Principles of Planetary Climate

Raymond T. Pierrehumbert 
CUP  December 2010  

Hardback  680 pp  ISBN 9780521865562      £40.00
  • Begins with a very elementary treatment requiring little mathematical sophistication, and gradually increases the demands on the student in later chapters, so that it can be used on many different courses
  • Presents a unified treatment of all the aspects of physics and chemistry needed to make simple models of the present and past climates of Earth and other planets
  • Provides software, datasets and algorithms needed to reproduce all calculations and results in the book, to help the student recreate all the results and independently address original questions
  • Provides hundreds of creative and stimulating exercises, both for consolidating immediate comprehension and leading students to imaginative inquiries on the brink of original research

This book introduces the reader to all the basic physical building blocks of climate needed to understand the present and past climate of Earth, the climates of Solar System planets, and the climates of extrasolar planets. These building blocks include thermodynamics, infrared radiative transfer, scattering, surface heat transfer and various processes governing the evolution of atmospheric composition. Nearly four hundred problems are supplied to help consolidate the reader's understanding, and to lead the reader towards original research on planetary climate. This textbook is invaluable for advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate students in atmospheric science, Earth and planetary science, astrobiology, and physics. It also provides a superb reference text for researchers in these subjects, and is very suitable for academic researchers trained in physics or chemistry who wish to rapidly gain enough background to participate in the excitement of the new research opportunities opening in planetary climate.



  • The big questions
  • Thermodynamics in a nutshell
  • Elementary models of radiation balance
  • Radiative transfer in temperature-stratified atmospheres
  • Scattering
  • The surface energy balance
  • Variation of temperature with season and latitude
  • Evolution of the atmosphere
  • A peek at dynamics

Appendix. Notation

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Cambridge University Press : chemistry : climatology : environmental science : physics

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