Books  Environmental Science  Climate & Climate Change 

Atmosphere, Clouds, and Climate

Series: Princeton Primers in Climate

By: David A Randall

288 pages, 19 b/w photos, 21 b/w illustrations, 5 tables

Princeton University Press

Paperback | May 2012 | #198063 | ISBN-13: 9780691143750
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £19.95 $26/€22 approx
Hardback | May 2012 | #198064 | ISBN-13: 9780691143743
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £52.00 $67/€57 approx

About this book

The atmosphere is critical to climate change. It can amplify shifts in the climate system, and also mitigate them. This primer offers a short, reader-friendly introduction to these atmospheric processes and how they work, written by a leading expert on the subject.

Giving readers an overview of key atmospheric processes, David Randall looks at how our climate system receives energy from the sun and sheds it by emitting infrared radiation back into space. The atmosphere regulates these radiative energy flows and transports energy through weather systems such as thunderstorms, monsoons, hurricanes, and winter storms. Randall explains how these processes work, and also how precipitation, cloud formation, and other phase changes of water strongly influence weather and climate. He discusses how atmospheric feedbacks affect climate change, how the large-scale atmospheric circulation works, how predicting the weather and the climate are fundamentally different challenges, and much more. This is the ideal introduction for students and nonspecialists. No prior experience in atmospheric science is needed, only basic college physics.

Authoritative and concise, "Atmosphere, Clouds, and Climate" features a glossary of terms, suggestions for further reading, and easy-to-follow explanations of a few key equations. This accessible primer is the essential introduction to atmospheric processes and the vital role they play in our climate system.

In this book, one of the leaders of the field condenses a huge amount of climate theory into a very small space. This is done in an informal narrative style with a minimum of equations and other hard technical details, but with a serious dedication to constructing a coherent and logical storyline without glossing over essentials. I have not seen another book like this.
- Adam Sobel, Columbia University

"'Atmosphere, Clouds, and Climate' achieves a good balance between intuitive physical reasoning and more formal arguments where necessary. This lucid book gives a tour of the most important atmospheric processes determining climate."
- Tapio Schneider, California Institute of Technology


Preface vii

Chapter 1: Basics 1
Chapter 2: Radiative Energy Flows 27
Chapter 3: How Turbulence and Cumulus Clouds Carry Energy Upward 55
Appendix to Chapter 3: More about Eddy Fluxes 96
Chapter 4: How Energy Travels from the Tropics to the Poles 103
Appendix to Chapter 4: Conservation of
Momentum on a Rotating Sphere 134
Chapter 5: Feedbacks 140
Chapter 6: The Water Planet 160
Chapter 7: Predictability of Weather and Climate 183
Chapter 8: Air, Sea, Land 206
Chapter 9: Frontiers 227

Notes 233
Glossary 239
Suggestions for Further Reading 247
Bibliography 253
Index 261

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David Randall is professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University.

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