And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind

A Natural History of Moving Air


By Bill Streever

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A thrilling exploration of the science and history of wind from the bestselling author of Cold.

Scientist and bestselling nature writer Bill Streever goes to any extreme to explore wind — the winds that built empires, the storms that wreck them — by traveling right through it. Narrating from a fifty-year-old sailboat, Streever leads readers through the world’s first forecasts, Chaos Theory, and a future affected by climate change. Along the way, he shares stories of wind-riding spiders, wind-sculpted landscapes, wind-generated power, wind-tossed airplanes, and the uncomfortable interactions between wind and wars, drawing from natural science, history, business, travel, as well as from his own travels.

And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind is an effortless personal narrative featuring the keen observations, scientific rigor, and whimsy that readers love. You’ll never see a breeze in the same light again.


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And Soon I
Heard a Roaring

Wood-engraved illustration by Gustave Doré from an edition of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner published in 1877 in Germany.


Before Departure

Aboard the sailing yacht Rocinante, the north wind shrieks through rigging. It holds flags taut. It pushes against the boat's hull, and the boat in turn pulls on her dock lines, straining. Dark clouds gallop across the sky.

Eager to begin our voyage but waiting for the norther to blow itself out, I find my mind consumed by wind. It is with me during the day, before I sleep at night, when I awake in the morning. At times, it occupies my dreams.

I do not contemplate mild breezes.

I think of the storm of 1900, with thousands dead in Texas, their bodies buried in rubble and strewn along railroad tracks and floating at sea. I think of the Great Hurricane of 1780 sweeping away more than twenty thousand souls in the Caribbean. I think of a steamship in 1857 encountering an unnamed storm off South Carolina, her crew and passengers in a bucket brigade frantically bailing while the air roared around them, before the sinking vessel took 425 people to their graves. I think of Lawrence Kern in 1930, lifted from the ground by a tornado and found, mortally injured but still alive, a mile away.

I think, too, of Daniel Defoe's storm. Fifteen years before he wrote Robinson Crusoe, in a book often described as an early example of journalism, Defoe wrote The Storm: or, A Collection of the Most Remarkable Casualties and Disasters Which Happen'd in the Late Dreadful Tempest, Both by Sea and Land.

Daniel Defoe's book, often described as an early example of journalism, did not sell well. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

He watched the wind blow day after day for more than a week. And then he watched the wind peak. The storm—though Defoe could not have known this until later, when he collected accounts from witnesses—cut a path three hundred miles wide across England and Wales.

Defoe called it "the greatest, the longest in duration, the widest in extent, of all the Tempests and storms that history gives any account of since." It would become known as the Great Storm of 1703. After three centuries, it is still considered to be England's worst storm.

At first, the wind was not so strong that it could carry a man aloft. If there were no flying debris, a wind like this could be fun. One could lean into it, striking unusual poses. But there was flying debris. Wind-launched missiles killed men and women and children. Defoe himself watched blowing roof tiles hit the ground, embedding themselves, he wrote, "five to eight inches into solid Earth."

As the wind grew in strength, homes shook and threatened to collapse and did collapse, but the prudent and the wise feared the outdoors more than the indoors. "Most People expected the Fall of their Houses," Defoe wrote. "And yet in this general Apprehension, no body durst quit their tottering Habitations; for whatever the Danger was within doors, 'twas worse without."

Even indoors, falling debris claimed lives. One account reported the bishop of Bath and Wells leaping from his bed as the room around him shook. He "made toward the door, where he was found with his Brains dash'd out."

More than one person, feeling a house tremble in the wind, reported an earthquake. But it was the wind.

Impartial, moving air shook churches just as it shook homes. Church bells, unattended, rang. Seven steeples blew down. Where steeples survived, many lost their tops or parts of their tops, sending tiles and bricks and wrought iron crashing down.

Chimneys collapsed. The wind tore rolls of lead sheathing from roofs and sent them on their way. Trees with trunks three feet and more in diameter succumbed. The storm triumphed over oaks and elms and apple trees, not in the hundreds but in the tens of thousands. They were lifted out of the ground, roots intact, and sent flying over fences and hedgerows. They were snapped off at chest height. Their trunks were twisted in ways unknown to carpenters.

Defoe reported the loss of four hundred windmills. Some tumbled, their heavy anchor posts suddenly surrendering, failing under the load. Others burned, their wooden innards ignited by the friction of moving parts rubbing one against the other as their blades spun out of control.

Seawater flew inland, carried in raging gusts. One man reported "Froth and Sea moisture six or seven miles up the Country, for at that distance from the Sea, the Leaves of the Trees and Bushes, were as Salt as if they had been dipped in the Sea, which can be imputed to nothing else, but the Violent Wind." The salt water reached pastures twenty-five miles from the nearest windward coast. "The Grass was so salt, the Cattel would not eat for several Days."

On land, the death toll was surprisingly light. "We have reckoned," Defoe reported, "123 People kill'd."

At sea, it was a different story. At a time when the population of England and Wales hovered around five million, an estimated eight thousand sailors died in that storm.

Offshore, waves washed over decks and smashed through portholes. Ships raced down wave faces, crashing into troughs with an impact that jolted planks and beams and tore at the fasteners that held them together. While sailors fought for their lives, their ships moved beneath them like roller coasters. The sailors did not give up easily. They manned pumps. They cut away rigging and masts to reduce windage. They held on or were lost.

Nearer shore, sailors watched as anchors broke free. They tried to guide their ships away from deadly reefs and rocks, where wooden hulls would be reduced to splinters by pounding seas and where they themselves might be battered to death before they drowned.

The worst of the wind came well after sunset. "The night was exceeding dark," one survivor reported. On deck, sailors could not hear the commands of officers. From the same survivor: "Words were no sooner uttered than they were carried away by the Wind."

And this: "We plainly saw the Wind skimming up the Water, as if it had been Sand, carrying it up into the Air."

Ships, filling with water, sank.

The Royal Navy kept complete records. Three hundred and eighty-seven sailors died with the loss of the Restoration. Two hundred and twenty went down with the Northumberland. Two hundred and six drowned or were otherwise killed with the sinking of the Sterling Castle. Two hundred and sixty-nine were gone with the Mary.

Records from the fishing and cargo fleets were less complete. A man from Brighthelmston in Sussex sent Defoe a letter. His town, he wrote, looked as if it had been bombarded. And then he listed casualties at sea. "Derick Pain, Junior, Master of the Elizabeth Ketch of this Town lost, with all his company. George Taylor, Master of the Ketch call'd the Happy Entrance, lost, and his company, excepting Walter Street, who swimming three days on a mast between the Downs and North Yarmouth was at last taken up. Richard Webb, Master of the Ketch call'd the Richard and Rose of Brighthelmston, lost, and all his Company."

Boats struck the seabed and sank in shallow bays. They settled to the bottom, sometimes with masts and rigging protruding above the water. Upon those protrusions, seamen clung for survival above the churning sea. In deeper water, survivors hugged floating debris, struggled for breath in the blowing spray and foam, and fought exhaustion on a tirelessly moving landscape of waves.

Offshore from Deal, about seventy-five miles east of London, shipwrecked sailors, momentarily spared, found their way to intertidal flats exposed at low tide. On the sand, they weathered the wind as best they could until the tide, rising, carried them away.

In 1703, there had been no forecast. No warnings were posted before the storm hit. And no one could explain the storm.

"Those Ancient Men of Genius," Defoe wrote, "who rifled Nature by the Torch-Light of Reason even to her very Nudities, have been run a-ground in this unknown Channel; the Wind has blown out the Candle of Reason, and left them all in the Dark."

Defoe, like his contemporaries, blamed the storm on God.

Flash forward more than two hundred years. The British Quaker scientist and World War I ambulance driver Lewis Fry Richardson contemplated weather. Like many of his contemporaries, he believed that wind and weather would abide by the rules of physics. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he thought that the rules of physics behind wind and weather could be described in a series of equations. If that was true, tomorrow's weather could be divined by combining simple measurements of today's weather with equations for Newton's laws of motion and the basic principles of thermodynamics. Forecasting could be done without guesswork, without intuition, without the subjective interpretation of weather maps. Human beings—the ones who understood something about hydrodynamics and thermodynamics, the ones who knew how to manipulate numbers—could calculate the comings and goings of storms, calms, and favorable winds. With mathematics, they could see into the future. In 1922, Richardson published Weather Prediction by Numerical Process.

Lewis Fry Richardson, scientist and pacifist, and the first man to calculate the weather. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

The recipe was, in general terms, straightforward. First, lay down a grid dividing the atmosphere into thousands of cells, wrapping the earth in something like a three-dimensional chessboard. Second, populate each cell with data representing current conditions, with data on things such as wind speed, barometric pressure, and temperature. Third, apply the magic of mathematics to understand how each cell in the grid affects its neighbors over a short period of time—say, six hours. Fourth, run the calculations forward to generate a forecast for tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that.

Richardson believed that tomorrow's weather was as foreseeable as the positions of the planets. The mathematics involved, in his view, were not especially difficult. They were merely repetitive.

In his book, Richardson dreamed of "a theater, except that the circles and galleries go right round through the space usually occupied by the stage." In his imagined theater, a map of the earth covered the walls. The ceiling held the north pole. Antarctica sat on the floor. Workstations—one for each of the cells of the forecasting grid—packed the theater. At each station, a person hunched over a pencil and paper and a mechanical calculator or a slide rule. During a time before computers, people employed to crunch numbers were called "computers." Their job was, after all, to compute. More specifically, their job was to compute conditions within their tiny workstation cells and to post the results on signs that their neighbors could read. They would then wait to see results posted by their colleagues, and each person—each computer—would use the results posted nearby to run another set of calculations. And each person—each computer—would do exactly the same thing again and again and again, generating results that would stay ahead of the actual weather by a few days.

Lewis Fry Richardson imagined a vast theater representing the surface of the earth and populated by thousands of workers, each processing the mathematics of the weather in an assigned region and all under the direction of a supervisor in a pulpit guiding the rate of their calculations with beams of light. (Drawing courtesy of Professor Lennart Bengtsson)

Dead center in Richardson's imagined theater, a pillar rose high above the floor. On top of that pillar sat a pulpit. "In this," wrote Richardson, "sits the man in charge of the whole theater; he is surrounded by several assistants and messengers." Richardson imagined that some groups of computers might be more efficient than others, that they might start to race ahead, so the man in the pulpit had to control the rate of the work. If computations in one part of the theater sprung ahead of the rest, he would turn a red light in that direction. If computations in another part of the theater lagged behind, he would use a blue light. He would maintain, as Richardson put it, "a uniform speed of progress in all parts of the globe."

Richardson, considering the number of calculations required, estimated that he would need sixty-four thousand people to make his imagined theater work—sixty-four thousand computers working frantically, day and night, calculating the weather. He knew that such an effort was impractical, that it would never happen. Having spent many years developing his ideas, he was merely allowing himself to imagine what he knew would never be possible. "After so much hard reasoning," he asked, "may one play with a fantasy?"

But aside from the practical issues of crunching numbers, and despite the initial failure of a small-scale test of his mathematical approach, Richardson was convinced that his concept was sound. He was sure that mathematics would allow humans to see into the future—to see tomorrow's weather today.

His belief in the potential of numerical forecasting was vindicated in 1950 not by an actual theater packed with people scribbling calculations under the glow of red and blue lights, but by an early electronic computer. Following the instructions of a handful of scientists armed with punch cards, the computer produced the first successful numerical forecast, seeing into the future a full twenty-four hours.

Flash forward again, to today. Computers have advanced. Numerical models have advanced. Forecasters gaze further into the future.

By radio, television, computer, or smartphone, a weather forecast is close at hand. Often those forecasts show the future unfolding in one-hour increments. Planning a bicycle ride, a walk, a picnic, or a sail? Taking a paragliding lesson, thinking of hauling a sofa across town in the back of a pickup truck, considering Shakespeare in the Park on a cloudy evening? For the best results, check an hourly forecast.

Modern forecasts rely on complex mathematical models and supercomputers. Now, with some reliability, we see weather, including wind, three days into the future. With somewhat less reliability, we see seven or eight days into the future. With luck, and with substantially less reliability, we sometimes see fourteen days into the future.

But even with supercomputers, even with an understanding of atmospheric physics barely imaginable in 1922, it turns out that wind and weather are not as foreseeable as the positions of the planets. It turns out that Richardson's faith in mathematics and a decipherable deterministic world fell short of its initial promise. Forecasters cannot dispense with experience. They cannot always ignore intuition. Forecasters and those who depend on them cannot blindly rely on a future dictated by mathematics. Forecasters offer a taste of the future, a view of the next few days, a glimpse of uncanny accuracy in most parts of the world, but that picture is not mathematically perfect. Sometimes forecasters get it wrong.

And so, aboard the sailing yacht Rocinante, before we cast off, before we begin our voyage, while waiting for the weather to settle, I think about what we do and do not understand about wind. I think about Defoe's storm and a hundred other storms. I think about the scientists who peeled back layers of ignorance, one at a time, most making no more than incremental gains but collectively making sense of our atmosphere and its confusing hyperactivity. I think of the one man whose work showed that the future will be forever uncertain. I think, too, of the beneficiaries of that hard-won science—farmers planting and harvesting crops, pilots planning flights, businesses routing trucks and barges and ships, vacationers, commuters, emergency planners, fishermen, sailors. I think about Wilbur Wright, who watched birds flying in the wind for hours at a time as he designed and redesigned his airplane and who once wrote in his notebook, "No bird soars in a calm." I think of wind turbines springing up like weedy flowers, a sudden energy boom rediscovered, the wind providing enough electricity for eighteen million American homes and jobs for seventy thousand people. And I envision a southern right whale, its twenty-foot-wide tail held high above the water, held up as a sail that catches the wind and pushes the leviathan quietly through the waves.

Chapter 1


Galveston, twenty nautical miles from our dock, was once the most important city in Texas. People called it the Wall Street of the Southwest. Then the storm came. It struck on September 8, 1900, a Saturday. Winds blew at something like 126 knots, or 145 miles per hour. Better estimates would be available if the wind had not carried away the US Weather Bureau’s anemometer.

The nameless storm of 1900—naming hurricanes would not become routine until 1953—swept in and moved on very quickly. Storm warning flags were flying on Saturday morning, but Galveston residents, accustomed to storms, went about their business. By Saturday afternoon, the wind had picked up. By dinnertime, it had reached hurricane strength. And by midnight, the wind was dying.

On Sunday morning, sunshine bathed Galveston through clear skies, and the wind blew at a mere seventeen knots, or twenty miles per hour. But the city was ruined.

The New York Times covered the story. "Reports are conflicting," the paper said, "but it is known that an appalling disaster has befallen the City of Galveston, where, it is reported, two thousand or more lives have been blotted out." The reporter was correct to write "or more." The storm that carried away the anemometer killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people. It destroyed 3,600 homes.

"The citizens," reported the Times, "were all huddled together at the highest points in the center of the town, and consternation and fear reigned almost to the point of madness."

Relief trains attempting to reach Galveston encountered impassable tracks. The prairie across which the tracks ran was covered, according to the Times, with "lumber, debris, pianos, trunks, and dead bodies." The third train to try to reach Galveston reported two hundred corpses within sight of the tracks.

On September 11, the Times quoted a man named G. L. Russ on conditions after the storm: "I will not attempt to describe the horror of it all; that is impossible. When I left Galveston men armed with Winchester rifles were standing over burying squads and at the point of rifles compelling them to load the corpses on drays, to be hauled to barges, on which they are towed into the Gulf by tugs and tossed into the sea."

Looting was a problem. "Ghouls," the Times reported, "stripped dead bodies of jewelry and articles of value."

The people of Galveston rebuilt. Within two years, a three-mile-long seawall was under construction. It grew to a height of seventeen feet. Sand was pumped from the Gulf of Mexico onto the remains of the city, raising its elevation and burying corpses that remained unfound.

The next storm, in 1915, claimed only fifty-three lives. But by then major investments had moved inland, across Galveston Bay. By the 1920s, Galveston had become a place to drink, a version of Bourbon Street on the Texas coast. The hurricane of 1900 had killed thousands and changed the lives of all those who survived.

As we head to sea on this bright morning more than a hundred years after the hurricane, I think about Louisa May Alcott, famous as the author of Little Women. "I am not afraid of storms," she wrote, "for I am learning how to sail my ship." I, too, am learning how to sail my ship, but, unlike Alcott, I am scared to death of storms.

Our voyage to understand the wind has begun. We left the dock early in the morning, casting off only to find ourselves stuck in the mud. The north wind had stolen water from the bay, pushing it out to sea, but the bottom near the dock was soft, and we plowed through, cutting our own channel, eager to put Galveston behind us by early afternoon. Trade winds lie ahead, along with calms and squalls and fronts, jet streams, weather forecasters, sand dunes and wind-sculpted rocks, windmills and wind turbines, climate change, and vortexes of spinning air.

And now, not yet two hours off the dock, Rocinante cuts through the water at the edge of the Houston Ship Channel. It is just the two of us aboard, my wife and myself, my co-captain and I, a crew of two, both new to sailing but both luxuriating in the feeling of our moving boat. We make five knots, about six miles per hour.

Our boat, Rocinante, is a ketch, meaning that she carries two masts, with the aft mast forward of the rudder post. Built in 1965, she has all the problems of age, but also the graceful lines of an older boat, enough so that she attracts compliments. Along with compliments, we field questions about her name. She is named for Don Quixote's horse, an old nag whose delusional rider thinks of her as a steed worthy of a knight.

A muddy tidal current shaves a knot off our speed. A Panamanian flagged tanker, rust-streaked, forces us toward shallow water. We change course, and the foresail needs trimming. My co-captain and I, working together, still learning the ropes, wrap the jib sheet in the wrong direction around a winch. It has to be unwrapped and rewrapped. We get in each other's way. For a moment, our incompetence makes me want to turn back, to come about, to regain the safety and comfort of the dock. But that would be out of character for the crew of Rocinante. We have cast off, and we are going.

With a twelve-knot wind, we sail with Houston astern. Before us lies Galveston Island, and then the Gulf of Mexico, and ultimately Guatemala.

We intend to abandon, for a while, certain conveniences, to discard certain comforts, to live for a time closer to the elements, more exposed. In the coming days, we hope to exchange the mud-infused liquid of Galveston Bay for the blue water of the deep Gulf. The plan is to arc east and then south, bearing more or less straight toward Tampa for a while, then toward Key West, and then straight for the tip of the Yucatán. Our first planned landfall is seven or eight days out, or, moving slowly, maybe ten days out, at Mexico's Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women. From there, with the Gulf of Mexico behind us, we will sail south along the coast to Belize and then Guatemala, where we will head upstream into the protected waters of the Río Dulce, the Sweet River, to hide from next summer's hurricanes.

For experienced cruising sailors, this would be a straightforward voyage. Even experienced coastal sailors who had never before ventured beyond sight of land would not be unduly challenged by such a journey. We are neither experienced cruisers nor experienced coastal sailors. We are rank amateurs foolish enough to have purchased a sailboat, ill prepared for such things as broken equipment and storms. Our plans, some would say our lives, depend entirely on the future weather and, in particular, the wind. We are afloat on an erratic ocean, ignorant of the workings of weather forecasts but entirely reliant on their content.

My co-captain is not troubled by this ignorance. She accepts it, reasoning that we are far from the first to make this short journey. In this regard, she lacks my lack of self-confidence. As for me, I have trouble trusting what I do not understand, and so I suffer in that twilight zone between profound anxiety and blossoming fear. But I will not suffer indefinitely. What better place than a sailboat to learn about wind?

I know the story of wind to be complex. It is a story of more than just forecasting. Wind has shaped commerce. It has won and lost wars. It has carved landscapes, made and consumed fortunes, and allowed the first airplane flights.

There is no single thread. No one scientist can be credited with successfully cracking the mysteries of wind. There was no eureka moment in thinking about wind. The story of wind is as much a story of human beings as a story of science.

The term "stormy" can be and has been applied to the history of the science of wind. It is a relatively short history, spanning not much more than a century, but it is a history of misunderstanding, of wrong turns, of heated debates. At times, controversies became very personal. They changed lives. Controversy led, in at least one case, to the suicide of a prominent and otherwise successful man.

In 1704, Daniel Defoe wrote that wind had blown out the candle of reason. Here, afloat at the bottom of this sea of air, worried about weather in the days ahead, I resolve to ignite that candle within myself and with it cast light upon the dark winds that plague my mind. I intend to learn what I can about the wind, about moving air, about its usefulness, about its dangers, about what it carries, about how forecasters forecast, and about why their vision of next week remains, in these days of supercomputers and big science, so cussedly unreliable.

I am not the first to compare the atmosphere to the ocean, to talk of a sea of air. In a 1644 letter describing a mercury barometer, Evangelista Torricelli wrote, "Noi viviamo sommersi nel fondo d'un pelago, d'aria elementare," or something like, "We live submerged at the bottom of an ocean of the element air." The ocean is a liquid and the atmosphere a gas, but both are fluids, substances without fixed shapes, their molecules casually slipping past one another, unencumbered by strong attachments. Both have considerable depth. Both are, under the right conditions, blue. Both have tides and waves. Both flow with complex currents.

The current caressing Rocinante's hull comes from tides, but currents can also be driven by wind. And this role of wind driving water can be reversed. Water, in changing from vapor to liquid and liquid to vapor, can drive wind, and that is part of the story of moving air. Water is not air, and current is not wind, but water and air interact, their fates often married, one affecting the other.

Water is water, and air is air. Among their differences, one stands out. Liquid water, unlike air, is not easily compressed. Molecules of air can be squeezed together. When concentrated, when bunched together, they try to push away from one another, generating pressure. When less concentrated, when the molecules have elbow room, they no longer push away quite so hard. They exert less pressure.

The atmosphere, the sea of air, has pockets of high pressure and pockets of low pressure that are absent from the more or less incompressible water of the world's ocean. The atmosphere has the highs and lows of weather forecasts. And it is these highs and lows that explain wind.


  • Praise for And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind

    One of USA Today's "NEW AND NOTEWORTHY" Selections

    "The wind is always changeable, whether it's a brisk nor'easter or the shifting tempests of intellectual history. And Soon I Heard Roaring Wind proves that Bill Streever is a master at navigating both."—Sam Kean, author of The Disappearing Spoon
  • "Science, history, and personal adventure come together in a wild and witty exploration of wind. When Streever deals with a natural phenomenon, he does so with aplomb...[he] has a knack for blending his research and personal experience into an easy-to-read account that is hard to put down."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • "Streever covers the science of wind and weather and the history of weather forecasting in an authoritative, well-researched, and engrossing text.... A riveting, detailed look at the power of wind, along with the pleasures and perils of sailing....This page-turning work of narrative nonfiction will appeal to readers interested in the history of science, the history and science of meteorology, the science of wind, and memoirs of life at sea."—Sue O'Brien, Library Journal
  • "Streever's ability to make complex concepts easy to understand while still capturing the awe and mystery of nature is spot-on."—Sarah Grant, Booklist
  • "Clear prose animated by deadpan humor and enthusiasm for all things meteorological.... Streever absorbingly explains the processes that make air move...."—Publishers Weekly
  • "Streever intertwines scientific histories in terms palatable even for laymen. When the going gets technical, Streever is there with an analogy to clarify....He brings the reader an understanding of what's important [about wind, and] along the way, Streever sprinkles in surprises and makes historical connections."—John B. Saul, Seattle Times Sunday
  • Although "few things in life are more ubiquitous than wind," Streever argues that it's "a problem not only for scientists but for the global economy."—Sarah Begley, Time Magazine
  • "Rather than simply being a book about the wind, this is more of a journey through our understanding of weather and our attempts to try to predict what the skies will do...Steever intersperses this historical journey of weather prediction with personal experiences gained during a 43-day journey by sailboat around the Gulf of Mexico, giving readers a feel of the real world impact of winds and storms."—Kit Gillet, Geographical
  • "Streever's voyage under sail from Texas to Guatemala [gives] a breezy immediacy to the story of how we learned to decode 'moving air.'"—Barbara Kiser, Nature Magazine
  • "A biologist and nature writer, Streever approaches meteorology in a way that brings to mind John McPhee's writings about geology, belaboring the text with no more scientific jargon than necessary....This book chronicles key discoveries in meteorology, [and Streever's] gale-force inquiry leads to some fascinating asides....As he unfurls Rocinante's sails, he muses on the development of wind-powered boats, he sails past Portuguese man-of-wars, and through all of this, we meet a motley crew of characters-theorists, philosophers, scientists, inventors, mathematicians-who puzzled and often disagreed bitterly as they sailed into the unknown mysteries of our atmosphere."—Kim Cross, The Dallas Morning News
  • "This is no dry academic text. Rather, [Streever] brings a fresh take on the history of weather forecasting and that devil wind."—The Baltimore Sun
  • "Streever does a fabulous job... a good read"—Captain Bob Solliday, American Sailing Association
  • Praise for Heat

    2014 Nautilus Award Silver Winner

    "An illuminating romp sure to delight connoisseurs of extreme geography and ignite everyone's inner pyromaniac."—David R. Montgomery, author of The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood
  • "In this worthy companion to Cold, Streever is able to mix the pop science, personal experiences, and historic asides into a fun and informative commentary on a subject that few people think about despite its inherent life and death implications."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • "This book, equally engaging and filled with fascinating facts, will appeal to old and young, and likely sell like superheatedcakes."—The Huffington Post
  • "Streever's book is rangy and free-form.... Evocative scientific explanations also punctuate his exploits.... He clearly has an affinity for extremes and a gutsy, undaunted spirit that enlivens both his inquiries and his writing."—Smithsonian Magazine

On Sale
Jul 26, 2016
Page Count
320 pages

Bill Streever

About the Author

Bill Streever is the bestselling and award-winning author of And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind, Cold, and Heat. As a biologist, he has worked on issues ranging from climate change to the restoration of Arctic tundra to underwater noise to the evolution of cave crayfish. With his wife and co-captain, he splits his time between Alaska and their cruising sailboat, currently in Central America.

Learn more about this author