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        Prof Michael Savage

 

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Pietermaritzburg

Private Bag X01

Scottsville

3209

South Africa

 

Rabie Saunders Building

Agriculture Campus

Pietermaritzburg

3201

 

Email: savage@ukzn.ac.za

Tel/Fax: +27 (0)33 2605514

General Information

What is Agrometeorology?

Agrometeorology is a branch of meteorology that examines the effects and impacts of weather and climate on crops, rangeland, livestock, and various agricultural operations. The branch of agricultural meteorology dealing with atmospheric-biospheric processes occurring at small spatial scales and over relatively short time periods is known as micrometeorology, sometimes called crop micrometeorology for managed vegetative ecosystems and animal biometeorology for livestock operations. The branch that studies the processes and impacts of climatic factors over larger time and spatial scales is often referred to as agricultural climatology.

Agrometeorology, addresses topics that often require an understanding of biological, physical, and social sciences. It studies processes that occur from the soil depths where the deepest plant roots grow to the atmospheric levels where seeds, spores, pollen, and insects may be found. Agricultural meteorologists characteristically interact with scientists from many disciplines.

 Agrometeorologists collect and interpret weather and climate data needed to understand the interactions between vegetation and animals and their atmospheric environments.

The climatic information developed by agrometeorologists is valuable in making proper decisions for managing resources consumed by agriculture, for optimizing agricultural production, and for adopting farming practices to minimize any adverse effects of agriculture on theenvironment. Such information is vital to ensure the economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture now and in the future. Agricultural meteorologists also quantify, evaluate, and provide information on the impact and consequences of climate variability and change on agriculture. Increasingly, agricultural meteorologists assist policy makers in developing strategies to deal with climatic events such as floods, hail, or droughts and climatic changes such as global warming and climate variability.

Agrometeorologists are involved in many aspects of agriculture, ranging from the production of agronomic and horticultural crops, trees, and livestock to the final delivery of agricultural products to market. They study the energy and mass exchange processes of heat, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and trace gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, and ammonia, within the biosphere on spatial scales ranging from a leaf to a watershed and even to a continent. They study, for example, the photosynthesis, productivity, and water use of individual leaves, whole plants, and fields. They also examine climatic processes at time scales ranging from less than a second to more than a decade.

 

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