An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology

An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology

5th Edition - August 17, 2012

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  • Authors: James Holton, Gregory Hakim
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123848666
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123848673

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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.

Table of Contents

  • Dedication


    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


Product details

  • No. of pages: 552
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2012
  • Published: August 17, 2012
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123848666
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123848673

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

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  • PriscillaBusseau Tue Nov 05 2019

    Very useful!

    Very useful!