Detailed Course Information – Geography 622.02

Geography 622.02: Boundary Layer Climatology

Instructor: John Arnfield & John N Rayner

Scope of the Course

This course is an introduction to the measurement and recording of micrometeorological and microclimatological phenomena. A significant part of the activity in this course consists of fabricating atmospheric sensors, deploying them in the field, and performing measurement experiments in the lab and outdoors. Measurement systems studied are oriented towards the measurement of quantities introduced in Geography 622.01 (Boundary Layer Climatology) but the concepts covered are also applicable to meteorological and climatological measurement at other spatial scales.


Geography 622.02 is scheduled to meet for 2 4-hour blocks of time per week. Some class meetings will be lectures, some will be laboratory-based practical periods and some will involve field work. Class will not necessarily meet for the whole of all periods.


The prerequisite for this course is Geography 622.01. Students should expect to use the material covered in Geography 622.01 and in its prerequisites (Geog. 520 or Atmospheric Sciences 230, mathematics and physics) in laboratory and field situations and should ensure that they are adequately prepared to do so.

Reference Material

The prime source for this course will be a series of lecture notes prepared by the instructors. A list of additional sources will be distributed during the quarter.


The final grade in this course will depend on the following three components.

  • Individual reports on laboratory assignments. This component is worth 50% of the course grade.
  • A term paper in the form of a Research Proposal. Students will select a microclimatic research problem which requires measurements of several meteorological elements and the use of several techniques in its solution. Work in 622.01 should be used as a guide to selecting such a problem. This component is worth 25% of the course grade.
  • A final examination, which is worth 25% of the course grade.
  • For the first component, students will work in groups but reports must be written independently. Grading will be based upon (i) the understanding shown of the problem and (ii) the clarity of presentation, including style, grammar, spelling, etc.

Course Outline

  • GENERAL INTRODUCTION: concept of mass and energy conservation: role of measurement: sampling (space and time): response time: calibration.
  • ELECTRICITY: elementary theory and simple circuitry: characteristics of various recording devices.
  • THERMOMETRY: relationship of temperature and heat: problems in air temperature measurement: sensor types: field installation of sensors.
  • RADIOMETRY: fundamental physics: solar and longwave irradiances: sensor types and their characteristics: calibration in shortwave and longwave regions: sensor exposure: radiometry in plant stands.
  • INFRARED THERMOMETRY: theory and practice.
  • HUMIDITY MEASUREMENT: theory of measurements: sensor types: field installation.
  • WIND FLOW AND TURBULENCE: sensor types and field installation.
  • FIELD EVALUATION OF THE EDDY FLUXES: eddy correlation: aerodynamic and Bowen ratio methods: substrate heat flux.

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Updated: 18/09/2018