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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton First semester 2010 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Prof. Nigel Tapper


The earth's surface directly influences our climate and weather. This unit explores climates found near the ground in terms of the exchanges of water, energy and mass. We examine how atmospheric processes interact with the physical properties of different surfaces to produce distinctive climates, including natural and human-modified environments. Natural environments of increasing complexity are considered (from simple desert and water bodies, to vegetated surfaces and non-uniform terrain). Relevant examples are drawn from ongoing research particularly in Australia. Emphasis is placed on gaining practical skills through laboratory exercises and a weekend field trip.


In successfully participating in this subject students will show that they

  1. understand the nature of cycling of energy and mass in the earth-atmosphere system and the place of the atmospheric boundary layer in that larger system
  2. have an understanding of the development of distinctive boundary layer climates based on knowledge of atmospheric processes and their interaction with the physical properties of different surfaces
  3. have an appreciation of time and space scales as they relate to atmospheric phenomena, along with the complexity of environmental processes
  4. have a grounding in some of the contemporary climate debates, obtained both through course work and reading and understanding the relevant scientific literature
  5. have developed an understanding of the use of instrumentation and methodologies employed in boundary layer climate research, along with an appreciation of the complexity of, and difficulties associated with, field-based research.


Examination (2 hours): 35%
mid semester test (take home): 5%
Essay (2000 words): 25%
Practical reports (Six 2-hour pracs): 25%
Field trip report (weekend): 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Nigel Tapper

Contact hours

3 hours per week on average (two lectures per week and one 2-hour practical per fortnight) plus one 2-day field excursion

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Geography and environmental science (ARTS)


A first-year sequence in geography and environmental science, mathematics, earth sciences, biology, environmental science or permission