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Book reviews

Baroclinic TidesTheoretical Modeling and Observational Evidence
Vasiliy Vlasenko, Nataliya Stashchuk and Koluman Hutter.
Cambridge University Press (2005).
ISBN 0-521-84395-2. xix + 351 pp.
Price: 70/US$ 120.

This book will be very useful, especially for graduate students in the areas of physical oceanography and of numerical modelling applied to oceanography, generally. The organization of the seven chapters is logical; the proposed methods are presented after a good theoretical introduction, making it easy for the reader to find themes of interest.

The numeration of formulas guides the reader through the basic formulation, the assumptions and the theory to gain a better understanding of the methods that are explained in the book.

The introduction in the first chapter gives the elements of the theory and formulas that are used in the following chapters. In this way, those who are not familiar with governing equations and linear wave equations may acquire the notions to understand better the formulation of the non-linear wave problem and the theory explained throughout the book.

The second chapter explains linear baroclinic tides, then the numerical model, and the authors make an analysis of the formulation used for the different situations to which it can be applied. The internal wave generation theory is well described.

The third chapter introduces a semi-analytical two-layer model for internal waves, explaining the theory and describing the necessary equations. This makes it easier to understand the theory presented in the fourth chapter, where the analytical model approach changes to the numerical model approach.

The fifth chapter describes the generation of internal waves by baroclinic tides and the models to analyse them.  In view of the different uses to which data obtained from measurements and those from models are put, the chapter also explains the origin of the formulas used to explain the characteristics of the different types of waves generated. This allows a better understanding of the theory proposed for the analysis of the different types of waves studied.

The sixth chapter compares the data obtained from measurements and the results of experiments and makes an analysis of the effects and influences of the different characteristics that can be applied for the theory that is explained. Finally, the authors make a summary of the generation mechanism of baroclinic tides which helps the reader to a better understanding of the waves generated under the different regimes and what is the approach that can be used for each of them.

The last chapter explains the three- dimensional effects of baroclinic tides for specific cases, using observed data for the analysis. This is really useful, because it gives the reader good tools to analyse the data that can be obtained from our own measurements and to establish different case-studies.

Rodney Martnez
(r.martinez@ciifen-int.org)


Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate
Michael Allaby. Facts on File, New York (2002). ISBN 0-8160-4071-0
(two volumes).
Price: US$ 150.

Michael Allaby undoubtedly enjoys the physical sciences and this comes through in his two-volume Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate. The title is a misnomer, however, because it describes more than just weather and climate. The encyclopedia contains explanations of the various physical, synoptic and thermodynamic processes that produce weather and climate in a concise but straightforward manner. It provides classifications of the various climates and descriptions of significant paleoclimatic regimes. The important scientific concepts are written in a format that is easy to understand. It is not written for the physical scientist and therefore the author limits his use of equations. The layman will find the encyclopedia quite useful.

The various meteorological and oceanographic terms are well defined. The definitions are supplemented by effective maps, charts and schematic diagrams. There are over 4000 entries in the two volumes, which include explanations of the impacts of climate on ecology and human health. These elements make the encyclopedia a welcome addition to the meteorological library and as a good reference for the general public.

Even the professional meteorologist will find the volumes useful. Explanations of terms that may only be used in particular locations are included. The meaning of contrastesa local wind in the Mediterraneanis included, for example.

Those who require information on international climatological or meteorological activities, projects and programmes will not be disappointed. The Cooperative Holocene Mapping Project is described and references to Websites for more information are provided. This is available throughout both volumes.

Climate change has now entered the vernacular of the news and everyday life. Important information on this topic can also be found in the encyclopedia. The meaning of terms such as the clean development mechanism (CDM) is included.

However, the encyclopedia goes beyond that. It provides intersting historical narratives such as a description of the formation of the United States Weather Bureau. It also provides biographical information on important historical figures in meteorology such as Daniel Fahrenheit, the developer of the Fahrenheit temperature scale. Photographs and sketches of some of these figures are included. In addition, the encyclopedia is liberally interspersed with anecdotes such as the use of conditions on Christmas Day to predict the weather months in advance.

The author has also tried to include significant weather events. These include various tropical cyclones that have affected nations around the world. Naturally, every tropical cyclone that had significant impacts on all locations could not be included. There were bound to be major omissions. Readers will therefore be disappointed when a system that they expected to find is not included.

Earth science information is also included. The reader will therefore be able to find information on volcanoes and other geological phenomena.

The encyclopedia ends with five appendices that include chronologies of disasters and discoveries, geological timescales, important Websites and an index.

National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NHMS) continue to be the resource of first choice for the general public concerning physical phenomena especially in developing countries. This small set of encyclopedias can serve as an important resource for those who have to respond quickly to requests from the public, students and teachers. The terms are placed logically and effectively cross-referenced. Material is therefore easy to find. The concise, but straightforward entries can be used to provide simple explanations. Junior members of staff can use the information to become attuned to activities occurring on the periphery of their immediate duties and responsibilities, and even senior members of staff can use it as a resource for unfamiliar terms. I would therefore recommend it as an addition to the meteorological library or a handy reference for the on duty meteorologist in a small National Hydrological and Meteorological Service.

Carlos Fuller
(ozone@btl.net)

Hydrogeology of the Oceanic Lithosphere
E. Davis and H. Elderfield (Eds). Cambridge University Press (2004).
xx + 706 pages;+ CD-ROM.
ISBN 0-521-81929-6 (h/b). Price: 95/US$ 170.

The book consists of five parts. It starts with a brief history of the discovery and evolution of the  topic treated over a period of about 30 years to specialized aspects that include the geochemistry of the processes of reaction and mechanisms of transport of the fluid flows, through the different structures of the oceanic crust, including the nature, state and properties of the means in which these flows are developed. Part III is a quantitative analysis of the treated parameters of heat and fluid flow. The five parts contain 21 articles written by scientists of different research organisms and of varied experience in the subject.

The review presented here centres on the general context of the book, its form and structure, the scientific base, and the form of its presentation, language and style; as well as the correlations between the theories and the diagrams.

Several specialists who participated in a workshop supported by the International Lithosphere Program and the Joint Oceanographic Institutions/US Science Support Program decided to present the results of their studies in diverse disciplines (physics, chemistry, and microbiology). The subject is becoming increasingly important, especially for students and researchers in the Earth sciences and oceanography. The contents are written in clear, explanatory language.

The information provided in each article is adapted, coherent and up to date. The book is a good tool for researchers who wish to correlate diverse parameters and results in different environments. A wide range of different subjects is treated, from the properties of the materials of the oceanic crust generated during the cortical accretion, to the methodologies used and suggested for improved acquisition of the results (nature, causes and consequences).

An important aspect of athe book is the presence of an ample preface and explained objectives. The content, terminology, and perspectives of the subject and the clarity of the presentation make the book useful.

Another important aspect is the clear presentation of ideas and use of new tools, including the shore-to-ship connection. It may become questionable and difficult to bridge the different disciplines in order to be able to better understand the dynamics of the planet.

The subject dealt with has recently become an interesting one for those countries with seismic activity. In the case of Ecuador, for example, measurements of heat flow were made in the marine campaign Amadeus, 2005. The experience developed throughout the years has allowed us to define key elements for the understanding and quantification of the rates of change of flows between the crust and overlying oceanselements that are now clearly understood and better visualized. The book describes work on one of the most widely distributed and volumetrically important: ridge flanks.

The subject is not only of scientific but also of economical interest because of the relations between different types of flows and mineralogical elements. While the editors do not try to answer all the questions that could be raised, the desire to contribute to enhanced knowledge of the subject is demonstrated .

A remark concerns the part about geochemical fluxes. It would have been better to interchange Chapters 19 and 21 so as to present the topic from a global context to a more specific one, which is the fundamental subject of the book.

The book carries an interactive accompanying CD-ROM with a full set of diagrams, captions, references and photos of research vessels, submersibles, and other tools used in hydrological studies.

To summarize, the vast experience of the specialists who contributed to the writing of this volume, makes this work, a valuable resource in the sciences of the Earth and the sea.

Essy Santana Jara
(geologia@inocar.mil.ec)



 


New books received for review in the WMO Bulletin

Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Cambridge University Press (2005).
ISBN 0-521-68551-6.
x + 431 pp.
Price: 40/US$ 70.

This IPCC  Special Report  provides information for policy-makers, scientists and engineers in the field of climate change and reduction of CO2 emissions. It describes sources, capture, transport, and storage of CO2. It also discusses the costs, economic potential and societal issues of the technology, including public perception and regulatory aspects. Storage options evaluated include geological storage, ocean storage and mineral carbonization. Notably, the report places CO2 capture and storage in the context of other climate change mitigation options, such as fuel switch, energy efficiency, renewables and nuclear energy.

The volume includes a Summary for Policymakers approved by governments represented in the IPCC, and a Technical Summary.

 

The journey to PicesScientific Cooperation in the North Pacific
Sara Tjossem. Alaska Sea Grant College Programme (2005).
ISBN 0-521-86509-3.
xii + 194 pp.
Price: US$ 200.

This book is a significant contribution to the history of international marine scientific organizations. It presents the process of creating the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES). It seems obvious enough that such an organization was neededthe best way for the Pacific Rim nations to gain knowledge about the enormous North Pacific Ocean is through cooperative researchyet PICES was two decades in the making.

The reasons for this lengthy incubation are described. The process took promotion, patience, and perseverance. Today, PICES is an active six-nation international marine organization, contributing substantially to marine science.

 

Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Cambridge University Press (2006).
ISBN 0-521-6826-1.
x + 478 pp.
Price: 80/US$ 140.

This IPCC Technology and Economic Assessment Panel Special Report provides information relevant to decision-making in regard to safeguarding the ozone layer and the climate system. Scientific evidence linking chlorofluorocarbons  and other ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) led to the initial control of chemicals under the 1987 Montreal Protocol and to amendments and adjustments in the 1990s. As various approaches to the phase-out of ODSs were developed it was realized that some actions taken to reduce future depletion of the ozone layer, in particular the introduction of HFCs and PFCs, could affect global warming.

This report provides the scientific context required for consideration of choices among alternatives to ODSs; potential methodologies for assessing options; and technical issues relating to greenhouse-gas emission-reduction opportunities for each of the sectors involved.

The volume includes a Summary for Policymakers approved by governments represented in the IPCC, and a Technical Summary.

 

Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
Cambridge University Press (2006).
ISBN 0-521-86509-3.
v + 1042 pp.
Price: 120/US$ 200.

Earths climate is changing, with the global temperature now rising at a rate unprecedented in the experience of modern human society. These climate changes, including increases in ultraviolet radiation, are being experienced particularly intensely in the Arctic. Because the Arctic plays a special role in global climate, these changes in the Arctic will also affect the rest of the world. It is thus essential that decision-makers have the latest and best information available regarding ongoing changes in the Arctic and their global implications.

The Arctic Council called for this assessment and charged two of its working groups, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and the Conversation and the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), along with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), with the responsibility for scientific oversight and coordination of all work related to the preparation of the assessment reports.

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