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Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics: Fundamentals and Large-Scale Circulation

TextbookNew Edition
  • A major rewrite and expansion of the authoritative first edition, now illustrated with colour graphics
  • Treats the atmosphere and ocean as a coherent whole, with geophysical fluid dynamics (GFD) integrated into a description of general circulation
  • Uses clear writing and straightforward explanations, with any jargon explained, appealing to a wide range of readers of varying expertise

By: Geoffrey K Vallis (Author)

1000 pages, 293 colour & 57 b/w illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | 30 Jun 2017 | Edition: 2 | #233455 | ISBN-13: 9781107065505
Available for pre-order: Due Jun 2017 Details
NHBS Price: £49.99 $63/€58 approx
Hardback | Nov 2006 | Edition: 1 | #160951 | ISBN: 0521849691
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £59.99 $75/€69 approx

About this book

The atmosphere and ocean are two of the most important components of the climate system, and fluid dynamics is central to our understanding of both. Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics provides a unified and comprehensive treatment of the field that blends classical results with modern interpretations. It takes the reader seamlessly from the basics to the frontiers of knowledge, from the equations of motion to modern theories of the general circulation of the atmosphere and ocean. These concepts are illustrated throughout Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics with observations and numerical examples. As well as updating existing chapters, this second, full-colour edition includes new chapters on tropical dynamics, El Nino, the stratosphere and gravity waves. Supplementary resources are provided online, including figures from Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics and problem sets, making this new edition an ideal resource for students in the atmospheric, oceanic and climate sciences, as well as in applied mathematics and engineering.

Reviews of the first edition:

"Geoff Vallis' [Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics] will become the standard text on modern large-scale atmosphere and ocean dynamics. It covers the field from the equations of motion to modern developments such as wave-mean flow interaction theory and theories for the global-scale circulations of atmospheres and oceans. There is no book of comparable comprehensiveness, spanning the needs of beginning graduate students and researchers alike."
– Tapio Schneider, California Institute of Technology

"This clearly written, self-contained new book is a modern treatment of atmospheric and oceanic dynamics. The book starts from classical concepts in fluid dynamics and thermodynamics and takes the reader to the frontier of current research. This is an accessible textbook for beginning students in meteorology, oceanography and climate sciences. Mature researchers will welcome this work as a stimulating resource. This is also the only textbook on geophysical fluid dynamics with a comprehensive collection of problems; these cement the material and expand it to a more advanced level. Highly recommended!"
– Paola Cessi, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

"Vallis provides a cohesive view of GFD that smoothly blends classic results with modern interpretations. The book strikes an ideal balance between mathematical rigor and physical intuition, and between atmosphere – and ocean-relevant applications. The use of a hierarchy of models is particularly welcome. Each physical phenomenon is modeled with the right degree of complexity, and the reader is introduced to the value of the hierarchy at an early stage. Well-designed homework problems spanning a broad range of difficulty make the book very appropriate for use in introductory courses in GFD."
– Adam Sobel, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

"I have adopted this text for my course in Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics because the ideas are clearly presented and up-to-date. The text provides the flexibility for the instructor to choose among a variety of paths that take the student from the foundations of the subject to current research topics. For me as a researcher, the text is satisfying because it presents a unified view of the ideas that underlie the modern theory of large scale atmospheric and oceanic circulations."
– Paul J. Kushner, University of Toronto

"The large-scale circulation in the atmosphere-ocean system is maintained by small scale turbulent motions that interact with large scale radiative processes. The first half of the book introduces the basic theories of large-scale atmosphere-ocean flows and of small-scale turbulent motions. In the second half, the two theories are brought together to explain how the interactions of motions on different scales maintain the global-scale climate. The emphasis on turbulent motions and their effect on larger scales makes this book a gem in the GFD literature. Finally we have a textbook that is up to date with our current understanding of the climate system."
– Raffaele Ferrari, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"[...] sure to grace the shelves of libraries and (at CUP's remarkably reasonable price for such a large hardback volume) even individuals for many years to come, both as a reference and a tutorial text."
– Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

"[...] highly recommended textbook: those who would like to gain a deeper understanding of the large-scale atmospheric and oceanic circulation, and at the same time want to be provided with the necessary hydrodynamic foundations, will be served very well indeed by this book."
Physik Journal

"[...] it is one of the strengths of the book to provide a clear and consistent view from the fundamentals to the current research topics. Moreover, I also found the book extremely helpful to introduce the issues of fluid dynamics to students. [...] I consulted the book many times and found its presentation exceptionally clear and concise. [...] I would be happy to see this wonderful textbook on as many desks of our community as possible."
– Meteorologische Zeitschrift



Part I. Fundamentals of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
1. Equations of motion
2. Effects of rotation and stratification
3. Shallow water systems
4. Vorticity and potential vorticity
5. Geostrophic theory

Part II. Waves, Instabilities and Turbulence
6. Wave fundamentals
7. Gravity waves
8. Linear dynamics at low latitudes
9. Barotropic and baroclinic instability
10. Waves, mean-flows and their interaction
11. Basics of incompressible turbulence
12. Geostrophic turbulence and baroclinic eddies
13. Turbulent diffusion and eddy transport

Part III. Large-Scale Atmospheric Circulation
14. The overturning circulation: Hadley and Ferrel cells
15. Zonally averaged mid-latitude atmospheric circulation
16. Planetary waves and zonal asymmetries
17. The stratosphere
18. Water vapour and the tropical atmosphere

Part IV. Large-Scale Oceanic Circulation
19. Wind-driven gyres
20. Structure of the upper ocean
21. The meridional overturning circulation and the ACC
22. Equatorial circulation and El Nino


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Geoffrey K. Vallis is a professor of applied mathematics at the University of Exeter. Prior to taking up his position there, he taught for many years at Princeton University. He has carried out research in the atmospheric sciences, oceanography and the planetary sciences, and has published over one hundred peer-reviewed journal articles. He is the recipient of various prizes and awards, including the Adrian Gill Prize (Royal Meteorological Society) in 2014, and the Stanislaw M. Ulam Distinguished Scholar award (Los Alamos National Laboratory) in 2013.

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