After the thermometer, the barometer is most fundamental of weather instruments, and The Barometer Handbook takes the reader on an entertaining and informative trip through the history and use of this critical tool and provides a look at how barometric pressure effects climate and our weather.
— Peter Isler, two-time America's Cup winning navigator.
Few are the books that address the very heart of a wide-ranging subject; even fewer in my opinion are those that are so well organized and researched, and written by an acknowledged expert in an eminently interesting and readable style, that they carry us effortlessly down the road to an excellent grounding in the subject. And perhaps even more importantly, bridge the gap between theory and practicality, between mere interesting facts and usefulness. I find The Barometer Handbook to be just such a book.
I am an avid sailor, an airline pilot by trade, and was briefly acquainted with the author's reputation and several of his books when I found this one, newly published in 2009. With interests in navigation and meteorology, I picked the book up hopeful that it would be well written and informative.
It is more, very much more. I could not put it down, and it cost me a couple of very late nights. If you have any interest at all in the weather, whether just casual or from a more academic perspective, this book is required reading. If you are an interested sailor or pilot, living and working in the weather and very much concerned with the forecast, put it at the very top of your list. Or if instead you have an interest in the barometer as an instrument - its development, its workings, its modern construction and uses - you cannot do without this book.
Many of us know that atmospheric pressure and its measurement are at the heart of all meteorology. But it becomes obvious in reading the book that it would be a great mistake to assume that having a simple barometer and knowing how to use it are of little value in modern times, given the easy availability over the internet of weather charts with actual and predicted frontal systems, winds, and pressure readings for nearly any area on earth.
It is no accident that you will find an accurate barometer on every ship, whether military or civilian. The instrument is clearly no mere holdover from sailing ship days, nor a quaint decoration. For weather charts and predictions are one thing: actual conditions are another. The barometer allows you to judge the accuracy of the forecasts, past and present, as well as help you see and prepare for what is coming to your specific location, which may well be quite different than the forecast for your general area. Mr. Burch is very convincing in his assertion that a blind reliance on technology is in no way a substitute for acquiring and understanding how to use your own information. I am convinced that no tool is better suited for this than a good barometer, and The Barometer Handbook to explain how to use it.
It is the author's unspoken enthusiasm for the subject and his evident dedication that make it clear just how useful this knowledge is to us. Excellent background information make up the first two chapters - Introduction and Atmospheric Pressure; the next two are Reading and Care of Barometers and Barometer Calibration, and these four chapters alone are worth the cost of the book, giving an in-depth understanding of the instrument and its background. These are followed by Barometers & Weather Forecasting, the Role of Accurate Pressure in Marine Weather, and Other Roles of Atmospheric Pressure - all fabulous reading, and true to the author's other books, expertly informative. Barometer Selection - invaluable - then Altimeters, and Worldwide Monthly Mean Pressures are the final three chapters, with even more information at your fingertips in the Appendices. The book is a gold mine, and a fascinating one at that.
— Jeff Weaver, BC, Canada
David Burch's latest, The Barometer Handbook, is a comprehensive study of this familiar and crucial piece of weather
forecasting equipment. A founding director of the Starpath School of Navigation in Seattle, WA, Burch has been teaching weather
for the past 20 years. The Barometer Handbook begins with a history of the instrument, its care and calibration, and
quickly moves into the important role barometers play in forecasting weather, at sea and ashore. He also discusses the other roles
that atmospheric pressure plays in tidal prediction, human health, sports, and science. The book offers practical advice for
choosing the right barometer for the job and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each in great detail. It closes with a
discussion of worldwide monthly mean pressures and shows how they can be used to evaluate the likelihood of any observed
— Ocean Navigator Magazine, Nov/Dec, 2009
Like a rock star, David Burch is producing hit after hit! His latest piece, The Barometer Handbook is a first. It is the only comprehensive book on barometers that a mariner can refer to that will ensure how important it is to not only have a barometer when coastal or blue water cruising, but to be able to maintain and update its accuracy. The Barometer Handbook is the second book alongside his Modern Marine Weather that can serve as booksends for Bowditch.
— Lee Chesneau, senior marine forecaster, Ocean Prediction Center, NWS (Retired), popular lecturer and teacher, and co- author of Heavy Weather Avoidance—Concepts and Applications of 500-mb charts.
"THE BAROMETER HANDBOOK is a book for barometer lovers, with extensive coverage on selecting, calibrating, reading and maintaining. It starts with an overview of how our understanding of measuring our ocean of air developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, leading to weather maps from 1851. The chapters on weather forecasting updates FitzRoy s rules, clears up any misconceptions about diurnal variation, and shows how to use target pressure. Of general interest is the impact of air pressure on health and sport. Anyone into outdoor pursuits will be drawn to the altimetry section."
— Bob McDavitt, MetService (NZ) Weather Ambassador and forecaster for EarthRace, the holder of the fastest ever circumnavigation by a powerboat.
"This is great stuff. It's the kind of book I wish I had when I started my career."
— Christopher Hampel, Calibration Scientist, Barometry, Weather and Environmental Monitoring, Environment Canada (From the back cover of the book)
"Yet another brilliant book from the hand and mind of Dr David Burch. I loved reading this book.
Having read a number of books on barometry over the years, I have to admit that this book has to be the most useful particularly from a weather practitioner’s perspective. In fact there is a bit for everyone who has an interest in atmospheric pressure and weather in general.
Commencing with a “potted history” of barometry and the principles of atmospheric pressure in Chapers One and Two. David moves into the ” nuts and bolts” of pressure and barometers in Chapters Three, Four, Five and Six. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on calibration and the role of accurate pressure in marine weather. Barometer calibration has long been an overlooked side of the barometer equation.
The contents of Chapter Seven are an eye opener for readers interested in the other roles of pressure. From the medical to the sporting side, David has done a great deal of research in order to give the reader a better understanding of the role of atmospheric pressure in areas other than weather forecasting.
The outstanding chapter would have to be Chapter Eight on Barometer Selection. This would appeal to anyone who has to make the ultimate decision on what barometer would be the best value for money for their vessel or home. I didn’t realise until reading this chapter just what a wonderful instrument the Fischer aneroid barometer is for the money that I paid for it from Starpath.
In Chapter Nine, David covers the subject of altimetry in great detail. This chapter will of course appeal to the aviator and to the reader who is after a well written, accurate and easy to understand explanation of this complex topic.
An up-to-date treatment of average mean sea level pressure charts is presented in Chapter Ten. This work has long been awaited outside of the world of the professional meteorologist working for a National Weather Service. David presents this in a way that any reader can understand and use.
In Further Reading, David presents a listing of publications that are relatively easy to obtain and wide-ranging which caters for the tastes of all readers.
The Appendices are first rate and would be extremely useful to all “users of pressure.”
In all I loved reading this book. David Burch is to be congratulated on yet another first class publication. This book will be the ideal companion to his book Modern Marine Weather. This Handbook will appeal to anyone who is interested in the subject of barometry."
— Kenn Batt, Manager, Canberra Meteorological Office, Bureau of Meteorology, Canberra ACT Australia
"I recently bought a copy of your Barometer book. At first, I thought it was a bit of overkill (more than I ever wanted to know about barometers); but the more I got into it, the better I liked it. The writing is clean, clear, and good. The subject matter gets more interesting as one delves further into it. It prompted me to consult my two barometers, a small, older Schatz and one of Ridge White's house brand instruments. I shall be interested to see how they do over a range of pressures."
— Dr. John Pazereskis, Ph.D., Lake Michigan
"… Best of all it presents a calibration and error correction method that can be used for almost any barometer and describes ways to use your calibrated barometer to assess weather forecast accuracy and support navigation decisions."
— Jim Starr, USPS Ensign, Winter 2012