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2003-52 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2003

NCAR Authors Tackle Desert Meteorology, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and Climate Affairs

Contact:

David Hosansky
UCAR Communications
Telephone: (303) 497-8611
E-mail: hosansky@ucar.edu

BOULDER—Once again, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have produced some thought-provoking books in time for the holiday season. This year’s new books cover desert meteorology, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the interplay between climate, the environment, and society. NCAR’s primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation.

Authors from NCAR are listed in boldface.

Desert Meteorology, by Thomas T. Warner. Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-52181-798-6 (hardcover, $120).

Those who consider deserts boring should try taking on a sandstorm at full blast. According to Warner, the torrid heat, howling wind, stinging grains of sand, and near-zero visibility should change their minds.

Warner has spent the past five years researching and writing the first book dedicated to weather and climate in the world’s warm, arid lands. Intended as a textbook and reference volume for meteorologists and other scientists, Desert Meteorology covers the basics of desert climate and the atmosphere. It delves into broad topics like the causes of deserts and desertification, examines interdisciplinary subjects like the interaction between humans and the desert atmosphere, and discusses overlooked areas such as microclimates within deserts.

While there are plenty of textbooks on tropical meteorology, desert meteorology hasn’t received much attention as a comprehensive subject. Warner’s book fills this meteorological void and raises sociological implications as well. Ten percent of the world’s population lives on arid land. This number is growing because most desert inhabitants live in developing nations with high rates of population growth. As Warner puts it, the deserts are becoming less deserted. His book is a good starting point for anyone who wants to understand a climate that will face new pressures in this century.

Tom Warner is a senior visiting scientist in NCAR’s Research Applications Program.

To order a review copy:

Send your name and mailing address on university, college, or company letterhead to Cambridge University Press, Dept: CWO, 40 West 20th Street, New York, NY. 10011

Climate Affairs, by Michael H. Glantz. Island Press, 2003, ISBN 1-55963-919-9 (paperback, $18.95), ISBN 1-55963-918-0 (hardcover, $40).

Historians like to debate the influences that define a century. The 19th century is often considered the British century, whereas the 20th was decidedly American. As we move into the 21st century, some predict that China’s growing power will characterize the coming decades.
In Climate Affairs, however, Glantz gives readers a scenario in which the century’s defining influence is not a political superpower. As droughts, floods, fires, storms, infectious diseases, and climate change increasingly dominate our headlines and attention, the combination of public concern over costly, devastating meteorological events and evidence of human-induced warming of Earth’s atmosphere might make this the Climate Century.

If that’s the case, the interplay between climate, the environment, and society is too important to be left to climatologists alone. Coping with climate in the 21st century will require an army of not just physical scientists, says Glantz, but also economists, ecologists, geographers, lawyers, political scientists, policymakers, and others.

Glantz discusses the basic knowledge that these professionals will need as a starting point to address climate change and climate-related events. He exposes our increasing vulnerability to climate change, defines concepts and terms used in climate affairs, and explains the effects of climate around the world. Topics include society’s use of climate information in decision-making, political borders in regard to climate, multidisciplinary climate affairs programs at universities, and more.

Michael Glantz is a senior scientist in NCAR’s Environmental and Societal Impacts Group.

To order a review copy:

Call Taryn Roeder at Island Press at (202) 232-7933.

The North Atlantic Oscillation: Climatic Significance and Environmental Impact, by James W. Hurrell, Yochanan Kushnir, Geir Ottersen, and Martin Visbeck, eds. American Geophysical Union: Geophysical Monograph Series Vol. 134, 2003, ISBN 0-87590-994-9, $67 (list price, hardcover), $46 (AGU member price).

Nearly a thousand years ago, Vikings noticed that severe winters tended to strike Greenland in tandem with mild winters in Denmark, and vice versa. Their observation wasn’t a coincidence. They were recording a classic effect of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), one of the world’s oldest known weather patterns. The NAO is the dominant mode of winter climate variability in the North Atlantic region, influencing central North America, Europe, and northern Asia.

Hurrell is lead editor of the most detailed book to date on this seesaw in atmospheric mass between the subtropical Atlantic and the Arctic. The North Atlantic Oscillation: Climatic Significance and Environmental Impact is a multidisciplinary overview that brings together research by atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, paleoclimatologists, and biologists. Consisting of 12 papers, the book presents research into the NAO and its environmental and societal consequences. Topics include how the NAO has likely varied in the past and may vary in the future, the impact of human-caused emissions on the NAO, the complex responses of the North Atlantic Ocean to NAO changes, the NAO’s impact on marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and more.

Several dozen specialists contributed to The North Atlantic Oscillation, which evolved from an American Geophysical Union conference on the NAO that Hurrell organized in late 2000. The book is geared to scientists, students of climate and the environment, and interested nonscientists.

James Hurrell is a senior scientist in NCAR’s Climate and Global Dynamics Division.

To order a review copy:

Send requests with appropriate documentation to Pamela Ingate (pingate@agu.org) at the American Geophysical Union.


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The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors. UCAR is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

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