Observing Micrometeorology: A Personal Tour through an Evolving Science


Bruce B. Hicks – Metcorps, Norris, TN USA; Adjunct Professor, Agriculture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN USA

Series: Earth Sciences in the 21st Century
BISAC: SCI042000; TEC003030; SCI019000
DOI: 10.52305/IBEJ6475

In early 1962, at the age of 21, Bruce Hicks found himself temporarily in charge of a micrometeorological experimental program conducted at Kerang, in Victoria (Australia). He had no schooling in the atmospheric sciences, and so started a self-education program based on (a) what he saw with his own eyes, (b) what his mentors told him and (c) textbook lore. He quickly discovered that others in that group of researchers at CSIRO in Australia (under the leadership of C. H. B. Priestley) shared his misgivings about some of the science that was then rapidly becoming disciplinary dogma. A career in experimental meteorology followed, accompanied by bursts of unrestrained iconoclasm. After migrating to the USA in 1973 and serving a sojourn as Director of the Air Resources Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he returned to his favorite science with new vigor in 2006. He quickly found that new instrumentation and new researchers were yielding mountains of reasons to reconsider what textbooks often teach. His book reveals the bases for his revised understanding of air-surface exchange, the surface boundary layer, and the atmospheric and terrestrial features that influence them. This is not a textbook. Rather, it is a summary of how the teachings of textbooks might be interpreted in the light of information more recently available. This is an update of the basics that underpinned an evolving science before it was kidnapped by computers and modeling. He is not trying to change the science. Oh, heck. Yes, he is.

Table of Contents



Part I: The Origins of Convention

Chapter 1. Airplanes, Airships and Gas Warfare

Chapter 2. Pipe Flows and Flat Plates

Chapter 3. The Agricultural Incentive – Water Resources

Chapter 4. Interpreting the Surface Heat Energy Balance

Chapter 5. Introducing Plant Physiology

Chapter 6. The Birth of MOST

Chapter 7. Measurements of Fluxes and Profiles — the Early Days

Chapter 8. The Legacy Flux/Gradient Relationships

Chapter 9. Modeling and Tribalism

Chapter 10. Consider the Oceans

Part II: Rethinking the Basics

Chapter 11. Stepping Forward

Chapter 12. Turbulence, Fluxes and Statistics

Chapter 13. Data Normalization and Dimensional Analysis

Chapter 14. Time Stationarity in the SBL

Chapter 15. Extending the Legacy Relationships

Chapter 16. Correlations and the Role of u*

Chapter 17. The Unstable Case and Free Convection

Chapter 18. Nighttime and Intermittency

Chapter 19. The Morning Transition

Chapter 20. The Evening Transition

Chapter 21. The Ocean Case — Some Common Issues

Part III: Towards Complexity

Chapter 22. Revisiting Turbulence Statistics

Chapter 23. Footprints and Fetch

Chapter 24. Representativeness

Chapter 25. The Peculiar Situation — Neutrality

Chapter 26. Sources, Sinks and Zero Planes

Chapter 27. Kinematic Isolation in Strong Stability (KISS)

Chapter 28. Cities and Urban Areas

Chapter 29. Agricultural Checkerboards

Chapter 30.

Part IV: The Role of Vegetation

Chapter 31. Onwards Toward Complexity

Chapter 32. Roughness Lengths and kB-1

Chapter 33. Canopy Breathing — Sweeps and Ejections

Chapter 34. Once Again — the ‘Big Leaf’

Chapter 35. Heat Energy Apportionment

Chapter 36. The Origin of Convection

Chapter 37. Introducing the Soil

Chapter 38. An Eclipse Case Study

Part V: Chemical Sources, Sinks, and Dispersion

Chapter 39. Dry and Wet Deposition

Chapter 40. Deposition Collection

Chapter 41. Laboratory and Pipe Studies

Chapter 42. Deposition to Buildings and Structures

Chapter 43. Enter, Micrometeorology

Chapter 44. The Multiple Resistance Analogy: Trace Gases

Chapter 45. The Multiple Resistance Model: Particles

Chapter 46. Dense Canopies and Complex Terrain

Chapter 47. Suspension and Resuspension

Chapter 48. Indirect Monitoring of Dry Deposition

Chapter 49. Concentrated Gas Deposition and Canopy Retention

Chapter 50. Dispersion — Prairie Grass etc.

Chapter 51. Dispersion in Cities and Urban Areas

Chapter 52. Dispersion Affecting the Far field

Part VI: Looking Forward

Chapter 53. Dispersion Affecting the Far field

Chapter 54. Assembling the Pieces

Chapter 55. Extension to Modeling

Chapter 56. The Need for New Studies



Appendix 1: Recurring Symbols

Appendix 2: Acronyms

Appendix 3: Details of Sites at Which Observations Presented Here Were Obtained