THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE by Melvin Berger

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Everyday tasks of the weather observer, radar operator, forecaster, ""hurricane hunter,"" and other meteorological technicians are surveyed to convey an appreciation of ""what goes into preparing those simple sounding weather reports."" Covered in the process are the functions and handling of such tools as the weather balloon, satellite, barometer, even (at some length) the inter-station teletype machine. The attention to office routine is sometimes excessive: ""As each message is finished, the weatherman tears it off. He hangs many of them from hooks or clipboards on the wall. Some he slips into folders. A few, of little interest to the local weathermen, he throws away."" Procedures in making weather maps are closely followed (how blank maps are inserted into a data plotter where a metal arm with a pen attached draws lines on them; how photographs of the maps are then sent over wires on electric machines called facsimiles), but those wavy lines (isobars) that appear on the pictured maps are never mentioned. The black and white photographs, in like manner, show a lot of screens and instruments and men turning dials. In short, this easy once-over provides a clear picture of what the various weathermen do (at a younger level than Bixby's Skywatchers), but only a foggy notion of what it's all about.

Pub Date: June 11th, 1971
Publisher: John Day