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Climates over different surfaces, micro and local climates; urban climates; laboratories as required.

The focus of GEOG 286 is boundary layer climatology - i.e. how the land surface influences the weather and climate we experience. In this paper you will learn the basic fundamentals of climatology, and then apply them to understand how the presence of vegetation, mountains, water and urban environments influences weather and climate.

Paper title Climatology
Paper code GEOG286
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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GEOG 101
GEOG 392
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
Teaching staff
Co-ordinator: Dr Daniel Kingston
Paper Structure

The paper is structured hierarchically so that basic principles are introduced from the ground up, with lectures split into three main sections:

  • The first group of lectures is concerned with fundamental climatic principles, including surface radiation and energy balances, convection and advection
  • The second section explores how the basic processes introduced in Section 1 are modified by "natural"spatial heterogeneity in the land surface (i.e. land-sea contrasts, vegetation and topography)
  • Section 3 covers anthropogenic influences on micro- and meso-scale climate (including air pollution), primarily through urban development

The paper also covers how micro- and meso-scale processes combine to influence climate at the global-scale. The paper concludes with some case studies of real-world applications of the theoretical concepts introduced in this paper.

In addition to the theoretical content delivered via lectures, practical sessions will introduce skills to enable you to apply your theoretical knowledge to the outside world. The practical sessions will include both lab-based & computer based exercises and field trips in the local Dunedin area.

Assessment is 40% internal (on-going during the semester) and 60% external (final examination).

Teaching Arrangements

Two lectures per week and six 3-hour practical sessions scheduled over the 13 weeks of semester.


No single textbook is required, but two are highly recommended. (Both are available on close reserve in the Science Library):

Oke, T. R. (1987) Boundary Layer Climates (2nd edition).

Sturman, A. & Tapper, N. (2006) The Weather and Climate of Australia and New Zealand (2nd edition).

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Research, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of this paper you should have a clear understanding of the fundamentals of micro- and meso-scale climatology. Specifically, you will:

  • Understand how variation in "natural" land surface types influences climate at scales from metres to hundreds of kilometres
  • Understand how human modification of the land surface influences climate at scales from metres to hundreds of kilometres
  • Understand how human modification of the land surface influences air quality and human health
  • Be able to integrate field and laboratory data to understand climate processes at scales from metres to hundreds of kilometres

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system