Need a basic introduction to climate? Collier and Webb, both of the United States Geological Service, survey the subject with estimable economy and clarity. They discuss the broadest influences on climate, such as incoming solar radiation and changes in the earth’s orbit and axial tilt. Another fundamental of climate, the position of continents, which, along with prevailing winds, establishes the pattern of ocean currents, receives its synopsis, as does the centrality of ocean currents to the global distribution of heat--when they change, so does climate. The authors also address the most spectacular example of climate change, the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, while noting comparable rhythms named the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Packed with illustrations and balanced between general and specific information, Collier and Webb’s work superbly outlines and makes accessible a subject that is complex even for experts in the field.
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