An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics / Edition 2

Hardcover (Print)
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The second edition of David Andrews' excellent textbook has been significantly revised and expnded. This textbook provides a quantitative introduction to the Earth's atmosphere for intermediate-advanced undergraduate and graduate students. It now includes a new chapter on the physics of climate change, which builds upon material introduced in earlier chapters, giving the student a broad understanding of some of the physical concepts of this most important and topical subject. In contrast to many other books on atmospheric science, the emphasis is on the underlying physics. Atmospheric applications are developed mainly in the problems given at the end of each chapter. The book is an essential resource for all students of atmospheric physics as part of an atmospheric science, meteorology, physics, Earth science, planetary science or applied mathematics course.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"well-written and clearly organized book."

"...I strongly recommend this book, both because there is no other recent text that covers the same material and because of the high quality of the text. The author does an exceptional job of organizing the presentation of complex material, and manages to explain it in terms that are accessible to undergraduates and more senior students, as well as people with a more casual interest in the topics who seek a basic understanding of the physical principles." -Miguel Larsen, Clemson University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521872201
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/29/2010
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Andrews has been a lecturer in Physics at Oxford University and a Physics tutor at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, for 20 years. During this time he has had extensive experience of teaching a wide range of physics courses, including atmospheric physics. This experience has included giving lectures to large student audiences and also giving tutorials to small groups. Tutorials, in particular, have given him insights into the kinds of problems that physics students encounter when learning atmospheric physics, and the kinds of topics that excite them. His broad teaching experience has also helped him introduce students to connections between topics in atmospheric physics and related topics in other areas of physics. He feels that it is particularly important to expose today's physics students to the excitements and challenges presented by the atmosphere and climate. He has also published a graduate textbook, Middle Atmosphere Dynamics, with J. R. Holton and C. B. Leovy (1987, Academic Press). He is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, a Member of the Institute of Physics, and a Member of the American Meteorological Society.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition ix

1 Introduction 1

1.1 The atmosphere as a physical system 1

1.2 Atmospheric models 3

1.3 Two simple atmospheric models 4

1.4 Some atmospheric observations 7

1.5 Weather and climate 17

Further reading 18

2 Atmospheric thermodynamics 19

2.1 The ideal gas law 19

2.2 Atmospheric composition 20

2.3 Hydrostatic balance 22

2.4 Entropy and potential temperature 24

2.5 Parcel concepts 26

2.6 The available potential energy 30

2.7 Moisture in the atmosphere 32

2.8 The saturated adiabatic lapse rate 37

2.9 The tephigram 40

2.10 Cloud formation 42

Further reading 48

Problems 48

3 Atmospheric radiation 52

3.1 Basic physical concepts 52

3.2 The radiative-transfer equation 57

3.3 Basic spectroscopy of molecules 63

3.4 Transmittance 69

3.5 Absorption by atmospheric gases 71

3.6 Heating rates 75

3.7 The greenhouse effect revisited 81

3.8 A simple model of scattering 86

Further reading 88

Problems 89

4 Basic fluid dynamics 94

4.1 Mass conservation 94

4.2 The material derivative 95

4.3 An alternative form of the continuity equation 98

4.4 The equation of state for the atmosphere 99

4.5 The Navier-Stokes equation 99

4.6 Rotating frames of reference 102

4.7 Equations of motion in coordinate form 104

4.8 Geostrophic and hydrostatic approximations 107

4.9 Pressure coordinates and geopotential 111

4.10 The thermodynamic energy equation 113

Further reading 114

Problems 114

5 Further atmospheric fluid dynamics 119

5.1 Vorticity and potential vorticity 119

5.2 The Boussinesq approximation 122

5.3 Quasi-geostrophic motion 125

5.4 Gravity waves 128

5.5 Rossby waves 132

5.6 Boundary layers 136

5.7 Instability 141

Further reading 147

Problems 147

6 Stratospheric chemistry 151

6.1 Thermodynamics of chemical reactions 151

6.2 Chemical kinetics 153

6.3 Bimolecular reactions 155

6.4 Photo-dissociation 157

6.5 Stratospheric ozone 158

6.6 The transport of chemicals 161

6.7 The Antarctic ozone hole 164

Further reading 168

Problems 168

7 Atmospheric remote sounding 171

7.1 Atmospheric observations 171

7.2 Atmospheric remote sounding from space 172

7.3 Atmospheric remote sounding from the ground 182

Further reading 189

Problems 190

8 Climate change 195

8.1 Introduction 195

8.2 An energy balance model 198

8.3 Some solutions of the linearised energy balance model 200

8.4 Climate feedbacks 204

8.5 The radiative forcing due to an increase in carbon dioxide 207

Further reading 211

Problems 212

9 Atmospheric modelling 215

9.1 The hierarchy of models 215

9.2 Numerical methods 217

9.3 Uses of complex numerical models 219

9.4 Laboratory models 220

9.5 Final remarks 222

Further reading 224

Appendix A Useful physical constants 225

Appendix B Derivation of the equations of motion in spherical coordinates 227

References 229

Index 234

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