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An Introduction to the Global Circulation of the Atmosphere

  • The most comprehensive graduate-level textbook on the subject
  • Written by one of the world's leading experts
  • Connects global circulation and climate phenomena
  • Addresses energy, moisture, and angular-momentum balance; the hydrologic cycle; and atmospheric turbulence and convection
  • Emphasizes the energy cycle of the atmosphere; the role of moist processes; and circulation as an unpredictable, chaotic process
  • Helps prepare students for research

By: David A Randall(Author)

544 pages, 16 b/w photos, 194 b/w illustrations, 14 tables

Princeton University Press

Hardback | Jun 2015 | #221182 | ISBN-13: 9780691148960
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £61.99 $80/€68 approx

About this book

This is a graduate-level textbook on the global circulation of the Earth's atmosphere – the large-scale system of winds by which energy is transported around the planet, from the tropical latitudes to the poles. Written by David Randall, one of the world's foremost experts on the subject, it is the most comprehensive textbook on the topic. Intended for Earth science students who have completed some graduate-level coursework in atmospheric dynamics, An Introduction to the Global Circulation of the Atmosphere will help students build on that foundation, preparing them for research in the field.

The book describes the many phenomena of the circulation and explains them in terms of current ideas from fluid dynamics and thermodynamics, with frequent use of isentropic coordinates and using the methods of vector calculus. It emphasizes the key roles of water vapor and clouds, includes detailed coverage of energy flows and transformations, and pays close attention to scale interactions. An Introduction to the Global Circulation of the Atmosphere also describes the major historical contributions of key scientists, giving a human dimension to the narrative, and it closes with a discussion of how the global circulation is evolving as the Earth's climate changes.

"The book is well organized, progresses logically, and includes a basic analytical analysis for observed conditions whenever possible. Particularly valuable are the lucid physical explanations of the implications of the mathematical relations."

"David Randall's book tells it like it is. He provides a compelling account of the large-scale circulation – what makes the air go around the planet, what makes it go up and down, and why it rains in some places and is dry in others. He tells us about both the observations and mechanisms in a concrete and straightforward way and in so doing he provides a valuable resource for theorists and practitioners alike."
– Geoffrey K. Vallis, University of Exeter

"Randall has provided a tremendous guidebook and resource for the advanced student of the structure and variability of the atmospheric circulation and its relation to the energy and water cycles. The foundational concepts, mathematical framework, and key discoveries up to the present time are presented in an organized and rigorous fashion. This book is a tour de force from a master scholar and teacher."
– Dennis L. Hartmann, University of Washington

"No other textbook on the global circulation of the atmosphere covers the breadth of the subject as well as this one does. And no other book makes the essential connection between atmospheric circulation dynamics and climate phenomena. There is no question to me that students will be very grateful to have it – there is nothing else like it, and we need it. David Randall is one of the most respected leaders in the field, and he is one of a few people capable of writing a book with a reach as broad as this."
– Tapio Schneider, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and California Institute of Technology


Preface vii
Handy Numbers ix

Chapter 1 Perpetual Motion 1
Chapter 2 What Makes It Go? 12
Chapter 3 First Impressions 33
Chapter 4 The Rules of the Game 67
Chapter 5 Go with the Flow 106
Chapter 6 Up Moist, Down Dry 145
Chapter 7 Heat Where It's Hot, and Cool Where It's Cold 182
Chapter 8 A Taxonomy of Eddies 211
Chapter 9 What the Eddies Do 280
Chapter 10 A Fluid Dynamical Commotion 310
Chapter 11 The Future of the Circulation 352

Appendix A Vectors, Vector Calculus, and Coordinate Systems 357
Appendix B Dimensional Analysis, Scale Analysis, and Similarity Theories 365
Appendix C Why Is the Dissipation Rate Positive? 375
Appendix D Vertical Coordinate Transformations 378
Appendix E The Moist Adiabatic Lapse Rate 380
Appendix F Eddy Kinetic Energy and Zonal Kinetic Energy 383
Appendix G Spherical Harmonics 389
Appendix H Hermite Polynomials 396

Bibliography 399
Index 437

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David A. Randall is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, and the author of Atmosphere, Clouds, and Climate. He is the chief editor of the Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, and the former chief editor of the Journal of Climate. He has twice served as a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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