southern Africa. A 6-degree increase would eliminate most life on Earth, including much of humanity.
The Sunday Times of London published an extensive summary of the book's chapters (one for each degree of temperature change) in a review last March.
The issue of alarmism, which will inevitably be raised against this book (yes, you know who you are), is addressed in a thoughtful review posted in November at RealClimate.org by ice core researcher Eric Steig.
In other book news, Mike Mogil, a DC-area Certified Consulting Meteorologist and weather educator, published a book a couple of months ago titled, Extreme Weather . Mike will be the guest speaker at the January meeting of the DC chapter of the American Meteorological Society. The meeting will be held a week from today, Wednesday the 30th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Arlington Central Library. The event is free and open to the public, but you need to RSVP by Monday via email (see the announcement linked above); dessert and soft drinks will be provided.
An excerpt from Mogil's book appears in the current issue of Weatherwise magazine.