2011-02-27 05:36:14Climate Science Textbooks
John Hartz
John Hartz

Here's the beginning of an email from the person behind the Science of Doom webiste: 

Reading one good text book on climate science can save 100's of hours of reading rubbish on the internet. And there is a lot (of rubbish). Well-meaning people without the baggage of any knowledge of the subject writing rubbish, then repeated by other well-meaning people. Text books cost money. But depending on which country you live in and whether you have an income, the "payback" means that not buying it is like working for $1/hr. That assumes reading rubbish isn't a hobby for you.. And depending on where you live you can often join a university library as an "outsider" for anything ranging from $100/year up - and borrow as many books as you like. Learning can be like a drug. In which case, other justifications aren't necessary, you have to feed the habit regardless. So pawn family jewelery, sell your furniture, etc. Well, as an addict you already know the drill.. Just some ideas.

I've thought for some time now that SkS should provide a listing of climate science textbooks for those wishing to pursue climate science in more detail. Should SkS do so?

2011-02-27 07:59:24
Mark Richardson

Worth a thought. I expect it would probably have limited impact, but then textbooks probably have less of a bad rep than scientific papers do thanks to the denier smear campaign.


First problem that springs to mind is the complexity. The climate deniers use people's ignorance. People's ignorance is something they can't be blamed for*, who can afford to spend tens of hours learning stuff that's not related to their job or the hobbies they already have?

Sure, you can learn a lot from hand-wavey textbooks designed for geographers (Barry & Chorley's 'Atmosphere, Weather and Climate' springs to mind), but I know I never trust that without seeing the more fundamental stuff. But that requires quite a lot of time investment - textbooks on Atmospheric Physics, Statistical Mechanics and serious climate science are probably too dull/dense... (i just took a quick look in Ambaum's Atmospheric Physics text. Which I really like, but conservation of Gibbs functions for 2 different phases in equilibrium isn't going to persuade many people)




*I'm completely ignorant about Arabic grammar and verb conjugation (do they conjugate verbs?), for example

2011-02-27 10:56:39Initial listing
John Hartz
John Hartz

The person (most likely a Brit) behind the Science of Doom screen listed the following books in his email and briefly described the whys and wherefores for each selection. He also provides links to Amazon and other sellers for each book.

Global Physical Climatology by Dennis Hartmann, Academic Press (1994 Elementary Climate Physics by F.W. Taylor, Oxford University Press (2005)

A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation by Grant Petty, Sundog Publishing (2006)

An Introduction to Thermal Physics by Daniel Schroeder,

The email is posted as blog on the Science of Doom website:


The posting has generated comments containing additional recommendations -- 

Atmospheric Radiation: Theoretical Basis, by Goody & Yung (1989 2nd ed)

Radiation & Climate, by Vardavas & Taylor (2007)

Principles of Planetary Climate, Ray Pierrehumbert, Cambridge University Press (2011)

2011-02-27 19:48:51comment
Robert Way

Glaciers and Glaciation (Benn and Evans)

My fav:
Earth's Climate, Past and Present.

William Ruddiman
2011-02-27 20:57:06
Paul D



A Climate Modelling Primer - Kendal McGuffe and Ann Henderson-Sellers - Pub. Wiley