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The physical phenomena of the earth's atmosphere are exceedingly numerous and of great importance. Nevertheless, the explanations, even of those well understood, still remain scattered through many books and numerous journals. Perhaps this is because some of the phenomena have never been explained, and others but imperfectly so, but, however that may be, it is obvious that an orderly assemblage of all those facts and theories that together might be called the Physics of the Air would be exceedingly helpful to the student of atmospherics. An attempt to serve this useful purpose, begun in a course of lectures at the San Diego Aviation School (Rockwell Field) in 1914, led to the production of the following chapters-revised and reprinted from the Journal of The Franklin Institute, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920.

The author begs to express his indebtedness to Prof. C. F. Marvin, Chief of the United States Weather Bureau, for numerous helpful criticisms; to Dr. C. F. Brooks, Editor of the Monthly Weather Review, for many excellent suggestions; to Prof. C. F. Talman, Librarian of the United States Weather Bureau, for valuable aid in locating original sources; and to Major R. B. Owens, D. S. O., Secretary of The Franklin Institute, for his encouraging interest in the work and invaluable attention to the details of its publication.


Mechanics and Thermodynamics of the Atmosphere, 16 Chapters.

Atmospheric Electricity and Auroras, 2 Chapters.

Atmospheric Optics, 8 Chapters.

Factors of Climatic Control, 5 Chapters, and Appendices.

"It constitutes a notable addition to the literature of meteorology * * * * There has, up to the present, been no trustworthy English text-book which discussed the subject from so scientific a viewpoint or dealt with its modern developments so completely.

Nature, London, May 23, 1918, page 231. “The most thorough American work on general meteorology *** * The purpose of the work is to present a comprehensive, explanatory statement of the physics of the air; one which may form the basis for new courses in meteorology in College and University Departments of Physics * * * * The scope of the book is all that is implied in the title, the physics of the air.”

Monthly Weather Review, Washington, D. C., December, 1918, page 562.

"No first-rate comprehensive book on meteorology written from the standpoint of the physicist exists, at present, in any language, and there is perhaps no more striking gap in the literature of science. Dr. Humphreys's book will go a long way toward filling this gap. It is especially remarkable for the amount of skill and labor the author has devoted to checking, verifying--and in many cases discrediting--doctrines and ideas that have heretofore been passed on from one meteorological writer to another without critical examination." Scientific American, New York, June 19, 1920, page 669.

"Students of the science of the atmosphere have read with interest and appreciation the articles by Professor W. J. Humphreys of the Weather Bureau of the United States, on various aspects of the physics of the atmosphere which appeared from time to time in the Journal of The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia during the years 1917-20. The reproduction of these articles, revised and collected into a book for publication by the Institute, is a notable and welcome event in the history of the study of the air. * * * * The book is fully illustrated with many excellent diagrams and photographs excellently reproduced. * * * * Apart from the general excellence of the book and the presentation of its material, the parts which impress one most on reading them for the first time are the chapters on thunderstorms and lightning, atmospheric electricity and auroras, and atmospheric optics, as examples of close physical reasoning, and the chapters on factors of climatic control as an example of reasoning of a more general character. * * * * He deserves our hearty thanks for a very useful and handy book of reference indispensable for the meteorological library.”

Sir Napier Shaw in Nature, London, March 17, 1921.

"Bref le livre de M. Humphreys est un ouvrage de synthèse, original en plusieurs de ses parties et en tout cas dans sa composition, il groupe d'une façon claire et logique la plupart des phénomènes atmosphériques. Il est riche de faits et d'idées et néanmoins d'une lecture facile et agréable."

La Nature, Paris, 16 Avril, 1921. ·

"In this book Professor Humphreys gives us a large amount of information about the mechanics and thermodynamics of the atmosphere, and puts forward many interesting explanations and suggestions. The book covers a large range and by no means takes the form of an ordinary text-book of meteorology. The chapters on atmospheric optics are particularly welcome and cover a want long felt by English readers." * * * *

Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, London, April, 1921.

"Meteorology and general phenomena of the atmosphere are the subjects touched upon in this elaborate book which is published under the auspices of The Franklin Institute. An authoritative aspect would be given to it by this fact alone, were such needed, but the authorship of the book is enough to give it full weight." ***

"But throughout the work will be found so many points of interest, that, while the science and mathematics of the subject are given fully, the book retains the aspect of literary value very well, so we can certainly recommend it to our readers.

Science and Invention, New York, September, 1921. "Traité considérable et détaillé, où sont discutées toutes les questions en rapport avec l'atmosphère qui intéressent la physique du globe. Les lignes suivantes, extraites de la conclusion, en indiquent bien l'esprit et les tendances générales." * * * *

La Geographie, Paris, January, 1922 “* * * *. Brings together from many sources descriptions and explanations of the numerous and complex phenomena of our atmosphere. * * **

Scientific American, New York, May, 1922. "* * * * Professor Humphreys has succeeded in gathering together in an orderly manner the various facts and theories, that comprise the Physics of the Air. The book is invaluable to the student of atmospherics.”

The Coast Artillery Journal, Fortress Monroe, Virginia, December,

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