We frequently get asked what gadgets, books, and other gifts we’d recommend for the weather enthusiast. With the holidays rapidly approaching, we thought we’d offer some ideas. In this post each of the Capital Weather Gang members has provided at least one gift recommendation. Feel free to add your recommendations and ask any questions in the comment area...
The AMS Weather Book by Jack Williams: An excellent introductory level book (middle school level to adult) with outstanding graphics for the weather hobbyist or budding meteorologist. ($20-35) - Jason Samenow
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (book and DVD): “The movie was surprisingly well done, I thought” says Andrew Freedman
Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes : by Kerry Emanuel: A top atmospheric scientist weaves poetry and history into a scientific discussion of hurricanes, resulting in a highly enjoyable read. - Andrew Freedman
Early American Winters by David Ludlum: For those who are fanatical about snowstorms and history. - Wes Junker.
Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson: Best-selling author Erik Larson tells the story of a meteorologist at the very start of the 20th century who failed to predict one of the most devastating hurricanes in recorded human history. In a time of 24-hour news media and excessive alarmism with lesser storms (Irene), great stories like this one provide important historical context. - Matt Rogers (also recommended by Wes Junker)
Meltdown by Patrick J. Michaels and The Delinquent Teenager (who was mistaken for the world’s top climate expert) by Donna Laframboise: All areas of science need to make room for healthy debate. Whether you are a climate change skeptic or a hard-core believer (Walter!), these books will offer insight to one side of the debate rarely found in mainstream media. - Matt Rogers
Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway: A thorough investigation of organized efforts to cast doubt on scientific findings that present a threat to the profitably of powerful industry, whether it’s the link between tobacco and lung cancer, or greenhouse gases and climate change. A must-read for anyone trying to understand some of the organized climate denial efforts in the U.S. - Andrew Freedman
Northeast Snowstorms, Volume I and II by Paul Kocin and Louis Uccellini: These books are great for understanding the details behind many of the great snowstorms of our lifetimes. And you don’t need a meteorology degree to find these books useful and informative. You just need an interest in weather, particularly snow, and you will learn something. - Matt Ross (also recommended by Wes Junker)
Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America by John Barry: For those who are interested in the most significant flood in our country’s history and the sociological and political impacts. - Wes Junker.
Stormtrack Shop tornado chasing magazines and videos : 2011 was the year of the tornado in the United States, and storm chasing is seemingly now a part of our everyday vernacular. One of the pioneers of the field -- and also one of the most prominent engineers who does post-storm surveys -- is Tim Marshall. Tim’s “Stormtrack Shop” offers a number of purchases any severe weather fan will be sure to love. From the full collection of Stormtrack magazines circa 1977 to 2002, to numerous videos of tornadoes he has chased over the years, these are sure to be presents that keep on giving for a long time to come. Best part about the videos: Lots of awesome footage from one of the best chasers out there, without the drama that goes with today’s television shows on the subject! - Ian Livingston
Washington Weather calendars by Kevin Ambrose. Kevin says: I make dozens of calendars each year for friends, family, and co-workers. I use photos and weather event descriptions from the past year as content. I don’t market the calendars anymore, but a couple CWG readers were repeat customers. They can always email me (email@example.com) if they want a calendar. The calendars will be ready in early January. I highly recommend getting one of these calendars.
2012 Weather Wall Calendar by Accord Publishing: Don Lipman calls it a “superior weather calendar”. It contains a weather factoid for every day of the year. I’ve also enjoyed this calendar in the past.
Weatherwise magazine : Don Lipman recommends it for the true weather buff and says: “I’ve been getting it most of my life and still enjoy it (and will have another article in it soon).” I also subscribe and recommend it. $48 for subscription.
The World in 2050 by Lawrence C. Smith : A sobering look at how geopolitics may shift as the world warms, including an exploration of some of the key “winners and losers” from climate change. This was a thought-provoking read that, frankly, may inspire some readers to move to Canada. - Andrew Freedman.
CocoRaHS Basic Rain Gauge: This is an inexpensive yet professional quality rain gauge recommended by the CocoRaHS backyard network of weather obserevers. Price is $27.95. - Jason Samenow
Davis Vantage Vue Weather Station: It’s a good quality, wireless, and relatively inexpensive (~$350) home weather station. I’ve had good luck with Davis (I own an old weather monitor II), and I plan on getting two of these myself for my home and for chasing. I used to be concerned that the wireless transmission rate (2.5s for wind) wouldn’t capture the kind of high frequency gusts I’m interested in ... but I did some digging and found that the wired stations from Davis do the same. And in both cases, the instantaneous gusts are stored even if they’re not sent to the display unit. - Greg Postel.
Galileo Thermometer:One of the favorite weather gadgets that I’ve recieved as a gift is my Galileo Thermometer. It’s no fancy gadget, and its observations aren’t exactly up to World Meteorological Organization standards, but for science geekery and aesthetic purposes, it can’t be beat! It’s inexpensive, there’s no complicated set-up and there are no wires or sensors to hide. Science and simlicity at its best. These vary in price, around $30 is typical. - Brian Jackson (also recommended by Steve Tracton)
Hand held anemometer by Lacrosse : Perfect for a windy day at the beach (or the remnants of a tropical storm), this hand held anemometer provides basic wind information on demand. Added bonus: hours of fun with your friends as you explore who is the biggest “blow hard.” Price is around $40. - Jamie Jones
Hand held pocket weather meter and anenometer - Kestrel 3000: I got my hands on one of these last summer, and it’s the perfect device for measuring current weather conditions anywhere on the spot. Carry it around in your pocket and check the wind speed, temperature, relative humidity, heat index, and dew point to your heart’s content (works indoors, too). There are a few different brands out there, but I’m pretty happy with this one. Upgrade to the Kestrel 3500 and you can measure atmospheric pressure as well. - Justin Grieser
Steve Tracton adds: “Great for knowing current weather conditions wherever you are. I have one and love to have with me when when exploring the outdoors, especially beach and boating.”
The Kestrel 3000 was also recommended by Camden Walker. Price is around $150.
Midland Weather Radio: A great weather radio for getting the latest advisories and alerts from the National Weather Service. You can program this radio to only get alerts for the area(s) you specify. $29.95. Want a weather radio on your iPhone? Consider IMAP’s Weather Radio application, for $9.99. - Jason Samenow
Wireless rain gauge with temperature display: This instrument offers a great way for the hobbyist to get introduced to weather observing. I’ve used the General monitor in the past, and found it more than suitable for the job. Don’t expect it to last more than a few years (remember, this is a cheap product exposed to the elements), but can be a good step between a mercury thermometer and the $500 weather station. Cost: $63.95. - Jamie Jones
Weather radar weather app, Radarscope : Andrew Freedman recommends Radarscope for iPad and iPhone. I’d (Jason Samenow) also recommend the Droid Radarscope app. For a serious storm tracker, this is the best radar application — it offers an interactive, professional quality radar for all NWS radar sites in the U.S. ($9.99)
From Dan Stillman: Weather stations and other high-tech weather gadgets are always a good choice. But for the more budget-conscious, there are plenty of low-tech items out there that might provide your weather enthusiast friend, family member or significant other as much, if not more, satisfaction. Two Web sites in particular — cafepress.com and zazzle.com — offer a nice selection of weather-related gifts, including:
Lightning Strike iPad Case ($39.50) - Seems kind of pricey for what it is. But sure looks cool.
Weather ties ($29.95 and up) - Okay, so some of these seem a good bit overpriced. And the attire may not be appropriate for all occasions. But at lease these snazzy weather ties are the kind of gifts that won’t be soon forgotten. (I’ll add that the American Meteorological Society sells a nice tie (pictured) at a lesser price, $17.95)
Tornado Laptop Skin ($24.50) - Might as well make the top of your laptop something fun to look at.
Capital Weather Gang Snowmageddon T-shirt (Shameless self-promotion)