Earth Scientist Demystifies California's Diverse Weather Landscapes in a Richly Illustrated Guide 

The California Sky Watcher unpacks the inner workings of our atmosphere, revealing the patterns that govern the Golden State’s exceptional medley of climates and what climate change portends for California’s future forecasts.

ON-SALE: JULY 23, 2024

BERKELEY, CALIF. —Earth scientist, educator, and self-described “weather nut,”  William A. Selby has been observing the sky and its patterns since he was a child. Drawing upon the knowledge from his five decades-long science career Selby brings us The California Sky Watcher: Understanding Weather Patterns and What Comes Next. Inviting readers on a series of seasonal tours across California, Selby meditates on the forces that drive summer’s stable drought, the winds of change that autumn brings, winter’s nourishing turbulence, and the bright reawakening of spring. In its fifth and final chapter, the book looks to the future, posing the question: what does a changing global climate portend for California?

California contains examples of most major climates on Earth—which means that each year, somewhere and someone in the state is at least temporarily impacted by nearly every weather event and air mass that can be experienced on Earth. The California Sky Watcher unravels the many mysteries of the Golden State’s atmosphere and environments, covering an array of weather phenomena and the magnificent ocean gyres behind California’s feathery-soft summer breezes, tempestuous El Niño storms, and the fog belts that feed the state’s redwood forests.

This insightful exploration amplifies an important and necessary discussion of the effects of climate change and how it continues to impact California’s atmosphere and landscapes. Shedding light on the searing heat of dangerous desert ovens, the raging storms and wildfires, and the double-decade record-breaking mass water shortages, The California Sky Watcher tackles the many climate issues Californians are faced with today. 

“Even today, when so many of us nearly forty million Californians are surrounded by crowded urban chaos, we each have the sky, a common and shared liberation,” Selby writes, “Its changeable energies can nurture us and destroy us. Its patterns and seasons shape our bodies and minds.” 

Whether you’re a weather enthusiast or just curious about the forces shaping our environment, this book promises a journey through the interconnected world of the sky, weather, and climate. The California Sky Watcher is an invitation to rediscover the magic in our sky, fostering a deeper connection to the world around us.

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William A. Selby is an earth science researcher and teacher. A former professor at Santa Monica College, where he taught for three decades, Selby is the author of the popular textbook Rediscovering the Golden State: California Geography, whose fourth edition was published in 2019. He has participated in research and seminars with the National Weather Service, and he continues to present at professional conferences and lead teacher trainings and docent workshops. His academic and practical expertise within California’s myriad landscapes make him an invaluable guide to the developments that are changing California’s climate in the twenty-first century.