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Meteorology Today: An Introduction to Weather, Climate, and the Environment, 9th Edition

Meteorology Today: An Introduction to Weather, Climate, and the Environment, 9th Edition PDF

Author: C. Donald Ahrens

Publisher: Cengage Learning


Publish Date: July 2, 2008

ISBN-10: 0495555738

Pages: 624

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

The world is an ever-changing picture of naturally occurring events. From drought and famine to devastating fl oods, some of the greatest challenges we face come in the form of natural disasters created by weather. Yet, dealing with weather and climate is an inevitable part of our lives. Sometimes it is as small as deciding what to wear for the day or how to plan a vacation. But it can also have life-shattering consequences, especially for those who are victims to a hurricane or a tornado.

In recent years, weather and climate have become front page news from the record-setting hurricane year of 2005, when some of the strongest hurricanes ever observed moved over the Gulf of Mexico, to environmental issues such as global warming and ozone depletion. The dynamic nature of the atmosphere seems to demand our attention and understanding more these days than ever before. Almost daily, there are newspaper articles describing some weather event or im pending climate change. For this reason, and the fact that weather infl uences our daily lives in so many ways, interest in meteorology (the study of the atmosphere) has been growing. This rapidly developing and popular science is giving us more information about the workings of the atmosphere than ever before.

Although the atmosphere will always provide challenges for us, as research and technology advance, our ability to understand our atmosphere improves, as well. The information available to you in this book, therefore, is intended to aid in your own personal understanding and appreciation of our earth’s dynamic atmosphere.

About This Book

Meteorology Today is written for college-level students taking an introductory course on the atmospheric environment. The main purpose of the text is to convey meteorological concepts in a visual and practical manner, while simultaneously providing students with a comprehensive background in basic meteorology. This ninth edition includes up-to-date information on important topics, such as global warming, ozone depletion, and El Niño. Also included are discussions of weather events, such as the devastating fi res associated with
strong Santa Ana winds that roared through areas of Southern California during October, 2007. As was the case in previous editions, no special prerequisites are necessary.

Written expressly for the student, this book emphasizes the understanding and application of meteorological principles. The text encourages watching the weather so that it becomes “alive,” allowing readers to immediately apply textbook material to the world around them. To assist with this endeavor, a color Cloud Chart appears at the end of this text. The Cloud Chart can be separated from the book and used as a learning tool any place where one chooses to observe the sky. To strengthen points and clarify concepts, illustrations are rendered in full color throughout. Color photographs were carefully selected to illustrate features, stimulate interest, and show how exciting the study of weather can be.

This edition, organized into nineteen chapters, is designed to provide maximum fl exibility to instructors of atmospheric science courses. Thus, chapters can be covered in any desired order. For example, the chapter on atmospheric optics, Chapter 19, is self-contained and can be covered before or after any chapter. Instructors, then, are able to tailor this text to their particular needs. This book basically follows a traditional approach. After an introductory chapter on the composition, origin, and structure of the atmosphere, it then covers energy, temperature, moisture, precipitation, and winds. Then come chapters that deal with air masses and middle-latitude cyclones. Weather prediction and severe storms are next. A chapter on hurricanes is followed by a chapter on climate change. A chapter on global climate is next. A chapter on air pollution precedes the fi nal chapter on atmospheric optics.

Each chapter contains at least two Focus sections, which expand on material in the main text or explore a subject closely related to what is being discussed. Focus sections fall into one of four distinct categories: Observations, Special Topics, Environmental Issues, and Advanced Topics. Some include material that is not always found in introductory meteorology textbooks, subjects such as temperature extremes, cloud seeding, and the weather on other planets. Others help to bridge theory and practice. Focus sections new to this edition include “The Wavy Warm Front” in Chapter 11, and “Hurricanes in a Warmer World” in Chapter 15, and “When a Dry Spell Is Not a Drought, and a Drought Does Not Mean Dry” in Chapter 17. Quantitative discussions of important equations, such as the geostrophic wind equation and the hydrostatic equation, are found in Focus sections on advanced topics. Set apart as “Weather Watch” features in each chapter is weather information that may not be commonly known, yet pertains to the topic under discussion. Designed to bring the reader into the text, most of these weather highlights relate to some interesting weather fact or astonishing event.”

Each chapter incorporates other effective learning aids:
● A major topic outline begins each chapter.
● Interesting introductory pieces draw the reader naturally into the main text.
● Important terms are boldfaced, with their defi nitions ap pearing in the glossary or in the text.
● Key phrases are italicized.
● English equivalents of metric units in most cases are immediately provided in parentheses.
● A brief review of the main points is placed toward the middle of most chapters.
● Summaries at the end of each chapter review the chapter’s main ideas.
● A list of key terms following each chapter allows students to review and reinforce their knowledge of the chief con cepts they have encountered. Each key term is followed by the number of the page on which the term appears in the text.
● Questions for Review act to check how well students assimilate the material.
● Questions for Thought require students to synthesize learned concepts for deeper understanding.
● Problems and Exercises require mathematical calculations that provide a technical challenge to the student. Questions for exploration, fl ashcards, and more can be found on the companion website. Animations, including ten new animations specifi cally designed for the ninth edition of Meteorology Today can be found in the Meteorology Resource Center, an online learning companion.

Ten appendices conclude the book. For easy access, the map of annual global precipitation is now Appendix G. In addition, at the end of the book, a compilation of supplementary material is presented, as is an extensive glossary. On the endsheet at the back of the book is a new freature: A geophysical map of North America. The map serves as a quick reference for locating states, provinces, and geographical features, such as mountain ranges and large bodies of water.


CHAPTER 1 The Earth and Its Atmosphere 2
CHAPTER 2 Energy: Warming the Earth and the Atmosphere 28
CH A P T E R 3 Seasonal and Daily Temperatures 56
CH A P T E R 4 Atmospheric Humidity 88
CH A P T E R 5 Condensation: Dew, Fog, and Clouds 110
CH A P T E R 6 Stability and Cloud Development 140
CH A P T E R 7 Precipitation 164
CH A P T E R 8 Air Pressure and Winds 192
CH A P T E R 9 Wind: Small Scale and Local Systems 222
CH A P T E R 1 0 Wind: Global Systems 258
CH A P T E R 1 1 Air Masses and Fronts 286
CH A P T E R 1 2 Middle-Latitude Cyclones 312
CH A P T E R 1 3 Weather Forecasting 338
CH A P T E R 1 4 Thunderstorms and Tornadoes 370
CH A P T E R 1 5 Hurricanes 410
CH A P T E R 1 6 The Earth’s Changing Climate 438
CH A P T E R 1 7 Global Climate 468
CH A P T E R 1 8 Air Pollution 500
CH A P T E R 1 9 Light, Color, and Atmospheric Optics 528

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