Monday, June 26, 2006

The Cloudspotter's Guide - do not miss

I've just started to read the Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. Seemed a bit off the wall, but I was intrigued by a book review in the Economist. I've read about the various types of Cumulus clouds; these are the nice fluffy fair weather clouds. I've read about the Cumulonimbus, the marvellous anvil shaped storm cloud which can stretch from 2000 feet up to 50000 feet. Gavin gives an exciting explanation of what is going on from a meteorological viewpoint and soothes the flagging intellect with some rather fine anecdotes and cultural cameos. The best example so far is that of Lt. Col. William Rankin who fell 45,000 feet through a rather lively Cumulonimbus - experiencing outrageously low temperatures, pummelled by hailstones, repeatedly lifted by convection currents, a forty minute roller-coaster ride - and still lived to tell the tale. Already I find that skies are better able to grab my attention. Works of art that are easy to take for granted and hardly notice at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment