Textbook of pollen analysis

Textbook of pollen analysis

258 BOOK R E V I E W S Airsheds. Part 4, Control Authority and Industry Perspectives, presents the approaches and viewpoints of pollution control ag...

122KB Sizes 33 Downloads 448 Views

258

BOOK R E V I E W S

Airsheds. Part 4, Control Authority and Industry Perspectives, presents the approaches and viewpoints of pollution control agencies and energy-based, smelting and other industries. Seven industry representatives address the costs and benefits of control in their particular industry or plant. The major theme is that inflexibility in the regulatory approach leads to high control costs for low pollution abatement. The final section of the book establishes research needs to improve pollution control. BrOtigny-sur-Orge (France)

Michel Benarie

Textbook of Pollen Analysis, by K. Fa~gri and J. Iversen, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, UK, 1989, 328 pp. Price: £51.00. Fourth edition, by K. F~egri, P.E. Kaland and K. Krzywinski. Over the last 40 years, the 1950, 1964 and 1974 editions of 'F~egri-Iversen' were classics of pollen analysis. Nowadays, perhaps fewer than one out of one thousand books attain fourth editions. This continued reprinting constitutes more than adequate proof of the merit, scientific importance and practical need of the information contained in this work. Nevertheless, a great deal has changed in the meantime. The rewriting of this work could not be properly carried out in 1974 due to Iversen's premature death. Professor F~egri has now undertaken this task with two co-authors. Pollen analysis is by far the most important method for the reconstruction of past flora, vegetation and environments. While the discovery of macrofossils is a fairly certain indication that the species in question occurred in or near the locality at the time of deposition of the sample, nothing can be concluded from their absence. Pollen analysis is an exception to this basic rule ofpalaeontological research. Pollen is: (i) extremely resilient and can be found in deposits in which other types of fossils have been destroyed by the weight of overlying strata, heat or other factors; (ii) pollen grains are produced in enormous numbers; (iii) pollen grains are more widely and more evenly distributed than larger fossils; (iv) pollen grains can be retrieved in great quantities; (v) they can be treated statistically, and quantitative variations can be adequately controlled. However, pollen analysis provides direct information on vegetation only. Conclusions about climate, human disturbance, etc., are secondary deductions from the vegetational record, explaining causal conditions. Currently, and last but not least, the authors of this book have extended pollen analysis far beyond its original scope: that of reconstructing LateQuaternary changes in vegetation. However~ the focus of much palynological work is still marine, lacustrine and terrestrial sediments contemporaneous

BOOK REVIEWS

259

with Homo and the hominids, thus shedding light upon the environment in which Man's culture has developed. This textbook covers the theoretical as well as the practical aspects, including new methods introduced since the former editions were published.

BrOtigny-sur-Orge (France)

Michel Benarie

Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War, Vol. I." Physical and Atmospheric Effects, Second edition 1989, 359 pp. (SCOPE 28), A.B. Pittock, T.P. Ackerman, P.J. Crutzen, M.C. MacCracken, C.S. Shapiro, R.P. Turco, Price: £25.00; Vol. II: Ecological and Agricultural Effects, Second edition 1989, 523 pp. (SCOPE 28), M.A. Harwell and T.C. Hutchinson, Price: £25.00 John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, UK. The first edition of this work was reviewed in Stoten Vol. 58 (1986), pp. 288-289. In both volumes, the Preface summarizes the work accomplished at various workshops (Bangkok, Geneva, Moscow, Beijing) between the two editions. Recent studies confirm that the total quantities of flammable materials may be lower than the earliest estimates by a factor of 2-3. It is acknowledged that scavenging would remove "some smoke", however evaluation of the full range of scavenging mechanisms has not yet been thoroughly explored. It is acknowledged (page XL) that calculations of temperature reductions and predictions of precipitation change "may exceed the validity range of the general circulation models". Much more research is considered necessary to delineate with confidence long-term climatic effects. In conclusion (page XLVIII), "the formerly predicted intensity of global climatic cooling has been reduced from the earliest estimates and important uncertainties remain, confidence that the climatic changes will be dramatic is now broader than was possible just following identification of this result in 1983". The fourth line of the Preface to Vol. II states: "Other than the addition of the Preface, the text remains u n c h a n g e d . . . " although "the second edition of Volume I (see the previous paragraph) documents the continuation of climatological analyses of nuclear war, with shifts in some of the climatic and other physical projections." (my italics). Some shift. A recent review article in Nature (Vol. 333, 19 May 1988, pp. 221-237) by S.H. Schneider and S.L. T h o m p s o n asserts: "the original estimates of severe, long-term, widespread northern hemisphere temperature declines following a large nuclear war have been mitigated by successive generations of more comprehensive climate models . . . (We) are willing to •

.

.