Books  General Natural History  History of Science 

History of the Meteorological Office

By: J Malcolm Walker

468 pages, 79 b/w photos

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Dec 2011 | #194140 | ISBN-13: 9780521859851
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NHBS Price: £113.00 $138/€127 approx

About this book

Malcolm Walker tells the story of the UK's national meteorological service from its formation in 1854 with a staff of four to its present position as a scientific and technological institution of national and international importance with a staff of nearly two thousand. The Met Office has long been at the forefront of research into atmospheric science and technology and is second to none in providing weather services to the general public and a wide range of customers around the world. The history of the Met Office is therefore largely a history of the development of international weather prediction research in general. In the modern era it is also at the forefront of the modelling of climate change. This volume will be of great interest to meteorologists, atmospheric scientists and historians of science, as well as amateur meteorologists and anyone interested generally in weather prediction.


1. Seeds are sown
2. Statistics and storms
3. Inquiry and criticism
4. The fight over forecasts
5. Squalls and settled spells
6. The emergence of science
7. A decade of change
8. The Great War
9. The inter-war period
10. The clouds of war
11. Aftermath of war to forecasting by numbers
12. Global meteorology
13. Winds of change

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Malcolm Walker was an academic at Cardiff University from 1967 to 1998, first as a Lecturer, then, from 1983, as Senior Lecturer and, from 1996, Deputy Head of Department of Maritime Studies and International Transport. He was Education Resources Manager of the Royal Meteorological Society from 1998 to 2007. He is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and a Member of the American Meteorological Society. He co-authored "The Ocean-Atmosphere System" (Longman, 1977, with A. H. Perry). He chaired the Royal Meteorological Society's History Group from 1989 to 1999 and again from 2007 to the present. He was awarded the Group's Jehuda Neumann Memorial Prize in 2001 and the Royal Meteorological Society's Outstanding Service Award in 2007. Since 1980 he has had a strong scholarly interest in the history of ideas in meteorology and physical oceanography and the people behind those ideas. He has published numerous articles and lectured many times on this subject.

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