Ways of the Weather: A Cultural Survey of Meteorology

By W. J. Humphreys | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
METEOROLOGICAL MILEPOSTS

By the expression "meteorological mileposts" is here meant those circumstances and discoveries that have notably contributed to our knowledge of what Sir Napier Shaw so aptly has called "the air and its ways." What the first of these mileposts was is now, and must remain, a matter of only conjecture, as must also the date of its erection. Certainly, though, one of the earliest, if not the very first that deserves to be considered, was the observation that certain kinds of weather commonly soon follow this or that phenomenon of some other sort. Thus was begun sign meteorology, independently begun, but unequally developed, in many different parts of the world, and by different peoples--Babylonians, ancient Greeks, Hebrews, and many more. So long, and in so far, as these signs were restricted to the appearance, state and condition of things inanimate they were, and they still are, of far greater value than would be a mere guess in foretelling the weather of the next few hours, or even of the next day. In fact they constituted the only means by which it was possible to obtain any foreknowledge whatever as to what the early coming weather probably would be. Like an open book they were legible alike to potentate, prince and pauper, though generally the pauper understood them best. And today the woodsman and the fisherman read these warnings with a keener appreciation and a clearer understanding than does the veriest savant, litterateur or financier. Such help a weather-wise fisherman, for instance, could be to an admiral what time his meteorological officer, unskilled in interpreting the skies, can get no map to read, nor the data for making one --the very time the enemy is near and a foreknowledge of the approaching weather most needed!

Forecasts based on the appearance of the sky, the carry of sound, the welling on the ocean shore, tautness and laxness

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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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