Engine cycle animation

October 23, 2013

The piston pushing back

Ecological climatology is an interdisciplinary framework to understand the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems in the climate system. It examines the physical, chemical, and biological processes by which ecosystems affect and are affected by climate. The central theme is that terrestrial ecosystems, through their cycling of energy, water, chemical elements, and trace gases, are important determinants of climate. The coupling between climate and vegetation is explored at spatial scales from plant cells to global vegetation geography and at timescales of near instantaneous to millennia. Natural vegetation dynamics and human land use are shown to be important mechanisms of climate change. The boreal forest-tundra ecotone and the North African Sahel are examples of climate-ecosystem dynamics. Deforestation, desertification of drylands, cultivation of grasslands, reforestation following farm abandonment, and urbanization are case studies of how human uses of land alter climate.

The book is written as an introductory textbook for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. It reviews the key scientific concepts, the field observations that support these concepts, and climate model applications that show the impact of vegetation on climate. To aid professors in lectures and to help students understand concepts, the book contains 409 illustrations, many in color.

Each chapter begins with a chapter summary that provides readers a quick overview and an understanding of how the various chapters relate to one another. Each chapter includes review questions to aid students in their understanding and to allow them to monitor their comprehension of the material. Each chapter also contains a bibliography of the relevant literature, with 1, 975 scientific studies cited in a state-of-the-art scientific review.

Read more about this book at the Cambridge University Press web site: Paperback, Hardback

Cambridge University Press | 550 pages, 32 color plates, 84 tables, 377 figures, 30 chapters, 230 review questions


'Gordon Bonan's excellent Ecological Climatology text provides an up-to-date status report on ecosystem-climate interactions across a broad range of disciplines. The text is clearly written and little specialized knowledge is required to read it. Ecological Climatology clearly outlines the scope of possibility for integrating the physics of climate, the biological principles of ecology, and the biogeochemical pathways that link atmosphere and land surface.' - David S. Gutzler, Natural Resources Journal

' successfully integrates fundamental concepts in climatology and ecology ... I highly recommend the text for climatologists and meteorologists interested in better understanding the role of vegetation in the climate system, or ecologists and plant physiologists interested in better understanding the role of the climate system in vegetated ecosystems.' - Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

' extremely well-written and even the more technical parts are accessible to a non-specialist.' - Pam Berry, Environmental Conservation

' the second edition is highly recommended for students in the atmospheric sciences and physical geography; and for reference libraries. I congratulate Cambridge University Press on the quality of their workmanship in bringing this manuscript to publication.' - Bulletin of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

Reviews of first edition


The book is divided into seven sections on the earth system, global physical climatology, soil processes, hydrometeorology, biometeorology, terrestrial plant ecology, and terrestrial forcings and feedbacks. The first section describes component spheres of the earth system (Chapter 2) and the energy, water, and biogeochemical cycles that link these spheres (Chapter 3).

The second section reviews climates, climate variability, and climate change. The radiative balance of the atmosphere, especially solar radiation, its geographic variation, and its annual cycle, is an important determinant of climate (Chapter 4). Geographic and seasonal variation in the radiative balance drives the general circulation of the atmosphere (Chapter 5). This gives rise to Earths macroclimates, and within which mountains, lakes, and vegetation create local climates (Chapter 6). The realized temperature and precipitation in any year can deviate markedly from the long-term climatology because of seasonal-to-interannual atmospheric variability such as the El Nio/Southern Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation (Chapter 7). Climate also changes over longer timescales of centuries and millennia in response to changes in insolation, greenhouse gases, and numerous feedbacks within the climate system (Chapter 8).

The third section reviews soil physics (Chapter 9) and biogeochemistry (Chapter 10). Soils store vast amounts of energy, which modulates the diurnal and annual cycle of temperature. They provide water for evapotranspiration and regulate the hydrologic cycle on land. The weathering of rocks and the decomposition of soil organic material are part of the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and provide nutrients to sustain plant growth.

Source: www.cgd.ucar.edu
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