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Atmospheric Thermodynamics


Second Edition

Craig Bohren and Bruce Albrecht

01 May 2023

ISBN: 9780198872719

480 pages

In Stock

Price: £45.00

Atmospheric Thermodynamics provides a comprehensive treatment of a subject that can often be intimidating. The text analyses real-life problems and applications of the subject, alongside of guiding the reader through the fundamental basics followed by an emphasis on moist processes in the Earth's atmosphere.


Atmospheric Thermodynamics provides a comprehensive treatment of a subject that can often be intimidating. The text analyses real-life problems and applications of the subject, alongside of guiding the reader through the fundamental basics followed by an emphasis on moist processes in the Earth's atmosphere.

  • Can be used both as a textbook in the atmospheric sciences, and as a reference book for classical thermodynamics taught in physics or engineering departments
  • Equations are carefully laid out, derivations are detailed, and equations are interpreted physically
  • Fallicies are criticized no matter how hallowed they are by frequent repetition in textbooks
  • History is woven into the text to provide a context for the time evolution of thermodynamics and its place in atmospheric science
  • Includes more than 400 thought-provoking problems, most of which do not involve simply plugging numbers into equations
  • About 350 references with annotated notes and suggested further reading

New to this edition

  • Chapters 3 and 4 have been rearranged
  • Chapter 7 has been expanded to include more about the interaction of humans with their environment, and more discussion about engineering heat transfer
  • Number of problems has been doubled to more than 400
  • More suggestions for experiments and observations have been included, and more references and critically researched historical details have been added
  • More emphasis is given on physical reasoning and interpretation
  • The discussion of instruments for measuring temperature, dew point, humidity and pressure have been updated

About the Author(s)

Craig Bohren, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Meteorology Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, Pennsylvania State University, and Bruce Albrecht, Professor Emeritus Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami

Craig Bohren's degrees are in mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, and physics. He was the first Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State. Within two years after arriving he received the Matthew J. and Anne C. Wilson Outstanding Teaching Award of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. He wrote two popular level books, Clouds in a Glass of Beer , which received the first Louis J. Battan Award for Authors, American Meteorological Society (1989) and What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks? His 1983 book with Donald Huffman, Absorption and Scattering of Light by Small Particles has been cited more than 30,000 times. He retired in 2000 but did not stop working. Fundamentals of Atmospheric Radiation (with Eugene Clothiaux) was published in 2006 and since 2012 he has been the book review editor for American Journal of Physics.

Bruce Albrecht received his Ph.D. from the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State University. He was a teacher and researcher in the Department of Meteorology at Penn State University (1977-1995) and in the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami (1996-2013). His key scientific contributions include work on the trade-wind boundary layer, marine stratocumulus clouds, cloud-aerosol-precipitation interactions, and cloud radar observations. His 1989 Science paper Aerosols, Cloud Microphysics, and Fractional Cloudiness has received over 4000 citations. He was the recipient of the American Meteorological Society Teaching Excellence Award in 2013 and was an editor of the Monthly Weather Review (1985-1990) and the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences (2008-2011).

Table of Contents

    1.1:Thermodynamics: A Science of Measurable Quantities
    1.2:Conservation of Energy in Mechanics
    1.3:Conservation of Energy: A System of Point Molecules
    1.4:A Few Examples of Energy Conservation
    1.5:Kinetic Energy Exchanges in Molecular Collisions
    1.6:Working and Heating
    1.7:Some Necessary Thermodynamic Concepts and Jargon
    1.8:Thermodynamic Internal Energy and the First Law
    2.1:Gas Pressure and Absolute Temperature: What Are They and What Are They Not?
    2.2:Pressure Decrease with Height: Continuum Approach
    2.3:Pressure Decrease with Height: Molecular Interpretation
    2.4:The Maxwell-Boltzmann Distribution of Molecular Speeds
    2.5:Intermolecular Separation, Mean Free Path, and Collision Rate
    2.6:Is the Pressure Gradient a Fundamental Force of Nature?
    2.7:Surface Pressure and Weight of the Atmosphere
    2.8:The Atmosphere Is a Mixture of Gases: Dalton's Law
    3.1:A Critique of the Mathematics of Thermodynamics
    3.2:Specific Heats and Enthalpy
    3.3:Adiabatic Processes: Poisson's Relations
    3.4:(Dry) Adiabatic Processes in the Atmosphere
    3.5:Stability and Buoyancy
    3.6:Specific Heats of Gas Molecules
    3.7:Heat Capacities of Mixtures of Gases
    3.8:Atmospheric Applications of the First Law
    3.9:Chemical Reactions and Temperature Changes
    3.10:Residence Time of the Internal Kinetic Energy of Earth's Atmosphere
    4.1:Entropy of an Ideal Gas
    4.2:Entropy Changes of Liquids and Isotropic Solids
    4.3:Atmospheric Applications of the Second Law
    5.1:Evaporation and Condensation of Water Vapor
    5.2:Measures of Water Vapor in Air
    5.3:The Clausius-Clapeyron Equation
    5.4:van der Waals Equation of State
    5.5:Phase Diagrams: Liquid-Vapor; Liquid-Solid-Vapor; Triple Point
    5.6:Free Energy
    5.7:Effect of Air Pressure on Saturation Vapor Pressure
    5.8:Lowering of Vapor Pressure by Dissolution
    5.9:Air in Water: Henry's Law
    5.10:Size Dependence of Vapor Pressure: Water Droplets, Solution Droplets, and Bubbles
    6.1:Precipitable Water in the Atmosphere
    6.2:Lapse Rate of the Dew Point: Level of Cloud Formation
    6.3:Density of Moist Air: Virtual Temperature
    6.4:Wet-Bulb Temperature
    6.5:Lapse Rate for Isentropic Ascent of a Saturated Parcel
    6.6:Thermodynamic Diagrams
    6.7:Stability and Cloud Formation
    6.8:Mixing Clouds
    6.9:Cloud Formation on Ascent and Descent
    7.1:Energy Transfer by Thermal Conduction
    7.2:Momentum Transfer: Viscosity
    7.3:Mass Transfer: Diffusion


"I've never been more excited about a book! I couldn't put it down. It's about time somebody wrote an understandable and intuitive book about thermodynamics. Bohren and Albrechts' book is really a breath of fresh air!" - Glenn E. Shaw, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska

"Given the tremendous growth of awareness toward environmental issues, a second edition of this atmospheric physics book can only be welcomed by those in the field. The hands-on approach with topics and materials designed around practical applications can provide an effective strategy for engagement and learning even for high school and non-specialized college courses. " - Raffaele Vena, Liceo Scientifico "G. B. Scorza", Cosenza, Italy

"The book is lucid yet intuitive, keen and incisive, yet written with candor, even bordering on irreverence. But it's the healthy irreverence, call it intellectual skepticism, that drives science. The authors relish dismantling common misperceptions, they gladly acknowledge how their own thinking has evolved, and they point out where open questions remain. " - Raymond Shaw, Michigan Technological University