The Azimuth Project
Climate physics



Climate Physics is about the physical processes that need to be understood to describe the climate of the earth, especially for climate models.


Physical processes

Conservation of momentum

u˙=fvρ 1px+F drag x \dot u=fv-\rho^{-1}\frac{\partial p}{\partial x}+F_{drag}^{x}
v˙=fuρ 1py+F drag y \dot v=fu-\rho^{-1}\frac{\partial p}{\partial y}+F_{drag}^{y}

where ff is the Coriolis frequency or Coriolis parameter, which is proportional to sin(latitude)sin(latitude)

Equation of state

Temperature equation

Continuity equation

Conservation of mass of moisture

Moist processes

Wave processes in the atmosphere and oceans



  • Raymond T. Pierrehumbert: Principles of Planetary Climate, Cambridge University Press; Har/Psc edition (January 17, 2011)

Pierrehumbert uses Python to create computer solutions to some simple models. Code is available from his coursewarePortal.


  • Curry, Webster: “Thermodynamics of the Atmosphere”

  • Grant W. Petty: “A First Course in Atmospheric Thermodynamics”


  • Vardavas, Taylor: Radiation and Climate, Oxford University Press, International Series of Monographs on Physics, 2007

  • Grant W. Petty: A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation, Sundog Publishing, 2nd ed. 2006

Physics and modelling

Online Data Sources

For modelling, one needs data about the surface of the Earth and other geological information. One online data base is this one:

category: climate