This wide-ranging collection of essays is written by one of the world’s foremost experts on weather and climate. Six of the chapters have not been published before. The rest, taken from a variety of sources, have been thoroughly revised and brought right up to date – taking account, for example, of the Chernobyl disaster, the risks of nuclear power, and the ozone controversy. Hubert Lamb is able to provide a mature assessment of the effect of weather on people, and vice versa. His is a uniquely authoritative voice in the current debates about today’s environment and the prospects for the future.
After a general introduction the book is divided into three parts. The first part consists of a chronological series of portraits of climate and its impact on human affairs and the environment. These extend from the warm climates of the geological past to the current drought in Africa. There are several studies of the last few centuries and, in particular, of the various effects of the so-called ‘little Ice Age’. The second part is concerned with the causes and mechanisms of climate and weather changes, including chapters discussing Christmas weather, fronts and volcanoes. In the final part Hubert Lamb looks to the future, and attempts to put into perspective some of the pessimistic forecasts currently available. The text, which is consistently authoritative but always readable, is augmented by numerous maps, diagrams and photographs.