The Weather Machine: A Journey Inside the Forecast

The Weather Machine: A Journey Inside the Forecast

by Andrew Blum


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From the acclaimed author of Tubes, a lively and surprising tour of the infrastructure behind the weather forecast, the people who built it, and what it reveals about our climate and our planet

The weather is the foundation of our daily lives. It’s a staple of small talk, the app on our smartphones, and often the first thing we check each morning. Yet behind these quotidian interactions is one of the most expansive machines human beings have ever constructed—a triumph of science, technology and global cooperation. But what is this ‘weather machine’ and who created it? 

In The Weather Machine, Andrew Blum takes readers on a fascinating journey through an everyday miracle. In a quest to understand how the forecast works, he visits old weather stations and watches new satellites blast off. He follows the dogged efforts of scientists to create a supercomputer model of the atmosphere and traces the surprising history of the algorithms that power their work. He discovers that we have quietly entered a golden age of meteorology—our tools allow us to predict weather more accurately than ever, and yet we haven’t learned to trust them, nor can we guarantee the fragile international alliances that allow our modern weather machine to exist.

Written with the sharp wit and infectious curiosity Andrew Blum is known for, The Weather Machine pulls back the curtain on a universal part of our everyday lives, illuminating our relationships with technology, the planet, and the global community. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062368614
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/25/2019
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 543,658
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Andrew Blum's writings about architecture, design, technology, urbanism, art, and travel have appeared in numerous publications, including Metropolis, where he is a contributing editor; Wired; Newsweek; the Wall Street Journal; the New Yorker; the New York Times; Vanity Fair; BusinessWeek; Slate; and Popular Science. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Part 1 Calculation 9

1 Calculating the Weather 11

2 The Forecast Factories 31

Part II Observation 43

3 The Weather on Earth 45

4 Looking Down 61

5 Going Around 81

6 Blasting Off 93

Part III Simulation 109

7 The Mountaintop 111

8 The Euro 121

9 The App 145

10 The Good Forecast 157

Part IV Preservation 163

11 The Weather Diplomats 165

Acknowledgments 183

Notes 185

Selected Bibliography 197

Index 199

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