Science News
from research organizations

New Books View Storms, The Stratosphere, And More

November 22, 1999
National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
A global perspective on storms, a glimpse into creeping degradation of the Aral Sea, and a portrait of the stratosphere await readers of recent books by National Center for Atmospheric Research scientists. More specialized works examine atmospheric chemistry and global change and present new statistical methods.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18, 1999

Views of Storms, the Aral Sea, and the StratosphereAwait Readers of New Books on Atmospheric Science

Telephone: 303-497-8604
Fax: 303-497-8610

BOULDER -- A global perspective on storms, a glimpse into creepingdegradation of the Aral Sea, and a portrait of the stratosphere awaitreaders of recent books by scientists at the National Center forAtmospheric Research (NCAR). For specialists, recent works examineatmospheric chemistry and global change and explain the neweststatistical methods in atmospheric science. NCAR's primary sponsor isthe National Science Foundation.

This roundup of recent publications lists NCAR contributors in boldface.

For both scientific and general audiences

Hurricanes: Their Nature and Impacts on Society, by Roger A.Pielke, Jr., and Roger Pielke, Sr. John Wiley & Sons, 1998, 298 pp.,ISBN: 0-471-97354-8.

The book defines and assesses the hurricane problem, focusing primarilyon the United States, in order to lay a foundation for action. Theauthors address both the scientific and societal aspects of hurricanes.Although the book focuses on the United States, it illustrates weather-related impact assessments that could be applied in other areas and tophenomena other than hurricanes. More broadly, this book seeks toillustrate the beneficial uses (as well as limitations) of hurricanescience to society. In an era when scientific research is under publicand political pressure to demonstrate practical connection to societalneeds, explicit consideration of the relationship between science andsociety is vital.

Roger A. Pielke, Jr., is a political scientist in the Environmental andSocietal Impacts Group at NCAR. Roger Pielke, Sr., is a professor in theDepartment of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, and isColorado's state climatologist.

Creeping Environmental Problems and Sustainable Developmentin the Aral Sea Basin, edited by Michael H. Glantz. CambridgeUniversity Press, 1999, 304 pp., ISBN 0-521-62086-4.

One of the worst human-made environmental catastrophes of the 20thcentury, the Aral crisis has been labeled a "quiet Chernobyl." Just afew decades ago, the Aral Sea was the fourth-largest inland body ofwater in the world. Today, it has fallen to sixth place, and itcontinues to shrink. This multidisciplinary book is the first tocomprehensively describe the slow onset of low-grade but incrementalchanges affecting the region. Over a dozen researchers explore everyfacet of this environmental disaster: water level and salinity, riverflow changes, fish population dynamics, changes in the landscape,desertification, public health, and political decision-making. Writtenin accessible language, the volume suggests ways to examine othercreeping environmental disasters and will be of interest to thoseconcerned with environmental studies, global change, political science,and history.

Currents of Change: El Nino's Impact on Climate and Society,second edition, by Michael H. Glantz. Cambridge University Press(forthcoming, spring 2000).

This work is aimed at a broad audience. The author defines El Nino,describes its far-reaching impacts on climate and society, and discusseshow those impacts might be forecast. The book considers the state ofprediction research and the value of forecasts in preparing forwidespread effects, from drought to malaria epidemics. The secondedition includes seven new chapters examining the state-of-the-art offorecasting El Nino, media coverage of the phenomenon and its impacts,and a look at La Nina. The first edition (1996, 208 pp, ISBN 0-521-57659-8) has been translated into Spanish (Cambridge University Press),Japanese (Zest Publishers, Tokyo), and both mainland and TaiwaneseChinese.

Michael H. Glantz is a senior scientist in and the former director ofthe Environmental and Societal Impacts Group at NCAR. He has publishednine books on climate and society. Glantz's primer on La Nina will bepublished by the United Nations University in late 1999 or early 2000.

A Global Perspective on Storms, edited by Roger A. Pielke, Jr.,and Roger Pielke, Sr. Routledge, 1999 (forthcoming, January 2000).

More than 70 contributors from around the world discuss the science ofstorms, their impacts, and how humans respond. Societal vulnerability tothe ravages of storms is the unifying theme in this examination of thephysical and social science of storms.

For author information see Hurricanes, above.

The Stratosphere: Phenomena, History, and Relevance, by KarinLabitzke and Harry van Loon. Springer-Verlag, 1999, 179 pp., 79figs., 46 in color, ISBN 3-540-65784.

The authors describe the discovery of the stratosphere and of variousunexpected phenomena within it. The story begins with explorersascending 11 kilometers (almost 7 miles) by balloon in 1901 and moves onto a 1908 expedition to Lake Victoria in Africa that launched small,unmanned balloons and tracked them with a theodolite (surveyor'stelescope). That expedition discovered then-inexplicable west winds inthe stratosphere above the equator that were blowing in the oppositedirection from the surface trade winds. From there, progress inunderstanding the stratosphere has included a sequence of majordiscoveries: the ozone layer in the 1930s; sudden explosive warmings ofthe arctic stratosphere in midwinter, called the Berlin Phenomenon, in1952; the 27-month cycle of alternating eastward and westward winds,known as the quasi-biennial oscillation, in 1960; the influence ofvolcanic eruptions in 1970; the ozone hole in 1984; and the influence ofthe 11-year solar cycle in 1987. The book describes the connectionsbetween these phenomena and their relationship to variability in theclimate system. The influence of humans on the stratosphere, such as thedecrease in ozone, is addressed. The authors use the stratosphere as anexample of nature's complexity and of how discoveries are sometimesignored because they do not fit prevalent concepts. While written foradvanced students and researchers in meteorology, climatology,atmospheric physics, and other fields, the book will also capture theimagination of interested lay readers.

Karin Labitzke is head of the Stratospheric Research Group in theMeteorological Institute of the Free University of Berlin. Harry vanLoon is a senior research associate in the Climate and Global DynamicsDivision at NCAR.

For specialists

Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Change, edited by Guy P.Brasseur, John J. Orlando, and Geoffrey S. Tyndall. OxfordUniversity Press, 1999, 688 pp., 23 plates, 323 line illustrations &halftones, ISBN 0-19-510521-4.

The authors examine chemical processes in the atmosphere, focusing onglobal-scale problems and their role in the evolution of the earthsystem. This collective effort by a group of scientists at NCAR andseveral universities and national laboratories takes a largelyinterdisciplinary approach. An ideal text for graduate courses inatmospheric chemistry and atmospheric science, the book is also anauthoritative and practical reference for scientists studying theearth's atmosphere.

John J. Orlando and Geoffrey S. Tyndall are scientists in theAtmospheric Chemistry Division at NCAR; Guy P. Brasseur directs thedivision.

Case Studies in Environmental Statistics, edited by DouglasNychka, Walter W. Piegorsch, and Lawrence H. Cox. Springer-Verlag,1998, 192 pp., ISBN 0-387-98478-X. The book is Volume 132 in the LectureNotes in Statistics series.

Nychka, Piegorsch, and Cox provide a set of case studies exemplifyingthe broad range of statistical science used in environmental researchand applications. The case studies can be used as a supplementary textfor graduate courses in environmental statistics or as an overview ofthis field for environmental researchers and statisticians. The studiesreported here are results from a program of research by the NationalInstitute of Statistical Sciences during the years 1992-1996. NISS wascreated in 1991 as an initiative of national statistics organizations.Its mission is to renew and focus efforts of statistical science onimportant cross-disciplinary problems. One of its first projects was acooperative research effort with the U.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency on problems of environmental science and regulation. A webcompanion at includes a shortenedversion of the book and additional links to relevant on-line data setsand public-domain software.

Douglas Nychka is a senior scientist and project leader of theGeophysical Statistics Project at NCAR. Walter W. Piegorsch is aprofessor in the Department of Statistics, University of South Carolina-Columbia. Lawrence H. Cox is a senior mathematical statistician, U.S.Environmental Protection Agency, National Exposure Research Laboratory.

Also in the Lecture Notes in Statistics series, Studies in theAtmospheric Sciences, edited by Mark Berliner, Douglas Nychka,and Timothy Hoar. Springer-Verlag (forthcoming, spring 2000).

This book is a primary statistical source for graduate students andresearchers in the geophysical and environmental sciences. The chapterauthors are statisticians who have collaborated with atmosphericscientists at NCAR and draw on that experience to present specificapplications of various statistical methods. Understanding andpredicting the physical, chemical, and biological processes that shapeour environment requires research over a wide range of scales, from theorigin of local severe weather, to the impact of anthropogenicactivities on global climate, to the dynamics of the internal structureof the Sun. Many of the statistical methods used to address suchchallenges in the geoscience are not found in standard courses ortextbooks. This book presents new statistical methods that are valuabletools for the geophysical sciences.

Mark Berliner is a professor in the Department of Statistics at OhioState University. Douglas Nychka is a senior scientist and projectleader of the Geophysical Statistics Project at NCAR. Timothy Hoar is anassociate scientist in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division of NCAR.

NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research,a consortium of more than 60 universities offering Ph.D.s in atmosphericand related sciences.

-The End-

Story Source:

Materials provided by National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Cite This Page:

National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "New Books View Storms, The Stratosphere, And More." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 1999. <>.
National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). (1999, November 22). New Books View Storms, The Stratosphere, And More. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 22, 2017 from
National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "New Books View Storms, The Stratosphere, And More." ScienceDaily. (accessed May 22, 2017).