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We live at the bottom of an ocean of air – 5,200 million million tons, to be exact. It sounds like a lot, but Earth's atmosphere is smeared onto its surface in an alarmingly thin layer – 99 percent contained within 18 miles. Yet, within this fragile margin lies a magnificent realm – at once gorgeous, terrifying, capricious, and elusive. With his keen eye for identifying and uniting seemingly unrelated events, Chris Dewdney reveals to us the invisible rivers in the sky that affect how our weather works and the structure of clouds and storms and seasons, the rollercoaster of climate. Dewdney details the history of weather forecasting and introduces us to the eccentric and determined pioneers of science and observation whose efforts gave us the understanding of weather we have today.
18 Miles is a kaleidoscopic and fact-filled journey that uncovers our obsession with the atmosphere and weather – as both evocative metaphor and physical reality. From the roaring winds of Katrina to the frozen oceans of Snowball Earth, Dewdney entertains as he gives readers a long overdue look at the very air we breathe.
1. Stormy with a Chance of Life: The Improbable Birth of Our Atmosphere
2. The Wild Blue Yonder: The Layers of the Atmosphere
3. Cloud Nine: Inside the Misty Giants above Our Heads
4. The Poem of Earth: Rain
5. The Secret Life of Storms
6. Katrina: The Life Story of a Hurricane
7. Palace of the Winds
8. Which Way the Wind Blows: The Story of Weather Forecasting
9. Apollo's Chariot: The Seasons
10. A Cold Place: Winter and the Ice Ages
11. Climate Change Past and Present
12. Weather That Changed History
Postscript: Fire, Water, Earth, Air
Appendix: Measurement Conversions
Christopher Dewdney is the award-winning, bestselling author of four books of nonfiction and eleven books of poetry. A four-time nominee for the Governor General's Award, he won the CBC Literary Competition for poetry and has been awarded the Harbourfront Festival Prize. Christopher lives in Toronto, where he teaches writing at York University.
"With wit and a humbling sense of wonder, this is a book that can be shared and appreciated by a wide audience who now religiously check their phones for daily forecasts."
– Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"This terrific, accessible, and exciting read helps us to better understand the aspects of weather and the atmosphere all around us."
– Library Journal, Starred Review
"As the author of 11 volumes of poetry, Dewdney brings a distinctive lyrical quality and playful wit to his prose that's missing from most mainstream science books."
– Booklist online
"A brilliant and witty journey into our national obsession."
– The Globe and Mail