This book is intended as a text and as a reference book for students from a range
of disciplines, not just the atmospheric sciences. However, it is expected that students will have had at least an introductory, undergraduate, non-technical course
in weather. The equations will have to be interpreted by an instructor for those
without preparation in physical sciences and mathematics with calculus. And
the short refresher tutorials on various topics at the beginning of some chapters
will likely be skipped by those with more rigorous backgrounds in atmospheric
sciences. At the end of each chapter are lists of suggested general references
for further reading, questions for review, and problems and exercises. The references represent a spectrum of difficulty levels; some are qualitative whereas
others may be quite technically oriented. Students without a technical background will need to choose from the qualitative references, of which there are
many. The review questions are provided as study aids. The technical discipline
of each student, which has served as the motivation for studying this subject, will
ultimately determine what material is most germane. Thus, the student and the
instructor should add their own study questions to those provided. The problems
and exercises are sometimes sufficiently challenging that background reading in
other texts in atmospheric sciences may be required. A number of the problems
require some mathematics, and these are most appropriate for students with such
a background. Hints to solutions of some of the problems can be found at the
back of the book.
Metric units will be used throughout the book. Exceptions are limited to
providing near-surface temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit as well as Celsius.
Technical words will often be printed in bold the first time that they are used in the
text in order to emphasize that they are important and that their meaning should be
remembered. If the bold words are not defined in the text or in a footnote, a brief
definition will be found in the glossary in Appendix A.