December  2006 Downloads & Links

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Book reviews

Aeronomy of the Middle Atmosphere—chemistry and physics of the stratosphere and mesosphere
G.P. Brasseur, S. Solomon.
Springer (2005).
ISBN 1-4020-3284-6.
xii + 646 pp.
Price: £54/US$ 89.95

The middle atmosphere (the region between the tropopause and thermosphere) is particularly vulnerable to external perturbations such as solar variability and volcanic eruptions and to the emissions of anthropogenic material.

The introduction touches on the evolution of the Earth’s atmosphere, the role of increasing amounts of nitrogen oxide, methane and carbon dioxide, and highlights the importance of oxygen and ozone as protectors of photosynthetic life. The following six chapters discuss in some detail the natural processes which currently control the atmosphere and assess the possible impact which human activities may have upon it.

Chapter 2 reviews basic concepts from physical chemistry which are relevant to atmospheric studies, starting with a list of useful definitions.

Chapter 3 presents fundamentals of dynamical and transport processes above the tropopause. The reader will obtain a good understanding of the effects of atmospheric dynamics on chemical constituents. The basics of three-dimensional (general circulation) models and chemical-transport models to simulate the formation, transport and destruction of chemical compounds in the atmosphere are also explained. The elaboration of issues of weather and climate as related to stratospheric dynamics is discussed with a number of examples.

Chapter 4 summarizes important aspects of radiative transfer in relation to the energy budget and photolytic processes. The atmosphere can be considered as a mixture of gases and particles which absorb and scatter the electromagnetic energy of the Sun and infrared terrestrial radiation. The book provides details of solar energy and perturbations from the presence of various atoms and molecules of the atmospheric composition at different altitudes. It gives attention to the photochemical effects of radiation on many molecules of particular importance to atmospheric ozone and indicates methods for calculating photo-dissociation coefficients which are useful in assembling numerical models.

Chapters 5 and 6 constitute the core of the book. Chapter 5 describes the chemical and photochemical processes relevant to the principal constituents of the middle atmosphere. It discusses the distribution and behaviour of the various constituents, as well as their global atmospheric budgets. Thus, the ozone budget and its dependence on other compounds are well explained. It is emphasized that the ozone concentrations are under dynamical control from the tropopause up to ~25 km where the bulk of total ozone resides. Its latitudinal and seasonal variations are discussed and the role of polar stratospheric clouds (PSC) in the processes of winter-spring polar ozone destruction is highlighted.

Chapter 6 discusses human-induced perturbations affecting ozone and related to its regime compounds. It starts with an explanation of how solar radiation, local temperature and certain chemicals affect ozone at chemically-controlled altitudes in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere, providing important constraints on scientific understanding of ozone perturbation. The observation of trends in upper-stratospheric ozone has demonstrated the long-term impact there of chlorofluorocarbons as was first postulated in the mid-1970s. This is followed by a detailed discussion of ozone depletion in the lower stratosphere and the important role of chlorine compounds and PSC heterogeneous chemistry in the formation of the Antarctic spring ozone hole. The complex interplay of dynamics and chemistry that affect Arctic and mid-latitude ozone depletion and the role of low stratospheric temperatures are analysed. It should be noted that the authors did not have to hand the most recent studies which indicate that ozone recovery will not occur before ~2065. Most of the illustrations in this chapter are based on observational data from the mid-1990s, while up-to-date information for nearly another decade is now available.

Chapter 7 provides an overview of ionization affecting chemical processes in the mesosphere and stratosphere. Electrons are present in very small abundances below the stratopause; positive and negative ions dominate the ion composition of the stratosphere; and positive ions and electrons dominate the mesosphere and thermosphere. It would have been more logical to have included this informative chapter as part of Chapter 5 (composition and chemistry).

There are a large number of references (1 686), although hardly any were published after 1999. Interested readers will find additional references by consulting the publications cited and by consulting the periodic International Assessments of the State of the Ozone Layer published by WMO. Unfortunately, there are no references to Websites which contain an enormous amount of up-to-date information on ozone and related topics. Six appendixes provide useful information on physical constants, conversion factors, etc. There are a large number of illustrations and an extensive subject index.

This book provides an up-to-date comprehensive review of the chemical, dynamical and radiative processes that affect ozone and related chemical compounds in the middle atmosphere. It should be useful for graduate students and research scientists.

Rumen D. Bojkov




Un modelo de costes para la meteorología oficial en España [Costing model for official meteorology in Spain]
Dr B. Rodríguez Mallol.
Ministerio de Medio Ambiente de España (2006).
ISBN 84-8320-352-9.
214 pp.
Price: €10

This book proposes some concrete suggestions for tackling a specific problem encountered by National Meteorological Services (NMSs), that of providing proper justification for their technological investments and general expenditure on their primary activities in support of various socio-economic sectors.

Chapter I explains that the progressive increase in terms of gross domestic product in the public sector of most countries, which finances meteorological activities in the majority of cases, inevitably leads to higher demands for the quality and range of services provided by the public sector since users’ tax contributions have also risen considerably.

The book highlights the need to clarify the cost of the various individual services which an official Meteorological Service, such as that of Spain, provides to defence and civil defence bodies, as well as to the aviation sector, for example. Actually, in the latter case, the rules for implementation of the Single European Sky require transparent, separate accounting for each performance line of the aeronautical service providers, which is practically impossible without an analytical accounting system applying distribution criteria for the greatly increasing indirect costs in this meteorological sector. It is pointed out that the growing investment in radar, satellite and supercomputer technologies for meteorological purposes helps to support analysis and forecasting activities, which, in turn, are applied to the various user sectors.

It is also suggested that a costing model for meteorological activities should be capable of calculating the cost of commercial activities in order to establish appropriate policies for public or private pricing, calculate the cost of research and development projects and serve as an internal management and control tool for calculating the costs of each cost centre or of ancillary and primary activities.

Chapters III and IV give an overview of the standardization of accounting in various countries, with special emphasis on analytical accounting in the public sector.

Chapters V and VI describe in detail the structure of the costing model proposed for the Spanish National Institute of Meteorology and the importance of the Spanish standardized analytical accounting system for administrative bodies (Contabilidad Analítica Normalizada para Organismos Administrativos) set up by the Spanish Government accounting office (Intervención General de la Administración del Estado). This system is intended to standardize the internal accounting of the various governmental bodies wherever possible and, significantly, it has been customized for Spanish meteorology in particular.

The book describes the accounting model as being based on historical costs (those of a closed financial period), a radical dualist approach (separate from financial accounting) and full costing, which takes account of all costs, whether fixed or variable, direct or indirect and, essentially, as calculating the cost of ancillary activities (providing support for the primary ones), principal or primary activities (providing services to the various socio-economic sectors) and management and general or administrative activities.

Chapter X points out that tools such as analytical accounting can help increase the efficacy and efficiency of NMSs but that only autonomous, decentralized management with clear objectives and specific indicators can really achieve this. It also emphasizes the importance of this tool for studies of the cost-benefit ratio of meteorology in various sectors in a consistent, documented form, as well as the need for international agreement on criteria for indirect cost distribution and on the classification of NMS activities. This is needed for rational benchmarking or comparison of the cost-benefit ratios of these activities. The author points out that the role played by WMO in this context could be of fundamental importance.

José Luis Martin Sánchez


New books received for review in the WMO Bulletin

The global climate system
H.A. Bridgman and J.E. Oliver.
Cambridge University Press (2006).
ISBN 0-521-82642-X.
xviii + 331 pp.
Price: £35/US$ 70

Over the last 20 years, developments in climatology have provided an array of explanations for the patterns of world climates. This textbook examines the Earth’s climate system in the light of this incredible growth in data availability, data retrieval systems, and satellite and computer applications. It considers regional climate anomalies, developments in teleconnections, unusual sequences of recent climate change and human impacts upon the climate system. It also considers social and economic aspects of the global climate system. Each chapter contains an essay by a specialist in the field.


Fundamentals of geophysical fluid dynamics
J.C. McWilliams.
Cambridge University Press (2006).
ISBN 0-521-85637-X.
xvii + 249 pp.
Price: £40/US$ 75

Fundamentals of geophysical fluid dynamics is an introduction to the subject for intermediate to advanced students of the physics, chemistry, and/or biology of Earth’s fluid environment. Readers are expected to be familiar with physics and mathematics at the level of general dynamics (mechanics) and partial differential equations.

Frontiers of climate modeling
J.T. Kiehl and V. Ramanathan (Eds.).
Cambridge University Press (2006).
ISBN 0-521-79132-4.
x + 387 pp.
Price: £70/US$ 120

The physics and dynamics of the atmosphere and atmosphere-ocean interactions provide the foundation of modern climate models, upon which the chemistry and biology of ocean and land-surface processes are built. Frontiers of Climate Modeling highlights modern developments in modelling the atmosphere and their implications for our understanding of climate change, whether due to natural or anthropogenic causes. A major emphasis is how greenhouse gases and aerosols alter the radiative forcing of the climate system and the sensitivity of the system to such perturbations.

Predictability of weather and climate
T. Palmer and R. Hagedorn (Eds.).
Cambridge University Press (2006).
ISBN 0-521-84882-2.
xv + 702 pp.
Price: £85/US$ 150

The topic of predictability in weather and climate has advanced significantly in recent years, both in under­standing the processes that determine predictability, and in techniques used to model and forecast predictability.

This book addresses predictability from the theoretical to the practical, on time-scales from days to decades. Topics include the predictability of weather phenomena, coupled ocean-atmosphere systems and anthropogenic climate change. Ensemble systems for forecasting predictability are discussed. A contribution to theoretical analysis is a previously unpublished paper by E. Lorenz, father of chaos theory.

Noctilucent Clouds and Mesosphere (A historical review)
Wilfried Schröder.

Science Edition, D-28777 Bremen.
ISSN 1615-2824.
115 pp.
Price: €10



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