Friday, January 08, 2010

The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change

On my 2009 reading list I accidentally posted the 2nd edition of this book as the one I was to read. My copy of this book by Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark and British science writer Nigel Calder is the first edition, The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change.

This was the best non-fiction book I read last year. It's interesting and understandable for the non-scientific lay-person (and it has pictures and graphs!).

From the back cover:

"A deftly written and enjoyable read, The Chilling Stars outlines a brilliant, daring and undoubtedly controversial new theory that will provoke fresh thinking about global warming.

As prize-winning science writer Nigel Calder and climate physicist Henrik Svensmark explain, an interplay of the clouds, the Sun and cosmic rays -- sub-atomic particles from exploded stars -- seems to have more effect on the climate than man-made carbon dioxide.

This conclusion stems from Svensmark's research at the Danish National Space Center which has recently shown that cosmic rays play an unsuspected role in making our everyday clouds. And during the last 100 years cosmic rays became scarcer because unusually vigorous action by the Sun batted many of them away. Fewer cosmic rays meant fewer clouds and a warmer world.

The theory, simply put here but explained in fascinating detail in the book, emerges at a time of intense public and political debate about climate change. Motivated only by their concern that science must be trustworthy, Svensmark and Calder invite their readers to put aside their preconceptions about man-made global warming and look afresh at the role of Nature in this hottest of world issues."

I read this book the first week in December, then saw this article in The Telegraph while the Copenhagen climate summit was going on. It made me even happier that I'd decided to read The Chilling Stars.

Did I mention that this was my favorite non-fiction book this year? I'm recommending it to everyone as a must-read.

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