Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science.
Praise for Cosmos
“Magnificent . . . With a lyrical literary style, and a range that touches almost all aspects of human knowledge, Cosmos often seems too good to be true.”—The Plain Dealer
“Sagan is an astronomer with one eye on the stars, another on history, and a third—his mind’s—on the human condition.”—Newsday
“Brilliant in its scope and provocative in its suggestions . . . shimmers with a sense of wonder.”—The Miami Herald
“Sagan dazzles the mind with the miracle of our survival, framed by the stately galaxies of space.”—Cosmopolitan
“Enticing . . . iridescent . . . imaginatively illustrated.”—The New York Times Book Review
NOTE: This edition does not include images.
That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not.
In Cuba, America's overconfidence was made all too obvious by the Weather Bureau's obsession with controlling hurricane forecasts, even though Cuba's indigenous weathermen had pioneered hurricane science. As the bureau's forecasters assured the nation that all was calm in the Caribbean, Cuba's own weathermen fretted about ominous signs in the sky. A curious stillness gripped Antigua. Only a few unlucky sea captains discovered that the storm had achieved an intensity no man alive had ever experienced.
In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss.
Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac's Storm is based on Cline's own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac's Storm carries a warning for our time.
From the Hardcover edition.
It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world's water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain.
Cynthia Barnett's Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume.
Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it.
Where do clouds come from? Why do they look the way they do? And why have they captured the imagination of timeless artists, Romantic poets, and every kid who's ever held a crayon? Veteran journalist and lifelong sky watcher Gavin Pretor-Pinney reveals everything there is to know about clouds, from history and science to art and pop culture. Cumulus, nimbostratus, and the dramatic and surfable Morning Glory cloud are just a few of the varieties explored in this smart, witty, and eclectic tour through the skies.
Illustrated with striking photographs (including a new section in full-color) and line drawings featuring everything from classical paintings to lava lamps, The Cloudspotter's Guide will have enthusiasts, weather watchers, and the just plain curious floating on cloud nine.
Lessons from Cape Horn,
An interview on storm survival and heaving to with the late Sir Peter Blake,
Heaving-to using a Gale Rider on 55 foot Morgan’s Cloud,
Adding Rudder Protection Stops.
Discussions on avoiding chafe, building and using storm staysails, choosing storm gear, when to deploy para-anchors, tactics for avoiding the worst areas of cyclonic storms and many more have been expanded to answer questions posed by readers and seminar attendees.
“An instant classic of Americana.” —Hampton Sides
“Many a novel is not written this memorably.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Masterful. This is what man versus nature is all about.” —Skip Hollandsworth
“Hargrove is one today’s great science writers.” —The Washington Post
At the turn of the twenty-first century, the tornado was one of the last true mysteries of the modern world. It was a monster that ravaged the American heartland a thousand times each year, yet science’s every effort to divine its inner workings had ended in failure. Researchers all but gave up, until the arrival of an outsider.
In a field of PhDs, Tim Samaras didn’t attend a day of college in his life. He chased storms with brilliant tools of his own invention and pushed closer to the tornado than anyone else ever dared. When he achieved what meteorologists had deemed impossible, it was as if he had snatched the fire of the gods. Yet even as he transformed the field, Samaras kept on pushing. As his ambitions grew, so did the risks. And when he finally met his match—in a faceoff against the largest tornado ever recorded—it upended everything he thought he knew.
Brantley Hargrove delivers a masterful tale, chronicling the life of Tim Samaras in all its triumph and tragedy. He takes readers inside the thrill of the chase, the captivating science of tornadoes, and the remarkable character of a man who walked the line between life and death in pursuit of knowledge. Following the tradition of Into Thin Air and The Perfect Storm, Hargrove’s debut offers an unforgettable exploration of obsession and the extremes of the natural world.
*how to handle extreme weather scenarios in your car, outside, on a boat or at home
*how to prepare for potential dangers, such as deadly lightning, when planning a camping trip, vacation or sports outing
*what you need to have at home to protect against floods, earthquakes, or severe storms
*how to protect your home from rapidly spreading wildfire
*how to create a family evacuation plan for different emergencies
*making sure your beloved pet is taken care of in time of disaster
Drawing on actual survivor stories, Extreme Weather reminds readers that disaster can strike at any time, changing your life forever.
*making sure your beloved pet is taken care of in time of disaster
Drawing on actual survivor stories, Extreme Weather reminds readers that disaster can strike at any time, changing your life forever.
Two of America's leading investigators of unexplained phenomena -- Art Bell, the top-rated late-night radio talk-show host, and Whitley Strieber, No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of Communion and the legendary Nature's End -- have made a shocking discovery based on years of research with top scientists and archaeologists from around the world. Now, they reveal what powerful interests are trying to keep hidden: rapid changes in the atmosphere caused by greenhouse gases have set humanity on an incredibly dangerous course toward a catastrophic change in climate in the immediate future. It will begin with a massive, unprecedented storm that will devastate the Northern Hemisphere. This will be followed by floods unlike anything ever seen before -- or perhaps a new Ice Age. They also unearth evidence that this has happened in the past -- in fact, that it has occurred regularly throughout geologic history, but so infrequently that our only record of the last such storm is contained in ancient myths and flood legends.
From El Niño to the African droughts, to the shrinking of the polar ice caps, Bell and Strieber identify the warning signs to those willing to see. They point out that the Earth's regulatory system is like a rubber band: you can stretch it just so far before it snaps back -- with a vengeance. Since 1995, each successive year has set new records for violent weather. In 1999 a major climatological study predicted that the Earth will soon be warmer than it has been in millions of years. Bell and Strieber tell us why they believe a rebound is imminent -- a rapid and violent cooling that will cover the Northern Hemisphere in a sheath of choking ice and snow.
But it's not too late to reverse our destiny. No mere harbinger of an inevitable doomsday, The Coming Global Superstorm is instead a spirited call to action that offers a wealth of viable solutions to this mammoth challenge to humankind. Through a careful and impressively researched dissection of the myths and legends of ancient cultures and an insightful examination of the best of modern environmental science, Bell and Strieber guide us on an intellectual journey as dark as the murky origins of man and as bright as the promise of an interstellar future.
Sixty easy-to-read entries tackle such questions as: Is climate ever “normal”? Why and how do fossil-fuel burning and other human practices produce greenhouse gases? What natural forces have caused climate change in the past? What risks does climate change pose for human health? What accounts for the diminishment of mountain glaciers and small ice caps around the world since 1850? What are the economic costs and benefits of reducing carbon emissions?
Global Weirdness enlarges our understanding of how climate change affects our daily lives, and arms us with the incontrovertible facts we need to make informed decisions about the future of the planet and of humankind.
With black-and-white images interspersed throughout.
From the Hardcover edition.
This latest edition of Atmospheric Science, has been revamped in terms of content and appearance. It contains new chapters on atmospheric chemistry, the Earth system, the atmospheric boundary layer, and climate, as well as enhanced treatment of atmospheric dynamics, radiative transfer, severe storms, and global warming. The authors illustrate concepts with full-color, state-of-the-art imagery and cover a vast amount of new information in the field. Extensive numerical and qualitative exercises help students apply basic physical principles to atmospheric problems. There are also biographical footnotes summarizing the work of key scientists, along with a student companion website that hosts climate data; answers to quantitative exercises; full solutions to selected exercises; skew-T log p chart; related links, appendices; and more. The instructor website features: instructor’s guide; solutions to quantitative exercises; electronic figures from the book; plus supplementary images for use in classroom presentations.
Meteorology students at both advanced undergraduate and graduate levels will find this book extremely useful.Full-color satellite imagery and cloud photographs illustrate principles throughoutExtensive numerical and qualitative exercises emphasize the application of basic physical principles to problems in the atmospheric sciencesBiographical footnotes summarize the lives and work of scientists mentioned in the text, and provide students with a sense of the long history of meteorologyCompanion website encourages more advanced exploration of text topics: supplementary information, images, and bonus exercises
This handbook has been the standard reference for almost 20 years for students on Day Skipper and Yachtmaster courses, and the handbook of choice for skippers and crew of cruising and racing yachts. It has now been completely redesigned for the third edition to be more user friendly, with new photos and updated explanatory text.
The book also addresses new sources of weather information that have exploded on to the market. There are countless websites and apps providing forecast data, and The Weather Handbook guides users in how to use and interpret this information for themselves.
'The perfect introduction to understanding weather' Practical Boat Owner
In the tradition of Krakatoa, The World Without Us, and Guns, Germs and Steel comes a sweeping history of the year that became known as 18-hundred-and-froze-to-death. 1816 was a remarkable year—mostly for the fact that there was no summer. As a result of a volcanic eruption in Indonesia, weather patterns were disrupted worldwide for months, allowing for excessive rain, frost, and snowfall through much of the Northeastern U.S. and Europe in the summer of 1816.
In the U.S., the extraordinary weather produced food shortages, religious revivals, and extensive migration from New England to the Midwest. In Europe, the cold and wet summer led to famine, food riots, the transformation of stable communities into wandering beggars, and one of the worst typhus epidemics in history. 1816 was the year Frankenstein was written. It was also the year Turner painted his fiery sunsets. All of these things are linked to global climate change—something we are quite aware of now, but that was utterly mysterious to people in the nineteenth century, who concocted all sorts of reasons for such an ungenial season.
Making use of a wealth of source material and employing a compelling narrative approach featuring peasants and royalty, politicians, writers, and scientists, The Year Without Summer by William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P. Klingaman examines not only the climate change engendered by this event, but also its effects on politics, the economy, the arts, and social structures.
Global warming skeptics often fall back on the argument that the scientific case for global warming is all model predictions, nothing but simulation; they warn us that we need to wait for real data, “sound science.” In A Vast Machine Paul Edwards has news for these skeptics: without models, there are no data. Today, no collection of signals or observations—even from satellites, which can “see” the whole planet with a single instrument—becomes global in time and space without passing through a series of data models. Everything we know about the world's climate we know through models. Edwards offers an engaging and innovative history of how scientists learned to understand the atmosphere—to measure it, trace its past, and model its future.
In The Weather of the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington atmospheric scientist and popular radio commentator Cliff Mass unravels the intricacies of Northwest weather, from the mundane to the mystifying. By examining our legendary floods, snowstorms, and windstorms, and a wide variety of local weather features, Mass answers such interesting questions as:
o Why does the Northwest have localized rain shadows?
o What is the origin of the hurricane force winds that often buffet the region?
o Why does the Northwest have so few thunderstorms?
o What is the origin of the Pineapple Express?
o Why do ferryboats sometimes seem to float above the water's surface?
o Why is it so hard to predict Northwest weather?
Mass brings together eyewitness accounts, historical records, and meteorological science to explain Pacific Northwest weather. He also considers possible local effects of global warming. The final chapters guide readers in interpreting the Northwest sky and in securing weather information on their own.
In a new preface, the author weighs in on whether our understanding of global climate change has altered in the years since the book was first published, what the latest research tells us, and what he is working on next.
Important Notice: Media content referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.
In each chapter, Sara Seager offers a conceptual introduction, examples that combine the relevant physics equations with real data, and exercises. Topics range from foundational knowledge, such as the origin of atmospheric composition and planetary spectra, to more advanced concepts, such as solutions to the radiative transfer equation, polarization, and molecular and condensate opacities. Since planets vary widely in their atmospheric properties, Seager emphasizes the major physical processes that govern all planetary atmospheres.
Moving from first principles to cutting-edge research, Exoplanet Atmospheres is an ideal resource for students and researchers in astronomy and earth sciences, one that will help prepare them for the next generation of planetary science.
The first textbook to describe exoplanet atmospheres
Illustrates concepts using examples grounded in real data
Provides a step-by-step guide to understanding the structure and emergent spectrum of a planetary atmosphere
Includes exercises for students
For much of the first half of the twentieth century, meteorology was more art than science, dependent on an individual forecaster's lifetime of local experience. In Weather by the Numbers, Kristine Harper tells the story of the transformation of meteorology from a “guessing science” into a sophisticated scientific discipline based on physics and mathematics. What made this possible was the development of the electronic digital computer; earlier attempts at numerical weather prediction had foundered on the human inability to solve nonlinear equations quickly enough for timely forecasting. After World War II, the combination of an expanded observation network developed for military purposes, newly trained meteorologists, savvy about math and physics, and the nascent digital computer created a new way of approaching atmospheric theory and weather forecasting.
This transformation of a discipline, Harper writes, was the most important intellectual achievement of twentieth-century meteorology, and paved the way for the growth of computer-assisted modeling in all the sciences.
"Volcanism by Hans-Ulrich Schmincke has photos of the best quality I have ever seen in a text on the subject... In addition, the schematic figures in their wide range of styles are clear, colorful, and simplified to emphasize the most important factors while including all significant features...
"I have really enjoyed reading and rereading Schmincke’s book. It fills a great gap in texts available for teaching any basic course in volcanology. No other book I know of has the depth and breadth of Volcanism...
I have shared Volcanism with my colleagues to their significant benefit, and I am more convinced of its value for a broad range of Earth and planetary scientists.
Undoubtedly, I will use Volcanism for my upcoming courses in volcanology. I will never hesitate to recommend it to others. Many geoscientists from very different subdisciplines will benefit from adding the book to their personal libraries. Schmincke has done us all a great service by undertaking the grueling task of writing the book – and it is much better that he alone wrote it." Stanley N. Williams, ASU Tempe, AZ (Physics Today, April 2005)
"Schmincke is a German volcanologist with an international reputation, and he has done us all a great favour because he sensibly channelled his fascination with volcanoes into writing this beautifully illustrated book... [he] tackles the entire geological setting of volcanoes within the earth and the processes that form them... And, with more than 400 colour illustrations, including a huge number of really excellent new diagrams, cutaway models and maps, plus a rich glossary and references, this book is accessible to anyone with an interest in the subject." New Scientist (March 2004)
"The science of volcanology has made tremendous progress over the past 40 years, primarily because of technological advances and because each tragic eruption has led researchers to recognize the processes behind such serious hazards. Yet scientists are still learning a great deal because of photographs that either capture those processes in action or show us the critical factors left behind in the rock record.Volcanism by Hans-Ulrich Schmincke has photos of the best quality I have ever seen in a text on the subject. I found myself wishing that I had had the photo of Nicaragua’s Masaya volcano, which was the subject of my dissertation, but it was Schmincke who was able to include it in his book. In addition, the schematic figures in their wide range of styles are clear, colorful, and simplified to emphasize the most important factors while including all significant features. The book’s paper is of such high quality that at times I felt I had turned two pages rather than one.
I have really enjoyed reading and rereading Schmincke’s book. It fills a great gap in texts available for teaching any basic course in volcanology. No other book I know of has the depth and breadth of Volcanism. I was disappointed that the text did not arrive on my desk until last August, when it was too late for me to choose it for my course in volcanology. I am also disappointed about another fact—the book’s binding is already becoming tattered because of my intense use of it!
Schmincke is a volcanologist who, in 1967, first published papers on sedimentary rocks of volcanic origin, the direction traveled by lava flows millions of years ago, and the structures preserved in explosive ignimbrites, or pumice-flow deposits, that reveal important details of their formation. Since then, his studies in Germany’s Laacher See, the Canary Islands, the Troodos Ophiolite of Cyprus, and many other regions have forged great fundamental advances. Such contributions have been recognized with his receipt of several international awards and clearly give him a strong base for writing the book.
However, as a scientist who has focused on the challenges of monitoring the very diverse activities of volcanoes, I think that the text’s overriding emphasis on the rock record has its cost. The group of scientists who are struggling with their goals to reduce or mitigate the hazards of the eruptions of tomorrow need to learn more about the options of technology, instrumentation, and methodology that are currently available. More than 500 million people live near the more than 1500 known active volcanoes and are constantly facing serious threats of eruptions. An extremely energetic earthquake caused the horrific tsunamis of 2004. However, the tsunamis of 1792, 1815, and 1883, which were caused by the eruptions of Japan’s Unzen volcano and Indonesia’s Tambora and Krakatau volcanoes, each took a similar toll. "
( Stanley N. Williams, PHYSICS TODAY, April 2005)
Comprised of 11 chapters, this book begins with an introduction to weather radar principles and how the radar parameters and signal characteristics relate to the target's meteorological properties. The effect of the atmosphere on the path of the signal is then examined, together with techniques used in extracting a target's properties from its echoes. The radar signal path from the transmitter, through the antenna, along the beam to the target, and on its return to the receiver is also discussed. Subsequent chapters explore the discrete Fourier transform and its application to weather echo signals; the weather Doppler spectrum and the signal processing methods used to derive its principal moments; range and Doppler velocity ambiguities as they pertain to distributed targets; and the limitations imposed by antenna sidelobes, ground clutter, signal decorrelation, and power. A comprehensive treatment of pulse compression and the Doppler processing of frequency modulated signals is given.
This monograph should be of value to oceanographers, meteorologists, atmospheric scientists, and radar engineers, as well as students and researchers interested in Doppler radar principles.
Combining science, history, and adventure, Tom Shachtman “holds the reader’s attention with the skill of a novelist” as he chronicles the story of humans’ four-centuries-long quest to master the secrets of cold (Scientific American).
“A disarming portrait of an exquisite, ferocious, world-ending extreme,” Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold demonstrates how temperature science produced astonishing scientific insights and applications that have revolutionized civilization (Kirkus Reviews). It also illustrates how scientific advancement, fueled by fortuitous discoveries and the efforts of determined individuals, has allowed people to adapt to—and change—the environments in which they live and work, shaping man’s very understanding of, and relationship, with the world.
This “truly wonderful book” was adapted into an acclaimed documentary underwritten by the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, directed by British Emmy Award winner David Dugan, and aired on the BBC and PBS’s Nova in 2008 (Library Journal).
“An absorbing account to chill out with.” —Booklist
Have you ever heard someone say that climate change is simply the result of natural cycles? Or that there can’t be global warming because it still gets so cold out? While the claims climate-change deniers make can seem, on their surface, quite plausible, they simply don’t hold up against the evidence: Beyond a shadow of a doubt, science proves that climate change is real and primarily human-driven. But the next time a skeptic puts you on the spot, will you know what to say to end the argument?
How to Change Minds About Our Changing Climate dismantles all the most pernicious misunderstandings using the strongest explanations science has to offer. Armed with airtight arguments, you’ll never be at a loss for words again—no matter how convincing or unexpected the misconception you’re faced with. And with our planet’s future in our hands, the time to change minds is now: The sooner we can agree, once and for all, that climate change is a significant threat to our well-being, the sooner we can start to do something about it.
Climate and the Oceans is the first place to turn to get the essential facts about this crucial aspect of the Earth's climate system. Ideal for students and nonspecialists alike, this primer offers the most concise and up-to-date overview of the subject available.
The best primer on the oceans and climate
Succinct and self-contained
Accessible to students and nonspecialists
Serves as a bridge to more advanced material
After warning for years about the looming threat of catastrophic flooding in New Orleans, Ivor van Heerden was one of the highest-profile media experts during the Katrina disaster. Over the following eighteen months, he was even more prominent as he challenged the official version of those events and campaigned for an engineering plan that would protect all of southeastern Louisiana, once and for all. In The Storm, van Heerden lays out in full detail the stunning incompetence among the bureaucrats, the politicians, and the Army Corps of Engineers that culminated in the catastrophe that crippled, perhaps forever, a great American city.
This book is written for those students that have a data set inthe form of a time series and are confronted with the problem ofhow to analyse this data. Each chapter covers the various methodsthat can be used to carry out this analysis with coverage of thenecessary theory and its application. In the theoretical sectiontopics covered include; the mathematical origin of spectrumwindows, leakage of variance and understanding spectrum windows.The applications section includes real data sets for students toanalyse. Scalar variables are used for ease of understanding forexample air temperatures, wind speed and precipitation.
Students are encouraged to write their own computer programmesand data sets are provided to enable them to recognize quicklywhether their programme is working correctly- one data set isprovided with artificial data and the other with real data wherethe students are required to physically interpret the results oftheir periodgram analysis.
Based on the acclaimed and long standing course at theUniversity of Oklahoma and part of the RMetS Advancing Weather andClimate Science Series, this book is distinct in its approachto the subject matter in that it is written specifically forreaders in meteorology and climatology and uses a mix of theory andapplication to real data sets.
In this book, Michael Bender, an internationally recognized authority on paleoclimate, provides a concise, comprehensive, and sophisticated introduction to the subject. After briefly describing the major periods in Earth history to provide geologic context, he discusses controls on climate and how the record of past climate is determined. The heart of the book then proceeds chronologically, introducing the history of climate changes over millions of years--its patterns and major transitions, and why average global temperature has varied so much. The book ends with a discussion of the Holocene (the past 10,000 years) and by putting manmade climate change in the context of paleoclimate.
The most up-to-date overview on the subject, Paleoclimate provides an ideal introduction to undergraduates, nonspecialist scientists, and general readers with a scientific background.
In No Turning Back, naturalist Richard Ellis conducts a masterful and engrossing investigation of one of the world’s most harrowing inevitabilities: extinction. Taking a concentrated look at a variety of species—from those that went out with a bang upon the impact of an Everest-sized asteroid to those that gradually disappeared after years of human overhunting—Ellis discusses the five great mass extinctions in history, and how extinction shapes the evolutionary process. He also outlines the steps we can take to ensure that today’s endangered species can be pulled back from the brink. Richly illustrated with Ellis’s stunning, hand-drawn artwork, No Turning Back is an invaluable read for anyone seeking to understand the past, present, and future of life on our planet.
Scott Huler was working as a copy editor for a small publisher when he stumbled across the Beaufort Wind Scale in his Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary. It was one of those moments of discovery that writers live for. Written centuries ago, its 110 words launched Huler on a remarkable journey over land and sea into a fascinating world of explorers, mariners, scientists, and writers. After falling in love with what he decided was “the best, clearest, and most vigorous piece of descriptive writing I had ever seen,” Huler went in search of Admiral Francis Beaufort himself: hydrographer
to the British Admiralty, man of science, and author—Huler assumed—of the Beaufort Wind Scale. But what Huler discovered is that the scale that carries Beaufort’s name has a long and complex evolution, and to properly understand it he had to keep reaching farther back in history, into the lives and works of figures from Daniel Defoe and Charles Darwin to Captains Bligh, of the Bounty, and Cook, of the Endeavor.
As hydrographer to the British Admiralty it was Beaufort’s job to track the information that ships relied on: where to lay anchor, descriptions of ports, information about fortification, religion, and trade. But what came to fascinate Huler most about Beaufort was his obsession for observing things and communicating to others what the world looked like.
Huler’s research landed him in one of the most fascinating and rich periods of history, because all around the world in the mid-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in a grand, expansive period, modern science was being invented every day. These scientific advancements encompassed not only vast leaps in understanding but also how scientific innovation was expressed and even organized, including such enduring developments as the scale Anders Celsius created to simplify how Gabriel Fahrenheit measured temperature; the French-designed metric system; and the Gregorian calendar adopted by France and Great Britain. To Huler, Beaufort came to embody that passion for scientific observation and categorization; indeed Beaufort became the great scientific networker of his time. It was he, for example, who was tapped to lead the search for a naturalist in the 1830s to accompany the crew of the Beagle; he recommended a young naturalist named Charles Darwin.
Defining the Wind is a wonderfully readable, often humorous, and always rich story that is ultimately about how we observe the forces of nature and the world around us.
From the Hardcover edition.
Fatal Isolation tells the stories of these victims and the catastrophe that took their lives. It explores the multiple narratives of disaster--the official story of the crisis and its aftermath, as presented by the media and the state; the life stories of the individual victims, which both illuminate and challenge the ways we typically perceive natural disasters; and the scientific understandings of disaster and its management. Fatal Isolation is both a social history of risk and vulnerability in the urban landscape and a story of how a city copes with emerging threats and sudden, dramatic change.
As Hamblyn shows, clouds function not only as a crucial means of circulating water around the globe but also as a finely tuned thermostat regulating the planet’s temperature. He discusses the many different kinds of clouds, from high, scattered cirrus clouds to the plump thought-bubbles of cumulus clouds, even exploring man-made clouds and clouds on other planets. He also shows how clouds have featured as meaningful symbols in human culture, whether as ominous portents of coming calamities or as ethereal figures giving shape to the heavens, whether in Wordsworth’s poetry or today’s tech speak. Comprehensive yet compact, cogent and beautifully illustrated, this is the ultimate guidebook to those shapeshifters of the sky.
The internationally bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees shows how we can decipher nature's secret signs by studying the weather.
In this first-ever English translation of The Weather Detective, Peter Wohlleben uses his long experience and deep love of nature to help decipher the weather and our local environments in a completely new and compelling way. Analyzing the explanations for everyday questions and mysteries surrounding weather and natural phenomena, he delves into a new and intriguing world of scientific investigation.
At what temperature do bees stay home? Why do southerly winds in winter often bring storms? How can birdsong or flower scents help you tell the time? These are among the many questions Wohlleben poses in his newly translated book. Full of the very latest discoveries, combined with ancient now-forgotten lore, The Weather Detective helps you read nature's secret signs and discover a rich new layer of meaning in the world around you.