By: Kerry Emanuel
304 pages, 111 color illus., 92 halftones and line illustrations
Imagine standing at the center of a Roman coliseum that is 20 miles across, with walls that soar 10 miles into the sky, towering walls with cascades of ice crystals falling along its brilliantly white surface. That's what it's like to stand in the eye of a hurricane. In Divine Wind, Kerry Emanuel, one of the world's leading authorities on hurricanes, gives us an engaging account of these awe-inspiring meteorological events, revealing how hurricanes and typhoons have literally altered human history, thwarting military incursions and changing the course of explorations. Offering an account of the physics of the tropical atmosphere, the author explains how such benign climates give rise to the most powerful storms in the world and tells what modern science has learned about them. Interwoven with this scientific account are descriptions of some of the most important hurricanes in history and relevant works of art and literature. For instance, he describes the 17th century hurricane that likely inspired Shakespeare's The Tempest and that led to the British colonization of Bermuda. We also read about the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, by far the worst natural calamity in U.S. history, with a death toll between 8,000 and 12,000 that exceeded the San Francisco earthquake, the Johnstown Flood, and the Okeechobee Hurricane combined. Boasting more than one hundred color illustrations, from ultra-modern Doppler imagery to classic paintings by Winslow Homer, Divine Wind captures the profound effects that hurricanes have had on humanity. Its fascinating blend of history, science, and art will appeal to weather junkies, science buffs, and everyone who read Isaac's Storm.
'...excellent photographs and satellite images of hurricanes and their dramatic impact. Anyone wanting to know the current state of our scientific understanding of hurricanes should get hold of this attractively produced book. 'Divine Wind' is the best introduction to hurricanes that I have come across.' Andrew Robinson, THES Other books have dealt with the historical accounts with more depth, but the overall effect of those in Divine Wind is unique. A pioneering hurricane researcher, Emanuel presents the science at a level that is not too technical for non-specialists, yet is sufficient to describe the basic physics with few equations. Howard B Bluestein, Nature
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