Saturday, November 04, 2006

The five best books about weather

Christopher C. Burt, author of Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book, named the five best books about weather for Opinion Journal.

Among his picks:

Divine Wind by Kerry Emanuel

I'm not sure if there has ever been a book that integrated weather with art, literature and science so effectively as "Divine Wind." Kerry Emanuel, an eminent earth scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, brings these disciplines together elegantly in this book about hurricanes. The science of hurricanes is covered in great detail, interspersed with exceptional illustrations, literary excerpts and case studies of some of the most infamous tropical storms on record. One chapter relates the remarkable story of a hurricane in 1609 that separated the British vessel Sea Venture from its Jamestown-bound fleet and wrecked it on the shores of Bermuda. Presumed lost for many months, the crew miraculously survived--news of which excited all of England, including William Shakespeare, who used the story as the basis of "The Tempest."

The Rough Guide To Weather by Robert Henson

How, you may ask, could a travel publisher produce one of the best books about weather? The logic is there of course: Nothing can torpedo a holiday more effectively than lousy weather. But this book goes well beyond outlining what to expect weather-wise in Hawaii in December or Paris in July. It is a dense and informative treatise on global climate phenomena, and it explains how to interpret forecasts and climate models. The author, Robert Henson, is not only a meteorologist (at the National Center for Atmospheric Research) but also a lucid and engaging writer. As for the travel-guide aspect: Half the book is devoted to country-by-country climate descriptions and monthly weather data tables for more than 150 destinations. A terrific resource for both travelers and weather buffs.

Click here to see the other books on Burt's list.

--Marshal Zeringue