275 pages, Illus, 3 tabs
Beginning by outlining the history of El Nino, Philander goes on to explore how our perceptions of it were transformed, not because the phenomenon changed, but because we did. Philander argues persuasively that familiarity with the different facets of our affair with El Nino - our wealth of experience in dealing with natural hazards such as severe storms and prolonged droughts - can help us cope with an urgent and controversial environmental problem of our own making - global warming.
George Philander provides [an understanding of El Nino] simply and authoritatively. He does so, not by losing the reader in elaborate descriptions of data acquisition and mathematical modeling, but by the apt use of analogies drawn from the viewpoints of the poet, musician and painter. -- Richard Shelton Times Literary Supplement Our Affair with El Nino is a very readable, entertaining and instructive book that will appeal to scientists and non-scientists alike... [Philander] writes with the enthusiasm of an eye-witness and the authority of an expert. The book skillfully weaves together descriptions of El Nino physics, the historical backdrop that led to widespread interest in El Nino, and the philosophical perspectives on the role of scientific research in addressing present-day environmental problems. -- Michael J. McPhaden Nature [Philander] presents the current scientific understanding of El Nino concisely, explaining the details of circulation in the ocean and atmosphere with lucid analogies and thoughtful examples. He describes the broad outlines of how this understanding emerged, piecemeal, along complex and tangled paths. It is as a work in the history of science that the book makes its greatest contributions. -- Benjamin S. Orlove American Scientist
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