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For a research scientist, almost nothing is more exciting than finding a great textbook. That sounds like an incredibly nerdy statement, but when you’re struggling to come to grips with an unfamiliar programming language, mathematical concept or area in your field, a good textbook can really make all the difference.

Unfortunately, library search engines don’t provide a review of the books you’re searching, so there can be a lot of trial and error involved in finding a great textbook. For this reason, the best finds often don’t come from a search engine, but via referral from a colleague.

The purpose of this page is to provide a peer-recommended list of textbooks, of both the online and hard copy variety, in the hope that it might save us all a few hours of trawling the library shelves. Under each major heading, books are listed in order of increasing complexity. If you come across a good textbook, please leave a comment on this page and I’ll add it to the list.


Scientific computing

Scopatz A, Huff K (2015).  Effective computation in Physics. O’Reilly Media, ISBN:978-1-4919-0153-3 (see website)


Scientific writing / presenting


Talbot N (2012). LaTeX for complete novices. Dickimaw Books, ISBN: 978-1909440005 (free download here)

General writing

Schultz DM (2009). Eloquent science: a practical guide to becoming a better writer, speaker, and atmospheric scientist. American Meteorological Society, ISBN: 978-1878220912.

Yagoda B (2013). How to not write bad: the most common writing problems and the best ways to avoid them. Riverhead Trade, ISBN: 978-1594488481.

Evans D, Gruba P, Zobel J (2012). How to write a better thesis (3rd edition). Melbourne University Press, ISBN: 978-0522861266.


Weather / climate science

Online introductory materials

NOAA Education

NSIDC – About the Cryosphere


Goosse H, Barriat PY, Lefebvre W, Loutre MF, Zunz V. Introduction to climate dynamics and climate modeling. (see blog post here)

Novels for a general audience

Roulstone I, Norbury J (2013). Invisible in the storm: The role of mathematics in understanding weather. Princeton University Press, ISBN: 0691152721

Academic textbooks

McIlveen R (2010). Fundamentals of weather and climate (2nd edition). Oxford University Press, ISBN: 978-0199215423.

McGuffie K, Henderson-Sellers A (2005). A climate modelling primer (3rd edition). Wiley, ISBN: 978-0470857519.

Cushman-Roisin B, Beckers J-M (2011). Introduction to geophysical fluid dynamics (2nd edition). Academic Press, ISBN: 978-0120887590.

Holton JR, Hakim GJ (2012). An introduction to dynamic meteorology (5th edition). Academic Press, ISBN: 978-0123848666.



Wilks, DS (2011). Statistical methods in the atmospheric sciences (3rd edition). Academic Press, ISBN: 978-0123850225.




Leave a Comment
  1. Nick / Nov 19 2012 13:56

    I find this invaluable, a great resource.

    Von Storch, Hans, and Francis W. Zwiers. Statistical analysis in climate research. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

  2. Linden / Nov 19 2012 18:30

    Eloquent science by David Schultz is a great book to help with poster, presentation and paper preparations. There is not that much alliteration in it either!

  3. Damien Irving / Apr 28 2014 11:37

    I’ve got Implementing Reproducible Research on my “to-read” list…

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