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Planetary Climates

  • Teaches climate science by comparing all the planets and major satellites in our solar system
  • Uses Venus to exemplify radiative-convective equilibrium and the runaway greenhouse
  • Describes the "faint young Sun paradox" as it applies to Mars
  • Explores the hydrological cycle of Titan, where the working fluid is methane
  • Presents observations and theories of Jupiter's Great Red Spot, the oldest known storm in the solar system
  • Visits Neptune, the windiest planet and most distant from the Sun

Series: Princeton Primers in Climate

By: Andrew P Ingersoll(Author)

278 pages, 21 b/w photos, 15 b/w illustrations, 4 tables

Princeton University Press

Paperback | Aug 2013 | #207514 | ISBN-13: 9780691145051
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £23.99 $31/€27 approx
Hardback | Aug 2013 | #207515 | ISBN-13: 9780691145044
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £63.99 $82/€71 approx

About this book

This concise, sophisticated introduction to planetary climates explains the global physical and chemical processes that determine climate on any planet or major planetary satellite – from Mercury to Neptune and even large moons such as Saturn's Titan. Although the climates of other worlds are extremely diverse, the chemical and physical processes that shape their dynamics are the same. As Planetary Climates makes clear, the better we can understand how various planetary climates formed and evolved, the better we can understand Earth's climate history and future.

Planetary Climates examines the wide-ranging planetary climates of our solar system, describing what planetary exploration has revealed and what is still unknown. Along the way, readers learn the fundamental equations that describe how climate processes work, including atmospheric escape, convection, radiative heat transfer, condensation and evaporation, and the dynamics of rotating fluids. The result is an ideal introduction for science students and nonspecialist scientists, as well as general readers with a scientific background.

"In forty years of teaching similar material to undergraduates, I have not seen a better book. The subject is the science that underlies climate. Each chapter focuses in depth on one or two important concepts. Mathematics is avoided when not needed. But Ingersoll is not compromising. He gives full explanations of even difficult concepts, such as vorticity. There is no political material here, just carefully presented science. This is the book to assign prior to entering policy debates in an undergraduate course."
– Peter J. Gierasch, Cornell University

"This clear and engaging book presents a sweeping tour of our solar system's diverse planetary atmospheres, providing a rich foundation on their structure, composition, circulation, climate, and long-term evolution. Accessible to the general scientist or educated layperson, the book nevertheless brings the reader to the cutting edge of the field, explaining current knowledge, physical and chemical mechanisms, and unanswered questions. Highly recommended."
– Adam Showman, University of Arizona


1 Introduction: The Diversity of Planetary Climates 1
2 Venus: Atmospheric Evolution 7
3 Venus: Energy Transport and Winds 26
4 Mars: Long-Term Climate Change 74
5 Mars: The Present Era 92
6 Titan, Moons, and Small Planets 111
7 Jupiter the Gas Giant 136
8 Jupiter Winds and Weather 162
9 Saturn 202
10 Uranus, Neptune, and Exoplanets 223
11 Conclusion 240

Glossary 247
Notes 257
Further Reading 271
Index 273

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Andrew P. Ingersoll, the Earle C. Anthony Professor of Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology, is an expert on the weather and climate of Earth and the other planets.

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