Understanding Weather and Climate / Edition 3

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Overview

  • Tutorials, three-dimensional diagrams and animations ease the presentation of difficult-to-visualize material. Topics include: —Solar Geometry
  • —Atmospheric Moisture
  • —The Coriolis Force
  • —Wind and Pressure Aloft
  • —Global Energy Balance
  • —Adiabatic Processes
  • —Atmosheric Forces and Motion
  • —Cyclones and Anticyclones
  • —Weather in Motion movies, depict events and phenomena discussed in the text.
  • Weather Images, provide additional illustrations of weather phenomena. These include photographs, satellite images, and computer diagrams that complement the text.
  • Media Library provides additional resources for self-guided browsing by the student.
  • Student Activities are short interactive exercises. These exercises cover important topics such as hurricanes and earth-sun relations and are prefaced by the Media Enrichment boxes included in the text.

...

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
New edition of a meteorology text that bridges the gap between abstract explanatory processes and their expression in everyday events. In the 16 chapters, Aguado (San Diego State U.) and Burt (U. of Wisconsin-Madison) emphasize scientific literacy in a discussion of energy and mass, water in the atmosphere, distribution and movement of air, disturbances, human activities, and current, past, and future climates. Contains color illustrations and maps. The included CD-ROM provides tutorials, three-dimensional diagrams and animations of difficult-to-visualize material, weather images, a media library, and short interactive exercises. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131015821
  • Publisher: Pearson Education
  • Publication date: 6/26/2003
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ed Aguado is a Professor of Geography at San Diego State University. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin in 1983, and his research interests include Precipitation and Hydrology of Western U.S. Mountains. He is also involved in consulting and is an expert witness on climatology and weather.

Jim Burt is a Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He earned his Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA in 1980, and his research areas include Physical Geography, Climatology, Quantitative Methods, and Geovisualization. He is the Co-principal investigator for SoLIM (Soil Land Inference Model) for soil mapping based on recent developments in geographic information science (GISc), artificial intelligence (AI), and information representation theory.

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Preface

Meteorology is perhaps the most dynamic of all the earth sciences. In no other sphere do events routinely unfold so quickly, with so great a potential impact on humans. Some of the most striking atmospheric disturbances (such as tornadoes) can take place over time scales on the order of minutes—but nevertheless have permanent consequences. Wind speeds of several hundred kilometers per hour accompany the most violent storms, and large-scale extreme events with attendant widespread destruction are common. Furthermore, even the most mundane of atmospheric phenomena influence our lives on a daily basis (for instance, the beauty of blue skies or red sunsets, rain, the daily cycle of temperature).

Atmospheric processes, despite their immediacy on a personal level and their importance in human affairs on a larger level, are not readily understood by most people. This is probably not surprising, given that the atmosphere consists primarily of invisible gases along with suspended, frequently microscopic particles, water droplets, and ice crystals. In this book, our overriding goal is to bridge the gap between abstract explanatory processes and the expression of those processes in everyday events. We have written the book so that students with little or no science background will be able to build a nonmathematical understanding of the atmosphere.

That said, we do not propose to abandon the foundations of physical science. We know from our own teaching experience that physical laws and principles can be mastered by students of widely varying backgrounds. In addition, we believe one of meteorology's great advantages is that reasoningfrom fundamental principles explains so much of the field. Compared to some other disciplines, this is one in which there is an enormous payoff for mastering a relatively small number of basic ideas.

Finally, our experience is that students are always excited to learn the "why" of things, and to do so gives real meaning to "what" and "where." For us, therefore, the idea of forsaking explanation in favor of a purely descriptive approach has no appeal whatsoever. Rather, we propose merely to replace mathematical proof (corroboration by formal argument) with qualitative reasoning and appeal to everyday occurrences. As the title implies, the goal remains understanding atmospheric behavior.

Understanding Weather and Climate is a college-level text intended for both science majors and non-majors taking their first course in atmospheric science. We have attempted to write a text that is informative, timely, engaging to students and easily used by professors.

Distinguishing Features

Scientific Literacy and Currency. We have emphasized scientific literacy throughout the book. This emphasis gives students an opportunity to build a deeper understanding about the building blocks of atmospheric science and serves as tacit instruction regarding the workings of all the sciences. For instance, in Chapter 2 we cover the molecular changes that occur when radiation is absorbed or emitted, items that are often considered a "given" in introductory texts. In Chapter 3 these basic ideas are used to help build student understanding of why individual gases radiate and absorb particular wavelengths of radiation and illustrate how processes operating at a subatomic level can manifest: themselves at global scales.

An emphasis on scientific literacy can be effectively implemented only if it is accompanied by careful attention to currency. We believe that two kinds of currency are required in a text: an integration of current events as they relate to the topic at hand, and an integration of current scientific thinking. For instance, the reader will find discussion of both recent hurricane activity and the most recent theories regarding the mechanisms that generate severe storms. Scientific literacy also calls for attention to language—after all, precision of language is an important distinguishing characteristic of science; one that sets it apart from other intellectual activities. With that in mind, we have tried to avoid some common statements of dubious accuracy, such as "warm air is able to hold more water vapor than cold air," or "radiation emitted by the surface is absorbed and reradiated by the atmosphere."

Media. A fundamental feature of this book is the integration of the classic textbook model with the emerging areas of instructional technology These nontraditional resources are delivered through the CD provided with the book and via the Internet. The software on the accompanying CD consists of several components. Perhaps most fundamental to our approach, the CD features eight computer tutorials covering basic principles of atmospheric science. The software modules have undergone considerable testing and have been used successfully by thousands of students. They rely heavily on three-dimensional diagrams and animations to present material not easily visualized using conventional media. In choosing topics for the modules, we have emphasized material that is both difficult to master and has the potential to benefit from computer technology. We made no attempt to cover every chapter in the modules.

The software modules follow a tutorial style, with explanations and new vocabulary introduced incrementally, building on what was presented earlier in the modules and what was presented in the text. The tutorials are best used as a supplement to assigned readings. Students and professors will notice that the book and the tutorials are linked. First, the tutorials are described in Media Enrichment sections found at the end of every chapter. In addition, CD icons in the book margins indicate that the topic under discussion is covered in a tutorial as well. A numeric subtitle indicates the section of the tutorial covering that topic. For example, the icon at left indicates tutorial 2, section 2, subsection 1. We advise that you first view a tutorial in its entirety. If additional review is needed, you can use the section number to move directly to the section under discussion. The tutorials are also linked back to the text. The icon shown at left (taken from a tutorial) is used to locate places where the book provides more detailed or background information about the topic at hand.

In addition to the tutorials, the CD for the second edition of the book has been expanded to include other useful resources. These additions include:

  • Weather in Motion movies, depicting events and phenomena discussed in the text. Examples include a year-long satellite movie showing clouds and temperature across the globe, three-dimensional simulations of thunderstorm development, and animations depicting variations in Earth's orbit. Like the tutorials, each movie is described in the Media Enrichment section at the end of every chapter.
  • Weather Images, providing additional illustration of weather phenomena. These include photographs, satellite images, and computer diagrams complementing the text. Each is described in a Media Enrichment section.
  • Media Library resources, consisting of additional images, movies, and animations. These are intended for self-guided browsing by the student, and are there-, fore not explicitly mentioned in the text. A short description of each is found on the CD.
  • Interactive Exercises, which are short activities produced by Gregory J. Carbone of the University of South Carolina. These modules cover important topics, such as hurricanes and Earth-Sun relations, and are described in the Media Enrichment sections. Expanded versions of the modules are presented with The Lab Manual for Atmospheric Science by Gregory J. Carbone, which is available at a discount when packaged with this book.

The Internet site ...

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Table of Contents

I. ENERGY AND MASS.

1. Composition and Structure of the Atmosphere.
The Thickness of the Atmosphere. Composition of the Atmosphere. Vertical Structure of the Atmosphere. Evolution of the Atmosphere. Planetary Atmosphere.

2. Solar Radiation and the Seasons.
Energy. Radiation. The Solar Constant. The Causes of Earth's Seasons.

3. Energy Balance and Temperature.
Atmospheric Influences on Insolation. The Fate of Solar Radiation. Energy Transfer Processes between the Surface and the Atmosphere. Global Temperature Distributions. Influences on Temperature. Measurement of Temperature. Temperature Means and Ranges. Atmospheric Optics.

II. WATER IN THE ATMOSPHERE.

4. Atmospheric Moisture.
Water Vapor and Liquid Water. Indices of Water Vapor Content. Methods of Achieving Saturation. The Effects of Curvature and Solution. Cooling the Air to the Dew or Frost Point. Forms of Condensation. Formation and Dissipation of Cloud Droplets.

5. Cloud Development and Forms.
Mechanisms That Lift Air. Static Stability and the Environmental Lapse Rate. Factors Influencing the Environmental Lapse Rate. Limitations on the Lifting of Unstable Air. Extremely Stable Air: Inversions. Cloud Types. Cloud Coverage.

6. Precipitation Processes.
Growth of Cloud Droplets. Formsof Precipitation. Measuring Precipitation. Cloud Seeding. Rainbows and Other Optical Phenomena.

III. DISTRIBUTION AND MOVEMENT OF AIR.

7. Atmospheric Pressure and Wind.
The Concept of Pressure. The Equation of State. Measurement of Pressure. The Distribution of Pressure. Horizontal Pressure Gradients in the Upper Atmosphere. Forces Affecting the Speed and Direction of the Wind. Winds in the Upper Atmosphere. Near-Surface Winds. Cyclones, Anticyclones, Troughs, and Ridges. Measuring Wind.

8. Atmospheric Circulation and Pressure Distributions.
Single-Cell Model. The Three-Cell Model. Semi-Permanent Pressure Cells. The Upper Troposphere. The Oceans. Major Wind Systems. Air-Sea Interactions.

9. Air Masses and Fronts.
Formation of Air Masses. Fronts.

IV. DISTURBANCES.

10. Mid-Latitude Cyclones.
Polar Front Theory. The Life Cycle of a Mid-Latitude Cyclone. Processes of the Middle and Upper Troposphere. Surface Fronts and Upper-Level Patterns. An Example of a Mid-Latitude Cyclone. Flow Patterns and Large-Scale Weather. The Modern View—Mid-Latitude Cyclones and Conveyor Belts. Anticyclones.

11. Lightning, Thunder, and Tornadoes.
Processes of Lightning Formation. Lightning Safety. Thunderstorms: Self-Extinguishing vs. Self-Propagating. Geographic and Temporal Distribution of Thunderstorms. Tornadoes.

12. Tropical Storms and Hurricanes.
Hurricanes around the Globe. The Tropical Setting. Hurricane Characteristics. Hurricane Formation. Hurricane Movement and Dissipation. Destruction by Hurricanes. Hurricane Forecasts and Advisories.

V. HUMAN ACTIVITIES.

13. Weather Forecasting and Analysis.
Why Is Weather Forecasting Imperfect? Forecasting Methods. Types of Forecasts. Assessing Forecasts. Data Acquisition and Dissemination. Forecast Procedures and Products. Weather Maps and Images. Thermodynamic Diagrams. Chapter 13 Appendix: Numerical Forecast Models. Model Characteristics. Measures of Forecast Accuracy and Skill.

14. Human Effects: Air Pollution and Heat Islands.
Atmospheric Pollutants. Atmospheric Controls on Air Pollution. Urban Heat Islands.

VI. CURRENT, PAST AND FUTURE CLIMATES.

15. Earth's Climates.
Defining Climate. The Koeppen System. Tropical Climates. Dry Climates. Mild Mid-Latitude Climates. Severe Mid-Latitude Climates. Polar Climates.

16. Climate Changes: Past and Future.
Defining Climate Change. The Time Scales of Climate Change. Past Climates. Factors Involved in Climatic Change. Feedback Mechanisms. Methods for Determining Past Climates.

Appendix A: Unit of Measurement and Conversions.
Appendix B: The Standard Atmosphere.
Appendix C: Weather Map Symbols.
Appendix D: Weather Extremes.
Glossary.
Index.
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Preface

PREFACE:

Preface

Meteorology is perhaps the most dynamic of all the earth sciences. In no other sphere do events routinely unfold so quickly, with so great a potential impact on humans. Some of the most striking atmospheric disturbances (such as tornadoes) can take place over time scales on the order of minutes—but nevertheless have permanent consequences. Wind speeds of several hundred kilometers per hour accompany the most violent storms, and large-scale extreme events with attendant widespread destruction are common. Furthermore, even the most mundane of atmospheric phenomena influence our lives on a daily basis (for instance, the beauty of blue skies or red sunsets, rain, the daily cycle of temperature).

Atmospheric processes, despite their immediacy on a personal level and their importance in human affairs on a larger level, are not readily understood by most people. This is probably not surprising, given that the atmosphere consists primarily of invisible gases along with suspended, frequently microscopic particles, water droplets, and ice crystals. In this book, our overriding goal is to bridge the gap between abstract explanatory processes and the expression of those processes in everyday events. We have written the book so that students with little or no science background will be able to build a nonmathematical understanding of the atmosphere.

That said, we do not propose to abandon the foundations of physical science. We know from our own teaching experience that physical laws and principles can be mastered by students of widely varying backgrounds. In addition, we believe one of meteorology's great advantages is thatreasoningfrom fundamental principles explains so much of the field. Compared to some other disciplines, this is one in which there is an enormous payoff for mastering a relatively small number of basic ideas.

Finally, our experience is that students are always excited to learn the "why" of things, and to do so gives real meaning to "what" and "where." For us, therefore, the idea of forsaking explanation in favor of a purely descriptive approach has no appeal whatsoever. Rather, we propose merely to replace mathematical proof (corroboration by formal argument) with qualitative reasoning and appeal to everyday occurrences. As the title implies, the goal remains understanding atmospheric behavior.

Understanding Weather and Climate is a college-level text intended for both science majors and non-majors taking their first course in atmospheric science. We have attempted to write a text that is informative, timely, engaging to students and easily used by professors.

Distinguishing Features

Scientific Literacy and Currency. We have emphasized scientific literacy throughout the book. This emphasis gives students an opportunity to build a deeper understanding about the building blocks of atmospheric science and serves as tacit instruction regarding the workings of all the sciences. For instance, in Chapter 2 we cover the molecular changes that occur when radiation is absorbed or emitted, items that are often considered a "given" in introductory texts. In Chapter 3 these basic ideas are used to help build student understanding of why individual gases radiate and absorb particular wavelengths of radiation and illustrate how processes operating at a subatomic level can manifest: themselves at global scales.

An emphasis on scientific literacy can be effectively implemented only if it is accompanied by careful attention to currency. We believe that two kinds of currency are required in a text: an integration of current events as they relate to the topic at hand, and an integration of current scientific thinking. For instance, the reader will find discussion of both recent hurricane activity and the most recent theories regarding the mechanisms that generate severe storms. Scientific literacy also calls for attention to language—after all, precision of language is an important distinguishing characteristic of science; one that sets it apart from other intellectual activities. With that in mind, we have tried to avoid some common statements of dubious accuracy, such as "warm air is able to hold more water vapor than cold air," or "radiation emitted by the surface is absorbed and reradiated by the atmosphere."

Media. A fundamental feature of this book is the integration of the classic textbook model with the emerging areas of instructional technology These nontraditional resources are delivered through the CD provided with the book and via the Internet. The software on the accompanying CD consists of several components. Perhaps most fundamental to our approach, the CD features eight computer tutorials covering basic principles of atmospheric science. The software modules have undergone considerable testing and have been used successfully by thousands of students. They rely heavily on three-dimensional diagrams and animations to present material not easily visualized using conventional media. In choosing topics for the modules, we have emphasized material that is both difficult to master and has the potential to benefit from computer technology. We made no attempt to cover every chapter in the modules.

The software modules follow a tutorial style, with explanations and new vocabulary introduced incrementally, building on what was presented earlier in the modules and what was presented in the text. The tutorials are best used as a supplement to assigned readings. Students and professors will notice that the book and the tutorials are linked. First, the tutorials are described in Media Enrichment sections found at the end of every chapter. In addition, CD icons in the book margins indicate that the topic under discussion is covered in a tutorial as well. A numeric subtitle indicates the section of the tutorial covering that topic. For example, the icon at left indicates tutorial 2, section 2, subsection 1. We advise that you first view a tutorial in its entirety. If additional review is needed, you can use the section number to move directly to the section under discussion. The tutorials are also linked back to the text. The icon shown at left (taken from a tutorial) is used to locate places where the book provides more detailed or background information about the topic at hand.

In addition to the tutorials, the CD for the second edition of the book has been expanded to include other useful resources. These additions include:

  • Weather in Motion movies, depicting events and phenomena discussed in the text. Examples include a year-long satellite movie showing clouds and temperature across the globe, three-dimensional simulations of thunderstorm development, and animations depicting variations in Earth's orbit. Like the tutorials, each movie is described in the Media Enrichment section at the end of every chapter.
  • Weather Images, providing additional illustration of weather phenomena. These include photographs, satellite images, and computer diagrams complementing the text. Each is described in a Media Enrichment section.
  • Media Library resources, consisting of additional images, movies, and animations. These are intended for self-guided browsing by the student, and are there-, fore not explicitly mentioned in the text. A short description of each is found on the CD.
  • Interactive Exercises, which are short activities produced by Gregory J. Carbone of the University of South Carolina. These modules cover important topics, such as hurricanes and Earth-Sun relations, and are described in the Media Enrichment sections. Expanded versions of the modules are presented with The Lab Manual for Atmospheric Science by Gregory J. Carbone, which is available at a discount when packaged with this book.

The Internet site ...

Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    A Great Atmospheric Introduction!

    This is an awsome book. I read it nearly cover to cover and gained a formal introductory understanding of the subject in a well thought-out, greatly written volume! I hope anyone who isn't already proficient in the study, but has an interest, will pick up this book. A great read!

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