Dictionary of global climate change

Dictionary of global climate change

314 Book reviews Maunder, W. J. Dictionary of global climate change. London: UCL Press, 1992. 240~~. f19.95 hardback. This is an almost impossible b...

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Book reviews

Maunder, W. J. Dictionary of global climate change. London: UCL Press, 1992. 240~~. f19.95 hardback. This is an almost impossible book to review but it is, nevertheless, a very useful reference work. It should prove particularly useful to national and international civil servants whose work involves the perusal and drafting of reports, and assistance with the making of policy, on all issues arising from the current concern with climatic change-a subject which is now a truly interdisciplinary scientific study. At the same time it will be welcomed by any scientist, administrator or decision-maker whose work and knowledge are confined to one aspect of the problem and who seeks some understanding of how this may relate to the work of others. The breadth of the problem can be illustrated by the fact that the book starts with a list of some 200 abbreviations and acronyms of commonly used terms and organizations in the area of climatic change. A random selection of ten of these displayed below gives some idea of the flavour of the book: AWS CBS CLICOM FAGS


automatic weather station Commission for Basic Systems of WMO a WMO activity Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical Data Analysis Activities Goddard Institute for Space Studies International Bioscience Networks International Hydrological Decade Intertropical Convergence Zone The Polar Ice Extent Project World Climate Data Programme.

The text is well cross-referenced. For example, the single-page entry under GDPS (Global Data Processing System) includes no less than nine references to other entries using the abbreviated name by lettering. This is all very useful and comprehensive but a trifle frustrating to read! In addition to providing a useful guide to work directly related to climatic change, the entries include many terms that are included in a meteorological or hydrological glossary. For example, under F one finds a brief definition and/or explanation of: feedbacks, field capacity, flash floods, fog, foehn winds, front, freezing rain and frost-free season. A further random search turned up accumulated temperature, actual evapotranspiration, acid rain, aerosol, monsoon, inversion and International Monetary Fund. The entries are concise and adequate. The book was first prepared as a reference work for participants attending the Second World Climate Conference in 1990 under the title: ‘The Climate Change Lexicon’. It was obviously found

useful by those attending the conference. This revised edition bears a foreword from the Secretary General of the WMO. In its revised and extended form it should prove useful to a much wider readership. The author, currently President of the WMO Commission on Climatology, is well known for his many publications in the field of applied climatology. The sponsors of the book, the Stockholm Environmental Institute, and UCL Press are to be congratulated on making the work available. It is authoritative, balanced and comprehensive. It lacks illustrations such as maps and diagrams but one consequence of this is that it is, for a hardback volume, moderately priced by today’s standards. C. G. Smith

Jodha, N. S., Banskota, M. and Partap, T. (eds) Sustainable mountain agriculture: Volume I, Perspectives and issues; Volume 2, Farmers’ strategies and innovative approaches. New Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta: Oxford & IBH Publishing, 1992. 807 pp. Rs795. These two volumes are the outcome of the research organized by the Mountain Farming Systems Division of the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), undertaken in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, and were first presented at a symposium in Kathmandu in September 1990. In terms of regional focus, the main areas covered in the 33 chapters are West Sichuan (China), Himachal Pradesh (India), the North West Frontier Province (Pakistan), the Middle Hills of Nepal, and the Andes. The first section, entitled ‘Agricultural development in mountain areas: perspectives and approaches’, consists of six chapters and sets the framework for the subsequent broadly empirical emphasis of the book. The key chapter is that by Jodha, the head of the Mountain Farming Systems Division of ICIMOD, which provides the conceptual structure underlying many of the following case studies. This structure is in essence based around a matrix which relates mountain specificities (the conditions differentiating mountain habitats from other areas) and their development implications. The mountain specificities considered are inaccessibility, fragility, marginality, diversity, niche/comparative advantage, and adaption experiences/mechanisms, while the dimensions and major imperatives for development interventions are broadly divided into physical (climatic, edaphic), biological, social/ cultural and economic categories. Part 2, ‘Long-term sustainability of mountain agriculture: some basic issues’, addresses a range of factors influencing the sustainability of agricul-