Magazine article The New Yorker

Forecast Party

Magazine article The New Yorker

Forecast Party

Article excerpt

In December of 1802, a shy thirtyyear-old British amateur meteorologist named Luke Howard delivered a modestly titled lecture--"On the Modifications of Clouds"--that would forever alter how we look at the sky. In the course of his presentation, Howard revealed to his rapt, unsuspecting audience that, taking cues from Lamarck and Linnaeus, he had named the clouds, applying a workable taxonomy to the fluffy, ineffable forms that had long preoccupied natural philosophers, farmers, and daydreamers. The language of cumulus, cirrus, stratus, and nimbus was first spoken that winter night nearly two hundred years ago, as Richard Hamblyn reveals in his forthcoming THE INVENTION OF CLOUDS (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). Hamblyn also includes lore from the annals of nephology--the study of clouds--going back to ancient Greece, where weather bulletins ("the shoulders of Virgo are rising") made for popular, if not quite Doppler 4000worthy, reading. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.