No one in America would deny that the weather has changed drastically in our lifetime. We read about El Nino and La Nina, but how many of us really understand the big picture beyond our own front windows or even the headlines on the Weather Channel? Hydrologists and climatologists have long been aware of the role of regional climate in predicting floods and understanding droughts. But with our growing sense of a variable climate, it is important to reassess these natural disasters not as isolated events but as related phenomena. This book shows that floods and droughts don't happen by accident but are the products of patterns of wind, temperature, and precipitation that produce meteorologic extremes. It introduces the mechanics of global weather, puts these processes into the longer-term framework of climate, and then explores the evolution of climatic patterns through time to show that floods and droughts, once considered isolated "acts of God," are often related events driven by the same forces that shape the entire atmosphere.
Michael Collier and Robert Webb offer a fresh, insightful look at what we know about floods, droughts, and climate variability and their impact on people in an easy-to-read text, with dramatic photos, that assumes no previous understanding of climate processes. They emphasize natural, long-term mechanisms of climate change, explaining how floods and droughts relate to climate variability over years and decades. They also show the human side of some of the most destructive weather disasters in history. As Collier and Webb ably demonstrate, "climate" may not be the smooth continuum of meteorologic possibilities we supposed but rather the sum of multiple processes operating both regionally and globally on different time scales. Amid the highly politicized discussion of our changing environment, Floods, Droughts, and Climate Change offers a straightforward scientific account of weather crises that can help students and general readers better understand the causes of climate variability and the consequences for their lives.