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Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirly gmail daughter com

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Eric Sloane's WEATHER BOOK: A Review

Right Turn... I GET it!
from Eric Sloane's WEATHER BOOK

Anyone who has known a sailor with "a weather eye" and who has also seen the inside of a weather bureau knows the difference between being weather-wise and being meteorologically accurate.

-- Eric Sloane

Eric Sloane's WEATHER BOOK: A Review

When I studied trigonometry, I memorized table after table of mind-numbing tables of ones, zeros and negative ones just long enough to regurgitate them for a test. In the blizzard of unanchored data, I struggled to make out the point of the exercise. Finally - in an afterword - the authors of the textbook condescended to mention the Unit Circle. The picture that generates all those piddly numbers in lean back, close your eyes and visualize the answer fashion!

I was thoroughly disgusted.

Weather mechanics had been a similar story. I slogged through book after book, nodding off over arcane terms and lists. Even classic pictures of clouds, with their names and meanings were mere creatures of rote.

For instance, high pressure winds spin one way; low pressure winds the other. But which is which? My mind just doesn't hang onto that kind of information without some underlying principle.

And trying to understand weather - arguably a good thing for a sailor - little came together. Like anyone, I could and did look to windward for trouble, but the whys and wherefores of weather eluded me. Neither the gestalt of real weather, nor the usual books were of any help for anything beyond the obvious.

Then along came Eric Sloane's WEATHER BOOK.

Mr. Sloane's gift is pictures (he's not bad at words, either). Every illustration from his hand is a wonder of clarity and apt information, succinctly delivered. He manages to capture motion and relationships in black and white sketches. His drawings are often beautiful, often humorous or whimsical... always educational.

Another aspect that appeals to me is that it's not merely about weather, but also its effects and affects.

For example, he presents an 'insect thermometer'; from the onset and quality of various insect sounds, one can estimate temperature pretty closely. Of course, no katydids (or katydidn'ts, for that matter) here in Alaska. But maybe the mosquitos?

He opens our eyes to the wonders of weather and the world enveloped in it. He draws out and entices the inner, junior scientist within his readers.

And there lies the beginning of weather-wisdom.

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