Faculty of Science

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment


Dr Shayne McGregor



  • First semester 2016 (Day)


Previously coded GES2190


Our climate and weather is directly influenced by the Earth's surface through exchanges of radiation, heat, and water. In this unit, we explore the atmospheric processes that interact with the physical properties of different surfaces to influence the weather and to produce distinctive climates. Natural and human-modified environments are examined with increasing complexity from simple desert and water bodies, to vegetated surfaces, mountainous terrain and urban landscapes. The role of the land surface in producing and influencing distinctive weather phenomena is also described. Emphasis is placed on gaining practical skills in environmental measurement techniques through laboratory exercises. A weekend field trip allows students to marry theory from classes with real-world observations of the atmospheric environment.


In successfully participating in this subject students will show that they:

  1. Can explain the physical nature of cycling of energy and water in the earth-atmosphere system and can describe the role of the near-surface atmosphere in that larger system;
  2. Can describe the development of distinctive near-surface weather and climate conditions 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;
  4. Appreciate the complexity of environmental processes with reference to how these relate to atmospheric measurement and field-based research.


Examination (2 hours): 50%
Assignment: 20%
Practical reports: 20%
Field trip report (weekend): 10%

Workload requirements

Two 1-hour lectures and one 2-hour practical per week, and one weekend field excursion

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


A first year sequence in Geographical science, or MTH1020, or PHS1011, or with permission from the unit coordinator.