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Fundamentals of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
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  • Page extent: 266 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.707 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: n/a
  • Dewey version: n/a
  • LC Classification: n/a
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Fluid dynamics
    • Geophysics

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521856379 | ISBN-10: 052185637X)

This book was first published in 2006. Earth's atmosphere and oceans exhibit complex patterns of fluid motion over a vast range of space and time scales. These patterns combine to establish the climate in response to solar radiation that is inhomogeneously absorbed by the materials comprising air, water, and land. Spontaneous, energetic variability arises from instabilities in the planetary-scale circulations, appearing in many different forms such as waves, jets, vortices, boundary layers, and turbulence. Geophysical fluid dynamics (GFD) is the science of all these types of fluid motion. This textbook is a concise and accessible introduction to GFD for intermediate to advanced students of the physics, chemistry, and/or biology of Earth's fluid environment. The book was developed from the author's many years of teaching a first-year graduate course at the University of California, Los Angeles. Readers are expected to be familiar with physics and mathematics at the level of general dynamics (mechanics) and partial differential equations.

• Covers the essential GFD required for atmospheric science and oceanography courses • Mathematically rigorous, concise coverage of basic theory and applications to both oceans and atmospheres • Author is a world expert; this book is based on the course he has taught for many years • Exercises are included, with solutions available for instructors at


Preface; Symbols; 1. Purposes and value of geophysical fluid dynamics; 2. Fundamental dynamics; 3. Barotropic and vortex dynamics; 4. Rotating shallow-water and wave dynamics; 5. Baroclinic and jet dynamics; 6. Boundary-layer and wind-gyre dynamics; Afterword; Exercises; References; Index.


Review of the hardback: '… a delightfully refreshing introduction to graduate-level geophysical fluid dynamics. This well-written text includes a concise review of the needed applied mathematics, physics and fluid dynamics. The text pulls examples not only from the atmospheres and oceans but also from recent numerical studies and laboratory experiments in nonlinear dynamics, solitons, chaos and 2- and 3-dimensional turbulence, with an appropriate emphasis on their relevance to geophysical fluid dynamics. Some topics, for example geostrophic adjustment, are more clearly explained and are better physically motivated here than in any other text I have read. This book should not only be on the shelves of all geophysical fluid dynamicists, but also physicists, astronomers, and applied mathematicians.' Philip Marcus, University of California, Berkeley

Review of the hardback: ' … a very good introductory text to geophysical fluid dynamics. Explanations of complex subjects are clear, concise, and insightful. Distracting and unnecessary details are avoided in discussions, and the organization of the material is well thought-out and logical … ideal for use as a first exposure to the subject matter.' Leif Thomas, University of Washington

Review of the hardback: 'Jim McWilliams' introductory book to the fundamentals of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics is clearly written and well posed. The author relies on examples based on jets and vortices to introduce concepts such as turbulence, chaotic dynamics, bolus velocities, boundary layers, etc. that have not been extensively covered by existing textbooks. This book will therefore be very useful not only to graduate students, but also to scientists who are looking for a well-written reference book that is complementary to what is presently available.' Eric P. Chassignet, University of Miami

Review of the hardback: 'McWilliams shows how the simplified models of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (GFD) can be used to explain the underlying physics in the complex turbulent flows in the Earth's atmosphere and oceans.' John A Johnson, University of East Anglia

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