Publication Date

Spring 2017

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Rezaul Mahmood (Director), Gregory Goodrich, Kevin Cary, and Joshua Durkee

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Research has demonstrated that equivalent temperature (TE), which incorporates both the surface air temperature (T) and moist heat content associated with atmospheric moisture, is a better indicator of overall heat content. This thesis follows up on a study that used TE to determine the impacts of land use/land cover and air masses on the atmospheric heat content over Kentucky during the growing season (April-September). The study, which used data from the Kentucky Mesonet, reveals that moist weather types dominate the growing season and, as expected, differences between T and TE are smaller under dry atmospheric conditions but larger under moist conditions. For example, the lowest TE-T difference was 10.04 °C on a dry weather day on the 18th of April, 2010 (T = 8.91 °C and TE = 18.95 °C). On the other hand, the highest estimated difference for a day of moist tropical weather was 46.54 °C on the 11th of August, 2010 (T = 26.54 °C and TE = 73.08 °C). Since land cover type influences both moisture availability and temperature in the lower atmosphere, the research shows that TE is larger in areas with higher physical evaporation and transpiration rates. Results support the hypothesis that the influence of different weather types over a region is a likely cause of interannual variation in TE.


Climate | Geology | Geophysics and Seismology