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  • Published: 15 May 2016
  • ISBN: 9780099581673
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $30.00

The Weather Experiment

The Pioneers who Sought to see the Future

This is the story of our greatest obsession: a gripping account of the sailors, scientists and inventors who sought to understand the weather

The Sunday Times bestseller. An astonishing account of the sailors, scientists and inventors who sought to understand the weather.

**Book of the Week on Radio 4**

'Gripping' The Times

'Exhilarating' Sunday Times

In an age when a storm was evidence of God's wrath, pioneering meteorologists had to fight against convention and religious dogma to realise their ambitions. But buoyed by the achievements of the Enlightenment, a generation of mavericks set out to unlock the secrets of the atmosphere.

Meet Luke Howard, the first to classify the clouds, Francis Beaufort, quantifier of the winds, James Glaisher, explorer of the upper atmosphere by way of a hot air balloon, Samuel Morse, whose electric telegraph gave scientists the means by which to transmit weather warnings, and at the centre of it all Admiral Robert FitzRoy: master sailor, scientific pioneer and founder of the Met Office.

Peter Moore's exhilarating account navigates treacherous seas, rough winds and uncovers the obsession that drove these men to great invention and greater understanding.

  • Published: 15 May 2016
  • ISBN: 9780099581673
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $30.00

About the author

Peter Moore

Peter Moore is an itinerant hobo who is lucky enough to be able to support his insatiable travel habit (he has visited over 100 countries on his travels) through writing. He is the author of several acclaimed travel books – The Wrong Way Home, The Full Montezuma, Swahili for the Broken-Hearted (shortlisted for the WHSmith People's Choice Travel Book Award) and Vroom with a View as well as the classic alternative travel guide, No Shitting in the Toilet. When he's not on the road living out of his senselessly overweight backpack, he alternates between London and Sydney with his collection of souvenir plastic snow domes and Kinder Surprise toys.

Also by Peter Moore

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Praise for The Weather Experiment

Richly researched, exciting... It is both scientific and cultural history, of prizewinning potential and as fresh and exhilarating throughout as a strong sea breeze.

James McConnachie, Sunday Times

Superbly researched and grippingly written... Moore is at least as interested in the personalities and their rivalries, and the sheer spendour and catastrophies of weather itself - storms and shipwrecks, heatwaves and floods (all vividly described) - as by the science. And he weaves it together, deftly picking up threads left dangling in earlier chapters, darting across continents, embracing swashbuckling sea captains and fastidious bureaucrats, penny-pinching politians and mad inventors, with as sharp an eye for eccentricity, absurdity and tragedy as for genius. The result is a panorama of the entire Victorian era.

Richard Morrison, The Times

The Weather Experiment is a genuinely gripping read and demonstrates how scientific ideas can come ahead of the time

Gavin Pretor, 4 stars, Mail on Sunday

Moore is the rare science writer who can describe dew point so poetically you feel you’re with him in a twinkling field of white clover on a cool summer morning… Evocative and full of wisdom for modern times.

New York Times Book Review

The Weather Experiment is not the first book to have been written about FitzRoy…but Moore’s achievement is to imbue him and his work with palpable narrative life, while surrounding him with a large supporting cast of contemporaries

The Times Literary Supplement

A skilful, detailed account of a complex story, in which scientific advances are far from inevitable in a world of flawed humans and bad luck... Moore's engaging, often surprising work of storytelling, written with such care and pleasure, is a fine tribute

Daniel Hahn, Spectator


Ben East, Guardian Weekly

Thought-provoking… Rich and informative … Arnold Toynbee once railed against the view that ‘History is just one damned thing after another’. Recording weather data day in, day out must feel like one damn temperature reading after another. Yet Moore has skilfully converted decades of routine monotony into a gripping tale of derring-do.

Patricia Fara, Literary Review, Book of the Month

Elegantly constructed … The Weather Experiment surprises constantly, often by weaving together the famous and the obscure

Mike Jay, Wall St Journal

Prepare for turbulence in this history of Britain’s seminal contribution to weather forecasting


This biography is an impressive achievement

4 stars, BBC Focus

Moore’s enthusiasm for his subject and the astonishing audacity of those long ago storm chasers make the book a deeply enjoyable read.

Daily Beast

Moore writes about this band of ad hoc scientists with brio, and it’s hard not to be awed and charmed by their united quest to prove that earth’s atmosphere was not chaotic beyond comprehension, that it could be studied, understood and, ultimately, predicted … Detailed and insightful, this book is as relevant as ever in this era of rapid climate change.

Kirkus Reviews

Rich and enlightening, I’ll never look at a dewy morning in the same way again.

Sarah Bakewell

For illuminating a byway of scientific history that many scarcely knew existed we must thank Peter Moore, whose superbly researched an grippingly written book is more than a dusty account of early meteorologists

Richard Morrison, The Times

Moore does an excellent job of telling the story of meteorological advances

Good Book Guide

enlightening… to read it is a joy

John Owen, Country & Town House

A compelling journey through the early history of weather forecasting, bringing to life the personalities, lives and achievements of the men who put in place the building blocks required for forecasts to be possible.

Susan Ballard, Physics World

Enthralling history of weather forecasting… Moore’s book records the adventure, drama and occasional tragedy involved in bringing us the calm reassurance of the nightly weather forecast.

Jane Shilling, Daily Mail

Superbly researched and gripping book… He darts across continents, embracing swashbuckling sea captains and fastidious bureaucrats, penny-pinching politicians and mad inventors, with as sharp an eye for absurdity and tragedy as for genius.

Richard Morrison, The Times

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