Read e-book online Air: The Restless Shaper of the World PDF

By William Bryant Logan

ISBN-10: 039306798X

ISBN-13: 9780393067989

The writer of Dirt and Oak brings to lifestyles this fastest, such a lot maintaining, such a lot communicative part of the earth.

Air sustains the dwelling. each creature breathes to stay, changing and altering the ambience. Water and dirt spin and upward push, make clouds and fall back, fertilizing the dust. Twenty thousand fungal spores and part one million micro organism shuttle in a sq. foot of summer time air. The chemical experience of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s understanding of its mother’s breast―all happen within the medium of air.

lack of awareness of the air is expensive. The artist Eva Hesse died of breathing in her fiberglass medium. millions have been sickened after Sept. 11 via supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought partly simply because we fill the air with business dusts. With the passionate narrative variety and wide-ranging erudition that experience made William Bryant Logan’s paintings a touchstone for nature enthusiasts and environmentalists, Air is―like the contents of a bag of seaborne dirt that Darwin amassed aboard the Beagle―a treasure trove of discovery. 25 illustrations

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Example text

It assigns a color and color intensity for winds coming from different directions. He would be able to determine velocity to help gauge the severity of the storms, and also whether there were winds blowing in contrary directions. This is what he saw: A thick swath of bright-green air was blowing hard toward the radar. Right beside it, bright-red air was rushing away from the radar. The line between them was sharp, and there was the suggestion of a spinning hook. Such fast, contrary winds could hardly not produce rotation.

Courtesy of the American Meteorological Society) When the dishpan propagated regular and unvarying waves, the only unknown was how big they would be. Once started, they would continue ad infinitum. When the pattern vacillated between making waves of one sort and then waves of another sort, one did not know ahead of time either the size of the wave sets or the period in which they would arrive. Once they had recurred two or three times, however, one could write it all down in equations and be sure that so long as the heating and the rotation did not vary, the pattern would continue indefinitely.

Once the air is done rising, cooling, and dumping its load, it subsides again, both northward and southward, in the subtropical zones, creating very high pressure, little rain, and almost all of the world’s great deserts, including the Sahara and the Gobi. Throughout the dry Sahara and Sahel, small-scale dry ­convection—caused by heating of the ground—raises the dust into the troposphere, literally the “sphere of changes,” where all weather takes place. In other words, a lot of little windstorms—not rainstorms because the air is starved of moisture—lift fine soil and microbes and their spores into the upper air.

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Air: The Restless Shaper of the World by William Bryant Logan

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