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Principles of Planetary Climate Har/Psc Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521865562
ISBN-10: 0521865565
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Editorial Reviews


'The words 'original' and 'textbook' don't often go together, but I think it is appropriate to use them both when describing this book. Ray Pierrehumbert has written a book that travels from the fundamentals to the complexities of the climate system as a whole, in a clear and logical fashion, covering not just the planet Earth but the principles underlying the climates of planets more generally. There is no other book quite like it.' - Dr. Geoffrey K. Vallis, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab (GFDL), Princeton University; author of Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics

'Principles of Planetary Climate is a significant contribution to planetary atmospheres, written by one of the field's broadest thinkers. Pierrehumbert covers a comprehensive range of topics fundamental to all planet atmospheres. He brings together the basic and advanced building blocks in a way that is both compelling and thorough. This book should be read by all interested in planetary climate.' - Professor Sara Seager, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"This work is a triumph. The writing is clear, and the topics are made more compelling by cross-referencing of related subjects. I found the book hard to put down." - Peter Gierasch, Physics Today

Book Description

Provides a unified treatment of the basic physical principles of planetary climate phenomena on the present and past Earth and other planets. An invaluable textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, and a reference text for researchers. Lavishly supported by hundreds of creative and stimulating exercises, software, datasets and algorithms.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 674 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Har/Psc edition (January 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521865565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521865562
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.4 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Chris Colose on February 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ray Pierrehumbert's book on planetary climate is probably the most thorough treatment of the subject (that does not include fluid dynamics) that currently exists. Its presentation is well articulated, and the arguments go into a detail that could often enlighten many climate scientists, let alone students. Even rather simple concepts such as the operation of the greenhouse effect, the water vapor feedback, etc are discussed in large detail with the many caveats and applications to other planetary atmospheres that one would hope for in achieving a mastery-level understanding. It has a thorough treatment of more subtle applications such as the bifurcation structures that can result from feedbacks, the runaway greenhouse effect, the carbonate-weathering thermostat, etc which are often taught only by mere hand-waving discussions, supplemented by some powerpoint slides, but Pierrehumbert teaches from an eloquent theoretical physics perspective.

The Python supplement to this book gives the student a lot of freedom to tinker, and along with the book, engages the reader to create their own "what if" scenarios.

This book does not go into any fluid dynamics, except for a small taste at the very end. Thus, it is not suitable for a climate class that wants to go into heavy detail about the large-scale Hadley circulation, ocean transport, etc. The theme of this book is largely dedicated to radiative transfer as it applies to climate application, but also outlines some key factors in the evolution of atmospheres (including chemistry, carbon cycle, atmospheric escape mechanisms, and discussion of orbital mechanics).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Qiong Zhang on October 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Concise and fascinating, no other book, provides you with an understanding of climate like this one. It not only gives you all the simple rules that govern the complicated climate of the earth and the other planets, but, more importantly, it guides you to achieving an overview and understanding of how the climate system works. With the aid of easily-handled Python programme applications, one can test and play with all the principles in the book, disentangle the secret knowledge that makes the climate system recipe actually work, and even try some new ideas.

One could enjoy the book with the afternoon tea, since few mathematic derivations but much physical reasoning and illustrations are given. By reading this book, one who has the physical and mathematical background will be fascinated by the science of climate. Those who already are in the business, like me, will find that all the knowledge gained since the university studies is integrated and refreshed, since everything is clarified gradually. When one is lost in sophisticated climate models, it is valuable to come back to this book and receive new ideas from profoundly simple models and reasoning, as the guiding principle of the book says "Thinking deeply of simple things".

The book is written in a completely new style, well beyond that of a conventional textbook. The contents of the book are broad, covering all aspects of climate from global warming to basic energy balance dynamics. Moreover, each question is dealt with to an unusually great depth. It is highly recommended to graduate students, professional researchers and also those with a great interest in climate.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. King on February 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I got a preliminary copy in *.pdf format from the website a couple of years ago. There are many delicate concepts and complex ideas that are explained very clearly in this text. There is an outstanding presentation of how exactly the greenhouse effect works (which turns out to be quite a bit more complicated than what was taught in high school).

Although I can still look things up in the *.pdf, at some point I want to go through the entire text and learn things more completely. At that time, I will most likely buy the new complete text.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Dessler on August 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is both physically and intellectually huge, and I am continually amazed at the breadth of Prof. Pierrehumbert's knowledge about planetary climate. While I have not finished the book, I can say that the parts I have read are very impressive. Even sections covering material that I understand well contained new ways of looking at the problem that improved my understanding. This book is required reading for grad students and professional researchers on climate, but advanced undergrads may also benefit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Emma on December 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I find this book a very good example of complex matters being detailed in down to earth examples and elaborate visual language. Great work and a good contribution to understand climate reality! Well done Pierrehumbert. Borrow it, buy it, steal it - but make sure you read it. Gives the larger perspective and is highly relevant to set your own thoughts and views of the global climate into a relevant angle.
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