Principles of Environmental Physics

4th Edition

Plants, Animals, and the Atmosphere

Authors: John Monteith Mike Unsworth
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123869104
eBook ISBN: 9780123869937
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 16th August 2013
Page Count: 422
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Principles of Environmental Physics: Plants, Animals, and the Atmosphere, 4e, provides a basis for understanding the complex physical interactions of plants and animals with their natural environment. It is the essential reference to provide environmental and ecological scientists and researchers with the physical principles, analytic tools, and data analysis methods they need to solve problems. This book describes the principles by which radiative energy reaches the earth’s surface and reviews the latest knowledge concerning the surface radiation budget. The processes of radiation, convection, conduction, evaporation, and carbon dioxide exchange are analyzed. Many applications of environmental physics principles are reviewed, including the roles of surface albedo and atmospheric aerosols in modifying microclimate and climate, remote sensing of vegetation properties, wind forces on trees and crops, dispersion of pathogens and aerosols, controls of evaporation from vegetation and soil (including implications of changing weather and climate), and interpretation of micrometeorological measurements of carbon dioxide and other trace gas fluxes.

Key Features

  • Presents a unique synthesis of micrometeorology and ecology in its widest sense
  • Deals quantitatively with the impact of weather on living systems but also with the interactions between organisms and the atmosphere that are a central feature of life on earth
  • Offers numerous worked examples and problems with solutions
  • Provides many examples of laboratory and field measurements and their interpretation
  • Includes an up-to-date bibliography and review of recent micrometeorological applications in forestry, ecology, hydrology, and agriculture


Advanced undergraduate and graduate students in university departments of physics, atmospheric sciences, biological and environmental sciences, research scientists in agriculture, forestry, hydrology and ecology in academia, government research and industry, natural resource managers, environmental consultants and advisers in non-governmental organizations.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Fourth Edition

Preface to the Third Edition



Roman Alphabet

Greek Alphabet

Non-Dimensional Groups


Chapter 1. The Scope of Environmental Physics

Chapter 2. Properties of Gases and Liquids

2.1 Gases and Water Vapor

2.2 Liquid

2.3 Stable Isotopes

2.4 Problems


Chapter 3. Transport of Heat, Mass, and Momentum

3.1 General Transfer Equation

3.2 Molecular Transfer Processes

3.3 Diffusion Coefficients

3.4 Diffusion of Particles (Brownian Motion)

3.5 Problems


Chapter 4. Transport of Radiant Energy

4.1 The Origin and Nature of Radiation

4.2 Spatial Relations

4.3 Problems


Chapter 5. Radiation Environment

5.1 Solar Radiation

5.2 Attenuation of Solar Radiation in the Atmosphere

5.3 Solar Radiation at the Ground

5.4 Terrestrial Radiation

5.5 Net Radiation

5.6 Problems


Chapter 6. Microclimatology of Radiation: (i) Radiative Properties of Natural Materials

6.1 Radiative Properties of Natural Materials

6.2 Problems


Chapter 7. Microclimatology of Radiation: (ii) Radiation Interception by Solid Structures

7.1 Geometric Principles

7.2 Problems


Chapter 8. Microclimatology of Radiation: (iii) Interception by Plant Canopies and Animal Coats

8.1 Interception of Radiation by Plant Canopies

8.2 Interception of Radiation by Animal Coats

8.3 Net Radiation

8.4 Problems


Chapter 9. Momentum Transfer

9.1 Boundary Layers

9.2 Momentum Transfer to Natural Surfaces

9.3 Lodging and Windthrow

9.4 Problems


Chapter 10. Heat Transfer


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2014
Academic Press
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About the Author

John Monteith

Affiliations and Expertise

Emeritus Professor of Environmental Physics, University of Nottingham, UK

Mike Unsworth

Affiliations and Expertise

Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA


"This compact overview of environmental physics…serves as an excellent introduction to the subject. Its pioneering approach to the application of physics to the study and analysis of biological processes is still unsurpassed...The range of subjects covered is wide…and the new edition reorganizes and updates core material and improves on presentation...Rigorous but accessible, this is a wonderful text, and contains an extensive bibliography and a list of references.", January 2014