Ways of the Weather: A Cultural Survey of Meteorology

By W. J. Humphreys | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
WEATHER MUSIC

Like titles in this one, too, lacks a lot of making clear all it is meant to imply, that is, the effect of the state and condition of the atmosphere on the distribution of sound, and the kinds of sounds that are induced by this or that sort of weather, or are associated with it. In short, "weather music" is here meant to cover exactly the same field as does "meteorological acoustics" in its widest sense, but in a less formidable manner than that which would be necessary if one stopped to prove anew the correctness of every assertion by the strait-jacket logic of mathematics. Nevertheless, every statement made has had either just such proof, or the verification of experiment, or both.


THE SPEED OF SOUND

Observation shows us that while the noise made by a hammer, for instance, that we ourselves are wielding seems to be simultaneous with the blow, that made by a hammer half a mile away lags far behind the stroke. Naturally, this arouses the interest of any healthy boy, or of any one else, for that matter, whose curiosity bump has not atrophied. And so measurements were made long ago to determine how fast sound travels in the air. But the discovery that this was about 1,100 feet per second, and the same in every direction, when the air is still, did not remain an isolated and sterile fact, for immediately the inquisitive boy (a scientist is a boy who has never outgrown his curiosity) wanted to know why sound had this velocity in air, whether this velocity is the same for all sounds, whether it is the same at different temperatures, different pressures and different humidities, and whether it is the same for all gases, and a thousand other "whethers," some of which even yet are not fully answered, nor, of course, will that be the end of the matter when they are.

-250-

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Ways of the Weather: A Cultural Survey of Meteorology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface *
  • Contents *
  • Chapter I - Weather Perceptions 1
  • Chapter II - Weather Measurements 19
  • Introduction 19
  • Chapter III - The Atmosphere: Origin And Composition 47
  • Chapter IV - Structure of the Atmosphere 71
  • Summary 89
  • Chapter V - Distribution of Temperature 90
  • Chapter VI - Distribution of Water Vapor 113
  • Chapter VII - Distribution and Changes of Atmospheric Pressure 133
  • Chapter VIII - Wind 150
  • Chapter IX - Precipitation 172
  • Chapter X - Atmospheric Electricity 210
  • Chapter XI - Weather Music 250
  • Chapter XII - Atmospheric Optics 272
  • Chapter XIII - Climate, Present and Past 294
  • Chapter XIV - Weather Control 323
  • Chapter XV - What of It? 336
  • Chapter XVI - Meteorological Mileposts 357
  • Index 393
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