An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics

Review Atmospheric Physics


Brief book review

Review of the introductory book to Atmospheric Physics written by David G. Andrews: Concise and clear, it is a nicely presented introduction to atmospheric physics covering key aspects, with additional chapters for those readers who might need additional insights on specific topics. It has well selected problems to be resolved by the reader. Recommended.

After a first overview, my initial conclusion is that it is more useful as an beginner book than, for example, the broadly known book “Atmospheric Science (an introductory survey)” of J.M.Wallace, which probably gives too many details to the reader instead of focus (and guide the reader) on the relevant physical meaning. This last book is more useful like a general reference.

The author presents an concise introduction to several topics on Atmospheric Physics. No previous knowledge is supposed, and the different topics are explained on a consistent exposition, which is mainly self-contained. However, a good basis of calculus is recommended, particularly in the chapters describing fluid dynamics, and partially on the radiative theory when the radiometric amounts are defined.

For a undergraduate students of any scientific discipline it is a interesting introductory book. It comprises four main chapters followed by 5 chapters of different additional topics but yet written for readers with no previous background on meteorology or atmospheric sciences. In my opinion, within these extension chapters, those describing the common approximations to the dynamical equations, together with the parts related with remote sensing and climate modelling, should be also part of a minimum approach to atmospheric physics. Particularly, I found very well exposed the topics of atmospheric thermodynamics (that also include the tephigram and the physics of cloud droplets formation), basic fluid dynamics or radiative transfer theory, and yet with a minimum previous knowledge on physics. However, if the reader is looking for other topics like conceptual models on meteorology, cloud physics or data-assimilation applied to atmospheric physics, then other additional references are needed.

The problems contained on each chapter provide a necessary complement to understand correctly the topics described. Meanwhile, the set of references provided is enough, probably a student with interest on an specific subject will need more sources of information for the bibliography but in any case each chapter has a final section named further reading which would give key references to begin to build a more compresive bibligraphy.

In conclusion, a good book that I recommend for introductory courses on sciences under-graduate programs.