Appropriating the Weather

Vilhelm Bjerknes and the Construction of a Modern Meteorology

Author: Robert Marc Friedman

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 1501731106

Category: History

Page: 280

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In this book, Robert Marc Friedman analyzes the revolution in the theory and practice of meteorology during the first quarter of the twentieth century, initiated by Vilhelm Bjerknes (1862–1951) and his collaborators. In contrast to the approach that had dominated meteorology since the late nineteenth century, their weather models and forecasting techniques marked a decisive turn to a dynamical–physical understanding of the atmosphere. Using a wide range of sources, both published and unpublished, Friedman traces the emergence of the new, so-called Bergen methodology and the process by which it transformed first Norwegian and then worldwide weather forecasting. The establishment of the new meteorology, he argues, was the result of a complaex interaction of scientific, social, and technological factors, and he gives special emphasis to the way in which Bjerknes adapted his mechanical physics of the atmosphere to benefit commercial purposes. By providing more reliable forecasts for farmers, fishermen, and especially for aviators, Bjerknes was able to nurture a school of disciples that could evert a profound influence on the international meteorological community, thereby increasing his own authority and that of the discipline he sought to shape. Friedman does an unusually subtle job of integrating the often opposing methods of the history and the sociology of science. He explains in detail how Bjerknes, a theoretical physicist, and his collaborators developed a new model of cyclone evolution and the first clear physical explanation of how weather happens. At the same time, Friedman demonstrates how conceptual change was interconnected with the Bergen school's striving to obtain political support at home and to dominate professional meteorology abroad. Appropriating the Weather is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the processes in which scientific, institutional, and social factors interact to form scientific disciplines. It deserves wide readership among historians and sociologists of science and science policy makers, as well as meteorologists and other geophysical scientists.

Inventing Atmospheric Science

Bjerknes, Rossby, Wexler, and the Foundations of Modern Meteorology

Author: James Rodger Fleming

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262334526

Category: Science

Page: 312

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"The goal of meteorology is to portray everything atmospheric, everywhere, always," declared John Bellamy and Harry Wexler in 1960, soon after the successful launch of TIROS 1, the first weather satellite. Throughout the twentieth century, meteorological researchers have had global ambitions, incorporating technological advances into their scientific study as they worked to link theory with practice. Wireless telegraphy, radio, aviation, nuclear tracers, rockets, digital computers, and Earth-orbiting satellites opened up entirely new research horizons for meteorologists. In this book, James Fleming charts the emergence of the interdisciplinary field of atmospheric science through the lives and careers of three key figures: Vilhelm Bjerknes (1862--1951), Carl-Gustaf Rossby (1898--1957), and Harry Wexler (1911--1962). In the early twentieth century, Bjerknes worked to put meteorology on solid observational and theoretical foundations. His younger colleague, the innovative and influential Rossby, built the first graduate program in meteorology (at MIT), trained aviation cadets during World War II, and was a pioneer in numerical weather prediction and atmospheric chemistry. Wexler, one of Rossby's best students, became head of research at the U.S. Weather Bureau, where he developed new technologies from radar and rockets to computers and satellites, conducted research on the Antarctic ice sheet, and established carbon dioxide measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. He was also the first meteorologist to fly into a hurricane -- an experience he chose never to repeat. Fleming maps both the ambitions of an evolving field and the constraints that checked them -- war, bureaucracy, economic downturns, and, most important, the ultimate realization (prompted by the formulation of chaos theory in the 1960s by Edward Lorenz) that perfectly accurate measurements and forecasts would never be possible.

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

Author: Virginia Trimble,Thomas R. Williams,Katherine Bracher,Richard Jarrell,Jordan D. Marché,F. Jamil Ragep

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 0387304002

Category: Science

Page: 1348

View: 6588

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The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers is a unique and valuable resource for historians and astronomers alike. The two volumes include approximately 1550 biographical sketches on astronomers from antiquity to modern times. It is the collective work of about 400 authors edited by an editorial board of 9 historians and astronomers, and provides additional details on the nature of an entry and some summary statistics on the content of entries. This new reference provides biographical information on astronomers and cosmologists by utilizing contemporary historical scholarship. Individual entries vary from 100 to 1500 words, including the likes of the superluminaries such as Newton and Einstein, as well as lesser-known astronomers like Galileo’s acolyte, Mario Guiducci. A comprehensive contributor index helps researchers to identify the authors of important scientific topics and treatises.

Atmospheric Science at NASA

A History

Author: Erik M. Conway

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 9781421401638

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 6651

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Atmospheric Science at NASA critically examines this politically controversial science, dissecting the often convoluted roles, motives, and relationships of the various institutional actors involved—among them NASA, congressional appropriation committees, government weather and climate bureaus, and the military.

Ancient Meteorology

Author: Liba Taub

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 113471775X

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 7072

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The first book of its kind in English, Ancient Meteorology discusses Greek and Roman approaches and attitudes to this broad discipline, which in classical antiquity included not only 'weather', but occurrences such as earthquakes and comets that today would be regarded as geological, astronomical or seismological. The range and diversity of this literature highlights the question of scholarly authority in antiquity and illustrates how writers responded to the meteorological information presented by their literary predecessors. Ancient Meteorology will be a valuable reference tool for classicists and those with an interest in the history of science.

Invisible in the Storm

The Role of Mathematics in Understanding Weather

Author: Ian Roulstone,John Norbury

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691152721

Category: Mathematics

Page: 325

View: 4215

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"With illuminating descriptions and minimal technicality, "Invisible in the Storm" provides a vivid historical perspective on how the development of mathematical ideas, together with modern computer technology, has completely transformed our ability to understand and predict the weather. This is a gripping and highly informative book."--Roger Penrose, author of "Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe" "As a TV weather forecaster for over forty years, I have always maintained that meteorology depends on mathematics for meaning. Making this conclusive point, "Invisible in the Storm" takes readers on an intriguing journey through the history of meteorology, revealing the critical role of mathematics from the earliest days of weather predicting to the current age of computer-generated forecasts. This book guides you inside the storm, where math's importance is clearly visible."--Spencer Christian, chief weather forecaster at ABC-7 News/KGO-TV, San Francisco "This is a very readable account of why it is possible to forecast the weather with useful accuracy. Focusing on historical background, this well-researched and scientifically accurate book shows how the work of some of the greatest scientists of the past laid the foundations exploited in modern weather forecasting. I am not aware of any other book that covers this ground for a general scientific audience."--M. J. P. Cullen, author of "A Mathematical Theory of Large-Scale Atmosphere/Ocean Flow" "The tremendous improvement in weather prediction capabilities during the twentieth century is among the greatest success stories of the scientific approach to the understanding of nature. Combining a historical account with a qualitative/geometric approach, this enjoyable book makes that story accessible to a wider scientifically educated audience."--Sebastian Reich, University of Potsdam

Fortune Tellers

The Story of America's First Economic Forecasters

Author: Walter Friedman

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400849861

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 288

View: 8051

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The period leading up to the Great Depression witnessed the rise of the economic forecasters, pioneers who sought to use the tools of science to predict the future, with the aim of profiting from their forecasts. This book chronicles the lives and careers of the men who defined this first wave of economic fortune tellers, men such as Roger Babson, Irving Fisher, John Moody, C. J. Bullock, and Warren Persons. They competed to sell their distinctive methods of prediction to investors and businesses, and thrived in the boom years that followed World War I. Yet, almost to a man, they failed to predict the devastating crash of 1929. Walter Friedman paints vivid portraits of entrepreneurs who shared a belief that the rational world of numbers and reason could tame--or at least foresee--the irrational gyrations of the market. Despite their failures, this first generation of economic forecasters helped to make the prediction of economic trends a central economic activity, and shed light on the mechanics of financial markets by providing a range of statistics and information about individual firms. They also raised questions that are still relevant today. What is science and what is merely guesswork in forecasting? What motivates people to buy forecasts? Does the act of forecasting set in motion unforeseen events that can counteract the forecast made? Masterful and compelling, Fortune Tellers highlights the risk and uncertainty that are inherent to capitalism itself.

Science and Its Times

Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery

Author: Neil Schlager,Josh Lauer

Publisher: Gale / Cengage Learning

ISBN: 9780787639389

Category: Science

Page: 672

View: 5928

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"This series discusses how the major fields of science developed during specific time periods. Each volume focuses on a range of years and includes developments in exploration, life sciences, mathematics, physical sciences, and technology. When the series is completed, the seven volumes will cover 2000 B.C. to the present."--"Outstanding Reference Sources," American Libraries, May 2001.

Earth Sciences History

Journal of the History of the Earth Sciences Society

Author: N.A

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Earth sciences

Page: N.A

View: 8396

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Eye of the Storm

Inside the World's Deadliest Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Blizzards

Author: Jeffrey O. Rosenfeld

Publisher: Plenum Press

ISBN: N.A

Category: Nature

Page: 308

View: 3191

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Explores the history of storm science, discusses the forces behind tornadoes, hurricanes, and other deadly storms, and introduces the scientists who have devoted their careers to understanding the weather

Scientists: Their Lives and Works

Author: Peggy Saari,Marie C. Ellavich,Stephen Allison

Publisher: UXL

ISBN: 9780787618742

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 262

View: 375

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"Each Scientists volume begins with a listing of scientists by field, ranging from aeronautical engineering to zoology; a timeline of major scientific breakthroughs; and a glossary of scientific terms used in the text. Volumes conclude with a cumulative subject index."--Vol. 1, p. xxx.

The Politics of Excellence

Behind the Nobel Prize in Science

Author: Robert Marc Friedman

Publisher: W H Freeman & Company

ISBN: 9780716731030

Category: Science

Page: 379

View: 6033

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Reveals all the politics & personal agendas that dictate who has been awarded the Prize, & just as importantly, who has not. Published in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Prizes.

A Vast Machine

Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming

Author: Paul N. Edwards

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262290715

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 546

View: 8275

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Global warming skeptics often fall back on the argument that the scientific case for global warming is all model predictions, nothing but simulation; they warn us that we need to wait for real data, "sound science." In A Vast Machine Paul Edwards has news for these skeptics: without models, there are no data. Today, no collection of signals or observations -- even from satellites, which can "see" the whole planet with a single instrument -- becomes global in time and space without passing through a series of data models. Everything we know about the world's climate we know through models. Edwards offers an engaging and innovative history of how scientists learned to understand the atmosphere -- to measure it, trace its past, and model its future.

Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology and Weather Analysis and Forecasting

A Tribute to Fred Sanders

Author: Lance F. Bosart,Howard B. Bluestein

Publisher: American Meteorological Society

ISBN: 9781878220844

Category: Science

Page: 440

View: 7829

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Key scientific research by authors including Kerry Emanuel, Robert Burpee, Edwin Kessler, and Louis Uccellini illustrates the evolution of the fields of synoptic meteorology, weather analysis, forecasting, and climatology. It is published in honor of the late Fred Sanders, emeritus professor of meteorology at MIT, whose influence was vast: he coined the term “bomb” for explosively intensifying winter storms; he established the roles of low-level horizontal confluence and convergence in frontal collapse; and he invented the field of oceanic mesometeorology. This monograph is both an essential tool for educating future weather researchers and a testament to Sanders’s legacy of teaching.

Weather by the Numbers

Author: Kristine C. Harper

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262260794

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 8773

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For much of the first half of the twentieth century, meteorology was more art than science, dependent on an individual forecaster's lifetime of local experience. In Weather by the Numbers, Kristine Harper tells the story of the transformation of meteorology from a "guessing science" into a sophisticated scientific discipline based on physics and mathematics. What made this possible was the development of the electronic digital computer; earlier attempts at numerical weather prediction had foundered on the human inability to solve nonlinear equations quickly enough for timely forecasting. After World War II, the combination of an expanded observation network developed for military purposes, newly trained meteorologists, savvy about math and physics, and the nascent digital computer created a new way of approaching atmospheric theory and weather forecasting. This transformation of a discipline, Harper writes, was the most important intellectual achievement of twentieth-century meteorology, and paved the way for the growth of computer-assisted modeling in all the sciences.