By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
The Australian Weather Book
By Keith Colls and Dick Whitaker (New Holland, $29.95, softcover, 180 pages)
As Australians in most states swelter through the current heatwave conditions, wary of bushfires, everyone’s attention is focused on weather patterns and forecasts.
In this third edition, meteorologists Keith Colls and Richard Whitaker give a colourful overview of our weather, describing atmospheric science in a way that everyone can understand, complete with striking illustrations.
They take us from the early Greek and Roman captivation with weather as a gift and a threat from the gods through customs and folklore to the present-day science of meteorology.
Australia experiences a unique and, perhaps, a highly unpredictable climate of any continent on earth.
Explained are the essential features of the atmosphere and how these manifest as weather and climate. They also convey some of the beauty of its phenomena, awe and the wonder which it has “engendered in countless generations of humanity”.
It’s also interesting to learn how the weather affects us personally in our daily lives with an explanation of Australia’s climate—rainfall, temperature, clouds, drought, flood, El Niño, the Southern Oscillation Index and weather extremes—instruments used to measure weather phenomena; results of human activity on climate including the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion; and environmental disasters including Cyclone Tracy, the Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday bushfires, the Brisbane floods of 1974 and the Toowoomba floods of 2011.
Modern technology provides instant information, but there’s more to be discovered about the processes that drive and protect our atmosphere.
We have come a long way in monitoring the earth’s climate since its formation more than 47 million years ago. Now we have to be vigilant and avoid actions that could lead to catastrophic changes.
Edition 405, 15 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.