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Skies of Fury:
Ever used a cricket as a thermometer? It's pretty easy, really: when it's 60 degrees F, crickets apparently chirp 72 times a minute. For every 4 chirps over that, add a degree; for every four under, subtract a degree. That's just one of the many bizarre facts that veteran science writer Patricia Barnes-Svarney and her naturalist husband Thomas Svarney managed to uncover, verify ("relatively speaking," in the case of the crickets), and report in their sweeping survey of the "power and weirdness" of weather. With more or less equal coverage of basic meteorological principles and the more showy, sensational side of weather, Skies of Fury serves as an entertaining and approachable primer on the subject for everybody from aspiring young scientists to Weather Channel-watching armchair meteorologists.
Beginning with a straightforward discussion of earth's "weather engine"--the influence of the sun, the patterns of convection cells, the interaction of winds, the importance of the water cycle--Skies of Fury proceeds to dissect and catalog every major meteorological phenomenon, from the different types of clouds and lightning strikes to F5 tornadoes and billion-dollar hurricanes. The authors pack a lot of facts into this relatively breezy (sorry) and readable book, leaving you well-armed to go out and scout the skies yourself. (And you'll even know precisely what those big red Hs and blue Ls mean on the Weather Channel.) --Paul Hughes [via]