Saturday 28 November 2020

Storm Glass - Does it really predict the weather?

As Brits, a lot of our talk is about the weather, it is just who we are. Conversations naturally flow with asking "What's the weather like where you are" and "Blimey it is cold" often keeping us entertained without even knowing about it. I am possibly more obsessed than most with the weather because I suffer with headaches which are called Barometric Headaches, they occur after a drop in barometric pressure. The headaches, which can turn into a migraine often come with additional symptoms, including: nausea and vomiting. increased sensitivity to light. So, I am always aware 
Storm Glass - Does it really predict the weather?
I was sent a Storm Glass by Kikkerland, oddly something I had always looked at in stores such as Waterstones because they fascinate me, the first one I ever bought was broken in its box, so it never got used.  The Storm Glass is said to have helped Charles Darwin predict the weather and whilst the original inventor is unknown, but it was re-invented promoted by  Admiral Robert Fitzroy who was the Captain of Darwin's HMS Beagle, in an effort to predict the weather and save the life of sailors who had to tackle the rough seas. Such a glass is now often referred to as Fitzroy's Storm Glass.

Chemistry at school was not one of my strong subjects, I got by with a dual award B in my exams and that was the last time I even looked at compositions and anything related to such a subject. However, a Storm Glass is described as being a cylinder which is filled with a mixture of water, ethanol, potassium nitrate, ammonium chloride, and camphor (no sign of the magnesium ribbon I used to set on fire for fun in the lab). Fitzroy believed that the formation and dissolution of crystals and particles in the mixture reflected temperature and pressure and therefore, in its own way predicted the weather.

This Storm Glass comes sat on a base of beech wood, with a hole perfectly shaped for the cylindrical piece of glass to sit in, easy to put together, we have ours on the book shelf and without thinking about it, we both check it numerous times a day and make comment. 

So how does it predict the weather? 

Inside the Storm Glass are some crystals which more around into formations to help you work out what the weather will be like and it is scarily accurate:
  • If the liquid remains clear - the weather will be fair
  • If the liquid becomes Murky - rain is coming
  • If the crystals have formed at the top of the glass - Thunderstorms are coming
  • If the crystals are large and flaky - It will be a cloudy day
  • If the crystals are joined together in a thread - It will be windy
I find it absolutely fascinating to watch as the crystals within the sealed glass chamber cluster or disperse with changes in air pressure or temperature and it has come some way to help understand my headaches, though of course there is no cure, other than a dark room and an eye mask.
Storm Glass - Does it really predict the weather?
I think this is a really lovely, if some what quirky as a gift and this Storm Glass can be found for around £19.99 on Amazon* and they do come in all shapes and sizes too.

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