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An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology - 5th Edition - ISBN: 9780123848666, 9780123848673

An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology, Volume 88

5th Edition

Authors: James Holton Gregory Hakim
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123848666
eBook ISBN: 9780123848673
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 17th August 2012
Page Count: 552
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Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1 Dynamic Meteorology

1.2 Conservation of Momentum

1.3 Noninertial Reference Frames and “Apparent” Forces

1.4 Structure of the Static Atmosphere

1.5 Kinematics

1.6 Scale Analysis

Suggested References

Chapter 2. Basic Conservation Laws

2.1 Total Differentiation

2.2 The Vectorial Form of the Momentum Equation in Rotating Coordinates

2.3 Component Equations in Spherical Coordinates

2.4 Scale Analysis of the Equations of Motion

2.5 The Continuity Equation

2.6 The Thermodynamic Energy Equation

2.7 Thermodynamics of the Dry Atmosphere

2.8 The Boussinesq Approximation

2.9 Thermodynamics of the Moist Atmosphere

Suggested References

Chapter 3. Elementary Applications of the Basic Equations

3.1 Basic Equations in Isobaric Coordinates

3.2 Balanced Flow

3.3 Trajectories and Streamlines

3.4 The Thermal Wind

3.5 Vertical Motion

3.6 Surface Pressure Tendency

Chapter 4. Circulation, Vorticity, and Potential Vorticity

4.1 The Circulation Theorem

4.2 Vorticity

4.3 The Vorticity Equation

4.4 Potential Vorticity

4.5 Shallow Water Equations

4.6 Ertel Potential Vorticity in Isentropic Coordinates

Suggested References

Chapter 5. Atmospheric Oscillations: Linear Perturbation Theory

5.1 The Perturbation Method

5.2 Properties of Waves

5.3 Simple Wave Types

5.4 Internal Gravity (Buoyancy) Waves

5.5 Linear Waves of A Rotating Stratified Atmosphere

5.6 Adjustment to Geostrophic Balance

5.7 Rossby Waves

Suggested References

Chapter 6. Quasi-geostrophic Analysis

6.1 The Observed Structure of Extratropical Circulations

6.2 Derivation of the Quasi-Geostrophic Equations

6.3 Potential vorticity derivation of the QG equations

6.4 Potential Vorticity Thinking

6.5 Vertical Motion (w) Thinking

6.6 Idealized Model of a Baroclinic Disturbance

6.7 Isobaric Form of the QG Equations

Suggested References

Chapter 7. Baroclinic Development

7.1 Hydrodynamic Instability

7.2 Normal Mode Baroclinic Instability: A Two-Layer Model

7.3 The Energetics of Baroclinic Waves

7.4 Baroclinic Instability of a Continuously Stratified Atmosphere

7.5 Growth and Propagation of Neutral Modes

Suggested References

Chapter 8. The Planetary Boundary Layer

8.1 Atmospheric Turbulence

8.2 Turbulent Kinetic Energy

8.3 Planetary Boundary Layer Momentum Equations

8.4 Secondary Circulations and Spin Down

Suggested References

Chapter 9. Mesoscale Circulations

9.1 Energy Sources for Mesoscale Circulations

9.2 Fronts and Frontogenesis

9.3 Symmetric Baroclinic Instability

9.4 Mountain Waves

9.5 Cumulus Convection

9.6 Convective Storms

9.7 Hurricanes

Suggested References

Chapter 10. The General Circulation

10.1 The Nature of the Problem

10.2 The Zonally Averaged Circulation

10.3 The Angular Momentum Budget

10.4 The Lorenz Energy Cycle

10.5 Longitudinally Dependent Time-Averaged Flow

10.6 Low-Frequency Variability

10.7 Numerical Simulation of the General Circulation

10.8 Climate Sensitivity, Feedbacks, and Uncertainty

Suggested References

Chapter 11. Tropical Dynamics

11.1 The Observed Structure of Large-Scale Tropical Circulations

11.2 Scale Analysis of Large-Scale Tropical Motions

11.3 Condensation Heating

11.4 Equatorial Wave Theory

11.5 Steady Forced Equatorial Motions

Suggested References

Chapter 12. Middle Atmosphere Dynamics

12.1 Structure and Circulation of the Middle Atmosphere

12.2 The Zonal-Mean Circulation of the Middle Atmosphere

12.3 Vertically Propagating Planetary Waves

12.4 Sudden Stratospheric Warmings

12.5 Waves in the Equatorial Stratosphere

12.6 The Quasi-Biennial Oscillation

12.7 Trace Constituent Transport

Suggested References

Chapter 13. Numerical Modeling and Prediction

13.1 Historical Background

13.2 Numerical Approximation of the Equations of Motion

13.3 The Barotropic Vorticity Equation in Finite Differences

13.4 The Spectral Method

13.5 Primitive Equation Models

13.6 Data Assimilation

13.7 Predictability and Ensemble Forecasting

Suggested References

Appendix A: Useful Constants and Parameters

Appendix B: List of Symbols

Appendix C: Vector Analysis

C.1 Vector Identities

C.2 Integral Theorems

C.3 Vector Operations in Various Coordinate Systems

Appendix D: Moisture Variables

D.1 Equivalent Potential Temperature

D.2 Pseudoadiabatic Lapse Rate

Appendix E: Standard Atmosphere Data

Appendix F: Symmetric Baroclinic Oscillations

Appendix G: Conditional Probability and Likelihood



During the past decade, the science of dynamic meteorology has continued its rapid advance. The scope of dynamic meteorology has broadened considerably. Much of the material is based on a two-term course for seniors majoring in atmospheric sciences.

This book presents a cogent explanation of the fundamentals of meteorology and explains storm dynamics for weather-oriented meteorologists. It discusses climate dynamics and the implications posed for global change. The new edition has added a companion website with MATLAB exercises and updated treatments of several key topics.

Key Features

  • Provides clear physical explanations of key dynamical principles
  • Contains a wealth of illustrations to elucidate text and equations, plus end-of-chapter problems
  • Holton is one of the leading authorities in contemporary meteorology, and well known for his clear writing style
  • Instructor's Manual available to adopters


  • A companion website with MATLAB® exercises and demonstrations
  • Updated treatments on climate dynamics, tropical meteorology, middle atmosphere dynamics, and numerical prediction


The primary market for An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology, 5E in the US is as the top-ranking textbook for graduate and advanced undergraduate students taking relevant coursework in meteorology, atmospheric science, and oceanography. The secondary market for this title is as a reference for scientists practicing in the fields of atmospheric science, meteorology, geophysics, oceanography, and physics.


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2012
17th August 2012
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:


"The book is very clearly and well written...the author succeeds in presenting the fundamentals while providing a motivating discussion on the full scope of dynamic meteorology and its applications."
-Jorg Matschullat, Interdisciplinary Environmental Research Center, in ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY, VOL. 49, MARCH 2006

Praise for previous edition:

“...reflects the full scope of modern dynamic meteorology, while providing a presentation of the fundamentals.” –BULLETIN AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY

“The careful presentation of introductory material and clear discussion of dynamical principles make this an excellent basic account of dynamical meteorology.” –JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS

Ratings and Reviews

About the Authors

James Holton

James R. Holton was Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington until his death in 2004. A member of the National Academies of Science, during his career he was awarded every major honor available in the atmospheric sciences including AGU’s Revelle Medal.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Gregory Hakim

Gregory Hakim

Gregory J. Hakim is Professor and Chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences in the College of the Environment at the University of Washington. His research focuses on problems in climate reconstruction, predictability, data assimilation, atmospheric dynamics, and synoptic meteorology. He teaches courses in weather, atmospheric sciences, atmospheric structure and analysis, atmospheric motions, synoptic meteorology, balance dynamics, and weather predictability and data assimilation.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA