Pauline Halford

Storm Warning

While many of us may complain about innaccuracies in the weather forecast, for some the weather is a matter of life or death. This was particularly the case in the 19th century, when a major storm could cause great loss of life and property in the wrecking of ships. Storm Warning by Pauline Halford tells the story of how the governments of Britain and the USA set up systems for the collecting information about the weather and for getting that information to those who need it, as well as the attempts at forecasting.

This isn't a book which gives a wide ranging history of weather forecasting. The first chapter gives the early history of forecasting, but the book is primarily about two men, Matthew Maury in the USA and Robert Fitzroy in the UK. We hear of their roles in setting up meteorological offices in their countries in the mid 19th century, although as is common with such books their struggles with bureaucracy are emphasised, rather than substantial government support they had for much of what they did. The book also tells the battles between different methods of forecasting, and how the Fitzroy's forecasts were discontinued despite their obvious usefulness. Its a well written book, and will provide an entertaining read for anyone with an interest in the origins of weather forecasting.

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Hardcover 288 pages  
ISBN: 0750932155
Salesrank: 4865885
Weight:0.84 lbs
Published: 2005 The History Press
Amazon price $3.59
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 288 pages  
ISBN: 0750932155
Salesrank: 3318974
Weight:0.84 lbs
Published: 2004 The History Press Ltd
Marketplace:New from £7.72:Used from £0.01
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Hardcover 288 pages  
ISBN: 0750932155
Salesrank: 2354422
Weight:0.84 lbs
Published: 2005 The History Press
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Marketplace:New from CDN$ 13.64:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
Imagine a world without the weather forecast. Is it likely to be warm and sunny for the fete at the weekend? Will Thursday be a good day to make that ferry crossing, or would Friday be better? We might scorn it and deride it, but we still consult the men - and women - from the Met Office, rather than a piece of soggy seaweed, before deciding whether to set out with a brolly in the morning. More than one hundred and fifty years the best forecast available was the weather glass with its imprecise predictions of 'Fair' or 'Changeable'. Before that, man consulted the animals in the fields, the birds in the sky, clouds, insects, the moon - even astrologers, oracles and the ancient gods. The tale of the emergence of forecasting from mythology, through the weather glass and into meteorology is a story fraught with conflict between scientists and seers; it involves the riding of storms; the scouring of the wide oceans in small sailing ships and soaring to the sky in balloons. This book traces the story of man's attempts to foretell the coming weather, and shows how weather prediction emerged from the realms of the seer and charlatan into credible acceptability.