THE COOLING by Lowell Ponte


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These are the climes that try men's souls, is the message of this and other books on weather that are beginning to appear. Whether or not current conditions will trigger a new ice age or even an oscillation toward warmth is still moot, but, as the author points out, no less a distinguished body than the National Academy of Sciences has said there is ""a finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the earth within the next hundred years."" Temperatures have been dropping over the last 30 years, and the 10,000-year cycle observed in past ice ages is upon us. These are two of many observations that sound the alarm, but the sum of earth and solar events that affect weather is so varied, iffy, and interdependent that Poor Reader is likely to be bewildered and confused. His dismay is not removed as the author discusses the potential for environmental war or atomic blackmail, the extent of food and fuel shortages, and the contribution of past human folly. What to do? Ponte surveys local and global means of weather change, from cloud-seeding to plugging up the Bering Strait. Many schemes are bizarre, others could be totally counterproductive. We are left with a ""flexible mix of options""--store food, develop adaptive mechanisms (even domed cities in the style of Buckminster Fuller), engage in carefully controlled weather modification, and put more money into research. An excellent job of explaining theory and fact in this murky field, but it does give one a sinking feeling of futility.

Pub Date: July 12th, 1976
Publisher: Prentice-Hall