• Firmament

  • The Hidden Science of Weather, Climate Change and the Air That Surrounds Us
  • By: Simon Clark
  • Narrated by: Simon Clark
  • Length: 5 hrs and 59 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A thin, invisible layer of air surrounds the Earth, sustaining all known life on the planet and creating the unique climates and weather patterns that make each part of the world different.

In Firmament, atmospheric scientist and science communicator Simon Clark offers a rare and accessible tour of the ins and outs of the atmosphere and how we know what we know about it. From the workings of its different layers to why carbon dioxide is special, from pioneers like Pascal to the unsung heroes working in the field to help us understand climate change, Firmament introduces us to an oft-overlooked area of science and not only lays the ground work for us to better understand the debates surrounding the climate today, but also provides a glimpse of the future that is possible with this knowledge in hand.

©2022 Simon Clark (P)2022 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What listeners say about Firmament

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Up to snuff with the content you would expect

Very high quality information that is, of course, only as interesting as you imagine climate science to be. This is important, relevant information for those who wish to be well informed in the how and why of the mess we are getting ourselves in.

I find Simon to be reputable and trustworthy, so I was happy to listen along and feel secure that the information I was being fed was accurate.

I always love when an author narrates, and this is no different. Simon is perfectly capable in his role as narrator here.

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Loved it

An fascinating book about something that I thought I wouldn't find nearly as interesting.

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  • Gethin Manuel
  • 03-10-22

Best popular science book on atmospheric science.

I absolutely devoured this book. Both the narrative and the performance were excellent. Clark takes you on a journey through the atmosphere but diverges off to so many interesting lines of thought, which only enhances this book. The first half of the book is generally for setting up the fundamental knowledge about the atmosphere, which is clearly explained. The author achieves this by telling the amazing stories of the early natural philosophers and victorian aeronauts who first theorised about the atmosphere.

During the second half of the book, Clark highlights the enormous complexity of the atmospheric system by delving into complex and lesser known topics which depend upon understanding atmospheric science. I enjoyed hearing about my own research field of outdoor sound propagation receive some attention, as it too depends on understanding the atmospheric giant. Clark still manages to explain each complexity in clear and understandable ways by using thought experiments.

I guess my only critique is that it was too short. Best book I've read this year.

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  • Gavin Wood
  • 03-03-22

Great writer, Great work!!

This eloquently performed piece of writing is full to the brim with well balanced, well researched facts on a subject that not many know about but is one that affects us all. Dr Simon Clark paints an astounding picture of the past and doesn’t gloss over it’s ugly pasts. He recognises the privilege of some and the incredible triumphs of others. I look forward to more of his work in the future as he is a true talent.

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  • K. Osborne
  • 02-26-22

Enthusiastic narration and well written

I follow Simon on YouTube for his climate change videos and he always has an enthusiasm that makes everything he talks about very engaging. I didn’t know very much about the atmosphere before listening to this book, but his clear love for the subject is infectious and rendered a potentially dry subject very interesting. He is also excellent at narrating (you really can feel his joy). I really hope this book gets adapted by the BBC or PBS as he would make a fantastic science presenter (he already is but he should reach a wider audience).

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  • Karoline E. Nyhagen
  • 02-11-22

Brilliant

Such a good combination of easy to understand science and fascinating history. the narration is clear and easy to follow, and the book is neither too short or too long. highly recommend!

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  • Ellis
  • 02-01-22

Actually good

An interesting, entertaining, educational, and well-performed crash course on most things atmosphere. Glad I decided to pick this up.

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  • Hugh Birchall
  • 01-31-22

A compelling journey through the history of climate science

If you are already familiar with Simon Clark from YouTube you will find his narration and story telling very familiar and accessible.

This is a very broad area of science, to which he brings his characteristic style to and takes the listener along for an enlightening story.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-27-22

A good listen!

As a person who watched Simon Clark’s YouTube videos and listens to the Wikicast, I have been looking forwards to this book for a long time. I was scared that it would be too technical to me, as physics is one of my weakest academic areas and I’ve always struggled with the meteorology parts of my courses on climate at uni the most, but it was good. It mixed formal and informal narration making it easy and fun to follow. I guess it helps that I’m used to listening to Simon talk a lot in podcast or video form haha.

There were a couple aspects regarding ethics and the colonial history of science that I wish Simon would have expanded on, but in the end it is a natural science book more than a social one (even if I believe that they intersect more than they are presented as doing).

Anyway! I would definitely recommend giving this a read if you are interested in learning about atmospheric science or some climate change basics.