Weather: A Visual Guide

Weather: A Visual Guide

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781554074303
Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date: 08/15/2008
Series: Visual Guides Series
Edition description: Now in paperback
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,223,866
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Bruce Buckley is a senior meteorologist who has worked in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and as chief meteorologist on television for Australia's Weather Channel.

Edward J. Hopkins is a lecturer in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin and a weather education consultant with the American Meteorological Society.

Richard Whitaker is a meteorological consultant who provides services to businesses, governments and educational organizations.


Read an Excerpt

Introduction

As Mark Twain said, "The weather is always doing something." It is, indeed, a phenomenon of universal interest and fascination, as well as research and scholarship. The beauty of an unusual cloud, the symmetry of a rainbow, the awesome power of a thunderstorm and the devastation of a hurricane—all suggest a mighty power with influence over human affairs. Not surprisingly, early humans explained changes in weather as the actions of sky-gods who could reward or punish at will. Only in the last two centuries or so have scientific reasoning and experiment been used to explain the nature and causes of weather and to forecast its behavior. As this process developed, it was realized that because weather is a global phenomenon, international endeavor is required to understand and predict it. Unprecedented cooperation today provides one of the finest examples of international synergy united in a common cause.

But this book begins well before that. It traces long-term climate change over Earth's 4600 million-year history; explains the complex atmospheric forces that influence weather; examines the complex atmospheric forces the influence weather; examines the diversity of climate throughout the world and how plants, animals and people have adapted to it; analyzes the factors that interact to create violent weather extremes; and review the latest research into current climate change. This weather odyssey is one of the more remarkable chapters in the story of humanity—one that the reader will enjoy sharing.

Table of Contents

Introduction

The Weather Engine

Fueled by the heat of the Sun, the weather is a system of cycles and forces within the atmosphere, the blanket of air that surrounds our planet. Vast waves of air and swirls of cloud circulate in complex, everchanging patterns, giving rise to winds, storms and other weather phenomena.

  • What is weather?
  • The solar powerhouse
  • The seasons
  • Earth's system
  • The energy cycle
  • The atmosphere
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Global winds
  • Jet streams
  • Winds at sea
  • Frontal systems
  • Highs and lows
  • Heating and cooling
  • The monsoon
  • Local winds
  • Extreme winds
  • Ocean currents
Weather in Action

The beauty of a cloud formation, the symmetry of a rainbow, the life-giving power of rain and the eerie quiet of a winter snowstorm — all these are expressions of weather in action. And all owe their origin to water in the atmosphere.

  • The nature of water
  • The water cycle
  • Humidity
  • Dew and frost
  • Cloud formation
  • Vortices and waves
  • Cloud classification
  • Types of cloud: high clouds
  • Types of cloud: middle clouds
  • Types of cloud: low clouds
  • Types of cloud: vertical clouds
  • Types of cloud: unusual clouds
  • Fog and mist
  • Kinds of precipitation
  • Rain and drizzle
  • Snow, Ice and hail
  • Color and light
  • Rainbows and coronas
  • Haloes and sundogs
  • Auroras
Extreme Weather

Weather is perhaps the last wild thing on Earth. The extreme winds of hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and ice storms; the destructive power of avalanches, floods, wildfires and droughts — all are reminders of the elemental forces of weather.

  • Thunderstorms
  • Lightning
  • Types of lightning
  • Hailstorms and microbursts
  • Blizzards and ice storms
  • Tornadoes
  • Tornado Alley
  • Tornado watch
  • Whirlwinds and dust devils
  • Hurricanes
  • Hurricane impact
  • Hurricane watch
  • Floods, landslides and avalanches
  • Droughts
  • Heatwaves and wildfires
  • Dust storms
  • Record-breaking weather
  • Extreme weather: USA
  • Extreme weather: Europe
  • Surviving extreme weather
Watching the Weather

Weather forecasting is today a complex and highly technical process, relying on observation, satellite photography, radar and computer simulations. It has come a long way since the days of superstition and sky gods.

  • Weather lore
  • Scientific beginnings
  • The Renaissance
  • The Age of Reason
  • Toward the modern era
  • Meteorology today
  • Measuring weather
  • Weather at home
  • Monitoring the Sun
  • Weather organizations
  • Weather models
  • Seasonal forecasts
  • Mapping the weather
  • Tracking the weather with radar
  • Weather from above
  • Natural inspiration
Global Climate

From Antarctic emperor penguins to the zebras of the African savanna, from lush tropical forests to desert cacti, the great diversity of life on Earth is largely a response to the challenges presented by our planet's different climates. Throughout the globe, humans too have made the most of this climatic variety.

  • Climate zones
  • Tropical
  • Subtropical
  • Arid
  • Semiarid
  • Mediterranean
  • Temperate
  • Northern temperate
  • Polar
  • Mountain
  • Coastal
  • Weather and landform
  • Adaptations to weather: plants
  • Adaptations to weather: animals
  • Adaptations to weather: humans
  • Harnessing the weather
  • Modifying the weather
  • Climate: inner planets
  • Climate: outer planets
The Changing Climate

Earth's climate has changed throughout the history of our planet. Many of these fluctuations are short-term patterns, but movements of air, water and landmasses all contribute to long-term change. The human impact, too, is significant: when we alter Earth's ecosystem, the effects can be dramatic.

  • The big picture
  • Long-term climate change
  • Global forces at work
  • Before the dinosaurs
  • The dinosaur era
  • Natural climate clues
  • Evidence from the glaciers
  • Volcanic skies
  • Ice ages
  • Recent freezes
  • Climate and civilization
  • The enhanced greenhouse effects
  • The human impact
  • Ozone depletion
  • Global warming
  • El Niño / La Niña
  • The future

Factfile
Glossary
Index


Preface

Introduction

As Mark Twain said, "The weather is always doing something." It is, indeed, a phenomenon of universal interest and fascination, as well as research and scholarship. The beauty of an unusual cloud, the symmetry of a rainbow, the awesome power of a thunderstorm and the devastation of a hurricane — all suggest a mighty power with influence over human affairs. Not surprisingly, early humans explained changes in weather as the actions of sky-gods who could reward or punish at will. Only in the last two centuries or so have scientific reasoning and experiment been used to explain the nature and causes of weather and to forecast its behavior. As this process developed, it was realized that because weather is a global phenomenon, international endeavor is required to understand and predict it. Unprecedented cooperation today provides one of the finest examples of international synergy united in a common cause.

But this book begins well before that. It traces long-term climate change over Earth's 4600 million-year history; explains the complex atmospheric forces that influence weather; examines the complex atmospheric forces the influence weather; examines the diversity of climate throughout the world and how plants, animals and people have adapted to it; analyzes the factors that interact to create violent weather extremes; and review the latest research into current climate change. This weather odyssey is one of the more remarkable chapters in the story of humanity — one that the reader will enjoy sharing.


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