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Exploring Planetary Climate
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Book description

This book chronicles the history of climate science and planetary exploration, focusing on our ever-expanding knowledge of Earth's climate, and the parallel research underway on some of our nearest neighbours: Mars, Venus and Titan. From early telescopic observation of clouds and ice caps on planetary bodies in the seventeenth century, to the dawn of the space age and the first robotic planetary explorers, the book presents a comprehensive chronological overview of planetary climate research, right up to the dramatic recent developments in detecting and characterising exoplanets. Meanwhile, the book also documents the discoveries about our own climate on Earth, not only about how it works today, but also how profoundly different it has been in the past. Highly topical and written in an accessible and engaging narrative style, this book provides invaluable historical context for students, researchers, professional scientists, and those with a general interest in planetary climate research.


'A detailed, historical account of the development of climate science on Earth and on neighboring planets, written by a top researcher in the field. I myself learned a lot from this book. Lorenz combines a thorough knowledge of the literature on climate science with first-hand experience in planetary exploration and a good grasp of the underlying physics. A must-read for all those who are interested in this topic.'

James Kasting - Pennsylvania State University

'This is a wide-ranging overview of the entire history of planetary climate research, starting with ancient Greece and finishing with the latest solar system and exoplanet discoveries. Written by a pioneer in outer solar system exploration, it is a very entertaining read, full of colorful anecdotes and interesting asides. I recommend it to anyone interested in an overview of this fascinating topic or in space exploration generally.'

Robin Wordsworth - Harvard University, Massachusetts

'[This] book … is remarkable in many ways. As a planetary climate specialist myself, I am impressed by Lorenz’s exhaustive knowledge and thorough understanding of climate processes … But what I like most is the storytelling and his description of how scientists make progress and mistakes. As a result, anyone interested in the great history of sciences, as well as in the small but meaningful stories of space exploration, will enjoy this text.'

François Forget - Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France

'In Exploring Planetary Climate, the story of exploration across two millennia of human genius – from ancient Greek and Roman writers to Arab and European Renaissance scholars to thinkers and doers of the modern era - is outlined with breathless pace and narrative urgency zeroing-in on Venus, Mars, Saturn’s large moon titan, and on Earth itself. The author … walks his reader through a burgeoning historical corpus of discovery with a keen storyteller’s eye and an exciting yearning for exploration … Lorenz morphs well from physicist into historian, while also intelligently considering the future and the problems that continue to impair the present.'

Ben Evans Source: BBC Sky at Night

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