This completely updated new edition of Weather Cycles: Real or Imaginary? explores in detail the unresolved debate on the existence of weather cycles. The book examines the competing arguments for observed effects being due to natural variability, solar activity and the Earth's orbital parameters. It provides a different perspective on one of the most difficult questions in the current global warming debate: namely, just how much of the recent temperature rise can be attributed to natural causes? Only by understanding how the climate can change of its own accord, and whether observed shifts are part of a set of predictable patterns, will it be possible to reach a reliable judgement on how much impact human activities are having. This book examines the complex analysis required to assess the evidence for cycles with a minimum of mathematics. This comprehensive and balanced account will appeal to the student and expert alike.
1. The search for cycles
2. Statistical background
3. Instrumental records
4. Proxy data
5. The global climate
6. Extraterrestrial influences
7. Autovariance and other explanations
8. Nothing more than chaos?
A.1. Measures of variability
A.2. Sherman's statistic
A.3. Fourier series and Fourier analysis
A.4. Calculations of the coefficients of harmonic analysis
A.5. Maximum entropy spectral analysis (MESA)
A.6. Smoothing and filtering
A.7. Wavelet analysis
A.8. Singular spectrum analysis
A.10. Detrending of prewhitening
After seven years at the UK National Physical Laboratory researching atmospheric physics, Bill Burroughs spent three years as a UK Scientific Attache in Washington D.C. Between 1974 and 1995, he held a series of senior posts in the UK Departments of Energy and then Health. He is now a professional science writer and has published several books on various aspects of weather and climate (two as a co-author), and also three books for children on lasers. These books include Watching the World's Weather (1991), Weather Cycles (1992), Does the Weather Really Matter? (1997), The Climate Revealed (1999), and Climate Change: A Multidisciplinary Approach (2001), all with Cambridge University Press. In addition, he acted as lead author for the World Meteorological Organisation on a book entitled Climate: Into the Twenty-First Century. He has also written widely on the weather and climate in newspapers and popular magazines.
"[...] a book whose clarity and breadth of vision set it apart."
– Scientific American
"[...] will be invaluable not just to anyone interested in weather cycles but to students involved in analysis of any varying phenomena – which means everyone from population biologists to astrophysicists."
– John Gribbin, New Scientist
"[...] will serve the general reader interested in the weather and its changes as well as the working atmospheric scientist. Burroughs uses a minimum of mathematics, rendering the book accessible to the layperson."
– Richard A. Anthes, Science
"The book is clear and logically presented [...] an enjoyable and informative read [...] deserves a wide readership."
– David Pike, The Observatory
"I enjoyed reading it, I learnt a lot, and will refer back to it as further developments in the study of the earth's climate unfold."
– Dave Wheeler, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
"[...] neatly written and excellently presented piece of popular science."
– The Times Higher Education Supplement
'If there ever were such a thing as a meteorological thriller, Burroughs came close to writing one [...] Every meteorologist and climatologist caught in the predictability dilemma should have this affordable book on his/her nightstand or, better yet, in the suitcase marked for summer vacation."
– Elmar R. Reiter, Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics
"[...] a scholarly, college-level compilation of the latest scientific facts, combined with history documenting the failure to locate reliable weather cycles. In so doing, Burroughs succeeds in separating unreliable statistics and technical information from more consistent studies reflecting weather patterns."
"The information is presented with a minimum of mathematics and can be enjoyed by general readers."
– A.E. Staver, Choice
"[...] does give a good overview of the analysis of climatic data, the attempted reconstruction of past climates, and some of the theories of climatic change."
– Edward A. Brotak, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
"I would encourage readers interested in weather cycles to use this book as a good source of primary material [...]"
"The book deserves to be widely read, and will be of value to students and researchers in meteorology and climatology. it should also appeal to environmental scientists in general."
"It is a comprehensive and balanced account that will appeal to students and experts alike."
– Environmental Geology
"Burroughs has written an interesting book. The book is written in a language that is readable for every scientist and a vast majority of lay people."
– Meteorologische Zeitschrift