Jet Stream by Tim Woollings [7/10]

Assessing, modelling, and predicting the global impacts of anthropogenic warming is, of course, almost impossibly complex, and one of the complexities is our very air, the atmosphere, sloshing around in barely decipherable configurations. In “Jet Stream,” a marvel of compact storytelling and explication, meteorologist Tim Woollings explains to us one crucial element of our understanding, a “river” of fast-moving eastward air over five kilometers above our heads, whizzing around the equator. Woollings posits a weather balloon journeying around our planet in the jet stream, and he artfully uses stopping points – in the Caribbean, in Africa, in Asia, in the Americas – to explain to us the weather, the climate, and the history of climatology. 195 pages is all it takes to bring the reader up to scratch (albeit an information-dense position that forced me to think hard). And the author’s prose sings! If you’re at all interested in weather, climate, and our fate, Jet Stream is an epitome of elegant science writing.

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