February 2007 Downloads & Links

In the press


WMO receives a number of books during the year pertaining to meteorology, hydrology, climatology, water resources, the environment and related fields for review in the WMO Bulletin and MeteoWorld.

If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, please send a message to jtorres[at], giving your full name, e-mail and postal addresses and indicating the title(s) and/or area(s) of interest.

Book review

The Asian Monsoon

Bin Wang (Ed.)
Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, publised in association with
Praxis publishing, Chichester, UK (2006).
xlvv + 787 pp.
ISBN 3-540-40610-7
Price: 154/US$ 50

Research into the Asian monsoon has a long history but substantial progress has been made since the 1960s through a number of international and regional monsoon projects and field experiments. 

Understanding of the monsoon climate and its changes represents one of the most difficult challenges to climate science because of the complexity of its interactions over a wide range of atmospheric processes, as well as associated interactions between the atmosphere, ocean and land. The Asian monsoon can have not only significant regional implications, but also important impacts on the global climate system and global climate prediction.

The Asian Monsoon is the first comprehensive book to bring together the knowledge gained over the past two decades. Unlike traditional monsoon meteorology, this book describes the Asian monsoon system as an interdisciplinary scientific theme incorporating the atmosphere, the ocean and the land surface, all of which interact through physical, chemical and biological processes.

The book makes an important contribution to the understanding of the monsoon environment by including analyses of paleoclimatic records, human influences and impacts of the monsoon on the economy and human health. It also contains new ideas that are expected to markedly improve predictions of monsoon climate variations and anthropogenic changes. A distinctive feature is that it combines modern observations with explanations of the physical principles governing monsoon climate variations on all time-scales, ranging from intraseasonal to tectonic. Most chapters contain an authoritative review of the subject and highlight conceptual breakthroughs, as well as frontier research issues.

An overview describes the Asian monsoon as a multiscale, coupled atmosphere-ocean-land dynamic system that interacts with other components of the Earths climate system. The powerful boreal winter monsoon and Austral summer monsoon over the maritime continent and Australia are considered, providing a comprehensive overview of the monsoon in general and the Asian-Australian monsoon in particular.

Monsoon variability is considered over a broad range of time-scales, from days to decades, and on various spatial scales, from the smallest mesoscale to continental and global scales. The great variety of monsoon weather is described and a comprehensive review of current knowledge and issues of the monsoons intraseasonal variations is presented. A summary is given of the main features of interannual variability and possible causes. Variability on the decadal to interdecadal time-scale is also addressed. Several chapters are devoted to improving the understanding of the monsoon systems physical processes and its roles associated with the Earths climate system. They look at atmospheric internal dynamical processes on the mesoscale and on large and planetary-scales. Hydrological processes are also discussed, as well as interactions of the monsoon system with land- surface processes, El Nio/Southern Oscillation-Asian monsoon interactions and the role of the Tibetan Plateau. A firm basis for understanding the complex monsoon physics is thus laid.

Numerical modelling and prediction of monsoon activity is addressed. The governing dynamical controls and physical representations that determine the potential predictability of monsoons are explored. Although the dynamical models of the coupled ocean-atmosphere-land system still have considerable difficulty in capturing the predict-ability, the discussions offer new ideas that are expected to contribute to noticeable improvements in monsoon climate prediction in the coming decades.

With regard to enhancing understanding of the monsoon environment and its societal influences, evidence from palaeo-record studies shows that the Asian monsoon system has undergone remarkable changes on geological time-scales. A detailed account is given of past monsoon cycles according to geological, orbital and millennial and centennial time-scales. In the future, anthropogenic influences, including land-use/cover changes and atmospheric composition changes on regional and global scales, may considerably affect the future of the Asian monsoon. Possible human influences on the Asian monsoon are discussed, with focus on agriculture and the economy.

This book can be used as a compre-hensive interdisciplinary text for students, both undergraduate and graduate. It can also serve as a professional reference for research scientists and professionals in many fields. Most of the material in this book will also be of great value to non-specialists.

Ding Yihui


New book received for review in the WMO Bulletin

The equations of Oceanic Motions
P. Mller
Cambridge University Press (2006)
ISBN 0-521-8553-6.
X + 291 PP.
Price: 45/US$ 80..

Modelling and prediction of oceanographic phenomena and climate are based on the integration of dynamic equations. The Equations of Oceanic Motions derives and systematically classifies the most common dynamic equations used in physical oceanography, from those describing large-scale thermohaline circulations to those describing small-scale motions and turbulence.

After establishing the basic dynamical equations that describe all oceanic motions, Mller then derives approximate equations, emphasizing the assumptions made and physical processes eliminated. He distinguishes geometric, thermodynamic and dynamic approximations and the acoustic, gravity, vortical and temperature-salinity modes of motion. Basic concepts and formulae of equilibrium thermodynamics, vector and tensor calculus, curvilinear coordinate systems and the kinematics of fluid motion and wave propagation are covered in appendices.


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