Handbook of Weather, Climate and Water: Dynamics, Climate, Physical Meteorology, Weather Systems, and Measurements / Edition 1

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This comprehensive, two-volume review of the atmospheric and hydrologic sciences promises to be the definitive reference for both professionals and laypersons for years to come. Volume I addresses atmospheric dynamics, physical meteorology, weather systems, and measurements, while Volume II contains information on the climate system, atmospheric chemistry, hydrology, and societal impacts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471214908
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/25/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1020
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.47 (h) x 1.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Psychologists and Personality Researchers Graduate students in psychology (advanced courses in personality and personality theory)

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Read an Excerpt

Handbook of Weather, Climate and Water

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2003

Thomas D. Potter, Bradley R. Colman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-471-21490-6

Chapter One



The scientific study of the dynamics of the atmosphere can broadly be defined as the
attempt to elucidate the nature and causes of atmospheric motions through the laws
of classical physics. The relevant principles are Newton's second law of motion
applied to a fluid (the atmosphere), the equation of mass continuity, the ideal gas
law, and the first law of thermodynamics. These principles are developed in detail in
the contribution by Murry Salby. Since the empirical discovery and mathematical
statement of these laws was not completed until the middle of the nineteenth century,
as defined above, atmospheric dynamics was nonexistent before 1875. Nonetheless,
attempts at applying dynamical reasoning using principles of dynamics appeared as
early as 1735, in a work discussing the cause of the trade winds. Hadley's contribution
and a complete history of theories of the atmospheric general circulation can be
found in the monograph by Lorenz (1967).

The recognition that the laws enumerated above were sufficient to describe and
even predict atmospheric motions is generally attributed to Vilhelm Bjerknes. He
noted this fact in a study (1904) detailing both the statement ofthe central problem
of meteorology (as seen by Bjerknes), weather prediction, and the system of equations
necessary and sufficient to carry out the solution of the central problem. The
chapter by Eugenia Kalnay describes the progress toward the solution of the central
problem made since 1904 and the current state-of-the-art methods that marry the
dynamical principles spelled out by Bjerknes and the computational technology
brought to applicability by John von Neumann, who recognized in weather prediction
a problem ideally suited for the electronic computer.

If Bjerknes' central problem and its solution were the sole goal of dynamical
meteorology, then the chapters by Salby and Kalnay would be sufficient to describe
both the scientific content of the field and its progress to date. However, as noted
above, atmospheric dynamics also includes the search for dynamical explanations of
meteorological phenomena and a more satisfying explanation of why weather
patterns exist as they do, rather than simply Force=(mass)(acceleration). The
remaining chapters in the part demonstrate the expansion of thought required for
this in three ways. The first method, exemplified by Paul Kushner's chapter, is to
expand the quantities studied so that important aspects of atmospheric circulation
systems may be more fully elucidated. The second method, exemplified by the
chapters of Gerry Meehl and Kyle Swanson, develops dynamical depth by focusing
on particular regions of Earth and the understanding that can be gained through the
constraints imposed by Earth's geometry. The third method of expanding the reach
of understanding in atmospheric dynamics is through the incorporation of techniques
and ideas from other related scientific disciplines such as fluid turbulence
and dynamical systems. These perspectives are brought to bear in the chapters of
Jackson Herring and Jeffrey Weiss, respectively.

The focus of the chapter by Kushner is vorticity and potential vorticity. Anyone
familiar with the nature of storms, e.g., both tropical and extratropical cyclones, will
note the strong rotation commonly associated with these circulations. As Kushner
shows, the local measure of rotation in a fluid can be quantified by either the
vorticity or the related circulation. The recognition of the importance of circulation
and vorticity in atmospheric systems can be traced at least as far back as von
Helmholtz (1888). However, the most celebrated accomplishment in the first half
of the twentieth century within atmospheric dynamics was the recognition by Carl G.
Rossby (1939) that the most ubiquitous aspects of large-scale atmospheric circulations
in middle latitudes could be succinctly described through a straightforward
analysis of the equation governing vorticity. Rossby was also one of the first to see
the value of the dynamical quantity, denoted by Ertel as potential vorticity, which, in
the absence of heating and friction, is conserved by fluid parcels as they move
through the atmosphere. The diagnostic analysis and tracking of this quantity
forms the basis of many current studies in atmospheric dynamics, of both a theoretical
and observational nature, and Kushner's chapter gives a concise introduction to
these notions.

The chapters by Meehl and Swanson review the nature of motions in the tropics
and extratropics, respectively. These geographic areas, distinguished from each other
by their climatic regimes, have distinctive circulation systems and weather patterns
that necessitate a separate treatment of the dynamics of each region. The dominant
balance of forces in the tropics, as discussed by Meehl, is a thermodynamic balance
between the net heating/cooling of the atmosphere by small-scale convection and
radiation and the forced ascent/descent of air parcels that leads to adiabatic cooling/
heating in response. This thermodynamic balance is sufficient to explain the mean
circulations in the equatorial region, the north-south Hadley circulation and east-west
Walker cell, the transient circulations associated with the El Nino-Southern
Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, the monsoon circulations of Australia and Asia,
and the intraseasonal Madden-Julian Oscillation. Meehl also explains the interactions
among these circulations.

In contrast to the tropics, the main focus in the extra-tropics are the traveling
cyclones and anticyclones, which are the dominant cause of the weather fluctuations
seen at midlatitudes in all seasons except summer. These variations, which are
symbolized on weather maps with the familiar high- and low pressure centers and
delimiting warm and cold fronts, are dynamically dissected by Swanson and explained
in terms of inherent instabilities of the stationary features that arise due to
the uneven distribution of net radiative heating, topography, and land mass over
Earth's surface. In the process of dynamically explaining these systems, Swanson
makes use of the quasi-geostrophic equations, which are a simplification of the
governing equations derived by Salby. This quasi-geostrophic system is a staple
of dynamical meteorology and can be formally derived as an approximation of
the full system using scale analysis (cf. Charney, 1948, or Phillips, 1963). The
advantage of such reduced equations is twofold: the reduction frequently leads to
analytically tractable equations as shown by Swanson's examples and, with fewer
variables and degrees of freedom in the system, it is almost always easier to directly
follow the causal dynamical mechanisms.

The chapters by Herring and Weiss bring in paradigms and tools from the physics
of fluid turbulence and the mathematics of dynamical systems theory. The entire
field of atmospheric dynamics is but a subtopic within the physics of fluid dynamics.
The study of fluid motions in the atmosphere, ocean, and within the fluid earth is
frequently referred to as geophysical fluid dynamics (GFD), so it is not surprising
that ideas from fluid turbulence would be used in atmospheric dynamics, as well as
in the rest of GFD. What is different in the application in the large-scale dynamics of
the atmosphere is the notion of viewing the atmosphere as a turbulent (nearly) two-dimensional
flow. The perspective given by Herring was conceived in the late 1960s
by George Batchelor and Robert Kraichnan, and further developed by C. Leith,
Douglas Lilly, and Herring. Prior to this time it was thought that two-dimensional
turbulence was an oxymoron since turbulence studied in the laboratory and observed
in nature is inherently three dimensional. As Herring shows, the two-dimensional
turbulence picture of the atmosphere has enabled a dynamical explanation of the
spectrum of atmospheric motions and elucidated the growth in time of forecast
errors, which initiate in small scales and propagate up the spectrum to contaminate
even planetary scales of motion. This notion of forecast errors contaminating the
accuracy of forecasts was first investigated by Philip Thompson (1957) using the
methodology of Batchelor's statistical theory of homogeneous turbulence. Herring's
chapter is a summary of subsequent developments using this methodology.

A seminal study by Edward Lorenz (1963) is the predecessor of the review given
by Weiss, detailing the use of a dynamical system's perspective and deterministic
chaos in quantifying the predictability of the atmosphere. Lorenz' study was the
starting point for two research fields: the application of dynamical systems theory to
atmospheric predictions and the mathematical topic of deterministic chaos. Weiss'
chapter summarizes the scientific developments relevant to atmospheric dynamics
and climate and weather prediction since 1963.

In any brief summarization of an active and growing field of research as much, or
more, will be left out as will be reviewed. The chapters presented in this part are to
be viewed more as a sampler than an exhaustive treatise on the dynamics of atmospheric
motions. For those intrigued by works presented here and wishing to further
learn about the area, the following texts are recommended in addition to those texts
and publications cited by the individual authors: An Introduction to Dynamical
(1992) by J. R. Holton, Academic Press; Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics
(1982) by A. E. Gill, Academic Press; and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (1979) by
J. Pedlosky, Springer.


Excerpted from Handbook of Weather, Climate and Water

Copyright © 2003 by Thomas D. Potter, Bradley R. Colman.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Dedication and Acknowledgments.



1. Overview-Atmospheric Dynamics (Joseph Tribbia).

2. Fundamental Forces and Governing Equations (Murry Salby).

3. Circulation, Vorticity, and Potential Vorticity (Paul Kushner).

4. Extratropical Atmospheric Circulations (Kyle Swanson).

5. Tropical Dynamics of the Tropical Atmosphere (Gerald Meehl).

6. Turbulence (Jackson R. Herring).

7. Predictability And Chaos (Jeffrey B. Weiss).

8. Historical Overview of Numerical Weather Prediction (Eugenia Kalnay).


9. Overview: The Climate System (Robert E. Dickinson).

10. The Ocean in Climate (Edward S. Sarachik).

11. Processes Determining Land Surface Climate (Gordon Bonan).

12. Observations of Climate and Global Change from Real-Time Measurements (David R. Easterling and Thomas R. Karl).

13. Why Should We Believe Predictions of Future Climate? (John Mitchell).

14. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (Enso) System ( Kevin Trenberth).


15. Physical Atmospheric Science (Gregary Tripoli).

16. Atmospheric Thermodynamics (Gregary Tripoli).

17. Thermodynamic Analysis in The Atmosphere (Amanda Adams).

18. Microphysical Processes in The Atmosphere (Robert M. Rauber).

19. Radiation in The Atmosphere: Foundations (Robert Pincus and Steven A. Ackermann).

20. Radiation in The Atmosphere: Observations and Applications (Steven A. Ackermann and Robert Pincus).

21. Clouds (A. Rangno).

22. Atmospheric Electricity and Lightning (Walter A. Lyons and Earle R. Williams).

23. Weather Modification (Harold D. Orville).

24. Atmospheric Optics (Craig F. Bohren).


25. Overview for Weather Systems (John W. Nielsen-Gammon).

26. Large-Scale Atmospheric Systems (John Nielsen-Gammon)

27. Winter Weather Systems (John Gyakum).

28. Terrain-Forced Mesoscale Circulations (John Horel).

29. Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes (H. Brooks, et al.).

30. Tropical Precipitating systems (Edward J. Zipser).

31. Hurricanes (Frank D. Marks, Jr.).

32. Modern Weather Forecasting (Lawrence B. Dunn).


33. Overview (Thomas J. Lockhart).

34 Challenges of Measurements (T. Lockart).

35. Measurement in The Atmosphere (John Hallett).

36. Instrument Development in The National Weather Services (Joseph W. Schiesl).

37. Consequences of Instrument and Siting Changes (Joseph W. Schiesl and Thomas B. Mckee).

38. Commercial Response to Measurement Needs: Development of Wind Monitor Series of Wind Sensors (Robert Young).

39. Commercial Response to Measurement System Design (Alan L. Hinckley).

40. Design, Calibration, and Quality Assurance Needs of Networks (Scott J. Richardson and Fred V. Brock).

41. Data Validity in the National Archive (G. W. Goodge).

42. Demands of Forensic Meteorology (W. H. Haggard).

43. Surface Layer In Situ or Short-Path Measurements for Electric Utility Operations (Robert N. Swanson).

44. Independent Auditing Aspects Of Measurement Programs (R.A. Baxter).

45. Regulatory Approaches to Quality Assurance and Quality Control Programs (Paul M. Fransoli).

46. Measuring Global Temperature (John R. Christy).

47. Satellite Versus In Situ Measurements at the Air-Sea Interface (Kristina B. Katsaros).

48. Radar Technologies in Support of Forecasting And Research (Josh Wurman)

49. Basic Research for Military Applications (W. D. Bach).

50. Challenges of Snow Measurements (Nolan J. Doesken).

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