Thursday, August 2, 2012


The weather
is often a subject for discussion, especially lately with a dry-grass summer and our teasing monsoon rains. Are the local weather patterns changing? If so, what can we expect?

The books below will help you learn more about the atmospheric ocean that envelops us all and the currents in that ocean that we call "weather" - both the everyday and the phenomenally unusual.

Skywatch: The Western Weather Guide by Richard A. Keen

"Provides an understanding of how weather actually works. Richly illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, maps and drawings, Skywatch covers such phenomena as fronts, jets, cyclones and whirlwinds. Learn how to build your own home weather station and how to read weather maps. Compare the climates from dozens of sites throughout the West - from the heights of Pikes Peak in Colorado, to below sea level in Death Valley. Nontechnical and easy to understand, Skywatch will make a 'weather nut' of every reader." - from the book jacket

The Handy Weather Answer Book by Walter A. Lyons, Ph.D.

Frequently Asked Questions about weather, organized by concept. What are crepuscular rays? Browse and find out! From the same folks who brought you The Handy Science Answer Book.

Contents:  Weather Fundamentals - Instruments and Observations - The Upper Atmosphere and Beyond - Clouds - Hurricanes and Tropical Storms - Thunderstorms, Floods, and Hail - Lightning and Thunder - Optical Phenomena - Tornadoes - Cold and Winter Storms - Heat and Humidity - Earthquakes and Volcanoes - Air Pollution and the Environment - Weather and the Human Body - Weather Forecasting - Climate Change - Careers in Meteorology

 Freaks of the Storm: From Flying Cows to Stealing Thunder, the world's strangest weather stories by Randy Cerveny

We've all heard the stories: people and livestock picked up by tornadoes but deposited safely, boards blown through posts, absurdly big hail, "rains of blood". How many are true? Weather expert Randy Cerveny collects the strangest stories and reveals the truth and the science behind them.

From Booklist:
"In October 1947, in Marksville, Louisiana, hundreds of fish were falling from the sky. In November 1915, in Great Bend, Kansas, a tornado picked up five horses that landed unhurt a quarter mile from their barn. During a hurricane in 1938 along the eastern seaboard, residents discovered chickens with their feathers completely plucked by the wind. In Udall, Kansas, in 1955, a local barber was thrown out of bed, through a window, and into the street. He did not wake up. Cerveny, a professor who specializes in weather and climate, drew on his database of 8,000 recorded events to explain these occurrences. There are chapters on tornadoes, lightning, hail, rain, hurricanes, snow, wind, dust devils, and water spouts. He chronicles the oddest weather extremes (136 degrees in El Azizia, Libya, in 1922, and 129 below zero at the Russian research facility in Antarctica in 1983). The official world's record for a one-minute rainfall is 1.23 inches on July 4, 1956, in Avondale, Maryland. Cerveny's stories will captivate readers, or frighten them, or maybe a little of both." George Cohen Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

If you believe some people, weather is becoming apocalyptically destructive. Other people maintain that there are just more people on the planet to be affected by extreme weather and our pervasive media makes us more conscious of it.

Whichever way you lean, the chances are that sometime in your life you will be affected by extreme weather, if only a heat wave or a winter storm. National television meteorologist Bonnie Schneider interviewed a wide variety of experts to get you the most practical and straightforward information about the challenges weather can offer us and how to cope with them.

This book helps you analyze the likelihood of your being affected by different types of weather and gives you guidelines to handle scenarios whether in a car, outside, at work, on a boat, or at home. Extreme Weather also provides checklists to help you be prepared to protect your family and home should extreme weather occur.

The heated debate about climate change and global warming continues.  (Pun intended, but the arguments are indeed sometimes very vigorous.)  The consensus of the scientific community is that global warming is occurring, with a significant portion of the affect attributable to human activity. But a very vociferous group counters that this is just a misinterpretation of natural cycles, and part of an alarmist "hoax."

The questions remain: Is our planet growing warmer? Is this part of a natural cycle? How much of the change can be attributed to human activities? What can we do about it?

After one of the hottest and driest summers in New Mexico's recorded history, it is hard not to come down on the side of those who maintain that our climate is shifting. But the debate continues, with new publications coming out at both poles of the discussion.

Inform yourself with these library resources, and draw your own conclusions.

Browse titles regarding weather

A link to a map showing current wind patterns
over the continental U.S., based on information
from the National Digital Forecast Database:

Wind map

Fascinating and educational, hypnotic and captivating!
Don't be surprised if you become lost in it...

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