Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Exploring Planetary Climate
A History of Scientific Discovery on Earth, Mars, Venus and Titan

$54.99 (P)

Ellen Stofan
View all contributors
  • Date Published: February 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108471541

$ 54.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book chronicles the history of climate science and planetary exploration, focusing on our ever-expanding knowledge of Earth's climate, and the parallel research underway on some of our nearest neighbours: Mars, Venus and Titan. From early telescopic observation of clouds and ice caps on planetary bodies in the seventeenth century, to the dawn of the space age and the first robotic planetary explorers, the book presents a comprehensive chronological overview of planetary climate research, right up to the dramatic recent developments in detecting and characterising exoplanets. Meanwhile, the book also documents the discoveries about our own climate on Earth, not only about how it works today, but also how profoundly different it has been in the past. Highly topical and written in an accessible and engaging narrative style, this book provides invaluable historical context for students, researchers, professional scientists, and those with a general interest in planetary climate research.

    • With climate change, active missions to study the climates of our nearest planetary neighbours, and our first glimpses of climates on exoplanets, this is a highly topical subject
    • The engaging, narrative style makes it accessible for a range of readers, from students, researchers and professional scientists, to general interest readers
    • Draws together planetary science, meteorology, climate science and exoplanet astronomy, showing how planetary climate research has unfolded in parallel with our understanding of our own climate
    • Written by an active planetary scientist with first-hand experience of working on planetary science missions to Mars, Venus and Titan
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'A detailed, historical account of the development of climate science on Earth and on neighboring planets, written by a top researcher in the field. I myself learned a lot from this book. Lorenz combines a thorough knowledge of the literature on climate science with first-hand experience in planetary exploration and a good grasp of the underlying physics. A must-read for all those who are interested in this topic.' James Kasting, Pennsylvania State University

    'This is a wide-ranging overview of the entire history of planetary climate research, starting with ancient Greece and finishing with the latest solar system and exoplanet discoveries. Written by a pioneer in outer solar system exploration, it is a very entertaining read, full of colorful anecdotes and interesting asides. I recommend it to anyone interested in an overview of this fascinating topic or in space exploration generally.' Robin Wordsworth, Harvard University, Massachusetts

    '[This] book … is remarkable in many ways. As a planetary climate specialist myself, I am impressed by Lorenz’s exhaustive knowledge and thorough understanding of climate processes … But what I like most is the storytelling and his description of how scientists make progress and mistakes. As a result, anyone interested in the great history of sciences, as well as in the small but meaningful stories of space exploration, will enjoy this text.' François Forget, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France

    'In Exploring Planetary Climate, the story of exploration across two millennia of human genius – from ancient Greek and Roman writers to Arab and European Renaissance scholars to thinkers and doers of the modern era - is outlined with breathless pace and narrative urgency zeroing-in on Venus, Mars, Saturn’s large moon titan, and on Earth itself. The author … walks his reader through a burgeoning historical corpus of discovery with a keen storyteller’s eye and an exciting yearning for exploration … Lorenz morphs well from physicist into historian, while also intelligently considering the future and the problems that continue to impair the present.' Ben Evans, BBC Sky at Night

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108471541
    • length: 332 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 178 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.8kg
    • contains: 136 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword by Ellen Stofan
    1. The age of wonder: learning the Earth, oceans and sky
    2. Planets and greenhouses
    3. Age of calculation
    4. Feeling the heat
    5. First contact
    6. The ice returns
    7. Mars attracts
    8. A new millennium
    9. Dune worlds
    10. Looking ahead
    11. Worlds beyond
    12. Conclusions
    Further reading

  • Author

    Ralph D. Lorenz, The Johns Hopkins University
    Ralph D. Lorenz is a Planetary Scientist at The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. He has worked for the European Space Agency on the Huygens probe to Titan, and has been involved in many NASA and international space projects, including Cassini, Mars Polar Lander and the Japanese Venus Climate Orbiter. He enjoys visiting exotic locations on Earth - from the Arabian Desert and Alaska to Vanuatu and New Zealand - to learn about process on other worlds, notably dust devils, sand dunes and volcanoes.


    Ellen Stofan

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.