THE COMING GLOBAL SUPERSTORM,
by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber
2000. RATING: 7
Shortly before retiring from his Dreamland radio show for health reasons,
Art Bell managed to come out with a somewhat flawed but intriguing new book
with co-author (and Dreamland's new host) Whitley Strieber (Warday,
Wolf of Shadows, etc.) titled The Coming Global
Superstorm. Like the radio show itself, their book regularly tends to
mix the prosaic with the bizarre.
Superstorm deals with one of the least understood facets of our
planet: the weather. Diving into the past, they discover what they consider
evidence for ancient superstorms that radically altered Earth's climate every
few thousand years. If true, these superstorms could have been the
mechanisms responsible for bringing on (or ending) several ice ages, as well
as causing the mass deaths--or even extinctions--of plants and animals
Looking into the present, Bell and Strieber use both the findings of modern
technology and a view of our present crisis with pollution and global misuse
to argue that our own human actions could be accelerating this natural
process, moving it forward by several thousand years so that we are once
more on the cusp of a global superstorm.
If true, such a major event would threaten to destroy civilization itself.
Temperatures would plummet all over the world and some areas would be
savaged by winds up to two-hundred miles per hour. Northerly climates could
receive dozens of feet of snow and ice, including winter cells so rapid as
to cause flash freezing before people could know what hit them. This storm
could only result in one of two outcomes: if it happens in the winter, it
would bring on another ice age with glacial sheets that could stretch as far
south as Washington D.C., and would end up covering all of the British Isles,
Northern Europe, Central Europe, and a vast portion of Asia and Japan. If in
warmer weather, then the melting ice would cause flooding unparalleled in
recorded human history. Either way, the effects on the human (and otherwise)
population of Earth would be devastating.
So the question the reader ultimately has to ask is this: do Bell and
Strieber make a convincing case both for the past existence of global
superstorms, and that we're on the verge of another one?
Where past occurrences are concerned, they have a pretty solid base as long
they stick to the geological evidence; yes, it seems that major events did
happen in the past to change the weather, change the climates of different
areas in the world, and to wipe out many different species. At the very least,
they convincingly point out that our own knowledge of ice ages and mass
extinctions is tenuous, at best. Less convincing are the arguments of an
advanced prehistoric civilization--wiped out by the last superstorm--leaving
behind for posterity encoded messages behind in the form of the great
monuments in antiquity, such as the Sphinx; or the fact that deep beneath
ancient cities such as Ur and Nineveh archaeologists have found fused
silica--usually found only at Ground Zero of nuclear blast sites. Even for
those who believe this possibility, the lack of documentation in the book
Concerning our present circumstances, their evidence is extremely
speculative but still compelling. Perhaps they don't necessarily make the
case that we're about to have a superstorm within our lifetimes. But
their relentless presentation does make readers aware that something
odd seems to be going on with our weather, putting teeth into our occasional
question, "Hasn't the weather been a little strange lately?"
Woven into the factual elements of the book is a fictional narrative
describing blow by blow what could happen to us if such a superstorm did
ever happen to the modern world. Both in fact and fiction, Bell and Strieber
could be completely wrong. Or they could be completely on target. Either way,
and regardless of how you feel about this writing duo being the source of such
information, our own world's weather remains a great mystery to us, and needs
to be studied--with all of the potential implications. Even (and
especially) if we refuse to hear them.
(Note: In an interesting juxtaposition, a website titled
Science, which chronicles bad science in climatology, not only includes
this book but also its harshest critic, Patrick Michaels of the supposedly
environmentally friendly Western Fuels Association.)
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This page modified 27-Jul-2000 11:21:22.