Treading on Thin Air: Atmospheric Physics, Forensic Meteorology, and Climate Change: How Weather Shapes Our Everyday Lives

Pegasus Books
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Weather is an inescapable part of our daily lives, from the nuances of air travel to the future of climate change. Our past, present, and future are intimately rooted in weather and climate. Weather, water, and climate. How we feel, how productive we are, even our sheer existence, depends on these three things. The United States' economic activity varies annually by 1.7% due to weather—that is more than $500 billion dollars each year! Weather applications on mobile devices are the second most popular ‘apps’ – more popular than social networking, maps, music,and news.

In Treading on Thin Air, Dr. Elizabeth Austin, a world-renowned atmospheric physicist, reveals how the climate is intimately tied to our daily lives. The effects and impacts of weather on humans, society and the planet are changing with the times. Dr. Austin will demystify climate change, revealing what is really happening with our climate and why, whether it is El Nino, tornadoes, floods or hurricanes.

Weather and society are at its most fascinating at extremes, and as Dr. Austin is one of a handful of forensic meteorologists around the globe. She has been called upon to investigate plane crashes, murders, wildfires, avalanches, even bombing cases. Drawing upon her rich experiences, Austin’s Treading on Thin Air promises to be an enlightening and informative journey through the wild word of weather.

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About the author

Elizabeth Austin, Ph.D., is the founder and president of WeatherExtreme Ltd. and is recognized as one of America’s foremost experts on climate change and extreme weather conditions. An aviation and forensic meteorologist, cloud and ice physicist, Dr. Austin has worked with NASA, the United Nation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and has counseled on cases ranging from aviation and wildfires to avalanches and tornadoes. An active member of the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society, she resides in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, with her family.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Pegasus Books
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Published on
Apr 15, 2016
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781605988238
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Weather
Science / Earth Sciences / Meteorology & Climatology
Science / Environmental Science
Science / Global Warming & Climate Change
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Erik Larson
At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era's new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, "an absurd delusion." It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf.

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.
Michael J. Tougias
The true story of an incredible disaster and heroic rescue at sea told by two masterful storytellers.

In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor'easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril.

In the early hours of Monday, February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Built with "dirty steel," and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy.

The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships. Coast Guard cutters raced to the aid of those on the Fort Mercer, and when it became apparent that the halves of the Pendleton were in danger of capsizing, the Guard sent out two thirty-six-foot lifeboats as well. These wooden boats, manned by only four seamen, were dwarfed by the enormous seventy-foot seas. As the tiny rescue vessels set out from the coast of Cape Cod, the men aboard were all fully aware that they were embarking on what could easily become a suicide mission.

The spellbinding tale is overflowing with breathtaking scenes that sear themselves into the mind's eye, as boats capsize, bows and sterns crash into one another, and men hurl themselves into the raging sea in their terrifying battle for survival.

Not all of the eighty-four men caught at sea in the midst of that brutal storm survived, but considering the odds, it's a miracle—and a testament to their bravery—that any came home to tell their tales at all.

Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman have seamlessly woven together their extensive research and firsthand interviews to create an unforgettable tale of heroism, triumph, and tragedy, one that truly tells of the Coast Guard's finest hours.
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