30-Second Meteorology – Adam Scaife and Julia Slingo

“The storm starts, when the drops start dropping. When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping.” ― Dr. Seuss

30-second-meteorology-1-9781782403104-976x976
Ivy Press, 160 pages, ISBN: 978-1-78240-310-4, Hardback £14.99

Did you know that Horace-Bénédict Der Saussure invented the cyanometer? No? Do you even know what a cyanometer is? Well, having read 30-Second Meteorology I can tell you it is a quantitative scale by which to measure the blueness of the sky.

Want to know more? Read on.

The latest edition from the makers of the 30-second book series – 30-Second Meteorology: The 50 most significant events and phenomena, each explained in half a minute – will introduce you to the science behind, and the history of, the Earth’s most significant atmospherical phenomena in easy to digest, 30-second sections.

The book analyses weather from the basic, to the complex – from chapter one, The Elements, which focuses on the basic features of weather, in the form of air, clouds and rain, right through to the final, Extreme Weather, section which gives time to the wilder side of meteorology, exploring tornadoes, hurricanes, and the terrifyingly named ‘sudden stratospheric warming’, and everything between. Discover the nature of Earth’s atmosphere, the science behind weather forecasts and predictions, and the history of the aptly named trade winds.

If you are put off by the idea of a science book for dummies then rest assured that this book doesn’t just take the science behind meteorological events and cut down into bite-sized chunks

Complete with concise biographical profiles of the top names in meteorological history – including Svante Arrhenius, the man who first noted the link between atmospheric CO2 and the greenhouse effect, and Lewis Fry Richardson, the brain behind modern weather forecasting – and an historical look at the origins of weather systems and the technology used in measuring and predictive metrological events, 30-Second Meteorology is the perfect quick guide to the history of meteorology, which anyone can enjoy.

I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but crack this book open and you can expect to find out, amongst other general knowledge gems, which 17th century Italian physicist invented the barometer.

This book is also beautiful, and a snapshot of the cover image alone doesn’t do that justice. An ugly edition can spoil a good book, but this one does not disappoint – hardbound and fully illustrated with stunning vintage photomontage prints by Nicky Ackland-Snow the book is an actual pleasure to read. I could have spent hours studying the typography and design alone.

Overall, this is a really fun, interesting book to read – a sure-fire success with fans of weather systems and general knowledge alike. With a concise forward by Met Office Chief Scientist Professor Dame Julia Slingo, and contributions from top names in the field of meteorology, 30-Second Meteorology is the perfect book for anyone, outside of the field of academic meteorology, who wants a better understanding of weather systems and the history meteorology as a science.

This review was first posted on WordPress for E&T magazine.

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