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Water from Heaven: The Story of Water from the Big Bang to the Rise of Civilization, and Beyond

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Water from Heaven

The Story of Water from the Big Bang to the Rise of Civilization, and Beyond

By Robert Kandel

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Format: Paperback, 312 pages
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United States, 27 January 2006
From where -- and what -- does water come? How did it become the key to life in the universe? Water from Heaven presents a state-of-the-art portrait of the science of water, recounting how the oxygen needed to form H2O originated in the nuclear reactions in the interiors of stars, asking whether microcomets may be replenishing our world's oceans, and explaining how the Moon and planets set ice-age rhythms by way of slight variations in Earth's orbit and rotation. The book then takes the measure of water today in all its states, solid and gaseous as well as liquid. How do the famous El Nino and La Nina events in the Pacific affect our weather? What clues can water provide scientists in search of evidence of climate changes of the past, and how does it complicate their predictions of future global warming? Finally, Water from Heaven deals with the role of water in the rise and fall of civilizations. As nations grapple over watershed rights and pollution controls, water is poised to supplant oil as the most contested natural resource of the new century.The vast majority of water "used" today is devoted to large-scale agriculture and though water is a renewable resource, it is not an infinite one. Already many parts of the world are running up against the limits of what is readily available. Water from Heaven is, in short, the full story of water and all its remarkable properties. It spans from water's beginnings during the formation of stars, all the way through the origin of the solar system, the evolution of life on Earth, the rise of civilization, and what will happen in the future. Dealing with the physical, chemical, biological, and political importance of water, this book transforms our understanding of our most precious, and abused, resource. Robert Kandel shows that water presents us with a series of crucial questions and pivotal choices that will change the way you look at your next glass of water.

Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Prologue Part 1. Water in the Universe: From the Big Bang to the Appearance of Man 1. Beginnings 2. The Churning of the Earth 3. Origin and Evolution of Life 4. Catastrophes 5. Ice, Moon, and Planets Part 2: Water in Today's World 6. Water and Energy Cycles 7. Winds, Waves, and Currents 8. Water's Deep Memories 9. Clouds, Rain, and Angry Skies 10. Earth's Water, Between Sky and Sea Part 3: Water in Human History: Past and Future 11. Water and Man's Rise to Civilization 12. Problems for the Twenty-First Century 13. Butterflies and Humans in a Warming Greenhouse 14. Back to the Ice Age? 15. Conclusion-the End of the Story? Notes Bibliography Index

Promotional Information

Covering a vast array of scientific fields and recent discoveries, this book tracks a remarkable substance in its liquid, solid, and gaseous states as it cycles through the seas, the atmosphere, land, icecaps and under the earth. Robert Kandel describes what we humans are doing to the water cycle and the climate and explains where we are heading.

About the Author

Robert Kandel is a senior scientist of the C.N.R.S. (National Scientific Research Agency of France). He is a member of NASA's Earth Radiation Science Team and chief scientist for the French-Russian-German ScaRaB radiation mission and is currently working on a joint European-Japanese satellite project to observe clouds, aerosols, and radiation. He is the author of several books, including Earth and Cosmos and Our Changing Climate. He was born in Brooklyn and now lives in Paris, France.

Reviews

"[A]n audacious tour de force that sweeps across time and space at a breathtaking pace... a masterful treatment of a complex subject that is of vital and growing importance." -- Nature "It is impossible to overestimate the importance of water to our daily lives and our place in the universe. This point may seem obvious but it gains fresh currency in Kandel's Water From Heaven... there is plenty here to fascinate." -- Washington Post Book World "Explains in fascinating detail the origins of water on the planet Earth and how the molecules of water have circulated throughout time." -- Natural History "Kandel explains the earth's elaborate and essential-to-life water cycle in a suitably fluid and mesmerizing narrative... A wealth of invaluable information." -- Booklist "The epic story of the world's most vital resource, from the formation of the solar system to the controversial issues and dire concerns of today." -- Library Journal "Kandel tells the story of water, from the big bang to global warming. He examines where it is, why it is, and how we use and abuse it." -- New Scientist "A fine discussion of large scale agriculture which is so heavily dependent on water supplies." -- Northeastern Naturalist "[Kandel's] book will beguile both housewives and hydrologists...for now they'll better appreciate the actual world through which they wander and wonder." -- Peter Wild, U.S. Water News, May 2006 " "A very enjoyable book." -- Neil MacDonald, Environmental Conservation

EAN: 9780231122450
ISBN: 0231122454
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Dimensions: 22.3 x 16.21 x 1.78 centimetres (0.43 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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