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Over the decades, AMS has championed the publication of unique textbooks and literature for the weather, water, and climate community, including enthusiasts. While AMS does not routinely accept book proposals, it has many books of lasting record--biographies, histories, guides, and textbooks--on offer through this bookstore as well as through the University of Chicago Press.

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The AMS Weather Book

The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather
Jack Williams
Copyright: 2009
ISBN: 9780226898988
List Price: $35.00
Member Price: $25.00
Student Price: $25.00

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Title information

Pages: 368
Language: English
Publisher: American Meteorlogical Society
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The AMS Weather Book is the most comprehensive, up-to-date guide to the weather and atmosphere. It covers everything from daily weather patterns to air pollution and global warming and explores the stories of people coping with severe weather and those who devote their lives to understanding the atmosphere, oceans, and climate. This volume is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to better understand how weather works and how it affects our lives. It is also the ultimate reference for anyone working in the fields of meteorology and climatology.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Earth's Energy

Chapter 3. Winds and Currents

Chapter 4. Water

Chapter 5. Global Patterns

Chapter 6. Earth Observers

Chapter 7. Weather Forecasting

Chapter 8. Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

Chapter 9. Mesoscale Weather

Chapter 10. Tropical Cyclones

Chapter 11. Under the Radar

Chapter 12. Weather and Climate Threats



Jack Williams

Since retiring as the founding weather editor of USA TODAY in 2005 and from the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in 2009, where he wrote The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Weather, Williams has concentrated on freelance science and aviation writing.

Review of AMS Weather Book

San Francisco Weather Examiner: Top 5 Weather Books

#5 The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Weather by Jack Williams, 2009

Originally, the fifth book on my list was the USA Today Weather Book (1997) but Jack William’s replacement book, now published by the American Meteorological Society has just been released. The new book, the AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Weather, truly fits the description of being “new and improved” as it is both. It is full of the same type of rich color explanatory graphics from before but they are even brighter, crisper and up-to-date.

The book’s focus is more toward operational and “real world” meteorology with just enough of the basics to help the reader make sense of the science behind the weather. It could certainly be used as a great supplemental textbook, especially at a bargain cover price of only $35 and available online for about $25! I especially enjoyed the full page mini-articles about a wide variety of the people of meteorology, including hurricane hunters, television meteorologists, NOAA scientists and educators. Though brand new right now, I am sure that soon this will be another of my dog-eared, close at hand favorite weather books.


AOPA Flight Training

America sees some of the most varied and dynamic weather in the world - hurricanes, tornados, blizzards. Although extreme weather simplifies a pilot's go/no-go decision, it's equally important to understand what's behind pleasant weather when you're planning a flight. Most pilot manuals and training courses discuss weather, but few provide a real understanding of the science behind it.

Jack Williams, longtime author of ""The Weather Never Sleeps"" for AOPA Flight Training each month, offers significant understanding in his latest book, The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather, copublished with the American Meteorological Society.

One of Williams' goals with the book is to allow readers to look at the sky with an informed appreciation of what they're seeing. His use of photographs and illustrations help to accomplish this. One series of illustrations shows why wind behaves the way it does when flowing around an area of low pressure, around high pressure, and between areas of high and low pressure. Other full-color graphics explain how clouds create wind and snow, how Doppler weather radar works, and many other topics. Readers can learn a lot just from studying the book's illustrations.

Pilots and students of aviation will find relevant information throughout the book - especially in the chapters on winds and currents, global patterns (which also addresses fronts), weather observation, forecasting, and thunderstorms and tornados. He also tells the stories of researchers who have devoted their lives to understanding the atmosphere, including pioneers in hurricane research flights.

Williams, an instrument-rated private pilot, was weather editor of USA Today for 23 years, and then worked as public outreach coordinator for the American Meteorological Society. The AMS Weather Book is his sixth. Published by the University of Chicago Press, the 368-page, hardcover book can be ordered through the book's Web site, which also offers a wealth of supplemental information that didn't fit in the book. -Mike Collins


The Weather Doctor

The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather is the third of Jack Williams’ books that I have reviewed on The Weather Doctor website and the only reason I did not review his landmark USA TODAY Weather Book is that it was published prior to the birth of the site. I mention that book because his latest The AMS Weather Book is of the same family. Both are of similar size and high quality, illustrated with strikingly beautiful and instructive graphics of weather phenomena, and containing stories of weather people that personalize the subtopics. Author Jack Williams has the best of credentials to produce such a book. For many years he was editor and founder of the USA Today Weather Page and most recently has been public outreach coordinator for the American Meteorological Society.

Don’t be confused by the similarities with its predecessor, The AMS Weather Book, copublished with the American Meteorological Society, is mostly new material with some basic topics again covered in Williams’ readable style and some others brought up to date with current knowledge. I think both should be on the shelf of anyone interested in weather as they complement each other. That said, the eleven topics treated in The AMS Weather Book, range from the local scale (in “Under the Radar”) to the global (in “Global Patterns”). They cover everything from daily weather patterns to air pollution to global warming. There is even a chapter on “Mesoscale Weather” which is a topic often not treated in basic weather books but one that is of high relevance to us all.

As Williams writes about the science, he weaves excellent stories of actual events and the people coping with severe weather throughout the narrative. He also tells us the stories behind the meteorologists who devote their lives to understanding the atmosphere, oceans, and climate. Some of these are well-known media personalities such as WGN-Chicago weathercaster Tom Skilling as well as others who are as not in the media spotlight. One such person is Lixion Avila, a forecaster with the US National Hurricane Center in Miami. I have seen his name for years as author of hurricane forecast advisories and warnings, but through Williams’ writing now can place a person with that name.

I give The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather my highest recommendation. It not only belongs on every weather lover’s bookshelf (alongside its predecessor and Jack Williams’ other books), but also make a wonderful gift for anyone beginning their interest in weather and meteorology. As students finish their academic terms for the summer, this is a good book for them to curl up on a porch or under a tree with and read. Even if you are not a student, this is a great one for your summer (and any season) reading list.

Review written by Keith C. Heidorn, PhD, THE WEATHER DOCTOR, July 1, 2009