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Tying Down the Wind takes readers on a voyage of discovery through the atmosphere, a swirling ocean of air that surrounds and sustains life. The journey begins in a sunny New England...
Tying Down the Wind takes readers on a voyage of discovery through the atmosphere, a swirling ocean of air that surrounds and sustains life. The journey begins in a sunny New England woodlot and ends atop the polar ice of Antarctica—where we learn, remarkably, that the two extremes are not so different.
What triggers changes in the weather? How are tornadoes, thunderstorms, heat waves, and blizzards all related? Tying Down the Wind supplies the answers, and invites you to experience the excitement of the world’s worst weather in the comfort of your own home...or car.
Drawing on the author’s experiences at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Tying Down the Wind revisits the devastating Northeast Ice Storm of 1998, takes readers on a snow-blind walk through a Berkshire blizzard, and describes the impact of a 54,000-
degree lightning bolt just a few yards away.
|PART I: AN OCEAN OF AIR||3|
|1. Born in the Belly of the Sun||5|
|3. A Ladder to the Sky||35|
|4. Fire in the Sky||42|
|5. Music of the Spheres||53|
|6. Fresh Air||61|
|7. Calling the Clouds Names||70|
|PART II: SEASONS||83|
|8. Tiptoeing Through Autumn||85|
|10. Snow and Ice||100|
|11. Cold Spring||114|
|12. The Invasion of Summer||128|
|13. Spirit of the Winds||139|
|PART III: EXTREME MEASURES||153|
|14. Tying Down the Wind||155|
|15. The Big Wind||166|
|16. Dancing the Tango with Mother Nature||177|
|17. Adventures in Weather||185|
|18. Going to Extremes||195|
|19. Chasing the Sun from Pole to Pole||206|
MARK TWAIN ALWAYS HAD PLENTY TO SAY ABOUT THE weather, particularly New England weather. "Cold!" he once wrote. "If the thermometer had been an inch longer we'd all have frozen to death."
Perhaps his most famous quotation is a phrase he borrowed from Charles Dudley Warner, a Hartford, Connecticut, newspaper editor, in 1897: "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."
Twain wasn't the only one who thought that way. An old joke still making the rounds in the North Country (which humorist Bill Bryson recalls in A Walk in the Woods) is about how winter seems nine months long, followed by "three months of not-so-good sledding."
I've lived in the Northeast all my life, through heat waves and blizzards, thunderstorms and freezing rain, so I'm no stranger to the vagaries of weather. But even as a child I always wanted to know more. In answer to Mr. Sam Clemens' complaint, I didn't want just to talk about the weather--I wanted to do something about it.
"What is wind?" is a question I first asked myself--with the intent of writing about it--while walking through a woody corner of Massachusetts on a frosty autumn evening at the age of 24, listening to invisible breezes sift and surge through the pine branches. This book is the end result of my attempt to find the answer.
IN THE SPRING of 1995, I left Massachusetts and seized an opportunity to investigate the wind like never before. Where better to study the science of meteorology than on a rime-crusted mountaintop at an observatory devoted specifically to that purpose? So I journeyed to a summit where the wind never stops howling and snow falls in July.
My intention was to stay for only a season (the "not-so-good sledding" one, which most people call summer). Little did I know that for years to come I would live there and once almost die there.
Something in the wind gripped my imagination and refused to let go.
Posted December 27, 2000
There seem to be more and more weather books hitting the stands these days. However, finding one that is a great mix of well crafted prose intertwined with the science of meteorology makes for a great read. From his perspective on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire where some of the world's worst weather is born, to the dynamics created the sun's core Eric does a very effective job of putting the weather puzzle together in a tightly written story. From the casual weather observer to the myriad of weather junkies around the world, this book offers everyone the ever looks up, both answers and questions still to ponder.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.