“Dry takes readers on a journey through the history of climate science in this smart, compelling, and timely title. By focusing on specific scientists, Dry gifts readers with entertaining portraits of some thoroughly interesting if largely unknown individuals. . . . She shows how an artful blending of the personal and professional can result in unusually affecting scientific profiles. A true success on every literary level.”
, Booklist, Starred Review
"Inspired. . . . It is history, Dry shows, that helps to ground our understanding of the nature and findings of baggy multidisciplinary fields like climate science. So at a time when millions of people worldwide are demonstrating over the climate crisis—basically fighting for a future—Dry looks to the past: to the very roots of the science of planetary change, told through the stories of six dedicated researchers. . . . She has wonderfully conveyed how scientific diversity worked to reveal scientific unities—how the insights of generations of astrophysicists, geologists, oceanographers, glaciologists, and meteorologists converged and pieced Earth systems together. That collaboration through time and space has fostered resilience in practice and robustness in discovery. In denialism-drenched times, that is a vital insight."
"Compelling evidence for the need to change our approach to the waters that made us. . . . Dry’s Waters of the World offers the big science of water. Her interest goes above and beneath the oceans to understand how the study of glaciers, vapor, clouds, and rain over the past one hundred fifty years created the discipline of climate science and with it the ongoing attempt to understand not just how our planet works, but how humanity began and continues to affect it. . . . Laudable. . . . The water that surrounds us will continue to sustain us: but for how long?"
, Financial Times
"Characterized by strong storytelling within a scholarly framework, this book will appeal to readers interested in how science is performed and accomplished, and anyone curious about Earth’s changing climate."
, Library Journal
"In a very limited nutshell, the story of how we, today, have meteorological forecasts that are getting nearer and nearer to being correct is down to astronomers, simple old time sailor logic, men dabbling in weather research, the British Raj, and the attempt to predict the Monsoon after several years of famine. It all makes a fantastic compilation."
“An account of the two-hundred-year effort to understand the world’s climate system, Waters of the World is not only timely but also one of the most beautifully written books on science that I have seen in a long time. It is one thing to communicate this complex and important topic lucidly, but quite another to make the material seductive, poetic, enthralling. I was left wanting to read John Tyndall’s writings on ice, to hear the epic creak of Alpine glaciers, to go cloud-spotting off Tenerife and float turnips in Scottish lochs. Describing one of the most vital but least visible histories in modern science, and rescuing from neglect a host of pioneers who helped us to see how our planet works, it is a remarkable achievement.”
-- Philip Ball, author of "H2O: A Biography of Water" and "The Water Kingdom: A Secret History of China"
“Waters of the World sparkles with lyricism and wit. Dry is a gifted storyteller, and her research into the pre-history of Earth system science has turned up gripping tales of risk, adventure, defiance, and discovery. A unique and important book.”
-- Deborah R. Coen, Yale University, author of "Climate in Motion: Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale"
“In this cleverly argued and brilliantly written history, Dry traces the interaction between the dramatic careers of six major figures in the history of climatology and the uneven and surprising emergence of a science of climate since the mid-nineteenth century. The book illuminates its history with tales of mountain climbing and dramatic voyages, of tell-tale ice cores and threatening hurricanes. No set of stories could be more urgent now and in need of the care and intelligence with which they are told here. In showing how the focus of these engaging and energetic scientists and their many colleagues gradually shifted from a collective search for the principles of a global climate system to visions of dynamic, interactive, and unstable climates in change, this book has much to teach about the roots of the most reliable knowledge of climate and how it should be best understood in its full historical and cultural setting.”
-- Simon Schaffer, University of Cambridge, coauthor of "Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life"
“Part history, part biography, part scientific tutorial, part philosophy, Dry humanizes and personalizes the science of climate change as it has evolved over time. By focusing on a wide selection of important contributors dating back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Tyndall, Smyth, Riehl, Malkus Simpson, Stommel, Dansgaard, and numerous others) the human story emerges from the science. She describes the fits and starts, the emotional elements, conceptual and observational difficulties, and the sheer fun these scientists had along the way as the understanding of climate emerged as a serious intellectual endeavor.”
-- Carl Wunsch, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physical Oceanography, Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“In compelling portraits of six scientists and their work, Dry probes the origins of what we now call climate science. She brings alive scientific mysteries about glaciers, clouds, oceans and the atmosphere to show how our present understanding of climate as a complex global system developed over the last 170 years. It’s a brilliant historical jigsaw puzzle, revealing how big questions about our planet have evolved and interlocked. But more than this, she makes a powerful argument about what it means to study the earth. Our knowledge of our planet, and our place on it, grew from concerns and assumptions that are as dynamic and full of change as the natural phenomena we study. How are we driven to ask the questions about nature that we do? Dry’s answers take us to the human heart of science. Exploring her subjects with unfailing insight, she brings each individual set of intellectual passions into focus. Stepping gracefully from Victorian England to late twentieth-century Greenland, her biographies illuminate the combination of speculation, observation, calculation, and assumptions that have shaped science at different moments in the past. As she says, global visions come from individuals, particular places and moments in time. Such a profoundly human account of knowledge-building may be our best guide to thinking about the planet’s future.”
-- Katharine Anderson, York University, author of "Predicting the Weather: Victorians and the Science of Meteorology"