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Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics: Fundamentals and Large-scale Circulation [Hardcover]

Geoffrey K. Vallis
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 6, 2006 0521849691 978-0521849692
Fluid dynamics is fundamental to our understanding of the atmosphere and oceans. Although many of the same principles of fluid dynamics apply to both the atmosphere and oceans, textbooks tend to concentrate on the atmosphere, the ocean, or the theory of geophysical fluid dynamics (GFD). This textbook provides a comprehensive unified treatment of atmospheric and oceanic fluid dynamics. The book introduces the fundamentals of geophysical fluid dynamics, including rotation and stratification, vorticity and potential vorticity, and scaling and approximations. It discusses baroclinic and barotropic instabilities, wave-mean flow interactions and turbulence, and the general circulation of the atmosphere and ocean. Student problems and exercises are included at the end of each chapter. Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics: Fundamentals and Large-Scale Circulation will be an invaluable graduate textbook on advanced courses in GFD, meteorology, atmospheric science and oceanography, and an excellent review volume for researchers. Additional resources are available at

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Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics: Fundamentals and Large-scale Circulation + Introduction to Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Volume 101, Second Edition: Physical and Numerical Aspects (International Geophysics) + Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
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Editorial Reviews


"Geoff Vallis' Atmosphere and [Oceanic Fluid Dynamics] will become the standard text on modern large-scale atmosphere and ocean dynamics. It covers the field from the equations of motion to modern developments such as wave-mean flow interaction theory and theories for the global-scale circulations of atmospheres and oceans. There is no book of comparable comprehensiveness, spanning the needs of beginning graduate students and researchers alike."
-Tapio Schneider, California Institute of Technology

"This clearly written, self-contained new book is a modern treatment of atmospheric and oceanic dynamics. The book starts from classical concepts in fluid dynamics and thermodynamics and takes the reader to the frontier of current research. This is an accessible textbook for beginning students in metereology, oceanography and climate sciences. Mature researchers will welcome this work as a stimulating resource. This is also the only textbook on geophysical fluid dynamics with a comprehensive collection of problems; these cement the material and expand it to a more advanced level. Highly recommended!"
-Paola Cessi, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

"Vallis provides a coheisve view of GFD that smoothly blends classic results with modern interpretations. The book strikes an ideal balance between mathematical rigor and physical intuition, and between atmosphere- and ocean-relevant applications. The use of a hierarchy of models is particularly welcome. Each physical phenomenon is modeled with the right degree of complexity, and the reader is introduced to the value of the hierarchy at an early stage. Well-designed homework problems spanning a broad range of difficulty make the book very appropriate for use in introductory courses in GFD."
-Adam Sobel, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

"I have adopted this text for my course in Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics because the ideas are clearly presented and up-to-date. The text provides the flexibility for the instructor to choose among a variety of paths that take the student from the foundations of the subject to current research topics. For me as a researcher, the text is satisfying because it presents a unified view of the ideas that underlie the modern theory of large scale atmospheric and oceanic circulations."
-Paul J. Kushner, University of Toronto

"The large-scale circulation in the atmosphere-ocean system is maintained by small scale turbulent motions that interact with large scale radiative processes. The first half of the book introduces the basic theories off large-scale atmosphere-ocean flows and of small-scale turbulent motions. In the second half, the two theories are brought together to explain how the interactions of motions on different scales maintain the global-scale climate. The emphasis on turbulent motions and their effect on larger scales makes this book a gem in the GFD literature. Finally we have a textbook that is up to date with our current understanding of the climate system."
-Raffaele Ferrari, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"As a whole this is an highly recommended textbook: those who would like to gain a deeper understanding of the large-scale atmospheric and oceanic circulation, and at the same time want to be provided with the necessary hydrodynamic foundations, will be served very well indeed by this book."
Professor Volkmar Wirth, Physik Journal

"...I would be happy to see this wonderful textbook on as many desks of our community as possible."
- Meteorol

Book Description

This book provides a comprehensive unified treatment of atmospheric and oceanic fluid dynamics. Student problems are included at the end of each chapter. This will be an invaluable graduate textbook on advanced courses in GFD, meteorology, atmospheric science and oceanography, and will also be an excellent review volume for researchers.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 745 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (November 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521849691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521849692
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.5 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely great March 9, 2007
this book has the potential to become the Textbook for modern topics in GFD. you will still need Gill's, Pedlosky's GFD, and Holton's to give you a complete classical training. After that, there are no lack of more modern approaches such as this book, McWilliams', and Salmon's. combined with the great price, what more can one ask!?
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An introductory text and an encyclopedia of GFD November 13, 2006
Geoffrey Vallis has produced a book on Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (GFD) that ingeniously is both, a lucid introductory text and an encyclopedia.

Vallis does not arrogantly push you in hard at the deep end but caringly takes your hand and helps you enter the shallow end. Your confidence therefore grows quickly and you feel eager to explore and learn. This desire is fully satisfied because all the many details a truly curious mind wants to absorb are provided along the way. You are accompanied as close to the cutting edge of research as it is possible for a book. This makes it also attractive to those of you that are already comfortably in the deep end, especially because of its encyclopedic qualities. It allows you to extract conveniently the specific knowledge you need for your research.

If you are about to enter the world of GFD or you are already happily wandering in it, make sure Vallis' book is in your luggage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great book useful both for intro and research April 24, 2013
By mathsam
Being into a PhD in atmospheric sciences for two years, I have been reading this book again and again. I find it more and more useful when I have difficulty in understanding papers and have to return to this book. At the beginning of learning geophysical fluid dynamics, I find this book to be lengthy and hard to follow. But now when I have developed a general idea on GFD, I find it really useful to have a book which has everything (well, almost) in it.

Pedlosky's book has a very good chapter on baroclinic instability. This is not a surprise because that's his research field, and I think that he pushed the linear and weakly linear theory to its limits. The (quasi-) linear theories were the research focus in the 70s and before. Vallis' book includes more recent understandings since then, and it is the only updated GFD book that I can find. For example, the book has a very good chapter on geostrophic turbulence. Most of the ideas on this, like the Rhines scale, were developed since the 80s, and Vallis himself contributed a lot to this field. This is good place to start if you want to learn about jet formation, which is still an interesting research topic. Another example is the atmospheric circulation part of the book. The ideas there were also developed mostly in the recent 30 years.

Another aspect of this book is that it includes the ocean circulation. Again, the materials like ventilated thermocline and internal thermocline are very updated. This chapter provides a good intro and a starting point for research in physical oceanography.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional GFD textbook November 11, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been very impressed with the this excellent textbook. I started reading a pre-print of it at a point in time when I had not yet studied any fluid dynamics, oceanography, or atmospheric science. Despite this, I was able to follow the author's clear exposition as he introduced the fundamentals of GFD. Throughout the book, he does a good job combining descriptive explanations of the phenomena he discusses with physical intuition and mathematical derivations of the necessary equations. But Vallis does much more than just introduce readers to atmospheric and oceanic dynamics; he also conveys the fascination of the subject and gives the reader insights into further research required to improve our understanding of it.

Readers interested in exploring the subject further will find the references a valuable addition to the text. Note that this book only covers dynamics of the atmosphere and ocean. Readers can consult other books on atmospheric science and oceanography for broader introductions to these fields; however, the book is self-contained and doing so is not necessary in order to understand it. Graduate students seeking research topics might find some in the problems marked with diamonds.

I've read a lot of textbooks in many subjects and this one is truly exceptional.
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