This book is intended to be useful, interesting and easily understood by means of four features -
The arrangement of the book is as follows. In the first Part we discuss the atmosphere’s origin, composition and structure (Chapter 1). In the second is a consideration of the energy flows in the atmosphere, from the Sun (Chapter 2), to the air and ground (Chapter 3), and that used in evaporation (Chapter 4). Finally, Chapter 5 deals with the inter-relationships between these and other flows of energy.
Part 3 deals with the movement of water after it has evaporated, chiefly from the oceans. Evaporation (ie vapour formation) creates atmospheric humidity (Chapter 6), and temperature patterns in the air control the ascent of water vapour through the atmosphere (Chapter 7). As a result, clouds form (Chapter 8). Thereafter, various processes can occur within the clouds, notably the making of rain (Chapter 9). Then Chapter 10 outlines features of the precipitation. Much of it eventually flows back to the oceans, discussed in Chapter 11. Subsequently, there is evaporation again from the oceans, starting the next cycle of water through the atmosphere.
The fourth Part of the book is concerned with the winds that govern our weather. The Sun’s heating of the Earth’s equatorial regions, especially, induces patterns of winds on a global scale (Chapter 12). Within those vast movements are smaller regional-scale circulations, discussed in Chapter 13. Then there are local winds (Chapter 14) on a yet smaller scale. Winds at various scales combine with radiation (Part 2) and water (Part 3) to determine the weather. This and the resulting climates are considered in Part 5, i.e. in Chapters 15 & 16, to draw everything together. At every stage there is an emphasis on the interaction between the surface and the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the apparent logic of this or any other order of topics is contrived, imposed on a subject of enormous complexity. In fact, items in Part 5 do not depend exclusively on those in Part 4, nor those in turn on Part 3, for instance. On the contrary, some matters discussed in Part 1, for example, depend on what is considered in later chapters, because the atmosphere is a single entity, each of whose individual aspects affects all the rest. Indeed, it is one of our aims to help the reader to appreciate the complexity of the inter-relationships. This is done by means of considerable cross-referencing.