Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitPhysical Geography
OfferedClayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Ailie Gallant


Previously coded GES2190


The earth's surface directly influences our climate and weather. This unit explores climates found at the land surface in terms of the exchanges of radiation, heat, water, and carbon dioxide. 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 field-based research campaigns. 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, water and carbon dioxide in the earth-atmosphere system and the place of the near-surface 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 through course work, reading and understanding the relevant scientific literature;
  5. have developed an understanding of the use of instrumentation and methods 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)

Workload requirements

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


A first year sequence in Geographical Science, or two gateway units in Geography, climate and physical environments or permission of the unit coordinator.