With the development of increasingly sophisticated scientific and technological capabilities in  optics and photonics, it is possible to lose sight of the intricacies of natural phenomena. This book shows, in a clear and accessible manner, the detailed analysis  required to understand optical phenomena associated with the scattering of light by ice crystals.

The authors are experienced and accomplished researchers—even conducting additional research when they perceived that the extant literature had some gaps. They bring to bear both their own achivements as well as those of other researchers.

The book is primarily directed at researchers and graduate students in the atmospheric sciences. It is apparent that such an audience will be well served by this masterly exposition. However, those with less specialized interests could also benefit greatly from this book, which carefully presents a number of theoretical frameworks required to gain understanding of the scattering of light.

A substantial reference list enables acquisition of the relevant primary material underpinning the text. These range from rehearsing the fundamentals (including Maxwell’s equations), to a concise representation of the finite-difference time-domain method. A strong feature of the book is the use of excellent diagrams, including those to elucidate geometric optics.

Apart from those generic aspects, the volume includes specific material pertinent to the appreciation of the optical properties of ice crystals. Having firmly established such principles and practices, the book proceeds to explain the significance of such work in two applications contexts. First, detailed attention is given to applications in remote sensing—specifically of cirrus clouds. Here the interplay between theory and experiment is made strongly apparent. Then, attention is given to how ice crystal light scattering can be applied to climate studies. Here the reader fully appreciates that the study of this phenomenon is not of arcane academic interest, but rather, is strongly pertinent to arguably the biggest global challenge: climate change.

Review by K. Alan Shore, Bangor University, U.K.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.