This excellent book is presented in two nearly equal parts. The first explains the significant details that need to be understood in order to get the best from the 2000 years chronology of extensive and detailed meteorological and climatological data. It covers such important topics as the basis of the earth's atmos-pheric circulation and the basis and definition of the seasons, and briefly mentions the sources of the many and varied meteorological data that are used in collating the narrative chronology of those 2000 years – which comprises the second part of the book. The study of clouds and the renewed interest in phenology are also touched on.
The extensive chronology in the second part contains a wealth of interesting data. It covers the weather of most years from 55 BC to the early middle ages, and from about 1200 AD every significant winter and summer is mentioned, sometimes in surprising detail. Aspects of the synoptic situation associated with the more extreme years are often discussed. In addition to such directly related weather factors, there are details of the amount of volcanic dust in the atmosphere and the effect that this may have had on the runs of extreme years. This has, though, made the chronology somewhat cramped; it might have been easier for reference purposes to have put the volcanic dust index and the data on the frequency of westerly winds in appendices.