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The following list lists books which are in my collection. This list is nowhere near complete; however, the list includes most standard references for atmospheric optics and lightning. Many of these books will provide hours of highly interesting reading, if you are interested in the weather!

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Atmospheric optics
Lightning
Clouds
Miscellaneous



  1. Lightning, physics and effects
    V.A. Rakov, M.A. Uman
    Cambridge University Press (2003) - ISBN 0-521-58327-6 (hardcover)

    This is an excellent book on the physics of lightning. It is a great complement to MacGorman's and Rust's The electrical nature of storms, since this book deals with lightning exclusively. It is also very recent (from 2003). It's intended for the college-level physics grad. Contains a huge reference list, one after each chapter.

  2. The lightning discharge
    Martin A. Uman
    Dover Publications Inc., New York (2001) - ISBN 0-486-41463-9

    Similar to Uman's Lightning, this book is more recent and goes a bit deeper into the physics of lightning. Worthwhile to have as a substitute for Lightning, if you are into physics and interested in lightning.

  3. Weather forecasting handbook
    Tim Vasquez
    Weather Graphics Technologies (2001) - ISBN 0-9706840-0-2

    A very handy book about interpreting weather maps and data. The book explains weather phenomena such as cyclones, fronts, troughs and so on very well. The humoristic side notes help make this book fun and easy to read.

  4. Color and light in nature (2nd edition)
    David K. Lynch and William Livingston
    Cambridge University Press (2001) - ISBN 0-521-77284-2

    An excellent book about atmospheric optics. It is well-written, has many color photographs and illustrations, and describes some phenomena that aren't discussed in most other books.

  5. Lightning physics and lightning protection
    E.M. Bazelyan & Y.P. Raizer
    Institute of physics publishing (2000) - ISBN 0-7503-0477-4

    This work is another university-level standard reference on lightning, lightning research, and lightning protection. It covers many aspects of lightning which MacGorman & Rust's Electrical Nature of Storms does not cover. It is a translation from Russian. The book contains many mathematical formulae.

  6. Tornado Alley
    Howard B. Bluestein
    Oxford University Press (1999) - ISBN 0-19-510552-4

    Bluestein's Tornado Alley is one of the standard references for introductory reading on how supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes form. The book contains many spectacular color photographs. I find the line of the story sometimes a bit chaotic, but it is interesting reading.

  7. Ball lightning - an unsolved problem in atmospheric science
    Mark Stenhoff
    Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers (1999) - ISBN 0-306-46150-1

    This book is highly interesting reading and unique in its type. Stenhoff lists many possible explanations for ball lightning, as well as ball lightning reports, experiments, and the advances in ball lightning research. It contains almost no mathematics, but is intended for the physics college-grade reader.

  8. International Marine's Weather predicting simplified
    Michael William Carr
    International Marine / McGraw-Hill (1999) - ISBN 0-07-012031-5

    This is a very good book on the basics of weather forecasting. The book contains lots of diagrams, pictures and satellite photos as examples of weather situations, well-commented and very helpful to learn to interpret computer models and satellite imagery.

  9. Atmosphere, Weather & Climate
    Roger G. Barry / Richard J. Chorley
    Routledge, New York (1998) - ISBN 0-415-16020-0

    For some reason, I have a lot of trouble reading this book for a long period of time. The book gives an introduction into meteorology, and explains the atmospheric dynamics with diagrams, example charts and graphs, and some sparse math formulae. However, I had trouble interpreting the style of writing: I found the text somewhat vague. But that is just my personal experience with it.

  10. The electrical nature of storms
    Donald R. MacGorman / W. David Rust
    Oxford University Press (1998) - ISBN 0-19-507337-1

    A university-level standard reference for lightning researchers. No color photographs, so if you are looking for pretty lightning pictures, this book is not for you. However, it is indispensable to have for all students interested in lightning and thunderstorms. It describes most of the modern techniques to study atmospheric electricity and lightning, and comes with a huge reference list.

  11. Under the Whirlwind
    Arjen and Jerrine Verkaik
    Whirlwind Books, Elmwood, Ontario, Canada (1997) - ISBN 0-9681537-0-4

    Verkaik is a well-known weather photographer and writer. This book is easy reading, and contains mostly stories and events connected to tornadoes, some of which are really bizarre.

  12. Aviation Weather
    Peter F. Lester
    Jeppesen Sanderson Inc. (1997) - ISBN 0-88487-178-9

    This book explains the weather for pilots, as the title suggests. It is nice having to complement the many other weather-forecasting books which focus more on computer model output interpretation than on visual observation. Many cloud forms and phenomena (e.g. microbursts) are explained as well.

  13. The weather book - an easy-to-understand guide to the USA's weather
    Jack Williams
    Vintage books / Random house, Inc (1997) - ISBN 0-679-77665-6

    This book describes most if not all weather phenomena which occur over the USA. It comes with a history of the USA's weather, such as blizzards, tornadoes, floods etc. It explains in for the general reader easy-to-understand language the physics of weather: fronts, troughs, low/high pressure systems, the jetstream, and much more. This book is most useful as a basic introduction to the weather.

  14. Le meraviglie del cielo (Wonders of the sky)
    Paolo Candy
    Il Castello, Collane Tecniche, Milan, Italy (1997) - ISBN 88-8039-125-9

    This is a very nice book showing Paolo Candy's sky photography. Candy presents spectacular photos and photography techniques and tips for many different weather phenomena, from halos and the sun's green flash to clouds and astronomy. The book is in Italian, but an English edition is being published.

  15. The Handy Weather Answer Book
    Walter A. Lyons
    Visible Ink Press (1997) - ISBN 0-7876-1034-8

    This book contains answers to many questions people may have about all kinds of weather and meteorology. This title was suggested by Susie Concilio. A more detailed review will follow when I have this book in my collection.

  16. Homemade lightning
    R.A. Ford
    McGraw-Hill (1996) - ISBN 0-07-021528

    If you are a high-voltage electronics enthusiast, this book is worthwhile having. Ford explains many electrostatic generators and supplies plans and tips on constructing them. I miss the Tesla coils a bit.

  17. The color of nature
    Pat Murphy & Paul Doherty
    Chronicle (1996)

    Title suggested by James Palmer. Review will follow when book is in my collection.

  18. Atmospheric halos (Antarctic reseach series, volume 64)
    Walter Tape
    American Geophysical Union, Washington D.C. (1994)

    This work shows Walter Tape's halo research carried out on the South Pole. It contains breathtaking halo photographs and is highly recommended for anyone wanting to know more about atmospheric halos.

  19. La foudre
    Cloude Gary
    Massin, Paris (1994) - ISBN 2-225-84507-7

    This book is about lightning, for the general public. It has many illustrations and simple explanations of lightning and thunderstorms. It contains a lot of history. It is in French.

  20. Spacious Skies
    Richard Scorer / Arjen Verkaik
    David & Charles, Newton Abbot, London (1989) - ISBN 0-7153-9139-9

    A book which is a mixture between a photo gallery and a reference. Many cloud shapes and patterns are explained with text and (satellite) photographs. I like this book a lot, even though it misses many phenomena which should have been included.

  21. Noctilucent clouds
    M. Gadsden, W. Schroeder
    Springer-Verlag (1989) - ISBN 0-387-50685-3

    A (if not the) standard reference for noctilucent clouds, Noctilucent Clouds is a scientific university-level book about research in noctilucent clouds. The only downside of this book is that it is very expensive and hard to obtain. The book also contains a very large reference list to scientific articles on noctilucent clouds.

  22. The rainbow - from myth to mathematics
    Carl B. Boyer
    Princeton University Press (1987) - ISBN 0-691-08457-2

    As the title suggests, this book contains both the history of observations, theories, and mathematics of the rainbow. It is not a very useful book for quick informational reading - it is more like a novel. There are several drawings and illustrations in it, but no (color) photographs.

  23. Rainbows, mirages and sundogs
    Roy Gallant
    MacMillan (1987)

    Title suggested by James Palmer. Review will follow when book is in my collection.

  24. Rare halos, mirages, anomalous rainbows and other electromagnetic phenomena
    Compiled by William R. Corliss
    The Sourcebook Project (1984) - ISBN 0-915554-12-7

    Corliss' series of anomalies books are highly interesting reading. This book contains the most bizarre atmospheric optics sightings made. Corliss catalogues all phenomena and supplies example observation reports and references. While some phenomena have since been explained well, many unusual or bizarre phenomena remain unexplained as of today.

  25. Lightning
    Martin A. Uman
    Dover Publications Inc., New York (1984) - ISBN 0-486-64575-4

    An introductory book on the physics of lightning, thunder and thunderstorm charge regions, as well as lightning research. I can recommend this book, even though it is somewhat old for the (quickly advancing) thunderstorm science.

  26. Sunsets, twilights & evening skies
    Aden & Marjorie Meinel
    Cambridge University Press (1983) - ISBN 0-521-25220-2

    A very worthwhile book having if you want to know more about sunrise and sunset phenomena, including twilight colors, the purple red, earth's shadow band, etc. The book contains many color photographs showing the phenomena.

  27. Wonders of the sky
    Fred Schaaf
    Dover Publ. Inc. New York (1983) - ISBN 0-486-24402-4

    Fred Schaaf wrote this pocket-size book which contains interesting and beautiful events observable in the sky. The focus is on astronomical events, like comets, meteors, zodiacal light, opposition light, solar/lunar eclipses and so, but the book also describes several terrestrial phenomena. The book contains mostly text, with sparse photos and diagrams.

  28. Thunderstorm morphology and dynamics
    E. Kessler (editor)
    University of Oklahoma Press (1983) - ISBN 0-8061-1936-5 (2nd edition)

    This book is somewhat older (thunderstorm research advances rapidly) but is highly interesting reading. This volume discusses thunderstorm formation and structure and many things related to storms such as precipitation, tornados and lightning.

  29. The thunderstorm in human affairs
    E. Kessler (editor)
    University of Oklahoma Press (1983)

    Like Kessler's other book, this one is somewhat older but still worthwhile reading. It discusses the impact thunderstorms have on humans, such as lightning, flooding, tornadoes, aviation, and storm research.

  30. Lightning, auroras, nocturnal lights and other luminous phenomena
    Compiled by William R. Corliss
    The Sourcebook Project (1982) - ISBN 0-915554-09-7

    Structured like the atmospheric optics series, this book contains many unusual electromagnetic phenomena observed by mankind, including ball-lightning, mountain glows, anomalous auroras, will-of-the-wisps, to name but a few. Corliss catalogues all phenomena and supplies example observation reports and references. While some phenomena have since been explained well, many unusual or bizarre phenomena remain unexplained as of today.

  31. Light scattering by small particles
    H.C. van de Hulst
    Dover Publ. Inc. New York (1981) - ISBN 0-486-64228-3

    For the die-hard atmospheric optics scientist, this book explains theories behind the glory, corona, irisation, and light scattering in general. Contains a lot of mathematics, but an excellent book for the researcher.

  32. Halos, rainbows & glories
    Robert Greenler
    Cambridge University Press (1980) - ISBN 0-521-38865-1

    This book has become one of the reference books on atmospheric halos. Apart from other atmospheric optics, it describes most of the known halo forms, complete with light paths through crystals and computer simulations. The book is somewhat older, and may not be accurate as of today anymore, but is certainly worth having.

  33. Atmospheric phenomena
    Readings from Scientific American
    W.H. Freeman and Company, San Fransisco (1980) - ISBN 0-7167-1166-4

    This work is very interesting. It contains many less common atmospheric phenomena and explains those well. Many illustrations and photos.

  34. Ball lightning and bead lightning
    J.D. Barry
    Plenum Press, NY/London (1980) - ISBN 0-306-40272-6

    Barry's book and the very recent book by Stenhoff are the only works I know of that treat ball lightning theories and reports exclusively. This book contains many purported photographs of ball lightning. It is mostly text, with a few simple formulae. It also contains a long reference list.

  35. Rainbows, halos and other wonders
    Kenneth Heuer
    Dodd, Meade (1978)

    Title suggested by James Palmer. Review will follow when book is in my collection.

  36. Optics of the atmosphere
    E.J. McCartney
    John Wiley & sons, NY (1976) - ISBN 0-471-01526-1

    Mathematical treatment of optical properties of the atmosphere such as scattering, extinction etc.

  37. Light & color in nature (Natuurkunde van het vrije veld)
    M. Minnaert
    B.V.W.J. Thieme & Cie Zutphen (NL print) (1974) - ISBN 90-03-90780-3 (NL print)

    I personally think this is still the best book around for the weather/nature observer. Minnaert takes you into the field to discover all sorts of phenomena, many of which you'll wonder about if you would ever have noticed it yourself. Actually, this book, which comes as a series of 3 pocket-size books (the original Dutch edition that is) is quite old, but everybody interested in physics and the weather should have this. It has been translated in many languages.

  38. Introduction to meteorological optics
    R.A.R. Tricker
    American Elsevier publishing company, NY (1970) - ISBN 263-70263-4

    Mathematical work by the great R.A.R. Tricker about optical effects in the atmosphere, such as halos, rainbows, coronas, heiligenschein and such. Contains lots of diagrams and a few photos.

  39. Twilight
    G.V. Rozenberg
    Plenum Press, NY (1966)

    This book is unique in its sort; I know of no other book that is solely about twilight. It's a mathematical treatment, but if you're able to dig out the important issues this is highly interesting reading. Many phenomena related to twilight are covered.

  40. Snow Crystals
    W.A. Bentley, W.J. Humphreys
    Dover Publications, Inc. (1962) - ISBN 0-486-20287-9

    This book is unique in its sort. It largely consists of photographs of snow crystals (and frost). There are 2453 illustrations in the book, after a short introduction on snow crystal types and how to photograph these.

  41. The green flash and other low sun phenomena
    D.J.K. O-Connell, S.J.
    Vatican Observatory / North Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam (1958)

    This may be the only book around dedicated to the sun's green flash. It is somewhat older but interesting material to read.