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Paperback 544 pp.
156 photos; 287 figures; 32 tables; 46 maps, 8.5" x 11"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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Weather and Climate

An Introduction, Second Edition

Sheila Loudon Ross

Now in a fully revised second edition, Weather and Climate provides an interdisciplinary, systems-based approach to the scientific processes and theories behind weather and climate in Canada and around the globe. Loaded with stimulating questions and activities that encourage independent thinking, this rigorous yet accessible introduction will inspire students to engage with key issues, ask questions, and conduct their own meteorological and climatological investigations.

Readership : This text is aimed at students taking first-, second- and third-year courses in physical climatology, meteorology, atmosphere and climate, and weather and climate offered out of geography, environmental science, and geology departments at universities and university-colleges.


  • "This text provides concise coverage of key topics from a Canadian perspective, with a very good theoretical basis."
    --James Voogt, Western University

  • "I very much appreciate the explicit Canadian focus and content. . . . I also like the level and amount of math that is present, and the worked examples that aid student comprehension of the math."
    --David E. Atkinson, University of Victoria

1. The Study of the Atmosphere
1.1 Weather and Climate
1.2 The Earth-Atmosphere System
1.3 The Role of Science
1.4 The Role of Math - A Language and a Tool
1.5 Dimensions and Units
1.6 The Structure of the Atmosphere
2. The Composition of the Atmosphere
2.1 The Chemical Composition of Air
2.2 Gases in the Climate System - Stocks and Flows
2.3 Nitrogen (N2)
2.4 Oxygen (O2)
2.5 Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
2.6 Water Vapour (H2O)
2.7 Ozxone (O3)
2.8 Compositional Layers
2.9 Atmospheric Aresols
2.10 The Formation and Evolution of the Atmosphere
2.11 Earth as a Habitable Planet
3. The Behaviour of the Atmosphere
3.1 The Kinetic Theory of Matter
3.2 Early Contributions to the Kinetic Theory of Gases
3.3 The Ideal Gas Law
3.4 Hydrostatic Balance
3.5 The Hypsometric Equation
3.6 The Influence of Temperature on Pressure Distribution
3.7 Weather Maps
4. Energy
4.1 Heat
4.2 Work
4.3 The First Law of Thermodynamics
4.4 Heat Transfer
5. Radiation
5.1 The Electromagnetic Spectrum
5.2 Emission of Radiation
5.3 Absorption, Reflection, and Transmission of Radiation
5.4 Albedo
5.5 Radiation in the Atmosphere: Scattering and Absorption
5.6 The Greenhouse Effect
5.7 The Temperature Structure of the Atmosphere
5.8 Arctic Amplification
5.9 Solar, or Shortwave, Radiation
6. Energy Balance
6.1 Effective Radiating Temperature
6.2 Flows of Solar (Shortwave) Radiation
6.3 Flows of Terrestrial (Longwave) Radiation
6.4 Planetary Energy Balance
6.5 Latitudinal Radiative Imbalances
6.6 Surface Energy Balance
7. Water Vapour
7.1 Vapour Pressure
7.2 Evaporation and Condensation
7.3 Saturation Vapour Pressure
7.4 The Concept of Saturation
7.5 Absolute and Relative Measures of Humidity
7.6 Methods of Measuring Atmospheric Humidity
7.7 Humidity and Human Comfort
8. Adiabatic Lapse Rates and Atmospheric Stability
8.1 Adiabatic Processes
8.2 Environmental Lapse Rates (ELR)
8.3 Thermodynamic Diagrams
8.4 Stability Types
8.5 Factors Influencing Stability
8.6 Stability Conditions over a Clear Day
9. Condensation
9.1 Formation of Cloud Droplets
9.2 Nucleation below Freezing
9.3 Clouds
9.4 Fogs
10. Precipitation
10.1 Cloud Droplets versus Raindrops
10.2 Terminal Velocity
10.3 Growth of Cloud Droplets
10.4 Precipitation Types
10.5 Hail
10.6 Snow-Making
10.7 The Distribution and Character of Precipitation
11. Winds
11.1 Forces That Influence Atmospheric Motion
11.2 The Winds
11.3 Variation of the Winds with Height: The Thermal Wind
11.4 Local Winds
12. The Planetary Circulation System
12.1 Transport of Energy and Momentum
12.2 Descriptions of the Planetary Circulation
12.3 Explanations for the Planetary Circulation
12.4 Vorticity
12.5 Rossby Waves
12.6 Ocean Currents
12.7 Climate Oscillations
13. Air Masses and Fronts
13.1 Formation of Air Masses
13.2 Classification of Air Masses
13.3 Cold Air Masses
13.4 Warm Air Masses
13.5 Fronts
13.6 The Structure of Fronts
13.7 Weather Associated With Cold and Warm Fronts
13.8 Occluded Fronts
14. Storms
14.1 Characteristics of High- and Low-Pressure Systems
14.2 Mid-latitude Cyclones
14.3 Tropical Cyclones: Hurricanes
14.4 Thunderstorms
15. Weather Forecasting
15.1 The Forecasting Process
15.2 Forecasting Methods
15.3 The History of Weather Forecasting
15.4 Observations
15.5 Analysis and Diagnosis
15.6 Numerical Weather Predication
15.7 Long-Range Forecasting
16. Global Climate
16.1 Climate Controls
16.2 Vegetation and Climate
16.3 Climate Classification
16.4 Tropical Climates
16.5 Mid-latitude Climates
16.6 Polar Climates
16.7 Natural Climate Change
17. The Changing Atmosphere
17.1 Air Pollution
17.2 Depletion of Stratospheric Ozone
17.3 Anthropogenic Climate Change
17.4 Chapter Summary

Instructor's Manual:
- Sample syllabus
-- List of 3-5 recommended texts
-- 13-week schedule outlining the following for each week: topics covered, relevant chapters from text, required reading and assignments from the text
- Suggestions for labs/projects (2 per chapter)
- For each of the chapters:
-- Learning goals
-- Sample answers for all in-text review questions
-- Sample solutions and answers for all in-text problems
PowerPoint Slides:
For each chaper
- 25 lecture outline slides
Test Generator:
For each chapter:
- 35 multiple choice questions
- 10 true-or-false questions
- 15 short answer questions
- 10 problem equations
- Answers and page references for each question
Student Study Guide:
- Learning goals
- Chapter summaries
- Sample answers for odd-numbered in-text review questions
- Sample solutions and answers for odd-numbered in-text problems (for chapters 3-8, 11 only)
- Self-testing quizzes
For each chapter:
-- 10 multiple choice questions
-- 5 true-or-false questions
-- 5 short answer questions
-- Problem equations
-- Answers and relevant page numbers supplied for each question
Image Bank:
- All images, figures, and tables from the text
- Video clips illustrating key concepts
E-Book (ISBN 9780199021369)

Sheila Ross is an instructor at Capilano University.

Making Sense in Geography and Environmental Sciences - Margot Northey, Dianne Draper and David B. Knight
Climate Change in Canada - Rodney White
Severe and Hazardous Weather in Canada - Catherine Conrad
Communicating in Geography and the Environmental Sciences - Iain Hay and Philip Giles

Special Features

  • The only ground-up Canadian weather and climate title available, this text was written with Canadian instructors and students in mind and features a wealth of Canadian examples, issues, and research.
  • Covers the basic principles of weather and climate before moving on to more complex topics, offering students an accessible introduction to the subject.
  • Covers global climate (Ch. 16), helps students understand the impact of current trends throughout the world.
  • Mathematical equations with worked solutions make key concepts accessible to students of all academic backgrounds.
  • In the Field boxes throughout highlight the tools and techniques used by a broad range of professionals working in the field of weather and climate - from professors to climatologists to storm chasers.
New to this Edition
  • A thoroughly revised technical art program illustrates concepts more clearly and accurately to enhance students' comprehension of the material.
  • Fully revised chapter on climate change (Ch. 17) brings students up-to-date data, research, and examples of how the global climate system is under pressure and changing at a rapid rate.
  • Expanded coverage of storms and severe weather - including a new section on tornadoes - keeps students up-to-date in this key area.