Read The Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney Bill Sanderson Online

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A quirky, clever guide for everyone who loves to look up. Where do clouds come from? Why do they look the way they do? And why have they captured the imagination of timeless artists, Romantic poets, and every kid who's ever held a crayon? Journalist and lifelong sky watcher Gavin Pretor-Pinney reveals everything there is to know about clouds, from history and science to aA quirky, clever guide for everyone who loves to look up. Where do clouds come from? Why do they look the way they do? And why have they captured the imagination of timeless artists, Romantic poets, and every kid who's ever held a crayon? Journalist and lifelong sky watcher Gavin Pretor-Pinney reveals everything there is to know about clouds, from history and science to art and pop culture. Cumulus, nimbostratus, and the dramatic and seemingly surfable Morning Glory cloud are just a few of the varieties explored in this smart, witty, and eclectic tour through the skies. Generously illustrated with striking photographs and line drawings featuring everything from classical paintings to lava lamps, children's drawings, and Roman coins, The Cloudspotter's Guide will have science and history buffs, weather watchers, and the just plain curious floating on cloud nine....

Title : The Cloudspotter's Guide
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780399532566
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Cloudspotter's Guide Reviews

  • Nathan
    2019-01-08 02:24

    The challenge of science writing is making an abstract description of the motion of water particles relevant to a monkey whose language evolved to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is. Pretor-Pinney has managed to do something I'd have bet was impossible: make clouds interesting. Before I read this book, clouds were a mess of undifferentiated Latin words and undifferentiated puffy shit in the sky. Now I look up and see physics made incarnate. It's like I've been given a superpower. Now *that's* science writing!The author pulls off this improbable task by finding a hook to hang each cloud from. None are as mind-boggling as the second chapter, cumulo-nimbus, where the hook is a pilot who had to bail from an experimental airplane ... through one of those monster thunderhead storm clouds. The conditions he experienced inside the cloud are the tangible manifestation of the physics behind the scenes.Ten minutes into his descent, Rankin should have been reaching the ground, but the enormous draughts of air that surged up the core of the cloud were retarding his fall. Soon the turbulence became much more severe. He had no visual point of reference in the gloomy depths but he sensed that, rather than falling, he was being shot upwards with successive violent gusts of rising air–blasts that were becoming increasingly violent. And then for the first time he felt the full force of the cloud.‘It came with incredible suddenness–and fury. It hit me like a tidal wave of air, a massive blast, fired at me with the savagery of a cannon…I went soaring up and up and up as though there would be no end to its force.’ Rankin wasn’t the only one being hurled up and down. In the darkness around him, hundreds of thousands of hailstones were suffering the same fate. One minute they were falling downwards, dragging air down with them; the next minute, they were swept back up by the enormous convection currents within the cloud.With this falling and rising, the hailstones picked up freezing water and grew in size, hardening layer by layer like gobstoppers. These rocks of ice pelted Rankin with bruising force. He was now vomiting from the violent spinning and pounding and he shut his eyes, unable to watch the nightmare unfolding. At one point, however, he did open them to find himself looking down a long black tunnel burrowing through the centre of the cloud. ‘This was nature’s bedlam,’ he said, ‘an ugly black cage of screaming, violent, fanatical lunatics…beating me with big flat sticks, roaring at me, screeching, trying to crush me or rip me with their hands.’ Then the lightning and thunder began.The lightning appeared as huge, blue blades, several feet thick, which felt as though they were slicing him in two. The booming claps of thunder, caused by the explosive expansion of the air as the enormous electrical charge passed through, were so overpowering up close that they were more like physical impacts than noises. ‘I didn’t hear the thunder,’ he said, ‘I felt it.’ Sometimes he had to hold his breath to avoid drowning from the dense torrents of freezing rain. At one point he looked up just as a bolt of lightning passed behind his parachute. It lit up the canvas, which appeared to the exhausted pilot as an enormous, white-domed cathedral. As the image lingered above him, he thought that he had finally died.With headings like "how it feels to be a hailstone" and a look at the Renaissance representations of clouds in art, he manages to take his subject seriously while never losing track of the mystery and wonder that causes people to look at clouds in the first place. Highly recommended.

  • Aad
    2019-01-04 05:28

    Beberapa tahun lalu, kami berbaring berdampingan di atas rumput kering di atas sebuah bukit kecil. Kami meneliti dan sesekali menghitung awan ala kadarnya. Sebuah walkman memutar rekaman suara serangga saat musim panas. Rekaman itu dikirim oleh seseorang jauh di seberang sana yang selalu rutin setiap tahun mengirim satu kaset rekaman suara serangga. Kami sudah sering bilang bahwa di negara kami tak ada musim panas, hanya ada hari-hari panas dan gerah sepanjang tahunnya. Tapi orang di seberang itu menganggap keluhan kami sebagai sebuah peluang besar untuk mendapatkan orang-orang yang mau mendengarkan hasil kerja sampingannya sebagai perekam suara-suara alam. Dan anehnya, setiap rekaman itu datang kami selalu segera mendengarkannya dengan khusuk hinggga selesai.Seseorang yang berbaring di sebelahku berkata "Lihat awan sebelah sana itu. Itu cumulus, awan berbentuk bunga brokoli di langit biru musim kemarau. Musim kemarau sepertinya membuat langit subur dengan cumulus."Aku tersenyum. Mengangguk setuju."Untuk awan aku lebih menyukai nimbostratus. Awan yang menyelimuti langit menjadi kelabu dan menurunkan hujan tenang dan sangat lama, tanpa ada gemuruh suara guntur. Aku tak menyukai cumulonimbus dengang angin kencang, hujan deras bergemuruh dan tentu saja petir yang terus menyambar-nyambar. Cumulonimbus selalu berisik yang paling menjengkelkan."Bagiku, stratus-lah yang paling kusukai. Awan terendah yang biasanya menyelimuti kotaku saat pagi yang sering disebut kabut. Awan yang turun perlahan saat malam karena udara dingin di bagian bawah, kemudian awan itu akan naik perlahan ke atas menjelang siang dan menjadi altostratus kalau mereka bisa berkumpul cukup banyak. Altostratus: Selimut putih cukup tebal yang membuat sinar matahari menjadi redup. Beberapa awan itu mungkin sebagian akan terus naik ke atas dan membentuk tirai putih tipis bernama cirrostratus. Stratus, altostratus, cirrostratus, beberapa selimut awan yang selalu bermain dengan ketinggian dan selalu bisa menggelitikku untuk mendongak."Hei! Kenapa kau diam saja?" orang di sampingku menoleh ke arahku."Menurutmu bagaimana dengan awan-awan yang lain?""Aku juga menyukai stratocumulus, awan itu seperti kumpulan cumulus yang berkerumun di sisi-sisi langit dan sedang membicarakan sesuatu dengan seru, mereka seperi sedang bergosip ria. Untuk altocomulus, selalu membuatku berpikir tentang biri-biri. Bulatan-bulatan awan itu membuatku bertanya siapakah yang menggembalakan mereka di padang langit saat mereka muncul. Kemudian cirrocumulus, selalu seperti hasil seseorang kurang kerjaan yang menaburkan butiran-butiran gandum di hamparan langit," Dia mengeluarkan buku dari kantung celananya. Membalik beberapa halaman, mencoba mencari sesuatu. "Dan cirrus," dia membaca yang ada di buku catatannya, "awan yang selalu seperti goresan vertikal lembut sebuah kuas yang menghasilkan lengkung-lengkung indah rangkaian dinginnya kristas-kristal es. Awan yang membuat langit seperti kanvas dan selalu menyediakan hamparannya untuk menampung setiap polesan." Dia menutup bukunya. Suara rekaman serangga masih terdengar."Kau sudah menemukan nama untuk tempat imajinasimu?"Dia menggeleng. "Tapi aku menciptakan sesuatu yang baru di sana.""Mahluk baru lagi?""Bukan. Aku menumbuhkan sebatang dandelion. Dandelion itu sangat besar sehingga setiap bijinya bisa dinaiki oleh siapapun. Setiap tahun akan kupilih beberapa mahluk dan mereka harus menaiki bunga dandelion yang sudah akan mengering. Saat ada angin berhembus maka mereka yang kupilih akan terbang menaiki biji dandelion yang tertiup angin. Di manapun mereka mendarat, mereka akan bertemu jodoh mereka dan mereka akan hidup bahagia selamanya.""Terdengar seperti pengusiran yang sopan.""Aku hanya ingin mereka bahagia."Jeda cukup lama. Aku masih memikirkan kenapa dia masih belum bisa menemukan nama untuk tempat imajinasinya. Sebuah tempat berkumpulnya mahluk-mahluk merana dan kesepian ciptaannya."Sudah ada pilihan namakah?""Mungkin lebih baik tempat itu tak bernama. Tanpa nama tempat itu akan mudah untuk dilupakan. Mereka yang meninggalkan tempat itu pasti bisa cepat lupa kalau mereka pernah tinggal di sana."Sebuah jeda, lebih lama.Suara rekaman serangga berhenti. Kami berdiri lalu berjalan menuruni bukit. Di bagian bawah bukit, dia tiba-tiba duduk, menyisihkan rambut hitam panjangnya yang menutupi wajahnya ke telinga. Dia mendekatkan wajahnya ke bunga dandelion. Satu tiupan dan bunga itu berhamburan gembira menelusuri hembusan nafasnya. Dia tersenyum.Kami pulang.Dan mungkin aku adalah salah satu mahluk ciptaannya yang selalu menolak untuk pergi dari tempat imajinasinya yang tak bernama.Selamanya.Aku pun tersenyum.

  • Stephanie
    2019-01-04 03:26

    It's been a while since I enjoyed a book so much. I was initially attracted by the cover design; once I saw what the book was about, my interest increased somewhat, but was still on the mild side. Once I got a chapter or so in, I was totally hooked: Gavin Pretor-Pinney's passion for his subject is contagious, and he has written what could have been a dry scientific tome with humor and a fine eye for the right stories to tell. However, don't let all this distract from the factual information at hand: he gives easy to follow explanations for how various kinds of clouds form, and one page "cheat sheets" on each kind of cloud -- how to identify it, how do you know it's not another kind of cloud, and what the various varieties are. Though the pictures -- contributed by Cloud Appreciation Society members -- are mostly black and white, they amply illustrate the clouds and associated features. A science book that anyone can appreciate.

  • Ints
    2019-01-20 05:31

    Ieteiktu izlasīt visiem cilvēkiem, kuriem patīk raudzīties mākoņos. Mākoņi nemaz nav tik vienkārši pūkaini radījumi, kādi tie izskatās no apakšas. Viņi ir daudzveidīgi un katrs no viņiem var zinātājam pastāstīt kaut ko par to, kas notiek virs mūsu galvām. Lai ar viņi ir saklasificēti smuki pa plauktiņiem, mākoņu vērotājam iesācējam pietiek tikai paskatīties dabesīs un saprast, ka viss ir daudz sarežģītāk. Debesīs praktiski nekad nav tikai viena tipa mākoņi un reizēm pat ir grūti atšķirt Cumulonimbus no Stratocumulus, sevišķi ja tev lietus jau līst uz galvas. Uzzināju milzīgu jaunu informācijas apjomu. Pēc mākoņiem var labi paredzēt laika apstākļus (būs jāpatestē vai arī mūsu piejūras klimatā tas strādā). Taču vistrakākais ir tas, ka nu man ir obligāti jātiek uz Bruketown Austrālijā, lai redzētu vienu no retākajiem mākoņiem pasaulē Morning Glory. Izlasījis grāmatu tagad uz mākoņiem skatos ar pavisam citu aci.

  • Frazzock Noir
    2019-01-04 04:47

    There aren't many books that cause you to behave differently after reading them. For me clouds were always a disappointing sight; they stood as a closing statement to an ecstatic run of beautiful Summer days, or a disappointing ceiling hindering my morning optimism. As soon as I saw them I chose to ostracize and disregard them until they had slipped away silently overnight, but just as ignorance causes us to be suspicious of those we know nothing about, my ignorance of the many forms of water going about it's daily business and disregarding it's poetic splendour stopped me from appreciating the skies above us. Now I understand and find myself watching the sky endlessly, with both scientific and artistic wonder. Even Constable and Turner paintings have a whole new meaning. Have a read, it'll change your outlook forever...and it's in such a nice sleeve as well

  • Drew Pyke
    2019-01-07 05:49

    This was an intense book, looking at each of the 10 clouds as separate chapters and in great detail but interspersing it with anecdotes about clouds in general and a few chapters in the end for more miscellaneous aspects (and a trip he made to Australia to see the "Morning Glory" cloud.Sometimes I got lost whilst others I was galvanised (especially when it came to the basics of cloud formation with land thermals reaching cool regions of the troposphere to form denser water droplets).I reckon you can quite easily remember just 3 clouds and you'll see then every day ("wispy" cirrus, "cauliflower" cumulus and the "blanket" stratus) but that isn't too say the others are not interesting, I just personally found it too much to keep as excited all the wag through the 300 pages.

  • Fatima
    2018-12-26 03:45

    This book ranks high amongst those that have influenced my life. I am now constantly looking at clouds, trying to figure out what they are, how they were formed, where they are going, what weather they will cause. Beautifully written, Pretor-Pinney makes poetry out of clouds; he waxes eloquently on a subject he is clearly intensely passionate about. To make that passion so infectious is a gift. I am a geographer, also passionate about much of earth science, and have read many books on a range of earth-science related topics. This is one of the few that ranks as a literary work. It is a perfect mix of science, fable and wonder. Read it. Open your eyes and mind to the skies above.

  • Book Soup
    2019-01-20 03:35

    Good stuff, but tricky to put down and pick up. If I had a solid chunk of time to luxuriate in this, I am sure it would be 4 stars. Great information interspersed with engaging stories connected to clouds. I am still plowing along with great satisfaction.--Caroline

  • Molly Christensen
    2018-12-25 01:33

    This is how I wish ALL science books were written. Incredibly fascinating info with all the history and culture and the difficult science principles were explained very clearly. I only gave it 4 stars simply because it took me a really long time to read (had to think a lot more than usual!)

  • Sam Barry
    2019-01-09 03:51

    This is one of those books you didn't think you wanted to or needed to read, but once you have, you're glad you did.

  • ConnieKuntz
    2018-12-26 03:25

    I started this four months ago in January. I checked it out from the library. I loved it from page one, but it was hard for me to (a) remember all the detail and (b) move on after I did learn the detail. I renewed the library book until I was no longer allowed to do so. I returned it and then whined about my loss for a week. Jesse then surprised me with my own copy of the book, which I now take with me everywhere I go. The author, a Brit, writes beautifully and scientifically about clouds. He includes many poets and artistic references, and uses graphs, lava lamps, and comics to help the reader understand clouds. He discusses which clouds are "thunderclouds" and the difference between snow grain and hail. Hint: snow grain doesn't bounce. (Tell me your pulse doesn't quicken after learning a little tidbit like that! It doesn't? Well, how about this: Fog and mist are actually stratus clouds! Tell me that doesn't make your heart pound. I won't believe it, I won't!Ahem and excuse me. It is still difficult for me to quickly identify clouds, but I am much better than where I started four months ago. I hope you find a copy of this book. It is filled with scientific and artistic insight into clouds and I highly recommend it. Signed,Why do altocumulus clouds always remind me of Jesse's dad?

  • KemalToprakçı
    2019-01-09 02:36

    Bulutlarla aram bugüne kadar hiç iyi olmadı. Bunda bir amatör bir astronom olmamın da etkisi büyüktü tabii. Bulutlar, bazen hevesle dürbün veya teleskobunuzu alıp gözleme çıkmışken birden bütün gözlemi berbat edebilirler. Öyle ki, amatör astronomlar birbirlerine "bulutsuz gökler" dilerler. Ancak bu kitap ile bulutlara ne kadar haksızlık ettiğimi görmüş oldum. Kitap, benim gibi içinde bulutlara adeta kin besleyen birine bile bulutları sevdirebildiyse, bu alana meraklı kişilere yaşatacağı heyecanı düşünemiyorum.

  • Siri
    2019-01-03 23:50

    Hey, I finally finished this book! It's been my bathroom read for, what...one year?So *mild spoiler* on p. 261 of this paperback, there is a picture of a bunch of scientists from General Electric labs (circa 1946) peering over a cloud seeding chamber. One of them, the book casually mentions, is named Bernard Vonnegut. If you're like me, part of you continues reading, and the other part of your brain goes, "*Bernard* Vonnegut?! And he looks like Kurt Vonnegut! I wonder if they're related!" Well, this is the kind of author who tells you (six pages later) that oh yes, by the way, that was Kurt's brother AND Kurt worked at GE Labs for a brief time in the PR Dept. ...AND the chemical process in Cat's Cradle bears a strong resemblance to the actual process of cloud seeding that Bernard was working on. I was giddy with glee by that point. *end mild spoiler*This author goes off on many interesting asides, and interjects a lot of his own personal warmth and humor into what could be a very dry book on the wet woollies of the sky. And something tells me Gavin Pretor-Pinney would make an excellent quizzo player.

  • Juliet Wilson
    2019-01-17 01:44

    This book takes each cloud type in turn and gives the details of what it typically looks like, where and when it can found and what type of precipitation (snow, heavy rain, hail, drizzle etc) it gives rise to. It also outlines some tips on weather forecasting by describing how one type of cloud can become another.Alongside all the science the author makes it clear that clouds are to be appreciated for their beauty (apart perhaps from stratus, the low, dull, misty cloud that even the most ardent cloud appreciator has been known to describe as boring).He also has plenty of stories to share about clouds, including that of Lt Col William Rankin a US Air Force pilot who had to eject from his plane above a storm cloud and spent 40 minutes being buffetted by the weather as he fell through a storm.This is a totally fascinating book for anyone who is interested in our 'little fluffy friends' as Pretor-Pinney calls them. I think I'll need to read it a few times though before I can be sure of telling the difference between some of the cloud types let alone starting to forecast the weather!

  • dirt
    2019-01-01 03:52

    "Clouds are nature's poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them," remarks Gavin Pretor-Pinney in the Cloudspotter's Guide. Pretor-Pinney is founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society and cofounder of Idler magazine. What better way to idle time away than looking up at the sky? This book delves in everything cloud related. The author explores how clouds have been viewed differently throughout history and across cultures as well as the science behind cloud formation. The writing does get technical at points and it can be difficult to wrap your head around the finer details, but that only makes you appreciate clouds even more. Thankfully the meticulous verbage is punctuated with Pretor-Pinney's quests to the fish market to find which mackerel is the "mackerel sky" and to Australia to see the rare and mysterious Morning Glory.Clouds truly are magnificent creatures that deserve our gratitude.[http://www.cloudappreciationsociety.org]

  • Steve Mitchell
    2019-01-04 22:31

    This is a delightful little book that is written in such an enthusiastic fashion that anybody could enjoy Gavin Pretor-Pinney’s prose; not just members of the Cloud Appreciation Society. The science portions of the book are centred on humorous anecdotes tenuously linked to the subject matter so that any layman will not get buried in a landslide of facts, figures and equations. Some of the portions of this book are seriously laugh out loud funny. The format of the book makes it an ideal candidate for keeping in the smallest room or reading a couple of pages in bed before switching off the bedside light each night. If I had to criticise it, I would say that the black and white photos do not do justice to the subject matter, and not every single type of cloud mentioned within the text is illustrated; but that does not detract enough for me not to give this book full marks.

  • Lili
    2019-01-06 03:53

    Imagine you are me, just for a moment, rambling around Half Price Books looking for some new and exciting book to read. At the time I was in the mood for something science related, low and behold I find The Cloudspotter's Guide! This book is a work of sarcastic genius, it takes a subject that a lot of people probably don't care about and makes it really interesting. I love Meteorology, but do on many occasions get frustrated by dry, scientific, texts. This book combines the author's love of clouds, incredible wit, science, and history into a beautiful guide to the sky. I mean really, who actually needs sunshine when you have clouds?

  • sisterimapoet
    2019-01-09 02:48

    I took my time over this book because I wanted to savour it. I wanted to read it on afternoons where there were clouds in the sky, easier enough in England, but hard on some days to find some sky to go with those clouds.This book was given to me by a dear friend with scientific fascination. I can’t say now that I have finished the book that I can accurately identify all the different clouds. And I couldn’t tell you precisely how each is formed. But I have gained a great appreciation for their variety and personality. This is an informative but for me more importantly a delightfully poetic book about the nature of the sky above, which we so often underlook.

  • Ketil Moland
    2019-01-22 23:45

    The Cloudspotter's Guide is not only a walkthrough of the different types of clouds with their related optical phenomena, it is also a rich collection of anecdotes and "fun facts" related to the weather. Gavin Pretor-Pinney writes humorous and metaphorical, making it much easier for the reader to remember all the details. As a paragliding pilot I found the chapters on cumulus, cumulonimbus and altocumulus clouds particularly interesting - not to mention the rare phenomenon "The Morning Glory", which is every glider pilot's dream. I would recommend this book to everybody - even those not particularly interested in clouds. Because this book will make you interested.

  • christina
    2019-01-22 23:32

    Yes, the lack of color plates is distressing. However Gavin Pretor- Pinney's writing on clouds is so engaging and obviously heartfelt that I am changing my rating to five stars. I am composing a letter to Mr. Pretor- Pinney's in my mind about the low lying stratus cloud that are a true cloud lovers nemesis. The anti-cloud watching cloud indeed!

  • me.lita
    2019-01-22 04:47

    Bahagiaaaa bisa berjodoh sama buku ini... sukak pake banget... karena buku ini membahas tuntas segala hal tentang awan..

  • Reija
    2019-01-05 02:40

    I have falling in love with clouds, so much that even we had clear blue sky I secretly wished some cloulds.

  • Kate
    2019-01-10 22:49

    From mountains to fountains.“Beyond the clouds, the sun never stops shining.”“Rain is the sky condescending to the earth.” –J.U.

  • Singleton Mosby
    2019-01-10 21:40

    A wonderfull introduction into the world of cloud-spotting.

  • Pat
    2019-01-13 02:28

    very informative and fun too

  • Michael J Winegar
    2019-01-18 22:45

    This book changed my life. I've always been a lover of the skies but being able to name a cumulus humilis or a cirrus vertebratus when I see it has added a new dimension of joy to my life.

  • Adam
    2019-01-25 03:41

    Perfect book to read outside under the clouds.

  • Skis
    2018-12-31 23:28

    I loved this book. The science communication was amazingly accessible, funny, and succinct. I feel like I learned a lot and I will never look at clouds the same way again. That being said I did roll my eyes at some of the humour, which was very Boys Own at points.However, I will definitely be reading this book again, and I hope to one day know the clouds as intimately as the author.

  • Kelly Stevens
    2019-01-12 22:26

    I loved this delightful book! Helps that I was in Iceland while reading and seeing amazing clouds. I've studied meteorology and knew much of the science but still learned a few things and appreciated all the history, anecdotes, and literature references in this book.

  • Stuart Champion
    2018-12-27 23:26

    Very interesting indeed. Earlier chapters were fascinating, but I did get a bit lost/bored in chapter 8-10. The contrails and Morning Glory chapters rescued it for me though, so overall a very good book.I already appreciated clouds, and this book helped me understand why :)