What's in a cloud? What separates a tropical storm from a winter blizzard? And what exactly is El Nino? Elliot Rappaport, a professional captain of traditional sailing ships, has spent three decades at sea, where understanding weather could be the difference between life and death. In Reading the Glass, he offers a sailor's-eye view of the moving parts of our atmosphere and unveils the larger patterns it holds: global winds, storms, air masses, jet streams, and the longer arc of our climate.
Told through a series of tall ship voyages, Rappaport's narrative takes readers from the icy seas of Greenland to the Roaring Forties, places where one can experience all four seasons in an hour. He navigates the turbulent waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, en route to storied port cities of the Mediterranean. In the vast tropical Pacific, he crosses the equator, where heat, moisture, and unsettled winds churn out powerful squalls, and drops anchor in isolated ports of call. He explores wide swathes of ocean to explain how the trade winds have carried ships westward for centuries, and how ancient Polynesian explorers pushed back the other way.
Written in stunning prose, brimming with wisdom, curiosity, and humour, Reading the Glass brilliantly blends science and memoir to reveal how weather has shaped our oceans, our history, and ourselves.
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Date of Publication: 30/03/2023