Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Essentials of the Earth's Climate System

$59.99 (X)

  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107620490

$ 59.99 (X)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Request examination copy

Instructors may request a copy of this title for examination

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This concise introduction to modern climatology covers the key topics for intermediate undergraduate students on one-semester courses. The treatment of topics is non-mathematical wherever possible, instead focusing on physical processes to allow students to grasp concepts more easily. Full-color illustrations support the text and supplementary topics are covered in boxes, enabling students to further increase their knowledge and awareness. A historical perspective of climatology is woven throughout, providing students with an insight into key scientists and technological developments. Each chapter concludes with a summary of the main points and a mixture of review and discussion questions, encouraging students to check their understanding and think critically. A list of key web links to data and other resources, and solutions and hints to answers to the student questions (password-protected for instructors), are provided online to complete the teaching package.

    • Covers all the key topics in modern climatology for intermediate undergraduate students on one-semester courses
    • Non-mathematical treatment of climatology allows students to grasp concepts easily
    • Clear, full-color illustrations support the topics introduced in the text
    • Boxes are used to provide supplementary topics, enabling students to increase their knowledge and awareness
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This textbook is a very comprehensive and informative resource for teaching and for general reference. Its layout and organization are efficient and effective, allowing a wide range of material to be covered in a surprising level of detail. The chapters focusing on "local and microclimates", and "circulation modes" are exceptional, covering difficult topics in a much more effective manner than typical introductory textbooks. This book has an important place in the classroom and on any Earth scientist’s bookshelf."
    David A. Pepper, California State University, Long Beach

    "Absolutely the ultimate word on the physical, synoptic and geographic underpinnings of modern climatology and its historic antecedents. This delightful and readable textbook covers all the topics - and then some - likely to comprise an introductory or intermediate-level college course; from station hythergraphs, to paleo-climates, to the pros and cons of climate- and geo-engineering. Discussions of the forcing, form, and function of the climate system - on scales ranging from local to global - will be essential reading for university undergraduate and graduate students alike, and a helpful review for seasoned researchers in the climate and atmospheric sciences. The easy-on-the-eye text style is complemented by the many incisive color figures, maps and graphs, most of which are based on the latest analyses from satellites and global reanalysis data. Beginning and end-of-chapter overviews and summaries highlight the most important concepts and features of climatology study, while the glossary and bibliography are both comprehensive and fully up-to-date. Essentials of the Earth's Climate System is THE essential text on climatology, and is destined to become a classic."
    Andrew M. Carleton, The Pennsylvania State University

    "This textbook provides a comprehensive and well illustrated overview of the climate system by experts with a wealth of experience in climate science."
    Raymond S. Bradley, Climate System Research Center, University of Massachusetts

    "I can recommend this text, particularly for students studying an introduction to climate science at undergraduate level. The text is accessible and any mathematical treatment is clearly explained and at an introductory level. I am particularly impressed by the scope of material, with chapters on past climates, future climate modelling and applied climatology, a welcome addition to the usual material on atmospheric systems and local/regional climates. It is also great to see case studies illustrated with examples from all over the world. This book will be a comprehensive resource for all those teaching climate science at an introductory level."
    Nicholas Pepin, University of Portsmouth

    "Drawing on more than fifty years of combined experience in climate study, Barry and Hall-McKim give the reader a compact, non-mathematical overview of the fundamental processes of the Earth’s climate system. The book is surprisingly comprehensive given its relatively brief length: coverage ranges from global to the local, from short-term phenomena to long-term climatic change. Complex topics are explained in straightforward, non-complex language, which in turn is supported by excellent color illustrations, and numerous place-specific examples are skilfully employed to illustrate general processes and concepts. Essentials of the Earth’s Climate System is an ideal introduction to the topic for an upper-level undergraduate course in climate. It is likely to become the standard textbook in its field."
    Thomas Krabacher, California State University, Sacramento

    "… an excellent introduction to climate science enabling coverage of the main issues in one semester and an inspiration for more in-depth studies. It is simple enough to be understood by geography and environmental science undergraduates without previous knowledge of climatology but not oversimplified. It skillfully mixes complex concepts with observational data engaging the reader and making the challenging understandable and the seemingly tedious exciting. … An immense advantage of this textbook is that its first part provides excellent explanations of the very basics of climate science. …The authors manage to lay the foundations for more advanced studies and engage readers through the use of diverse examples from various parts of the world. … The authors skillfully intermingle observational data with explanations of complex processes and concepts in an engaging and easy-to-follow manner. … I highly recommend this book for undergraduate courses and every university library should have a copy."
    Maria Shahgedanova, University of Reading

    "… a well-structured, lucidly written, and very well-illustrated climatology textbook. It is comprehensive, touching upon all of the fundamental elements of climate and drawing on climatic information from the earliest times to contemporary times. Its spatial approach to describing climate allows the student to appreciate the climate in which she/he lives and, simultaneously, where it fits into the global climate. The authors have made difficult subject matter at once interesting and informative. This is a book that the student new to climatology will appreciate and the teacher of climatology will welcome as an extremely useful resource."
    Marilyn Raphael, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research

    "… comprehensive … Barry and Hall-McKim have produced a great read, and I would recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone seeking insight into climatology in the twenty-first century."
    S. John Harrison, Weather

    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: March 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107620490
    • length: 271 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 188 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus. 110 colour illus. 108 exercises
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Elements of climate: a global view of energy and moisture
    3. Elements of climate: a global view of pressure, winds and storms
    4. Local and microclimates
    5. The general circulation
    6. Circulation modes
    7. Synoptic climatology
    8. Land and sea effects
    9. Climate types on land
    10. Past climates
    11. Future climate
    12. Applied climatology
    Appendix: list of units

  • Resources for

    Essentials of the Earth's Climate System

    Roger G. Barry, Eileen A. Hall-McKim

    Find resources associated with this title

    Type Name Unlocked * Format Size

    Showing of

    Back to top

    This title is supported by one or more locked resources. Access to locked resources is granted exclusively by Cambridge University Press to instructors whose faculty status has been verified. To gain access to locked resources, instructors should sign in to or register for a Cambridge user account.

    Please use locked resources responsibly and exercise your professional discretion when choosing how you share these materials with your students. Other instructors may wish to use locked resources for assessment purposes and their usefulness is undermined when the source files (for example, solution manuals or test banks) are shared online or via social networks.

    Supplementary resources are subject to copyright. Instructors are permitted to view, print or download these resources for use in their teaching, but may not change them or use them for commercial gain.

    If you are having problems accessing these resources please contact

  • Authors

    Roger G. Barry, University of Colorado Boulder
    Roger G. Barry worked for two years in the British Meteorological Office before attending Liverpool University where he received a BA Honours in Geography. He received an MSc in Climatology from McGill University, Montreal, and a PhD from the University of Southampton in 1965. In October 1968 he moved to the University of Colorado, Boulder to become Associate Professor of Geography, Professor (1971–2004) and Distinguished Professor (2004–10). In 1977 he became the Director of the World Data Center for Glaciology, which in 1980 merged into the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Roger's teaching and research has spanned climate change, Arctic and mountain climates, synoptic climatology, and snow and ice processes. Roger has published twenty textbooks, including: Atmosphere, Weather and Climate (with R. J. Chorley, 10th edition, 2010); Mountain Weather and Climate (3rd edition, Cambridge University Press, 2008), Synoptic and Dynamic Climatology (with A. M. Carleton, 2011); The Arctic Climate System (with M. C. Serreze, Cambridge University Press, 2005); The Global Cryosphere: Past, Present and Future (with T. Y. Gan, Cambridge University Press, 2011). He has also published more than 250 research articles and supervised 65 graduate students. Roger has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fulbright Teaching Fellow at Moscow State University, and a visiting professor in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. His honours include: Fellow, American Geophysical Union; Foreign Member's Medal, Royal Geographical Society, and Humboldt Prize Fellow. He is currently Director of the International CLIVAR Project Office at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK.

    Eileen A. Hall-McKim, University of Colorado Boulder
    Eileen Hall-McKim is a PhD Climatologist receiving her degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her interdisciplinary degrees include work in the geological sciences, hydrology, oceanography, paleoclimatology and water resource research. She completed her MSc at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder and worked as editor and writer for the Intermountain West Climate Summary of the NOAA/Western Water Assessment. Her honors include: elected member Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society; Outstanding Women in Geosciences Student Award from the American Association of Women in Geosciences; Graduate Research Fellowship Award from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES); Magna Cum Laude National Honor Society, University of Colorado. She is currently pursuing professional certification in sustainable practices from the University of Colorado law school and environmental science department.

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 ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

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.