Item# WWB ISBN13: 978-0-942679-31-1 ISBN: 978-0-942679-31-1 Copyright 2007 208 pp. 0.85lb Form: Paperback, Trade paperback (US) Price: $14.95

Why the Wind Blows

A History of Weather and Global Warming

By Matthys Levy

  • From the co-author of Why Buildings Fall Down and Why the Earth Quakes (Norton) comes another fascinating look at practical science. This time it’s the science of weather.
  • Like Levy’s other books, this is a page-turner. He recounts fascinating true stories of exploration, each affected by weather and mankind’s ignorance of its consequences.
  • Over 70 illustrations by artist Sue Storey help to make the material easy to follow.
  • Today, he shows, we can no longer afford ignorance of the subject, as we face the greatest weather-related challenge in human history, global warming. Action is needed now to alter its potentially devastating effects on future generations.

In easily understandable prose and through the use of true stories of exploration, Why the Wind Blows looks at how these adventures were influenced by the weather and man’s ignorance of its consequences. The science of meteorology is gently interspersed throughout the text, so that understanding weather becomes an integral part of the stories. Concluding with the influence of modern civilization on the changing climate and its world-altering consequences, the author challenges the reader to take action now to alter the effects of global warming on future generations.



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What People are Saying                                Sample Content


About the Author

Matthys Levy

Matthys P. Levy is author or co-author of several books, including Why Buildings Fall Down, Structural Design in Architecture, Why the Earth Quakes, Earthquake Games, and Engineering the City.

He is a founding Principal and Chairman Emeritus of Weidlinger Associates, Consulting Engineers. Born in Switzerland and a graduate of the City College of New York, Mr. Levy received his MS and CE degrees from Columbia University. He has taught at Columbia University and Pratt Institute and lectured at universities throughout the world.

He is the inventor of the Tenstar Dome structure, a unique tensegrity cable dome used to cover large spaces with minimal obstruction, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

For additional information about Matthys Levy, please visit his Web site at

What People are Saying

“This is a straightforward, fascinating and powerful users guide to the planet, one that leaves us no doubt we need to make some pretty serious changes in our standard operating procedures, and pronto.”—Bill McKibben
“Fun, informative, and, ultimately, gripping, Why the Wind Blows is a welcome addition to the growing voice for action on global warming.” —Civil Engineering magazine
“If you still believe that weather is something that can be summarized on the back page of the first section of the newspaper, I suggest that you pick up a copy of Matthys Levy’s book.”—Rachel Lapidow, The Burlington Free Press
“It is a useful and interesting book for a general audience; and clearly written.”—Dr. Alan K. Betts Atmospheric Research
“I recommend that all scientists read this book. It is a sobering look at the impact of society on nature.”—Dr. Gary F. Bennett, Journal of Hazardous Materials

Sample Content

Table of Contents


  1. Imported From Siberia—Meteorology and the Origins of Weather
  2. The Currents Of Patagonia—Magellan’s 38-day Adventure
  3. Force Ten—The Sunken Treasures of the Buccaneers
  4. Hurricane Strength—No Region is Immune
  5. Dorothy’s Whirlwind—Great Plains Tornadoes and Cyclones
  6. The Last Great Adventure—Transglobal Balloon Flight
  7. Transformations—Clouds Shed Tears
  8. Conquering the Top of the World—Snow, Blizzards and Avalanches
  9. The Unsinkable Titanic—Ripped Open by an Iceberg
  10. Monsoon and Other Big Winds—Death and Renewal
  11. The Cradle of Civilization—Floods Enrich the Nile Valley
  12. The Modern Floods—The Missouri and the Mississippi
  13. El Niño—The Mysterious Current
  14. Our Changing Climate—Global Warming and our Altered Future

A. The Power Of Wind
B. The Power Of Water