Cover image for Storm watchers : the turbulent history of weather prediction from Franklin's kite to El Niño
Storm watchers : the turbulent history of weather prediction from Franklin's kite to El Niño
Cox, John, 1943-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley, [2002]

Physical Description:
iv, 252 pages ; 25 cm
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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QC995 .C79 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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A lively, inspiring account of the pioneers who sought to accurately predict the weather

Benjamin Franklin . . . James P. Espy . . . Cleveland Abbe . . . Carl-Gustaf Rossby . . . Jule G. Charney . . . just a few of the remarkable individuals who struggled against formidable odds to understand the atmosphere and predict the weather. Where they saw patterns and processes, others saw randomness and tumult-and yet they strove to make their voices heard, often saving lives in the process.

Storm Watchers takes you on a fascinating journey through time that captures the evolution of weather forecasting. From the age when meteorology was considered one step removed from sorcery to the modern-day wizardry of supercomputers, John Cox introduces you to the pioneering scientists whose work fulfilled an ancient dream and made it possible to foretell the future. He tells the little-known stories of these weathermen, such as Ptolemy's weather predictions based on astrology, John Finley's breakthrough research in identifying tornadoes, and Tor Bergeron's new techniques of weather forecasting, which contributed to its final worldwide acceptance.

Filled with extraordinary tales of bravery and sacrifice, Storm Watchers will make you think twice the next time you turn on the local news to catch the weather report.

Author Notes

John D. Cox, a veteran science writer. His journalism experience includes work at the Sacramento Bee, Reuter Ltd., and United Press International. In 1995, Cox was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied oceanography and atmospheric science

Table of Contents

Benjamin FranklinLuke HowardJames GlaisherWilliam C. RedfieldJames P. EspyElias LoomisJoseph HenryMatthew Fontaine MauryWilliam FerrelRobert FitzRoyUrbain J. J. Le VerrierCleveland AbbeJohn P. FinleyMark W. HarringtonIsaac Monroe ClineGilbert WalkerC. LeRoy MeisingerVilhelm BjerknesLewis Fry RichardsonJacob BjerknesTor BergeronCarl-Gustaf RossbySverre PetterssenJule Gregory CharneyJerome NamiasEdward N. LorenzTetsuya Theodore FujitaAnts Leetmaa
Introductionp. 1
Part I A Newborn Babe
1. Chasing the Windp. 5
2. Naming the Cloudsp. 13
3. Taking to the Airp. 19
Part II American Storms
4. Walking the Path of Destructionp. 27
5. "The Storm Breeder"p. 33
6. Mapping the Stormp. 41
7. Setting the Stagep. 51
8. A Storm of Controversyp. 57
9. A Shy Geniusp. 65
Part III The Main Artery
10. Prophet Without Honorp. 75
11. Clouds over Crimeap. 85
12. "Ol' Probabilities"p. 91
13. Down Tornado Alleyp. 101
14. Civilian Casualtyp. 109
15. Taking Galveston by Stormp. 117
16. The Southern Oscillationp. 125
17. Death by Daringp. 135
Part IV Together at the Front
18. The Bergen Schoolmasterp. 147
19. The Forecasting Factoryp. 155
20. From Polar Front to El Ninop. 163
21. A Gifted Visionp. 171
22. Conquering the Weather Bureaup. 179
23. Forecasting for D-Dayp. 189
Part V Suddenly New Science
24. Mastering the Mathp. 201
25. The Long Rangerp. 211
26. Calculating Chaosp. 219
27. Divining the Downburstp. 227
28. Out on a Limbp. 235
Bibliographyp. 243
Indexp. 247