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

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Columbia University Press, 2003 - Science - 312 pages
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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 Niņo and La Niņa 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.

  

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Water from heaven: the story of water from the big bang to the rise of civilization, and beyond

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

No tangible substance means more to us than water, and in this scientific history, astrophysicist Kandel traces not only the cycles of water molecules on Earth, but their voyages through time and ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Janet - Goodreads

Reviewed in the Telegraph on the 25 July 2009 (good) Read full review

Contents

PROLOGUE
1
BEGINNINGS
11
THE CHURNING OF THE EARTH
19
CATASTROPHES
55
ICE MOON AND PLANETS
66
WATER AND ENERGY CYCLES
85
WINDS WAVES AND CURRENTS
101
El Nino La Nina and the Pacific Basin
111
CLOUDS RAIN AND ANGRY SKIES
135
EARTHS WATER BETWEEN SKY AND SEA
155
WATER AND MANS RISE TO CIVILIZATION
189
PROBLEMS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
220
butterflies and humans in
239
BACK TO THE ICE AGE
252
CONCLUSION THE END OF THE STORY?
259
bibliography
289

The Atlantic
120

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About the author (2003)

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.

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