Seen on a list of New York Times best non-fiction books in 2015, I’ve been waiting to read this book. It is written from a mostly—except for the telegraph’s invention—British viewpoint and mostly about men working to solve the weather’s puzzles in the 18th and 19th centuries. Interleaved among the biographical profiles are short chapters describing weather phenomena throughout a day. I loved those!
Moore writes a very readable account of the many points of view that developed the field we now call meteorology. He writes of John Constable’s cloud paintings, sea captains accounts of legendary storms, Darwin’s influence that weather was not ‘God’s will’ and early ballooning ascents into the upper reaches of the atmosphere. His coda is a look at today’s controversy regarding climate change and global warming, not unlike those faced by the 19th century’s early forecasters. In all, this is an eclectic account for avid weather watchers that I would highly recommend.
Also great read if you love the history of science as it works in the real world with real people. Covers a remarkably short period from when people started to see weather as something we could understand technically to the first successful forecasts saving lives and property.
Must read for anyone who loves to watch the weather, or loves people who love to watch the weather. You'll never look at a weather map, a climate prediction or a cloud or a dewdrop the same.
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