Reading Material

Some worthwhile reading.


Some books that are worth reading

Don't forget books!

In fact, whilst there is a wealth of information on meteorology available via 'on-line' or other electronic methods, a good book on meteorology on your shelf to refer to is worth many hours of idle browsing. The list below is not intended to be 'the final word' but are ones that I have found useful. Some are no longer in print: you will need to hunt them out at second-hand bookstores, request them from your local library or perhaps try the 'on-line' second-hand book finding sites on the Net. There are also a number of 'on-line' ordering / supply sources for current-title books (and other media) to try.

N.B. Where Amazon links are given, these are affiliate links. Using these links to purchase books may yield a small payment towards the upkeep of this resource - at no cost to the purchaser. There is no obligation and you should feel free to break out of the affiliate link if you wish to.

  1. Handbook of Aviation Meteorology: (HMSO/Meteorological Office)
    This book was first published in 1960, and has recently (1994) been completely revised to its third edition. It is a weighty tome, and expensive, but worth the outlay, as much of the basic meteorology contained therein doesn't change radically. Note that it also includes useful information on decoding SYNOP, METAR and TAF data, and a guide to interpretation of Aviation SIGWX charts.
  2. Pilots' Weather: (John Murray/Ann Welch)
    Probably only available in libraries, but well worth hunting down, whether you are a pilot or not! Some fine case studies.
  3. A course in elementary meteorology: (HMSO/Meteorological Office)
    A 'back to basics' book that does perfectly what the title suggests - it is 'elementary' in the sense of being a thorough grounding, not superficial.
  4. Guinness Book of Weather Facts and Feats: (Guinness Superlatives/Ingrid Holford)
    Plenty of useful information on 'the weather', though you need to be wary of the 'extremes' of course, as they tend to change! Worth obtaining a copy for some of the photographs, and is a useful 'first-stop' for information.
  5. Weatherwise: (Macmillan-for the Sunday Telegraph/Philip Eden)
    As well as writing for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, presenting weather forecasts on BBC Radio 5/'live', and acting as a consultant for other media (& web-based) outlets, Philip Eden is a regular contributor to the newsgroup, and indeed was responsible for its inception! To quote from the back cover: 'Weatherwise takes the reader through the year month by month, looking at both the typical and the freakish.....'. The book is a wealth of information on the British weather and written in an easy-to-read style, without losing any of its authority.
  6. Observer's Handbook: (HMSO/Meteorological Office)
    A fine source of information relating to observational procedure and standards of observing, with individual chapters relating to the principal elements to be observed, e.g. clouds, visibility, weather, wind etc. A useful section on observing and recording special optical phenomena, e.g. halo, noctilucent clouds etc.
  7. Essentials of Meteorology: (Taylor and Francis/D.H.McIntosh and A.S.Thom)
    A good 'first read' when trying to get to grips with the finer points of, for example, the gradient wind equation. Even tells you how to construct your own tephigram! Don't be put off by the mathematics early on in the book though - there is plenty of good general meteorology that will interest all.
  8. Climate, history and the modern world: (Methuen/H.H. Lamb)
    Any book written by the late Professor Lamb is well worth reading, and this book in particular is an ideal introduction to the subject of the study of past climates, and the impact that climate change can have on mankind.
  9. Teach yourself weather: (Hodder & Stoughton/Ralph Hardy)
    Good for beginners and provides further references for those who want to get into the mathematical side of things. It provides a good grounding on models, forecasting, observing and lots of other useful stuff. (thanks to Ian Waddell for this write-up)
  10. Regional Climates of the British Isles: (Routledge/ed: Dennis Wheeler and Julian Mayes)
    This recently published (1997) volume is full of information that all reading this newsgroup will find fascinating. After an introductory chapter dealing with the global circulation, and its relevance to regional/local weather systems in the British Isles, the following chapters focus on the regions which make up these islands. Each is packed with data and accompanied by illustrations, photographs, maps, synoptic charts etc. The final chapter deals with climate change and its impact on our region. In both hard and soft-back.
  11. Aviation Weather: (Jeppesen Sanderson Training Products/Peter F. Lester)
    The title is self-explanatory and its content should be of interest to many regulars and irregulars (!) of this forum. The publication comes highly recommended by Norman Lynagh, a stalwart of this newsgroup, and an individual with long experience in meteorology and its applications. He gives the contact point as:- Jeppesen UK Ltd., Three Bridges, Crawley, Sussex.
  12. Climate and the British Scene: (Collins/Gordon Manley)
    Originally written nearly half-a-century ago; the most recent revision I can trace is dated 1962. Therefore it will not be found except via libraries, second-hand bookshops and personal collections. It is worth tracking down for its authorship alone: Professor Manley is acknowledged to have had a deep understanding of the climatology of the British Isles, and his lasting legacy to climate studies (amongst a wealth of papers, books etc.), must be the CET series (see here). And the book is a "good read" - what better recommendation can there be? (thanks to John Hall for the suggested entry)
  13. Images in weather forecasting: (Cambridge Univ. Press/Bader
    First published in 1995, this is probably the most comprehensive guide to interpreting satellite and radar imagery that you can possibly imagine. Packed full of images, diagrams, conceptual models and explanatory notes, this volume is rapidly becoming *the* standard reference for use by 'practical' meteorologists .. rather expensive in hardback, but recently issued in paperback format.
  14. Meteorology and Flight: (A & C Black, London/Tom Bradbury)
    Suitable for all weather enthusiasts, not just aviators. Topics covered such as formation of depressions, cumulonimbus development, weather maps and much more. Plenty of diagrams, sketches etc. (thanks to Jack Harrison for the information.)
  15. Guide to Weather: (Philip's/Ross Reynolds)
    A handy guide to many aspects of meteorology pitched at the 'entry' level user! Plenty of clear, colourful diagrams and appropriate text - suitable for those new to this newsgroup who have no formal meteorological training - but have been "bitten by the bug".
  16. Maritime Weather and Climate: (Witherby & Co/William J. Burroughs and Norman Lynagh)
    The title says it all, but the following quote from the review in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society is apposite: " This is a 'must have' reference book for those whose interests and livelihoods are associated with the business of operating in the ocean environment ". As many will know, Norman is a regular contributor to the newsgroup with considerable experience & knowledge relating to the application of meteorological science both off- and onshore.
  17. Glossary of Meteorology (AMS/2nd edition): (American Meteorological Society/various)
    A comprehensive volume (published in 2000, updating the previous issue of 1959) which is highly recommended. Despite it's US origin, the Glossary covers many subjects of interest to us in UK/Europe. However, no diagrams or illustrations, and some entries involve complicated mathematics ('organ music' as my old C.Met.O used to say): order via the AMS web site...
  18. The Collins Guide to the Weather of Britain & Europe: (Harper Collins/ed: D. Ludlum)
    The 'Collins Guides' have a well-founded reputation, enhanced here by a very useful addition to the publication range at an affordable price. Plenty of wonderful colour photographs of various weather phenomena, plus articles which will repay study. The editor is of course well-known in the field of meteorology and has obviously taken especial care with the contributions. We have waited some time for such a 'Guide', and I don't think members of this newsgroup will be disappointed with this one.
  19. Meteorology Today: an introduction to Weather, Climate, and the Environment: (Brooks-Cole Publishing Company/C. Donald Ahrens)
    The title sums up nicely the aim of this book - it is rather expensive (new/latest edition), but for anyone having a serious interest in the atmosphere and all its doings, then this 'once-in-a-lifetime' purchase is worthwhile - now (2002) in its sixth edition. (thanks to Yannis Karagiannis for this recommendation).
  20. The Daily Telegraph Book of the Weather: (New Century/Philip Eden)
    Philip Eden is the consummate professional meteorologist: he has a breadth and depth of experience & knowledge that is, I suggest, unrivalled and this book stands as a testament to his knowledge. I quote from the review on .. " there are three interwoven strands which mark the progress of the weather/climate story .. the effect on human life - ordinary commercial and political; our desire and ability to predict its fluctuations; and our inability to control it at the same time as inadvertently changing it. This book traces these strands through history and offers some ideas concerning where they may go in the next 100 years. "; see also the entry at 5 (above)



Some magazines/periodicals etc.

Some magazines/journals which deal with meteorology, atmospheric sciences etc., on various levels are listed below: (N.B: If I've missed any, particularly for Ireland and regional areas in the UK, please forgive, but let me know the details so I can publicise!)

5B.1 THE JOURNAL OF METEOROLOGY: published monthly (sometimes every 2 months), in association with TORRO (see also here). Write to:- The Journal of Meteorology, PO Box 5161, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH10 4WJ. [ This magazine is an excellent read for all interested in meteorology, and although it has a core specialisation in thunderstorms and allied phenomena, it also carries well-written articles relating to a wide range of general meteorological topics. Also contains a statistical summary of the UK weather for a selection of sites and detailed summaries of thundery/tornadic activity. Suitable for anyone with a keen interest in the subject, both amateur and professional. ] Visit the website at:

5B.2 WEATHER: published monthly by the Royal Meteorological Society (see also here) write to: -Royal Meteorological Society (Weather Subs), 104, Oxford Road, Reading, Berkshire. RG1 7LL. [ This well produced magazine contains articles covering the full range of the meteorological science, from 'case-studies' of single events, through reviews of notable months/seasons in recent and long-past history, to long-term climatological and atmospheric physics surveys. You also get the monthly 'Weather Log' (currently edited by Philip Eden), which is an invaluable record of the weather, as it contains a series of miniature daily weather maps covering Europe and the North Atlantic, and a written summary of the weather, statistics etc. Suitable for all levels of expertise, both amateur and professional. ] follow the appropriate link from:

5B.3 METEOROLOGICAL APPLICATIONS: published quarterly in association with the Royal Meteorological Society (see also here) Write to:- Journals Marketing Dept., Cambridge University Press, The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge. CB2 2RU. [ This magazine, (which replaced in large measure the long-running 'Meteorological Magazine' series in the UK), is aimed primarily at professional meteorologists, and users of meteorological services - hence the 'applications', and some of the subjects are given a rigorous mathematical/physical treatment. Despite this, keen amateurs would find something of interest in most issues, but unfortunately the annual subscription may be rather steep for many. ] follow the appropriate link from:

5B.4 QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY: published eight times per annum by the Royal Meteorological Society (see also here). Write to:- Royal Meteorological Society (QJRMetSoc), 104, Oxford Road, Reading, Berkshire. RG1 7LL. [ This publication is one of the leading meteorological journals in the science. It contains the results of ground-breaking research in the atmospheric sciences and applied meteorology. Its deep treatment of the subject, plus the annual subscription level mean that this publication is aimed at the academic and professional end of the market. ] follow the appropriate link from:

(NB: the Royal Met.Soc web site also contains useful links relating to other, more specialised magazines that are available.)

5B.5 CLIMATOLOGICAL OBSERVER'S LINK - BULLETIN: published monthly. Details (and a specimen/free copy) are available from: Roger Brugge, 16 Wootton Way, Maidenhead, Berkshire. SL6 4QU. [ Roger Brugge is the secretary of COL which aims to publish the bulletin by about the 24th of the following month --- whilst the previous month's weather is still relatively fresh in the mind. They claim that the bulletin is one of the fastest sources of monthly meteorological data to be published. In addition to the monthly station summaries (currently around 300), there is a synopsis of the month's weather, letters page, mean surface pressure maps etc.] for more details, go to:

5B.6 WEATHER EYE: Three issues per year. Details via the web site: or from: Frosted Earth, 77, Rickman Hill, Coulsdon, Surrey. CR5 3DT [The following is taken from the description on Ian Currie's web page..."If you have ever marvelled at a spectacular sunset, 'Weather eye' is for you. If you have set up a thermometer or rain gauge in the garden or regularly tune into the TV or radio for a Weather Forecast then 'Weather eye' will keep you absorbed in what is a fascinating subject"]