Cover image for Weather : how it works and why it matters
Weather : how it works and why it matters
Upgren, Arthur R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Perseus Pub., 2001.

Physical Description:
xvi, 223 pages : illustrations\., maps, charts ; 23 cm
Reading Level:
1260 Lexile.
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QC981 .U64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Scientists have delved deep into the smallest particles of matter and have extended their view to the far reaches of the universe, but still they are unable to predict the temperature five days hence. In this intriguing book, two experts in meteorology and astronomy take us on a grand tour of Earth's weather. Amid colorful anecdotes of the Galápagos, Siberia, and places closer to home, they describe the factors involved in shaping our weather, from humidity and prevailing winds to air-pressure systems and the causes of seasonal change. They also explore the history of Earth's climate and its pivotal role in the development of life and human evolution. The authors end with a discussion of the major threats to Earth's atmosphere brought on by human activity, including global warming and ozone depletion, and argue that pure science-not politics-should dictate our policy responses.

Author Notes

Arthur Upgren is Professor of Astronomy at Wesleyan University and has been director of its Van Vleck Observatory, and Senior Research Scientist at Yale University
Jurgen Stock has been on the faculty of Hamburg and Case-Western Reserve Universities. He has also been director of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory at La Serena, Chile, as well as founding director of CIDA, the Venezuelan National Observatory at Merida

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The title Weather is misleading. Although the first chapters are a very elementary introduction to atmospheric construction and circulation, Upgren (Wesleyan Univ.) and Stock (Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile) actually write about climate. They describe methods of determining past climates and regional patterns of current climate. The main topics are global warming and ozone depletion; the authors are convinced that human activity is responsible for increasing greenhouse gases and that this increase will lead to global catastrophe: changes in sea level, oceanic circulation, storminess, and in some cases, drought, where there is currently agricultural production. The book does have interesting portions on weather lore, the carbon cycle, mass extinctions such as the dinosaurs, glacial research, tree ring studies, El Ni~no effects, and pros and cons of types of energy for human use. The author's viewpoint as astronomers is long-range, over geologic time periods, and they offer some insight as to how atmospheres evolve. They assume the atmosphere needs to be saved but do not offer a good solution. Suitable for leisure reading. General readers. A. E. Staver; emeritus, Northern Illinois University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. XI
Prefacep. XV
1 Introductionp. 1
2 Temperature and Pressure: The Fundamentals of Airp. 7
3 It's Not the Heat ... It's the Heat and the Humidityp. 15
4 The Four Seasonsp. 30
5 Other Worlds: Lessons from Comparative Planetologyp. 42
6 Weather Wisdom and Lorep. 50
7 Stormy Weatherp. 70
8 When Time Stood Still: The Ancient History of the Climatep. 76
9 Here Come the Glacietsp. 92
10 The Post-Glacial Period: Homo Sapiens Comes of Agep. 108
11 The Greenhouse Gases: Making Our Own Worldp. 124
12 Oceans: The Majority Rulesp. 146
13 El Nino: From Hoax to Menacep. 154
14 Ozone, Good and Badp. 159
15 Two Worldsp. 166
16 Energy: Production and Consumptionp. 172
17 The World in a Future Climatep. 183
18 Global Warming: The Everyman Misconceptionp. 188
Appendix I Mass and Weightp. 200
Appendix II Air Pressure and Densityp. 202
Appendix III Absorption and Condensationp. 205
Appendix IV The Coriolis Effect and the Prevailing Westerliesp. 209
Appendix V Further Remarks on the Causes of Mass Extinctionsp. 211
Appendix VI Instances of Global Warmingp. 213
Bibliographyp. 216
Indexp. 218