ISBN-10:
0262517353
ISBN-13:
2900262517354
Pub. Date:
01/31/2012
Publisher:
MIT Press
Weather by the Numbers: The Genesis of Modern Meteorology

Weather by the Numbers: The Genesis of Modern Meteorology

by Kristine C. Harper

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Overview

Weather by the Numbers: The Genesis of Modern Meteorology

The history of the growth and professionalization of American meteorology and its transformation into a physics- and mathematics-based scientific discipline.

For much of the first half of the twentieth century, meteorology was more art than science, dependent on an individual forecaster's lifetime of local experience. In Weather by the Numbers, Kristine Harper tells the story of the transformation of meteorology from a “guessing science” into a sophisticated scientific discipline based on physics and mathematics. What made this possible was the development of the electronic digital computer; earlier attempts at numerical weather prediction had foundered on the human inability to solve nonlinear equations quickly enough for timely forecasting. After World War II, the combination of an expanded observation network developed for military purposes, newly trained meteorologists, savvy about math and physics, and the nascent digital computer created a new way of approaching atmospheric theory and weather forecasting.

This transformation of a discipline, Harper writes, was the most important intellectual achievement of twentieth-century meteorology, and paved the way for the growth of computer-assisted modeling in all the sciences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900262517354
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 01/31/2012
Series: Transformations: Studies in the History of Science and Technology
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Kristine C. Harper is Kristine C. Harper is Associate Professor of History at The Florida State University in Tallahassee. In 2007-2008, she was a Fellow at the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow.

Jed Z. Buchwald is Director of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology and Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

What People are Saying About This

Paul N. Edwards

Between 1945 and 1965, digital computers revolutionized weather forecasting, transforming an intuitive art into the first computational science. Deeply researched and beautifully written, Weather by the Numbers delivers the definitive account of this exceedingly important story, filled with complex, well-drawn characters, political maneuver, risky physics, and creaky new technology.

James Fleming

Kristine C. Harper illuminates the 'genesis' of numerical weather prediction,its 'exodus' from weather bureau captivity, and its arrival at the edge of adigital 'promised land.' Her ordering and 'numbering' of the meteorologicaltribes is anchored in archival sources and enlivened by her sense of a goodstory.

Endorsement

Kristine C. Harper illuminates the 'genesis' of numerical weather prediction,its 'exodus' from weather bureau captivity, and its arrival at the edge of adigital 'promised land.' Her ordering and 'numbering' of the meteorologicaltribes is anchored in archival sources and enlivened by her sense of a goodstory.

James Fleming, Department of Science, Technology, and Society, Colby College

From the Publisher

"Kristine C. Harper illuminates the 'genesis' of numerical weather prediction, its 'exodus' from Weather Bureau captivity, and its arrival at the edge of a digital 'promised land.' Her ordering and 'numbering' of the meteorological tribes is anchored in archival sources and enlivened by her sense of a good story."
James R. Fleming , Department of Science, Technology, and
Society, Colby College

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