Critical Analysis: Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather
Presently, meteorology is defined by the same level of bare-knuckle power as sports as well as politics. In “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather”, Mike Smith appears driven by this understanding. The distinguished author is a globally celebrated meteorologist. He founded WeatherData in mid-1981. Greenleaf Book Group is the book’s publisher. Clearly, Smith seeks to demonstrate how the weather-safe life of the contemporary man is dependent on particular personalities. He seeks to present weather as a pressing concern for humanity. From the book, it is evident that the author is keen on demonstrating the way meteorology has evolved over the recent past. As well, it is clear that the author seeks to demonstrate the changes that have recently occurred with respect to how life-devastating storms are predicted. There are diverse challenges that continue to define storm warning-systems. The book comes off as a passionately written, mystery filled, scientific encyclopedia, which is markedly informative and educative on recent meteorological changes.
In “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather”, Smith gives a fast-paced description of the most remarkable storms that have defined modern times. He explains how the forecasting of weather changes has been transformed into a well-defined scientific discipline from mid-20th century. The narrative given by Smith commences in the 1940s. In the 1940s, weathermen, also known as weather forecasters, were not allowed by the USA Weather Bureau to issue warnings on looming tornados in public. The Weather Bureau disallowed the forecasting of stormy weather since it was concerned that the forecasters would have issued flawed or erroneous information. Smith draws parallels between the banning of storm forecasting by the Weather Bureau in the 1940s and present-day banning of weather radios near or on the control towers of American airports by the Federal Airports Authority.
In “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather”, Smith presents an ample description of the monstrous tornado that occurred in 2007. Notably, the tornado was so strong that it flattened the Greensburg area of Kansas. He explores the incompetence displayed by government agencies in mitigating the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The agencies had been warned of the hurricane. He also decries the lack of proper equipment for carrying out meteorological assignments. For instance, when studying a tornado to give the requisite warnings, a meteorologist may be in a situation where there is “no radar. There were no weather satellite images. The only weather station in the area” is way away (117).
Have scientists been an impediment to the development of the science of weather forecasting? Smith contends and demonstrates that at times scientists, especially meteorologists, are too close-minded to support progress in their professional fields. Smith narrates the struggles that characterized the professional life of Theodore Fujita. Fujita created the renowned tornado severity scale. He struggled to have his microburst results accepted by fellow scientists. Microbursts have been responsible for hundreds of airline-linked deaths.
Smith concisely captures the marked contribution of Fujita in enhancing the utility of meteorology to aviation safety. Smith asserts that the number of lives saved by the “implementation of microburst avoidance procedures in the United States is well over two thousand, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars of aircraft losses prevented” (173). Owing to Fujita’s research works, pilots are now provided with exceptional wind-shear training and support to deal with microbursts effectively and safely.
The book answers many of the commonplace weather-related questions. For instance, it plainly explains the workings of a Doppler radar. It captures the reasons why many media platforms are considerably accurate in their weather reports. The content of “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather” is easy to follow since it is well structured. The 304-page treatise appears like a library of two well-developed accounts: the memoir of Smith’s life and a weather-related scientific document. Overall, the book has 23 chapters. Each of the chapter zeroes in on a specific theme or set of closely related themes. When one goes over each of the chapters, he or she understands how meteorology is strikingly underappreciated although it is close intertwined with the existence of every human population.
The descriptions given by Smith in all the chapters are vivid. For instance, in the chapters in which he explores contemporary meteorology, he presents clear descriptions of particular disasters that have helped drive science onward. The disasters include tornadoes, hurricanes, and weather-linked airline accidents. In the book’s middle and early sections, he helps readers understand the contexts that define numerous critical meteorological developments. Over the years, he has actively participated in bringing forth many of the developments. He describes the developments in a way that communicates the urgency with which human beings should focus on extant meteorological programs.
In the book’s concluding chapters, Smith describes various hurricanes, including Katrina and Andrew. Within his accounts regarding the hurricanes, he skillfully explains how he set up a firm to collect, as well as market, weather-related data. When one reads the section where he describes how the firm came into place, he certainly appreciates him as a person keen on applauding himself, fellow meteorologists, and his friends. He comes off as keen on blaming the USA government for making the professional lives of meteorologists difficult by not supporting them in executing their mandate. In the book’s concluding chapters, Smith expresses markedly harsh views against the government. It appears that Smith confines his narrations to the post-1940s period owing to the actuality that the treatise is his memoir as a professional. The accounts he gives with respect to the creation of warning systems for grave weather conditions appear incomplete. Although the accounts are quite humane, they are considerably anecdotal. Smith provides no index for the book despite its narrow scope.
The language used in the book makes it an amazingly easy-to-read publication. One does not need to have a meteorological background to appreciate the fascinating submissions made in the book. Complex weather phenomena like tornadoes are explained in graphic details for all to understand them. Numerous photographs in the book make it a vivid, interesting treatise. The fascinating nature of the book is amplified by the actuality that it is replete with suspense
Everyone is affected by weather. The book contains information that everyone will find relevant. When one reads it, he or she grows his or her awareness of the recent history of highly disruptive storms and the related warnings. Certainly, individuals who have experienced different weather conditions must find the accounts effective. The book will help them appreciate some elementary weather aspects that they may not have focused on before. Smith presents the aspects in a personal, accurate and historical way. Parents who want their children to become interested in the world of meteorology should find time to read excerpts from the book to their young ones regularly. Unquestionably, reading the excerpts to the children will get them distinctly interested in growing into prominent meteorologists or storm chasers.
In “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather”, Smith gives his audiences fresh perspectives on the need to remain prepared for diverse possibilities. His opinions on government leadership and the related bureaucracy are considerably too strong for the comfort of conservatives. The harsh criticisms that he levels against the government may appear uncalled for to various parties. Although he gives highly illustrative descriptions of the most devastating storms that defined the 20th century, he comes off as voyeuristic. He draws on his audiences’ morbid interest in destruction and death to keep them glued them to the book. Nevertheless, the book expands the present meteorological knowledge frontiers in an elementary way.
Critical Analysis: Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather