New Book by ESSIC Research Scientist Demystifies Climate Analysis

There is no doubt that Earth is getting warmer. At the same time, many locations experience dramatic weather and climate variations every year. Heat waves, intense cold outbreaks, threatening droughts, floods, and destructive tropical storms are common in the daily news.

These climate variations are taking place against the background of overall climate change, but the distinction between the two can be challenging to explain.  What factors are responsible for these variations and how do we track and understand them?

Climate Analysis, a new book by Chester Ropelewski and Phillip Arkin, ESSIC’s Deputy Director and Senior Research Scientist, seeks to address these questions of climate variation for a broad audience.  Written to be accessible to readers with limited mathematical backgrounds, the book is an introduction to observational climate science for undergraduate students and interested nonacademic readers.  According to the authors, this is the first textbook to combine an accessible introduction to climate science with an explanation of the fundamental principles that underpin climate data analysis.

“This is not a handbook– we do not provide a collection of recipes and algorithms. Nor does this text focus on the physics and dynamics of the climate system,” write the authors in the book’s introduction. “Our goal is to provide general readers with a foundation that enables them to understand how climate datasets are created and to help scientists, engineers, and decision makers from other fields to understand and utilize datasets in their work.”

Arkin and Ropelewski are pioneers in climate analysis who made key contributions to the early development of climate diagnostics and climate analysis. Arkin conducts research into the observation and analysis of precipitation and other aspects of the hydrological cycle of the global climate system.  Ropelewski retired from The Earth Institute of Columbia University after a distinguished research career with NOAA and Columbia.

Using their wealth of experience, the authors describe the various components of Earth’s complex climate system and discuss how these components are identified, tracked, and predicted—and how they impact the Earth.  Each chapter ends with a summary, questions for discussion, and suggested further reading.

The text also points to specific data sets that may be useful to planners, engineers, social scientists, students, and others that need to deal with the challenges associated with climate variations and change.

Arkin and Ropelewski hope that their book will attract more resources to climate research, advancing the development and application of improved tools to interpret climate conditions and forecasts.

“This text can serve as invaluable reference for general readers who are trying to make sense of the news headlines, involving climate, that appear almost daily,” remarks Ropelewski.

To purchase the book on Amazon, click here: “Climate Analysis”.