Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics emphasizes the interrelationships of physical and dynamical meteorology. The text unifies four major subject areas: atmospheric thermodynamics, hydrostatic equilibrium and stability, atmospheric radiation and clouds, and atmospheric dynamics. These fundamental areas serve as cornerstones of modern atmospheric research on environmental issues like global change and ozone depletion. Physical concepts underlying these subject areas are developed from first principles, providing a self-contained text for students and scholars from diverse backgrounds. The presentation is Lagrangian (single-body problems) in perspective, with a balance of theory and application. Each chapter includes detailed and extensive problems; selected answers are provided, as are appendices of various constants. The text requires a thorough foundation in calculus.

Key Features

@bul:* Presents a comprehensive introduction to atmospheric thermodynamics, hydrostatics, radiation and clouds, and dynamics * Develops concepts from first principles, providing a self-contained volume for readers from diverse backgrounds * Emphasizes the interaction of physical processes shaping global problems of atmospheric energetics, transport, and chemistry * Provides a balance of theory and applications, with examples drawn from a wide range of phenomena figuring in global atmospheric research * Extensively illustrated with global satellite imagery and analyses and photographs of laboratory simulations * Exercises apply to a wide range of topical problems


This book is directed at first-year graduate students entering atmospheric or planetary science with diverse backgrounds in physics, chemistry, mathematics, or engineering, but not necessarily having formal training in thermodynamics, radiation, and fluid mechanics. The material can be digested by undergraduate seniors with similar preparation.

Table of Contents

A Global View: Introduction to the Atmosphere. Composition and Structure. Radiative Equilibrium of the Planet. The Global Energy Budget. The General Circulation. Thermodynamics of Gases: Thermodynamic Concepts. TheFirst Law. Heat Capacity. Adiabatic Processes. Diabatic Processes. The Second Law and Its Implications: Natural and Reversible Processes. Entropy and the Second Law. Restricted Forms of the Second Law. The Fundamental Relations. Conditions for Thermodynamic Equilibrium. Relationship of Entropy to Potential Temperature. Heterogeneous Systems: Description of a Heterogeneous System. Chemical Equilibrium. Fundamental Relations for a Multicomponent System. Thermodynamic Degrees of Freedom. Thermodynamic Characteristics of Water. Equilibrium Phase Transformations. Transformations of Moist Air: Description of Moist Air. Implications for the Distribution of Water Vapor. State Variables of the Two-Component System. Thermodynamic Behavior Accompanying Vertical Motion. The Pseudo-Adiabatic Chart. Hydrostatic Equilibrium: Effective Gravity. Geopotential Coordinates. Hydrostatic Balance. Stratification. Lagrangian Interpretation of Stratification. Hydrostatic Stability: Reaction to Vertical Displacement. Stability Categories. Implications for Vertical Motion. Finite Displacements. Stabilizing and Destabilizing Influences. Turbulent Dispersion. Atmospheric Radiation: Shortwave and Longwave Radiation. Description of Radiative Transfer. Absorption Characteristics of Gases. Radiative Transfer in a Plane Parallel Atmosphere. Thermal Equilibrium. Thermal Relaxation. The Greenhouse Effect. Aerosol and Clouds: Morphology of Atmospheric Aerosol. Microphysics of Clouds. Macroscopic Characteristics of Clouds. Radiative Transfer in Aerosol and Cloud. Roles of Clouds and Aerosol in Climate. Atmospheric Motion:<


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© 1996
Academic Press
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About the editor

Murry Salby

Murry L. Salby is a climate scientist and former chair of climate at Macquarie University, where he worked from 2008 to 2013. He has written two textbooks, Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics (1996), and Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate (2011), the latter building on his first book, offers an overview of the processes controlling the atmosphere of Earth, weather, energetics, and climate physics. He has also authored over a hundred referenced articles in scientific journals. Salby got his Bachelors in aerospace engineering in 1973, and his PhD in environmental dynamics from Georgia Tech in 1978, including a Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society doctoral research award. He began as an assistant professor at University of Colorado Boulder's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in 1984, became an associate professor in 1985, and professor in 1991, gaining tenure in 1998, before resigning in 2007. He has also held positions as a visiting professor and scientist at institutions in the U.S., Sweden, Australia, France, and Israel. He became professor of environmental science at Macquarie University, and worked there from 2008-2013. 1978-1980. Fellow, Advanced Study Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research. Independent research. 1980-1982. Scientist, Global Observations, Modeling and Optical Techniques Project, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Pure and applied research in conjunction with remotely sensed fields derived from Nimbus-6 LRIR, and Nimbus-7 LIMS. See High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder. 1982-1984. Visiting scientist, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Program, Princeton University. Independent research. 1984-1985. Assistant professor, Department of Astrophysical, Planetary, and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Colorado. 1985-1990. Associate professor, Department of Astrophysical, Planetary, and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Colorado. 1986-1999. Director, Center for Atmospheric Theory and Analysis, University of Co

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado


@qu:"[In the opinion of the reviewer]the book is an example of a very well conceived and written textbook...General layout of the material is clear, illustrations are well selected and from a didactic point of view the aim of unification of traditional physical and dynamical meteorology has been successfully achieved. It can be recommended as a basic or supporting lecture both for students as well as professionals who would like to examine their field from a slightly different point of view." @source:--Krzysztof Haman, Warsaw University, PURE APPLIED GEOPHYSICS