The Weather Machine: How We See Into the Future

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9781847923400: The Weather Machine: How We See Into the Future
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‘This fascinating book reveals the existence and origins of surely one of our species’ greatest creations’ (MARK VANHOENACKER, author of Skyfaring) The Weather Machine is about a miraculous-but-overlooked invention that helps us through our daily lives – and sometimes saves them – by allowing us to see into the future.

Shall we take an umbrella... or evacuate the city? When Superstorm Sandy hit North America, weather scientists had predicted its arrival a full eight days beforehand, saving countless lives and astonishing us with their capability. Their skill is unprecedented in human history and draws on nearly every major invention of the last two centuries: Newtonian physics, telecommunications, spaceflight and super-computing.

In this gripping investigation, Andrew Blum takes us on a global journey to explain this awe-inspiring feat – from satellites circling the Earth, to weather stations far out in the ocean, through some of the most ingenious minds and advanced algorithms at work today. Our destination: the simulated models they have constructed of our planet, which spin faster than time, turning chaos into prediction, offering glimpses of our future with eery precision.

This collaborative invention spans the Earth and relies on continuous co-operation between all nations – a triumph of human ingenuity and diplomacy we too often shrug off as a tool for choosing the right footwear each morning. But in this new era of extreme weather, we may come to rely on its maintenance and survival for our own.

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Review:

"This fascinating book reveals the existence and origins of surely one of our species’ greatest creations, and Andrew Blum is the perfect writer to share both the remarkable human stories and the astonishing technical wizardry behind it all" (MARK VANHOENACKER, author of Skyfaring)

"It’s easy to ... overlook the monumental achievement [weather forecasts] represent ... The Weather Machine asks us to pause and marvel at ... one of humankind’s greatest accomplishments" (New Yorker)

"Revelatory ... convey[s] the technical brilliance and political significance of an achievement that hides in plain sight. The machine’s complexity alone is off all familiar charts ... Blum does an excellent job" (Telegraph)

"Sharp, stylish and often surprising. In this absorbing book Andrew Blum tracks the development, from wild dream to astonishing reality, of the quietly revolutionary technology that shapes our everyday lives" (PETER MOORE, author of The Weather Experiment)

"Exhilarating ... a hurricane-force tour of one of the most astonishing but under-appreciated facets of the modern world" (LEWIS DARTNELL, author of Origins)

"Written with an ease and beauty that will captivate anyone who is simply curious about how things work and came to be' (Literary Review)" (Literary Review)

"A vivid account of the history and evolution of the modern daily forecast... Blum is a sharp analyst and engaging guide, adept at translating difficult concepts in meteorology and computer science for the uninitiated" (Economist)

"Andrew Blum’s excellent book describes a global meteorological machine that uses scientific models of the atmosphere to convert observations into ever more accurate speculations – or forecasts – of future weather ... all described in lively detail" (Financial Times)

"Andrew Blum is a master of revealing the hidden systems behind technologies we take for granted. In the The Weather Machine he takes on the daily forecast, and the result is deeply researched, tightly written, compulsively readable and totally fascinating" (SETH FLETCHER, author of Einstein’s Shadow)

"Totally fascinating to anyone with even a passing interest in weather or technology" (Gizmodo)

About the Author:

Andrew Blum is the author of Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet, described as 'utterly engrossing ... the year’s most stimulating and original travel book' (Independent) and a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. He writes about infrastructure, architecture, design, technology, urbanism, art, and travel. Since 1999, his articles and essays have appeared in Wired, Popular Science, Metropolis, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, New Yorker and many more publications. He has degrees in literature from Amherst College and in human geography from the University of Toronto, and lives in his native New York City.

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