Book review: Introducing Meteorology: A Guide to Weather, by Jon Shonk; and Introducing Oceanography, by David Thomas and David Bowers

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Jon Trevelyan (UK)

I have had the pleasure of reviewing a large number of the “Introducing” guides from Dunedin Academic press, and I am pleased to say that here are another couple of equally good ones.

The format is always the same – authorative, but easy to understand text, interspersed by bold, full colour diagrams and photographs. And the topics of oceanography and meteorology certainly complement each other. The planet is two-thirds covered by oceans and seas, and the energy they contain massively affects the way the Earth system (especially climate) works. While the British may be obsessed with talking about the weather, there can be little doubt about the way it affects all human life – from farming and fishing, to recreation and the economy in general. These guides set out to provide overviews of these fascinating topics, and each is of the highest quality.

The nice thing about these guides is that the bite-sized nature of each chapter means you can dip in and out when you want to explore a particular subject, or you can sit down and read them in their entirety in only a few hours and feel that you really have learnt something by the time you have finished. For example, if you want to know something about mid-latitude weather systems (affecting, for instance, the UK), then there is a chapter on that. If you would rather know about supercomputers versus the weather station, there are sections on those in the meteorology guide. Similarly, there is information on the chemistry, biology, the tides, waves, and so on in the one of oceanography.

And, as always, the authors of both guides are experts in their fields. The two Davids (Oceanography) are both professors at the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University; and Jon Shonk is a researcher at the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, which is one of the leading meteorology centres in the world. Therefore, if you are interested in these topics, I would recommend these small guides – as I would the others in this excellent series.

Introducing Meteorology: A Guide to Weather by Jon Shonk, Dunedin Academic Press, Edinburgh. 150 pp., softback ISBN: 978-1780460-02-4; and Introducing Oceanography by David Thomas and David Bowers, Dunedin Academic Press, Edinburgh. 150 pp., softback ISBN: 978-1780460-01-7

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