In an alternate universe not unlike our own, Thermo the Flying Thermometer is the creation of Dr. Emmanuel Key, a scientist studying climate change on the island of Hawaii. In this full color-illustrated story, Thermo travels the world to discover the wonders of Earth’s atmosphere, battling forces of nature such as Twisto the Tornado, Phoon the Hurricane and Skates the Ice Monster. Thermo finds himself in the middle of actual historical weather events, learning how weather works, and discovering that nature is not the real enemy. Instead, he is forced to battle an unnatural malevolent force in the atmosphere that is bringing out the worst in nature and threatening mankind. Written by a thirty-year veteran of The Weather Channel, Thermo’s story introduces readers to the basics of meteorology and climate change.
My co-author Nick Walker’s video of a preview of the book:
World of Thermo: Thermometer Rising:
“One of the biggest questions I get is, ‘How do I talk to my kids about climate change?’ This book is the answer – it takes us on an entertaining trip through time, to meet the scientists who’ve studied our planet and what makes it tick.” – Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, Director of Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University
“One of the great ironies of human-caused climate change is that those who had the least role in causing it—our children—will bear the brunt of its devastating impacts if we fail to act in time. It is urgent that they be educated about the threat and that their voices be heard. World of Thermo uses engaging magical characters to bring the science alive, and inform while entertaining.” – Dr. Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric
“World of Thermo is a highly entertaining and superbly illustrated look at climate change and meteorology by an exceptionally well-qualified atmospheric scientist. Guy Walton takes readers on a wonderfully imaginative ride through climatological history as well as providing a learned peek into the disquieting future.” – H. W “Buzz” Bernard, author of Eyewall, Supercell, and Cascadia
“The saga of global climate change is full of twists and turns, invisible agents, all-too-human actors, and some very complex science. In World of Thermo, meteorologist/writer Guy Walton and illustrator Alyssa Josue turn this journey into a compelling tale for bright young readers that brings more than a century of climate science and awareness to life.” – Robert Henson, author of The Thinking Person’s Guide to Climate Change
The text and artwork are copyright by Guy Walton.
My friend Alyssa Josue drew the art.
The Climate Guy
A great review:
Dr. Jeff Masters · December 12, 2018, 11:00 AM EST
World of Thermo: a Charming Children’s Book on Climate Change
Dr. Jeff Masters · December 12, 2018, 11:00 AM EST
Above: Thermo the flying thermometer and his pals Fluffy and Puffy the cumulus clouds learn about how corn is used to make ethanol, a controversial fuel in the climate change debate.
Charming: that’s the best word to describe veteran Weather Channel meteorologist Guy Walton’s new children’s book on weather and climate change, The World of Thermo. Aimed at 10-year-olds, the book uses a series of short 2 – 4 page stories about a variety of weather and climate change topics, interspersed with colorful full-page cartoon illustrations.
The hero of the story is Thermo, a flying thermometer created in 1961 by climate scientist Dr. Charles Keeling (called Dr. Key in the story), the first climate scientist to call the world’s attention to the year-by-year rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Thermo comes to life in an electrical storm, and soon he and his cumulus cloud friends, Fluffy and Puffy, are zooming around the world, taking temperature measurements and observing numerous famous weather and climate events. Among the events they witness are the Super Tornado Outbreak of 1974, the great southern U.S. ice storm of 1973, the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, the 1993 Storm of the Century blizzard, the 1997-98 El Niño event, and multiple famous hurricanes: Hurricane Camille of 1969, Allen of 1980, Andrew of 1992, and Katrina of 2005.
We learn some meteorology about each event through story telling and a separate scientific summary section at the end of each chapter. For example, Thermo flies over Hurricane Andrew and successfully creates enough wind shear through use of his powerful rocket jets to weaken the storm. However, Andrew fights back and swats poor Thermo away, allowing the hurricane to intensify into a monstrous Category 5 beast.
Figure 1. The nefarious Carbo, the carbon dioxide molecule, uses his telepathic powers to influence the minds of politicians so that they will adopt policies leading to the burning of more fossil fuels.
Thermo battles the villainous Carbo and his nasty henchmen Roasty, Toasty, and Ghosty–tiny carbon dioxide molecules that exert a huge influence on the climate through their nefarious efforts to use telepathic powers to influence the minds of politicians to adopt policies, so that humans will burn more and more fossil fuels that will release trillions more carbon dioxide molecules. Here is how the book describes Carbo’s start:
Deep within a dark and enormous cave, Carbo the carbon dioxide molecule slept peacefully, just as he had been doing the past sixty million years. As part of a prehistoric fern, he had led an active life until a large dinosaur, a triceratops, ate the fern and trapped him inside the beast’s stomach.
After Carbo’s coal deposit gets mined and then burned in an 1870s train, the story continues:
“I am released!” Carbo shouted at the top of his microscopic lungs. Tumbling head over heels and circulating through the air with other fellow carbon dioxide molecules, he suddenly felt purposeful. He was helping to warm good old planet Earth.
“Yes!” Carbo declared. “This is my job! This is what I will live for!”
World of Thermo is $24.99 at Amazon (paperback) and is $14.99 on Kindle. I give it four stars out of four for its intended audience of 8 – 12 year-old children.
Guy Walton regularly blogs at guyonclimate.com, where he posts on climate change and weather. He is particularly well-known for his in-depth analyses of the ratio of high temperature to low temperature records for the U.S., on which he coauthored a landmark 2009 paper in Geophysical Research Letters.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
Dr. Jeff Masters
Dr. Jeff Masters co-founded Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. in air pollution meteorology at the University of Michigan. He worked for the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990 as a flight meteorologist.
I’ve published book two in the World of Thermo series, World of Thermo…Carbonated:
A special thanks goes to Rivers Tarr for illustrations, Paul Andrews for publication, and editors Pam Barroway, Brenda Miller, Mark Pickens, Brian McHugh and Julio Carlos.
The stories / chapters within World of Thermo. . .Carbonated relate recent climate change history. Thermo and his carbon pollution-fighting friends battle the allegorical Carbo, who represents greed and denial in association with the climate crisis. This book is the story of Carbo, a twisted carbon dioxide molecule, who manipulates both humans and nature toward his nefarious aim of releasing as many trapped “friends”—other carbon molecules—from the ground as possible. Carbo tries to persuade human beings that global warming is not a problem. After each story, I write about basic scientific education and history relevant to that particular chapter, documenting what has recently happened in the “real world”.
Thermo, his new partner Therma and their climate scientist and environmental friends, are continually thwarted by Carbo and his minions of oversized carbon molecules who try to keep truth and science at bay. Carbo has much in common with those who are delaying efforts to mitigate climate change. The fight between Thermo and Carbo represents the struggle of science and reason to overcome shortsighted apathy and greed. Carbo and his obsequious minions also exploit human disbelief, as well as avarice and tribalism similar to what permeates today’s politics. . .in short, those who want to keep profiting from fossil fuels.
The stories in this second collection chronicle some of the major climate and weather-related events after 2005, when Thermometer Rising the first book ends. In my alternative universe, inanimate objects come to life in amusing and sometimes frightening ways. As the global warming problem worsens, so does Thermo and Therma’s plight. I have presented climatologists and meteorologists as heroes, particularly those whom I have personally known in my 30-plus year career at The Weather Channel. I am confident you will enjoy the stories, and I hope they spur you to action in joining efforts to prevent the climate crisis from getting much worse.
— Guy Walton, “The Climate Guy”