Amid Boston Overdose Crisis, a Pair of Harvard Students Are Bringing Narcan to the Red Line


At First Cambridge City Council Election Forum, Candidates Clash Over Building Emissions


Harvard’s Updated Sustainability Plan Garners Optimistic Responses from Student Climate Activists


‘Sunroof’ Singer Nicky Youre Lights Up Harvard Yard at Crimson Jam


‘The Architect of the Whole Plan’: Harvard Law Graduate Ken Chesebro’s Path to Jan. 6


MAN AND WEATHER, by Alexander McAdie. Abbott Lawrence Rotch Professor of Meteorology and Director of the Blue Hill Obserfatory. Harvard University Press, Cambridge 1926

By Professor ROBERT Dec. ward

"MAN and Weather" comprises a series of six essays upon a variety of subjects of general meteorological interest. The six chapters are essentially the author's Lowell Institute lectures of somewhat over a year ago. Professor McAdie has the faculty of writing in a pleasant, easy style. His attractive little volume of a hundred pages should stimulate an interest in meteorological phenomena and their many human relations. Anyone who gives an hour to the reading of these essays will realize that the science of the atmosphere is by no means altogether made up of a mass of difficult physical and mathematical problems. Plenty of such problems there certainly are, awaiting solution by highly-trained physical and mathematical meteorologists. There are also plenty of simple observations that can be made without technical training, such, for example, as the study of the forms and movements of clouds. As our author well says, "the wonderful thing about clouds is that you do not have to pay to see them: one does not even have to travel abroad to see them. Nearly every form can be seen by one who watches, even from a city bedroom window."

Numerous examples of the influence of weather upon military and naval operations are cited n the essay entitled "The Strategy of Weather in War," including not only the older "stock" examples but also several from the Great War. Professor McAdie was Senior Aerographic Officer, U. S. N. R. F., of the Nary during the War, and trained a considerable number of officers at Blue Hill for aerographic work overseas. "Weather in Peace," "The Structure of the Atmosphere," "Clouds, Fogs and Water Vapor," "Lightning," and "Droughts, Floods and Forecasts," are the subjects of the other five essays. There is thus a considerable variety of subjects, and each chapter contains many items of popular interest. For example, we learn something about "frost fighting" in California; the value of expert testimony on the part of the meteorologist in law-suits; the importance of weather forecasts in railroading and in industry; the real facts in connection with Franklin's famous kite experiments, simple rules of protection from lighting. The essential facts in our present understanding of the structure of the atmosphere are vividly illustrated by considering the atmosphere as a six-story building.

It is, perhaps, unfortunate that Professor McAdie has here and there given prominence to certain of the new units, such as the new Blue Hill temperature scale and the Kilobar. The sentence (p.48), "in five minutes the ballon was a mile high, the pressure 840 Kilo bars, the temperature 1060, or there had been a fall of 30 Kilograds," certainly conveys very little to the average reader unless he thinks rather intensely and makes his conversions himself before he proceeds to the next sentence. Yet professor McAdie is well-known as an ardent advocate of these new units, has fought a hard battle for their adoption, and naturally does not want to let any opportunity slip by without having another shot at his target.

While, in the opinion of the reviewer, the volume would have served its purpose better had these new units, and the discussion regarding the aurora, for example, been omitted, most of the discussion is simple and easily understood, and the book should stimulate an interest in atmospheric phenomena among those who do not care to make a real study of the subject. Some beautiful half-tones, mostly of clouds, but also including a few of frost, fog, and lightning and an especially good one of a corona, certainly add to the interest of the book. The press-work and the binding, it is hardly necessary to add, are above reproach.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.