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Climate and the Oceans Paperback – Oct 30 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (Oct. 30 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691150281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691150284
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #237,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Paperback
Vallis: Climate and the Oceans, 2012, paperback

The aim of this book is to provide an overall understanding of the atmosphere and the oceans, and how they interact. The big picture, without the less important details. This is all a wonderful idea.

Vallis only partly succeeds. The first two chapters are wonderfully clear, as is the description of a centrifugal force ( which is not a real force). He falls down when trying to provide an understanding of the Coriolis force ( also not a real force). The rest of the book is a mixture of great clarity and a lack of clarity. Much more use should have been made of diagrams to make things clear.

There is sloppiness, particularly in chapter 2. On p.51, what is meant by a "component of rotation"?, and then "angle is equal to Omega" but Omega is an angular velocity so can not be an angle. On p.53 he has "more random" which is an impossibility. Then he has "typical speeds of 450-500 m/s whereas the range of speeds is very much wider than this, and depends on the mass of the molecule. On p.57 he states he is going to ignore the atmospheric pressure, then promptly puts it into his formula. On p.68 "along a radius" should be along a tangent; this is a particularly serious error as the reader has no chance of understanding the Coriolis force without first realizing the error.

The book is intended for those who don't want the mathematics, though some maths is provided for those who want it. I doubt that anyone can really understand the forces and consequences unless they understand Newton's Laws.

At the end the author is refreshingly honest about making clear what is not well understood and thus the uncertainties, and provides references when there is controversy, such as that over the Mann hockey stick.

I learnt a lot from this book, I just wish I could have rated it more highly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The art of translating complex phenomena with simple words May 6 2013
By Dr. M. Rouault - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have learned a lot reading that book and especially I liked the descriptive part of complicated phenomena that are usually represented with complicated maths and physics. Vallis has written a complex and comprehensive books full of equations and now he has translated those equations in words. I am reading that book to be prepared for an interview to a job of Prof of oceanography and it may do the job better than the complex books that are difficult to assimilate. I will buy a dozen for my next Master class if I get the job.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Primer March 19 2014
By George McLeod - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A GREAT place to start for students or the layman to advance their knowledge of how climate and the ocean interact.
Great intro to ocean circulation June 2 2014
By Russ Kingsley - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great introduction to the interaction between the climate and oceans. Explains ocean circulation in a manner that a lay person will understand, with the supporting physics. Anyone interested in the impact of global warming on the ocean and climate would benefit from the foundation this book provides.

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