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Sources for Chapter 4

The books, Web sites, journal articles, and interviews listed on this page are sources of information other than facts and concepts found in most beginning college-level meteorology textbooks, which the author used or that could help readers better understand the concepts described. For more on various topics, including further reading and links to related Web sites, follow the links labeled “Explorations.” Links labeled “Outtakes” are to text from early drafts of the book that were dropped before publication.

In the notes below “the author” refers to Jack Williams, author of The AMS Weather Book.

Pages 72–73
  • The story about the flight of a NOAA P-3 airplane into West Coast storms and the graphic on page 74 are based on the author’s telephone conversations and e-mail exchanges with F. Martin “Marty” Ralph and an NOAA online description of the experiment.
Page 73
  • Information on the WP-3 airplanes is from an NOAA Aircraft Operations Center Web page (scroll down past images of other NOAA aircraft), the author’s flights on WP-3s, and conversations with crewmembers and scientists from 1983 through 2005.
Pages 75
Page 75–77
  • The How Evaporation Saturates Air graphic at the top of page 75 and the discussion on pages 77–79 explain various measures of humidity without using the false statement that “warm air holds more water vapor than cool air.” Why this statement is wrong is discussed in detail by Alistair Fraser on the Bad Clouds section of his Bad Meteorology Web site and by Steven Babin, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, on his Water Vapor Myths: A Brief Tutorial Web page.
Page 77
Page 78
  • The profile of Charles Knight is based on the author’s interview with Knight in his office and laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado, follow-up e-mails, and Nicole Gordon, “Up Close with Caribbean Cumulus,” UCAR Quarterly (Winter 2004–05).
Pages 80
Page 81
  • In the Why Rising Air Cools graphic, the idea of using the expansion of gas inside a rising balloon to explain why rising air cools came from Stanley D. Gedzelman, The Science and Wonders of the Atmosphere (New York: Wiley and Sons, 1980).
  • Air’s vertical movements: The basic science of buoyancy is discussed in the Hyper Physics Web site’s Buoyancy Web page.
Page 82–87
  • Clouds: The extensive section on clouds in Stanley D. Gedzelman’s City College of New York Web site for his Introduction to Earth Systems Science course has detailed information on clouds, including illustrations explaining their various shapes (PDF file).
  • Atmospheric stability: The discussion on page 83 and the graphic on pages 84 and 85 are simplified and do not discuss conditional stability. The air is conditionally stable when it contains enough humidity to become unstable as it rises and cools and as moisture begins to condense, releasing enough latent heat to cause the air to continue rising. Most college-level meteorology textbooks discuss this topic.
Page 89
  • The discussion of glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets is based on the author’s reporting from Greenland and Antarctica between 1997 and 2004 for USA Today and, such as for the answer to a reader’s question about the age of the Greenland ice sheet. The author’s material on polar ice was also used for Chapter 4 of his The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Arctic and Antarctic (New York: Alpha Books, 2003), 35–45.
Page 90
  • The 1993 Missouri and Mississippi Rivers’ flood and the response to it are described in Stanley Changnon, The Great Flood of 1993: Causes, Impacts, and Responses (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996).
  • Other good sources of information on the 1927 flood include: John Barry, Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998) and The PBS American Experience documentary Fatal Flood, which includes interviews with John Barry and some flood survivors. A script and other information are available online.
Page 91
Pages 92–93
  • The profile of Andrew and Gerald Heymsfield is based on telephone calls and e-mail exchanges with Gerald and a conversation with Andrew in his Boulder, Colorado, office and follow-up telephone calls and e-mail exchanges.
Page 94

book jacket
The AMS Weather Book:The Ultimate Guide to America’s Weather
Jack Williams
With Forewords by Rick Anthes and Stephanie Abrams
©2009, 368 pages, 140 color plates, 70 halftones 8-1/2 x 10-7/8
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226898988

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