The Weather Machine

A Journey Inside the Forecast
Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed author of Tubes, a lively and surprising tour of the infrastructure behind the weather forecast, the people who built it, and what it reveals about our climate and our planet

The weather is the foundation of our daily lives. It’s a staple of small talk, the app on our smartphones, and often the first thing we check each morning. Yet behind these quotidian interactions is one of the most expansive machines human beings have ever constructed - a triumph of science, technology, and global cooperation. But what is this "weather machine" and who created it? 

In The Weather Machine, Andrew Blum takes listeners on a fascinating journey through an everyday miracle. In a quest to understand how the forecast works, he visits old weather stations and watches new satellites blast off. He follows the dogged efforts of scientists to create a supercomputer model of the atmosphere, and traces the surprising history of the algorithms that power their work. He discovers that we have quietly entered a golden age of meteorology - our tools allow us to predict weather more accurately than ever, and yet we haven’t learned to trust them, nor can we guarantee the fragile international alliances that allow our modern weather machine to exist.

Written with the sharp wit and infectious curiosity Andrew Blum is known for, The Weather Machine pulls back the curtain on a universal part of our everyday lives, illuminating our relationships with technology, the planet, and the global community.  

©2019 Andrew Blum (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great information on the models, lacking on observational data

I was hoping this book would not only detail the historical perspectives and data on weather models, but also cover critical observations on things like radar along with innovations in radar technology used for many extreme weather events. While the former was covered in depth, I can only recall the word “radar” being used once or possibly a handful of times in context of a satellite, and was never spoken of again. This is a great book if your interest is specifically in a more in-depth background of weather models, but it’s lacking in anything relating to observational challenges and specific weather events.

1 person found this helpful

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Good, could have been great

It was interesting to hear the history of weather forecasting, though I had hoped to learn more about how weather works. That wasn't the point of the book which could have been called The Weather Forecasting Machine. The models self-correct and sync with better and better data from more and more elaborate weather stations, they balance local resolution with temporal reach, and we visit with the author a historic weather station, and done in the cafeterias of the modem European Mecca of weather forecasting. Satellites feed these models. Efforts for weather prediction rely on and createsl international cooperation. I thought it was odd not to reflect on what climate change means for weather forecasting, as I've heard It said that "crazy weather is the new norm." But mainly I had expected to learn more about weather itself... that's for the sequel I hope ...

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Overall boring

An hours worth of material crammed into 5. The history is interesting, but when I see and experience the result of current weather forecasting, including that of the Hysterical Channel (Sorry, I meant the Weather Channel) which uses the European Model, much lauded in this audio, I don't see any change over the last 60 years.

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waste of money

this book talked nothing of the weather and its components. it goes into great detail about what the European weather service office looked like. waste of money

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Good view on basic’s

Nice historic view, glad I listened, but listened to ‘18 miles’ first t obtain a great basis.

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Very well done

An incredibly interesting read on modern and historical weather prediction methods. Well researched and explained. Great for anyone who wonders how weather is predicted. A very good reader too.