THE WEATHER MACHINE
A new book from the author of Tubes
“Andrew Blum’s new book, The Weather Machine, asks us to pause and marvel at the globe-spanning networks of collaboration required to turn the weather from something we experience to something we can predict.” (The New Yorker)
“[A] vivid account of the history and evolution of the modern daily forecast . . . [Blum] is a sharp analyst and engaging guide, adept at translating difficult concepts in meteorology and computer science for the uninitiated.” (The Economist)
Listen to Andrew on Weekend Edition Sunday with Lulu Garcia-Navarro.
From the acclaimed author of Tubes, a lively and surprising tour of the infrastructure behind the weather forecast, the people who built it, and what it reveals about our climate and our planet
The weather is the foundation of our daily lives. It’s a staple of small talk, the app on our smartphones, and often the first thing we check each morning. Yet behind these quotidian interactions is one of the most expansive machines human beings have ever constructed—a triumph of science, technology and global cooperation. But what is this ‘weather machine’ and who created it?
In The Weather Machine, Andrew Blum takes readers on a fascinating journey through an everyday miracle. In a quest to understand how the forecast works, he visits old weather stations and watches new satellites blast off. He follows the dogged efforts of scientists to create a supercomputer model of the atmosphere and traces the surprising history of the algorithms that power their work. He discovers that we have quietly entered a golden age of meteorology—our tools allow us to predict weather more accurately than ever, and yet we haven’t learned to trust them, nor can we guarantee the fragile international alliances that allow our modern weather machine to exist.
Written with the sharp wit and infectious curiosity Andrew Blum is known for, The Weather Machine pulls back the curtain on a universal part of our everyday lives, illuminating our relationships with technology, the planet, and the global community.
Praise for The Weather Machine
“This fascinating book reveals the existence and origins of surely one of our species’ greatest creations, and Andrew Blum is the perfect writer to share both the remarkable human stories and the astonishing technical wizardry behind it all.”
— Mark Vanhoenacker, bestselling author of Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot
“Andrew Blum is a master of revealing the hidden systems behind technologies we take for granted. In the “The Weather Machine,” he takes on the daily forecast, and the result is deeply researched, tightly written, compulsively readable, and totally fascinating.”
— Seth Fletcher, author of Einstein’s Shadow: A Black Hole, a Band of Astronomers, and the Quest to See the Unseeable
"Sharp, stylish and often surprising. In this absorbing book Andrew Blum tracks the development, from wild dream to astonishing reality, of the quietly revolutionary technology that shapes our everyday lives.”
— Peter Moore, Author of The Weather Experiment: The Pioneers Who Sought to See the Future.
“A bright look at weather forecasting ... A solid popular account with plenty of quirky detail about this ‘new way of seeing into the future.’”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Exhilarating … A hurricane-force tour of one of the most astonishing but under-appreciated facets of the modern world”
— Lewis Dartnell, author of Origins
“A lucid and approachable guide to the satellites, scientists, and supercomputers that make up the forecasting system we so often take for granted.”
“With infectious curiosity and spirit, The Weather Machine is an engaging foray into the ingenuity that built the modern science of weather prediction.”
— Shelf Awareness