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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Climate's one of those subjects that a lot of people are interested in, but understanding it seems daunting and complicated. The subject of climate change is often in the news and in conversation too, frequently polarised by opinion which seems driven by vested interest and antipathy rather than by fact. For someone like me, without a degree in geology or geography, it's hard to find an unbiased explanation that will let me form my own informed opinion. Happily, that's exactly what this little book did for me. It explains the subject clearly in a way that a non-scientist like myself can understand, but it doesn't talk down to me or leave out anything relevant or important. The diagrams are clear and well explained, too. Reading this gave me a good understanding of how complex climate is and the many factors that influence it, and I can put the various unseasonal weather we have in Britain into context now. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to understand this subject, if you're looking for a straightforward, easy to grasp book about this complex topic.
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VINE VOICEon 1 October 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had high hopes of this little book and I was not disappointed. I hate books that skate across the surface or appear to be written for 'lay people' who are not functional adults. This book is most definitely not like that!

It covers the science and the underlying principles for non-scientists, but in an intelligent and straightforward manner. And with no personal agenda visible.

AND - it's written in conversational English, not po-faced prose - which is just so refreshing!! Loved it. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's a rare talent to be able to take quite complex scientific principles & theories of operation and to be able to present them in such a way that even the non-Einsteins in society such as myself can understand them and not be bamboozled. Mark Maslin possesses such a talent in spades in my opinion! He is also helped in the book by some superb diagrams that really do add much to the book and are a great help in understanding the somewhat more complex parts of the text.

This tiny book (about the size of a pocket diary) of around 160 pages is part of an ongoing series that now stands at over 350 volumes on such subjects as Wittgenstein, The Spanish Civil War, Probability and so on.

In this volume the author presents the facts about our climate and the way it works and what causes say the various weather patterns that exist in certain parts of the world (e.g. why the weather in north-western Europe is so changeable) in such a clear and concise way whilst at the same time avoids getting the reader bogged down & confused by reams of maths & formulae that really are only for the professional meteorologist. In other words, he only tells you what you NEED to know to understand how the world's climate works. As I said, a rare talent for someone who's a professor of Geography at a well-known London University College!

For the amateur weather forecaster like myself, this book is a really interesting read without becoming either incomprehensible or off-putting, and conveys information in such an easy-to-understand way that even say a child of around 11-12 who's interested in either geography or the weather would easily understand.

The chapter headings are as follows:-

What is Climate?
Atmosphere and Oceans
Weather v. Climate
Extreme Climates
Tectonics and Climate (Very interesting!)
Global Climate Cooling
Great Ice Ages
Future Climate Change (a very timely warning to the world's leaders!)
Fixing Climate Change ( " " " " " " )
Ultimate Climate Change (frightening!)

About the only criticism I can make of the book is that the author is obviously a keen proponent of evolution and, whilst I am quite happy to accept that the earth is as old as he claims, I'm not so sure I agree with the author on how life came into existence on this planet. However, each to their own!

Overall, a superb book on the world's climate and how it works and what drives its various weather systems and why. It is one of the few books I intend to keep for the rest of my life! A truly invaluable little book!

Highly recommended to anyone who, like me, isn't a trained meteorologist, but wants to know more about our world's weather.
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VINE VOICEon 15 September 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really like this book. It is small and pocket-sized but it covers a vast range of topics within the subject "climate" even providing diagrams to explain key concepts such as atmospheric circulation and the Coriolis effect. The author is a professor of Geography at UCL who is more than qualified to discuss the subject. However it s written in an easy to understand format and even someone with no understanding of "climate" will be able to pick it up. I think it is a handy book for school kids, students and anyone who is interested in this subject area. I think some of the journalists who write about "climate" and "climate change" would benefit from this book as their stories may have more substance than scaremongering.

The book is split into ten chapters:

1 - What is climate?
2 - Atmosphere and oceans.
3 - Weather versus climate
4 - Extreme climates
5 - Tectonics and climate
6 - Global climate cooling
7 - Great ice ages
8 - Future climate change
9 - Fixing climate change
10 - Ultimate climate change

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to understand and although it was small it was informative. A list of other books in the series suggests there are over 350 books in the series. Although I won't read all of them I am really interesting in reading more of them and I already have a list of some more to look into. It is a really good idea to have a small introductory book to a complex subject.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 December 2014
I'm a huge fan of this series of books - they offer a serious but clear introduction to often complex subjects. Some are more academic (and dry) than others - depending on the author. I've read several books that attempt to make the complexities of climate simple to understand and I have to say that this is the best I have read. Maslin has a more conversational style than some of the other authors in this series and that's very much a good thing. It has an appropriate level of diagrams which help to illustrate and clarify without over-complicating things. It really is well written and logical in layout. It's great for a non-specialist reader and would certainly help A' level geographers or above. Climate is complex - although Maslin insists it isn't! - but when it is laid out with clarity like in this book, it is accessible and interesting. Another big plus of this whole series is that it is well referenced so there are plenty of signposts of where to go to deepen your understanding if you want to take things further. In my view, this is one of the very best in an excellent series.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Very Short Introduction series are written by professors of the subject and are aimed at provoking cross-discipline intrigue in the reader that may incite further investigation and reading - and boy are they good at achieving exactly that; often they leave more questions than answers.

Climate is not just simply the weather, there are a multitude of factors that affect our planet's climate and this book attempts to span them all in varying degrees of detail. Starting with solar insolation and the Coriolis effect and explaining Hadley, Ferrell and polar cells the detail is incredible. It also covers astronomical factors that have an effect on Climate (eccentricity, obliquity and precession) and all of the related aspects that alter our planet such as albedo and sun-phase etc.

It then broaches the subject of Climate-Change (the elephant in the room here), the effects it is having on the planet, how we know all this from the geological record and then on to the slightly more optimistic future, methods for reducing our greenhouse gas production and future research.

Quite simply, the detail in this 147 A6 page VSI is astounding and gives everyone a decent handle on the basics of most concepts that affect climate and what we are species are doing to try and understand them or ameliorate our own effect on them. Whilst it won't give you an overnight doctorate, some of the concepts are highly relevant today and by the end, I wished everyone had read this book.
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VINE VOICEon 12 September 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This slim volume gave a large amount of information presented in a logical and clear manner. One often buys books like this thinking that one must read up about such a serious subject - and ends up abandoning the book after a couple of chapters. This was not the case with this book.
An encouragement to try some of the other titles in this series.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am a big fan of the "Very Short..." series of books. They are well-researched and well edited pieces of accomplished academic text which allow the reader to dip in to and briefly immerse themselves in a subject matter to a good and basically conversant level.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, possibly left there by climate change, you won't have been able to escape the debate going on over the last decade (well, that's how long it's been heating up for, if you'll excuse the pun). This short and informationally-dense title will allow you to get your head a little more around what the politicians and environmental evangelists are harping on about - and you'll be able to win a few debates down the pub, hands down ;)
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VINE VOICEon 22 August 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The opening chapters of this book provide a scientific explanation of climate - the impact of the Earth's orbit, axis and rotation on climate, how the differences in temperature in different parts of the world cause winds to move and how these winds in turn cause currents in the sea. It is well written with lots of illustrations and each topic is explained clearly. There is also some history of when these things (ways of understanding) were discovered and who discovered them.

The book also covers the ages of the world - what the climate was like millions of years ago, what causes the various changes in climate, an explanation of the various ice ages the Earth has been through and so on.

Then towards the end we get the big issue - climate today, global warming, what causes it and what we can do about it. While it would be possible to jump straight to this chapter, the background of the previous chapters means it is possible to give a more detailed technical explanation of global warming for the reader, so we can better understand what is going on.

If you have ever watched the BBC news you will know that whilst the newsreaders love to talk about the weather and have a bit of banter with the weather person, they never mention the words "global warming". On the few occasions the issue comes up as to "why are we having all this extreme weather" the message seems to be, well, we don't really know.

Read this book and you will see this is nonsense. All the scientific evidence shows humans are creating global warming - independent studies by different scientific teams all agree on these conclusions. Politicians have known about it for years and refused to do anything about it.

We are currently on the "worst case" scenario - when we first knew about this problem there were three projected outcomes - we would act quickly and effectively, we would act slowly or we would do nothing. What has happened is we have done nothing, consequently it is possible global temperatures may rise as much as 4 degrees C, by 2030 with catastrophic consequences.

All it would take was 1% of the global economy to act to save the planet but politicians either don't have the guts or the intelligence to make the decisions. Politicians who may make a difference like The Green Party are ignored by the media or portrayed as extremists, meanwhile things get worse and worse.

The book ends by looking into the future - what will the world be like into the future. In about 25 million years time all the land masses move together, this has happened in the past and isn't good for the environment either, by this time if any intelligent life is still around it will probably not be able to survive. Moving into a billion years ahead the sun will probably get too hot for any life beyond simple microbes to survive, and after three billion even that life will end too, so by the time you get to the end of the book you have been given the whole history of the planet - the Earth finally gets absorbed into the Sun as the Sun becomes a red giant.

Not a brilliant ending, but if we don't act to save the planet now the end may come much sooner.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an excellent book. It covers everything one would want to know about the subject and more. It is especially penetrating on the subject of climate change.
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