A thrilling exploration of the science and history of wind from the bestselling author of Cold.
Scientist and bestselling nature writer Bill Streever goes to any extreme to explore wind -- the winds that built empires, the storms that wreck them -- by traveling right through it. Narrating from a fifty-year-old sailboat, Streever leads readers through the world's first forecasts, Chaos Theory, and a future affected by climate change. Along the way, he shares stories of wind-riding spiders, wind-sculpted landscapes, wind-generated power, wind-tossed airplanes, and the uncomfortable interactions between wind and wars, drawing from natural science, history, business, travel, as well as from his own travels.
And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind is an effortless personal narrative featuring the keen observations, scientific rigor, and whimsy that readers love. You'll never see a breeze in the same light again.
In his latest natural history cum adventure story, intrepid biologist Streever (Heat: Adventures in the World's Fiery Places) turns his attention from temperature to another force of nature: wind. The book's narrative backbone is Streever's amateur sailing expedition from Texas to Guatemala in search of firsthand exposure to the trade winds that fascinate him; tangential excursions of rigorous historical and scientific inquiry draw him into such subjects as barometry and wind farms. In clear prose animated by deadpan humor and enthusiasm for all things meteorological, he recounts the transformation of the weather forecast from its origins in qualitative theory through the development of graphical and numerical methods, weather balloons, satellites, anemometers, radar systems, and modern-day ensemble forecasting, which integrates sophisticated computational models and chaos theory into synoptic maps. Parallel to this chronicle of technological advancement runs a dramatic story of the scientific establishment, replete with "grumbling and infighting" and peppered with such figures as Benjamin Franklin and Lewis Fry Richardson, "the first man to calculate the weather." As Streever absorbingly explains the processes that make air move, he also relays the history of humans' efforts to harness the wind, as "knowledge of the two things the winds and the science behind them lies hopelessly intertwined." 23 b&w illus.