Review: Understanding Weatherfax

4 Star, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Sailing

WeatherfaxReally great book, part of the whole picture,

May 16, 2007

Mike Harris

I bought this book in preparation for an advanced mariner's meteorology course, and could not have made this comment without having first gained that higher level of knowledge.

This is a suberb book. It provides superb information about the weather fax, including an excellent and easily portable manual for the various symbols. It has two areas for improvement:

1) It sticks to the two-dimensional depiction of weather that is common to the average person. Although there are a couple of illustrations showing altitude, the author could easily have put in a few pages on the rotation of the earth, the 500 mb level, and how weather on the surface cannot be understood without underestanding what is happening at the 18,000 level. As my instructor put it, the high-level troughs are the chicken that hatches the surface level (scrambled) egg.

2) It does not make the connection, at least that I could see, between the vital importance of making your own observations at 00 and 12 Zulu, so that when you finally receive the weather fax six or seven hours later, you can compare reality with what was provided. This also applies to forecasts–you can keep them, compare your own observations as the time passes, and get a sense of the difference.

Add the above, and read “Mariner's Guide to the 500-Millibar Chart” by Joe Stenkiewicz and Lee Chesneau, and Google for <Lee Chesneau> to find his web site, and you'll have all you need to move to the better three-dimensional interactive viewing of weather and weather charts.

I also recommend The Weather Wizard's Cloud Book: A Unique Way to Predict the Weather Accurately and Easily by Reading the Clouds

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