Authors of the Storm: Meteorologists and the Culture of Prediction

Hardcover | June 1, 2007

byGary Alan Fine

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Whether it is used as an icebreaker in conversation or as the subject of serious inquiry, “the weather” is one of the few subjects that everyone talks about. And though we recognize the faces that bring us the weather on television, how government meteorologists and forecasters go about their jobs is rarely scrutinized. Given recent weather-related disasters, it’s time we find out more. In Authors of the Storm, Gary Alan Fine offers an inside look at how meteorologists and forecasters predict the weather.

Based on field observation and interviews at the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, the National Weather Service in Washington, D.C., and a handful of midwestern outlets, Fine finds a supremely hard-working, insular clique of professionals who often refer to themselves as a “band of brothers.” In Fine’s skilled hands, we learn their lingo, how they “read” weather conditions, how forecasts are written, and, of course, how those messages are conveyed to the public. Weather forecasts, he shows, are often shaped as much by social and cultural factors inside local offices as they are by approaching cumulus clouds. By opening up this unique world to us, Authors of the Storm offers a valuable and fascinating glimpse of a crucial profession.

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Whether it is used as an icebreaker in conversation or as the subject of serious inquiry, “the weather” is one of the few subjects that everyone talks about. And though we recognize the faces that bring us the weather on television, how government meteorologists and forecasters go about their jobs is rarely scrutinized. Given recent we...

Gary Alan Fine is professor of sociology at Northwestern University and the author of numerous books, including Everyday Genius: Self-Taught Art and the Culture of Authenticity; With the Boys: Little League Baseball and Preadolescent Culture; and Shared Fantasy: Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds, all published by the University of Ch...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:June 1, 2007Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226249522

ISBN - 13:9780226249520

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface

Introduction

1          On the Floor

2          A Cult of “Science”

3          Futurework

4          Writing on the Winds

5          Ground Truth

6          A Public Science

7          Weather Wise

Notes

Index

Editorial Reviews

"Anyone interested in the organizational life of the NWS or curious about how local offices operate will find plenty of material and insight in Authors of the Storm. The book could serve as a useful adjunct text for courses that deal with meterology as a profession and it certainly deserves a place in the libraries of universities with meteorology programs. For those studying the sociology of science . . . Authors of the Storm provides a unique and rewarding look at a group of public servants that are too often taken for granted."