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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $35.95

Hardback 288 pp.
Approximately 30 line drawings, 156 mm x 234 mm



Publication date:
March 2011

Imprint: OUP UK

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The Dance of Air and Sea

How oceans, weather, and life link together

Arnold H. Taylor

How can the tiny plankton in the sea just off Western Europe be affected by changes 6000 km away on the other side of the North Atlantic Ocean? How can a slight rise in the temperature of the surface of the Pacific Ocean have a devastating impact on amphibian life in Costa Rica?

Living populations across the globe are connected by great swayings of the world's atmosphere and oceans, the largest of which is El Nino. For almost half a century, the numbers of some of the smallest animals in the North Sea have gone up and down as the Gulf Stream has moved north and south 4000 miles away at the coast of the USA. This connection has happened because the weather patterns over the North Atlantic are intertwined by a phenomenon first described by a Danish missionary in the eighteenth century, the North Atlantic Oscillation.

In The Dance of Air and Sea Arnold Taylor focuses on the large-scale dynamics of the world's climate, looking at how the atmosphere and oceans interact, and the ways in which ecosystems in water and on land respond to changes in weather. He tells stories of how discoveries were made, and the scientists who made them; and he considers the crucial issues of how the discoveries aid our response to global warming.

Readership : Suitable for popular science readers interested in earth sciences, their history, and the scientists involved, as well as the environmental community.

1. A 4000-mile Plankton Riddle
2. The Ways of the Ocean: How the ocean side of the connection functions
3. At the Behest of the Weather: How weather affects biological populations
4. The Snake in the Mathematical Grass: How non-linearity limits predictability
5. Every Wind has its Weather: How the world's weather system works
6. The Tangled Skeins of the World's Weather: Global interconnections in weather patterns
7. Action at a Distance: How the ocean affects the atmosphere and the North Atlantic Oscillation
8. Lighthouses on the Shores of the Climate:How ecosystems can be particularly sensitive to climatic changes
9. Drunken Trees in the Greenhouse: The greenhouse effect and global warming
10. As the Tempo of the Dance Heats Up... : Implications for future climatic changes

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Arnold Taylor worked for thirty years in oceanographic research at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. He currently has three honorary positions; Visiting Professor in Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Plymouth, Fellow of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and Fellow of the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science. He has published widely in major international scientific journals but this is his first book.

Gaia - James Lovelock
The Emerald Planet - David Beerling
Making Sense - Margot Northey and Joan McKibbin

Special Features

  • Explores how our understanding of the oceans, the atmosphere, and the ecosystem has developed.
  • Sheds new light on how the North Atlantic Oscillation and other climatic see-saws on the global climate system.
  • Tells the human stories behind the scientific discoveries.
  • Presents a novel approach to the impact of climate change by using unusual and intriguing observations.