The Barometer Handbook
Reviewed by Thom Burns

The Barometer Handbook To read a David Burch book whether it be Modern Marine Weather, Radar for Mariners or The Barometer Handbook is to delve into a subject in its entirety. He also tries to make solid scientific information and resources in this case critical to weather predictions accessible in lay terms.

According to Burch and my U. S. Navy experience, with the exception of trained meteorological crews, barometers in the past were used at sea primarily to learn if the pressure was going up or down, and how rapidly or slowly the changes were occurring. From this limited observation set, we made an educated guess of likely consequences, usually in conjunction with other observations. Outside of professional marine use, little effort was made to know the true pressure for several reasons. We did not know what to do with it if we had it, and more often we could not get it if we wanted it, because most barometers were not calibrated.

“This has changed. We now have many valuable applications of accurate pressure, we also have affordable ways to get it, and we have convenient ways to prove our instruments work properly,” according to Burch.

"The barometer remains the most important tool for evaluating and predicting the weather. This book explains why knowing accurate values of the atmospheric pressure can improve this process and benefit all applications. Ways to evaluate and calibrate aneroid and electronic barometers using readily available data by Internet or telephone are clearly described. Tactical applications to marine navigation are covered. The book also includes worldwide average monthly pressures and their standard deviations."
The Captain who watches his barometer watches his ship.

These nuggets of information allow the average recreational mariner to calibrate their barometers. With this accurate information, Burch shows how to apply it to modern weather predictions. The Barometer Handbook would be a welcome addition on the bookshelf of serious mariners concerned about generating accurate weather predictions. If you leave it on the coffee table, it may lead you to display your vast collection of calibrated barometric devices.

Published by Starpath Publications, $29.95.