An engaging, comprehensive, richly illustrated textbook about the atmospheric general circulation, written by leading researchers in the field. The book elucidates the pervasive role of atmospheric dynamics in the Earth System, interprets the structure and evolution of atmospheric motions across a range of space and time scales in terms of fundamental theoretical principles, and includes relevant historical background and tutorials on research methodology. The book includes over 300 exercises and is accompanied by extensive online resources, including solutions manuals, an animations library, and an introduction to online visualization and analysis tools. This textbook is suitable as a textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses in atmospheric sciences and geosciences curricula and as a reference textbook for researchers.
Part I. Background:
1. Observations and Models
2. Heuristic models of the general circulation
Part II. Balance Requirements for the General Circulation
3. The angular momentum balance
4. Mass balance of atmospheric trace constituents
5. The balance of total energy
6. The mechanical energy cycle
Part III. Dynamics of the Zonal Mean Flow:
7. Dynamics of the zonal mean flow
8. Wave-mean-flow interaction
Part IV. The Stratospheric General Circulation
9. The global circulation of the stratosphere
10. Wave-mean flow interaction in the tropical stratosphere
Part V. The Zonally Varying Extratropical Tropospheric Circulation
11. The boreal winter zonally-varying climatology
12. The high frequency extratropical transients
13. Low-frequency extratropical transients
Part VI. The Tropical General Circulation
14. The annual mean circulation of the tropics
15. Deep convection
16. The seasons in the tropics
17. El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
18. Intraseasonal variability of the tropical general circulation
19. Higher frequency tropical weather systems
20. Warm core tropical vortices
21. Diurnal and higher frequency variability of the global circulation
Appendix A. Space and time averaging operations
Appendix B. The zonal momentum balance
Appendix C. Methods of identifying teleconnection patterns
Appendix D. Scaling and application of the Weak Temperature Gradient Approximation
Appendix E. Math symbols and abbreviations
Appendix F. Extended figure captions
Appendix G. Exercise answers
John M. Wallace is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Washington. He served as Department Chair from 1983–1988. He is a recipient of the James B. Macelwane and Roger Revelle Medals of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the Clarence Leroy Meisinger Award and Carl-Gustav Rossby Medal of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). He is a Fellow of the AGU and the AMS, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the co-author (with Peter Hobbs) of Atmospheric Sciences: An Introductory Survey (2006), one of the most influential textbooks in the field.
David S. Battisti is a Professor and Tamaki Chair of Atmospheric Sciences in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. He is a recipient of the Carl-Gustav Rossby Research Medal of the AMS and was a Carnegie Centennial Professor of Scotland from 2014-16. He is a Fellow of the AGU and the AMS, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a co-editor of the journal Weather and Climate Dynamics.
David W. J. Thompson is a Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State University and the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. He is a recipient of the Clarence B. Meisinger Award of the AMS, the James B. Macelwane Medal and the Jule G. Charney Lectureship of the AGU, the Royal Society (UK) Wolfson Fellowship, and the Monfort Professorship at Colorado State University. He is a Fellow of the AGU.
Dennis Hartmann is a Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. He served as Department Chair from 2002–07. He is a recipient of the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Carl Gustav Rossby Research Medal of the AMS, and the Revelle Medal of the AGU. He is a Fellow of the AGU and the AMS, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of the textbook Global Physical Climatology (2006).
"Sure to become the standard textbook and reference for those interested in the atmospheric circulation. Written by a team that can only be described as world-leading, and especially strong on graphical and visual aspects, the book will be immensely valuable for students and experienced scientists alike."
– Geoffrey Vallis, University of Exeter
"Surpasses any textbook currently available on the large-scale fluid dynamics of our atmosphere. The balance between figures, equations, and qualitative discussion is superb. Insightful nuggets interspersed throughout will provide food for thought for advanced students and researchers at all levels."
– Isaac Held, formerly Princeton University and GFDL/NOAA
"This book is an enormously broad and detailed overview of the atmospheric circulation that combines perspectives gained over the sixty-year career of the first author with resources and ideas that are truly up-to-date, ranging from the exploitation of global reanalysis datasets to provide illustrations of important atmospheric characteristics and phenomena, to discussion of very recent events such as the Tonga eruption earlier this year. Those who study the atmospheric circulation or, more broadly, the climate system, will find much here to inform and stimulate them. A book of this scope would surely not have been completed without the evident unselfish cooperation between the four main authors and the team of individual co-authors on particular chapters – to the great benefit of future readers. The illustrations alone, both those based on observations and those based on specially designed model studies, will be an immensely valuable resource to those teaching courses on the atmosphere and the climate."
– Peter Haynes, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), University of Cambridge
"This majestic, once-in-a-generation treatise is a graduate multi-course treasure-trove. The authors lead off starkly with the latest observations and ideas (heuristics), then lucidly review the rigorous skeleton of quantitative physical constraints and budgets. From that solid base, Parts III-V parade appreciatively through distinctly updated treatments of now-'classical' mid-20th century topics of the zonal mean and its deviations, and of the stratosphere, using the power of 21st-century theory, models, data, and (not least) display. The Tropics including moist variability and internal waves, long under-emphasized or scattered in the literature, are featured at generous length and depth in the especially novel contributions of Part VI."
– Brian Mapes, Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science, University of Miami
"This book started with Mike Wallace wanting to write a summary of what has been learnt about the atmospheric general circulation since the mid-20th century. With the help of the other authors, this has been achieved in a superb book, containing a wonderful collection of figures together with a clear, concise theoretical development. It should be on the desk of anyone interested in the subject, from a student taking a course to a researcher aiming to enhance understanding of how the atmosphere works or how climate may change in future."
– Sir Brian Hoskins, Imperial College London
"Written by a team of highly regarded experts, this up-to-date book covers a very wide range of topics in the atmospheric general circulation in a well-organized fashion. The thorough treatment of both concepts and the more advanced mathematics will make this an important resource for advanced students and experienced researchers alike."
– David Straus, George Mason University
"This textbook provides a modern and comprehensive overview of the physical processes involved in the general circulation of the atmosphere. Rigorous discussions are accompanied by very clear schematics that make it easy to grasp even the most complex phenomena. It's engaging and fun [...] a real joy to read!"
– Giuseppe Torri, University of Hawaii
"For students with some background in atmospheric dynamics, this is a landmark new textbook that provides a fascinating exploration of numerous aspects of the general circulation of the atmosphere. Wallace and co-authors expand what can be expected in a book on the general circulation, including circulations on many timescales in the tropical and extratropical troposphere and middle atmosphere, in all cases building understanding of the observed flows and physical mechanisms."
– Paul O'Gorman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"This is a truly outstanding textbook that offers a comprehensive overview of the atmospheric circulation system and its variability on a wide range of spatial/temporal scales as well as various (thermo-) dynamical processes involved, including air-sea interaction in the Tropics, wave-mean interaction in midlatitudes and troposphere-stratosphere linkages in low and high latitudes. By praiseworthy efforts of the author team led by Mike Wallace, excellent balance is achieved between illustrating phenomena and theoretically interpretating the involved processes. Although most of the topics concern natural variability in the climate system, this book is undoubtedly beneficial for understanding the ongoing anthropogenic climate change."
– Hisashi Nakamura, University of Tokyo
"This comprehensive study of the atmospheric general circulation, from the tropics to the pole, the troposphere to the stratosphere, strikes the right balance between observation, physical intuition, and theory. The authors have succeeded in producing an excellent textbook that is up-to-date, flexibly organized, and useful for multiple different classes – undoubtedly the go-to resource for experts and students alike."
– Tiffany Shaw, University of Chicago