Chapter

Maps, Instruments, and Weather Wisdom

in Predicting the Weather

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780226019680
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226019703 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226019703.003.0006
Maps, Instruments, and Weather Wisdom

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This chapter focuses on the visual tools and products of meteorology in an attempt to explore the ideas about precision. Meteorologists experimented eagerly with maps, charts, and cloud cameras, especially from the 1860s on, as new technologies of printing and photography emerged. By analyzing the development of visual methods in relationship to ideas about weather wisdom, the chapter examines forms of knowledge that challenged those of instrument and number. Maps built bridges to a model of knowledge known as weather wisdom, a term for the popular, apparently intuitive insight of sailors and shepherds that seemed to succeed where government weather forecasting failed. Because they embodied the intersection of popular and conventionally scientific approaches to the study of the weather, maps and their counterparts offered a different kind of history of precision.

Keywords: maps; weather study; weather wisdom; forecasting; scientific approach; precision

Chapter.  22556 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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