Foreward of The Weathermaker

You may wonder where I got the idea for “The Weathermaker” of a meteorologist who can control the weather. It started when I was 10- years old. Like the character Neil Stephenson in the book, I loved to play baseball. When we had a bunch of rainouts in a row, I decided that I would build a machine to turn the rain off or on. Needless to say, I quickly discovered that such weather control couldn’t be done, so the best alternative was to be able to predict it.

My obsession with weather will never end. And it’s made me conscious of major changes over the decades. Hurricanes strengthen more than they used to. Rain storms produce more flooding. Coastal flooding happens much more often. And on and on and on; I’ve even had to adjust my forecast techniques to account for that increased heat and moisture that have become so obvious.

Weather fluctuates so much that it’s been hard for meteorologists to be convinced that a changing climate is contributing to long-term trends. That’s why so many of us have been skeptical about it for so long.

I wrote the first draft of “The Weathermaker” more than ten years ago. And every time I’ve updated it, the dialogue and science explanations have had to get stronger. Since that beginning, I’ve tried to be as clear and responsible about the science as possible. It’s amazing how quickly the science (and acceptance of it) has evolved just in the past few years.

Why fiction? There are many scientists far more accomplished than I who have written great non-fiction on climate change. But I fear that much of the audience is limited to those who already accept the current state of the science. My goal is to reach the broadest audience possible, perhaps with a piece of entertainment that is also scientifically sound.

“The Weathermaker” covers more than the climate change/extreme weather angle. It’s a sort of parable that explores the potential dangers in trying to “fix” the climate—and even the morality of doing so. As the climate inevitably warms further with even more extremes, there will be a temptation to try emergency “geoengineering” to reduce how much of the sun’s energy reaches the earth or how much the oceans will absorb. I’ve read about many wild (and dangerous) “solutions.” We would be conducting a very dangerous experiment on the only planet we have.

And, Hollywood, isn’t it about time to make a big, entertaining movie about climate change?  The last good one was 15 years ago (“The Day After Tomorrow”), and there was a lot of bad science in it. To DiCaprio, Ruffalo, Emmerich, Spielberg, et al. who are so interested in the subject: Could “The Weathermaker” be that vehicle? You guys know where to find me if you think so.

– Glenn ”Hurricane” Schwartz Philadelphia, PA