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Weather Forecasting Handbook
by Tim Vasquez
2001 / 204 pp. / 192 illustrations / $29.95 / ISBN 0-9706840-2-9
7 x 10" / True bound / Offset print / Glossy color cover

SPECIAL NOTE: Starting in May 2011 this book (Weather Forecasting Handbook, or WFH) is being phased out and replaced with Weather Analysis & Forecasting Handbook (WAF). We will continue to offer WFH for sale, but as a matter of policy we will make customers aware that WAF is available and should be selected unless WFH is specifically requested. The newer title is not a revised edition but is a slightly different title with similar yet greatly expanded content.

The Information Age has blossomed and now anyone can run a weather center from their own office or home. Unfortunately, nearly all popular weather books are nothing more than essays on the science of meteorology. The Weather Forecasting Handbook breaks the mold by explaining all the latest forecasting principles, techniques, and tools. This readable book is a valuable reference for professionals, students, amateurs, storm chasers, sailors, and anyone who needs to know the exact fundamentals and mechanics of weather forecasting.

Basic physical concepts are reviewed, and commonly-employed analysis methods are presented. Then weather systems are explained in terms of their thermal structure, dynamics, and effects. Special problems such as thunderstorms, winter weather, and tropical weather get chapters of their own. Margins are filled with forecasting facts, hard-hitting quotes, educational stories, and even a few fun weather jokes. With added emphasis on analysis, visualization, and awareness of model limitations, readers learn to use tools properly and are always a step ahead. Due to the book's recent demand by universities, the latest edition adds ten review quesions at the end of each chapter (answers not printed but are available on this web site).

With the Weather Forecasting Handbook, some common sense, and a little math knowledge, almost anyone can learn to forecast the weather, and even have fun doing it!

Incredible coverage

The Weather Forecast Handbook is broken down into a dozen chapters:
  • FUNDAMENTALS -- A basic overview of density, pressure, mixing ratio, is followed by a description of scale, atmospheric structure, the global circulation, and the pressure coordinate system.
  • OBSERVATION -- Where do those observations come from? You'll see how temperature, dewpoint, wind, clouds, and other phenomena are measured. The chapter sticks to what is important to forecasters.
  • TOOLS -- Learn to use the surface chart, and upper-air charts. A section on radar and doppler radar follows (showing how to interpret severe signatures), then satellite imagery, soundings, and hodographs are discussed in detail.
  • PHYSICS -- This chapter touches on phase changes, adiabatic changes, stability, atmospheric forces, and winds.
  • FRONTS AND JETS -- You'll learn frontal concepts, the types of fronts, drylines, air masses, tertiary circulations, and jets.
  • MOTION -- This large chapter gets into the heart of dynamics, explaining long waves, short waves, convergence, vertical motion, and jet stream dynamics. You'll also learn about vorticity, Q-vectors, and isentropic analysis.
  • BAROTROPIC SYSTEMS -- Covers the various types of cold-core and warm-core lows and highs found in everyday analysis, from cutoff lows and the polar vortex to hurricanes and heat lows.
  • BAROCLINIC SYSTEMS -- Explains baroclinic lows and highs, how they develop and dissipate, and common variations usually seen in everyday analysis.
  • CONVECTIVE WEATHER -- Covers structure and types, including odd variations such as derechos, splits, MCSs, and the supercell spectrum. Lists the various convective parameters used today, such as CAPE, EHI, and BRN.
  • WINTER WEATHER -- A brief chapter that covers different precipitation types caused by various vertical thermal structures.
  • TROPICAL WEATHER -- Learn about the equatorial trough, the subtropical ridge, easterly waves, TUTTs, tropical cyclones, and more.
  • NUMERICAL GUIDANCE -- Describes the prediction process, classes, domains, configurations, and operational models currently used. Also explains the limitations of models.
  • APPENDIX -- Code quick reference, reading, software, educational web sites, government weather agency web sites, forecasting myths, and twelve practice exercises.

Who it's for

With unrestricted technical content that's light on theory and complex information, the Weather Forecasting Handbook makes a great selection for avid professionals, weather enthusiasts, storm chasers, emergency managers, broadcasters, boaters, and anyone who wants to learn practical, everyday forecasting in an refreshing format.

Used by universities!

Weather Forecasting Handbook is part of the curricula at College of Dupage, St. Louis University, University of Texas (Austin), University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University, Jacksonville State University, University of Georgia, and Valparaiso University.

Extra goodies!

  • Review question answers: 4th Edition, 5th Edition -- don't peek if you want to learn...
  • Analysis exercise copies and answers -- (restricted access) -- perfect to see if you drew those fronts and isobars right, or need better copies to print out.
  • Codes supplement (restricted access) -- A 70-page supplement on decoding METAR, synoptic, and upper air formats in PDF format.

    About the author

    Tim Vasquez draws on an extensive tapestry of meteorological experience, which started in his childhood years in California, Germany, the Philippines, Arizona, and Texas. After managing the weather page of a Dallas newspaper for five years, he spent ten years in the Air Force, where he provided aviation weather forecasting and support in Texas, Nevada, England, Korea, and Kenya, as well as television work for AFRTS and KTXS-12 in Abilene. Tim has been an active storm chaser since 1986, an activity where there is no tolerance for forecasting errors. He has also written a suite of weather forecasting tools such as Digital Atmosphere used extensively within the weather industry. Tim is owner of Weather Graphics Technologies and lives near Norman, Oklahoma with his wife Shannon, a National Severe Storms Laboratory research assistant.


    I received the package yesterday - many thanks. Your books are the best I have seen - easy to read and understand - they are a must for anyone using DA.
    Peter Bannister, Australia