Areas of Concentration and Lines of Research


Areas of Concentration

The Graduate Program in Applied Meteorology offers training in three areas of concentration: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Natural Ecosystem Meteorology and Applied Climatology. The distribution of the Graduate Program in these three areas of concentration aims to investigate not only the response of natural and managed ecosystems to meteorological conditions, but also diverse applications from climatology to water resources, land use and the reverse effect of agriculture on climate.

Students who choose to concentrate their training in the area of ​​Agricultural and Forest Meteorology will be trained in the study of the micrometeorological characteristics associated to the diverse crops, pastures and planted forests, and the response of ecosystems to meteorological conditions, including the physiological effect that the increase in CO2 concentration would have not only on agricultural productivity of crops and forest species but also weed plants. These studies are conducted through observational field techniques, remote sensing and modeling.

Those students who concentrate their training in the area of ​​Meteorology of Natural Ecosystems will be trained in the aspects of the interrelationship between meteorology and the structure and functioning of native forests and other natural ecosystems. Efforts are concentrated on relevant scientific research for studies on the composition, structure and functioning of natural ecosystems, their relationship with climate variability and climate change, at various time scales. The use of theoretical models, field experiments and remote sensing are tools used to understand the complex system of interaction between vegetation and atmosphere, its radiative and turbulent properties, since the microscale to global scale. Typical topics include ecosystem micrometeorology (radiation and energy balance, turbulence, evapotranspiration, trace gas flows), micrometeorological instrumentation (gas sensors, flow measurement instruments, radiation measurement techniques), determination of radiometric properties canopy, relationships between fires and atmospheric conditions, and modeling of the structure and functioning of natural ecosystems as a function of climate.

In turn, students who opt for Applied Climatology will be trained in the physical and statistical aspects of the climate system and the interactions between climate and spatial patterns of land use. Knowledge of climatic conditions is important for the study of natural and agricultural ecosystems as for studying the response of plants to atmospheric conditions. In this context, it is fundamental to study in depth the characteristics of the climate in a given region and which agricultural crops, forest or native species are suitable for the climate of that region. On the other hand, given that the scenario of global climate change is considered inevitable by many scientists, agricultural activities, forestry and the dynamics of natural ecosystems could be very different in these conditions. New areas may be added or removed from the productive process of certain species, considerably modifying the geography of Brazil’s agricultural and forestry production, just as the biogeography of natural ecosystems itself can also be altered. The techniques used include statistical analysis of time series, numerical modeling and use of remote sensing and geographic information systems.

Lines of Research

Within each area of concentration, students can develop a dissertation or thesis, depending on case, on several lines of research, distributed as follows:

Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

Modeling of Agricultural and Forest Systems

Meteorology of Natural Ecosystems

Micrometeorology of Ecosystems
Modeling of Biosphere-Atmosphere Interaction

Applied Climatology

Climate and Land Use
Climate Changes


Agrometeorology seeks to provide professionals of area and farmers in general with useful information aiming to maximize agroforestry productivity and reduce losses caused by weather conditions. Agrometeorology studies the interaction between meteorological conditions and their impacts on the productive chain of the agricultural system. Agrometeorological information enables farmers to save water and energy, thus making agriculture an environmentally correct, sustainable and increasingly profitable activity. This line aims to:
– determine the response of plant growth to climate and CO2 emissions, including crop forecast.
– study techniques to determine the evapotranspiration of agricultural crops in field and climatized environments.

Modeling of Agricultural and Forest Systems

Efforts have been concentrated on relevant scientific research addressing practical problems in the field of ecosystems modified by men for agriculture and forestry and their relation to variability and climate change, at various time scales. The use of computer models associated with experimental data is one of the main tools for understanding plant response to atmospheric conditions and for conducting studies on future scenarios. This line of research aims to:
– Develop and test models which simulate the response of crops and planted forests to atmospheric conditions.
– Use agricultural and forestry system models in study of future scenarios of national agriculture and forestry.

Micrometeorology of Ecosystems

Micrometeorology of ecosystems studies the interrelationship between the atmosphere and natural ecosystems. Property changes between vegetation and atmosphere occur at minute time scales, and can affect the atmosphere not only on a short-term time scale, but even on an interdecadal scale. As a result, several experiments, such as HAPEX / MOBILHY, FIFE and BOREAS, were set up to characterize the micrometeorological conditions of various world ecosystems. In Brazil, experiments such as ABRACOS and LBA had aim to achieve this characterization for the Amazon rainforest. However, there are several Brazilian ecosystems still uncharacterized whose significance in time and climate are yet to be defined. This line aims to:
– To characterize different ecosystems, mainly Brazilian, for the flow of energy, momentum, water and carbon between the vegetated surface and the atmosphere, through field experiments.

Modeling of Biosphere-Atmosphere Interaction

Given the great importance of surface processes, especially flows of energy, mass and momentum in the interaction with the planetary boundary layer, formation of cumulus clouds and development of mesoscale systems, this line of research aims to develop and test models of superficial micrometeorological processes that simulate the interaction between the atmosphere and the biosphere. In addition to the understanding of the relationship between the phenological cycle and the dynamics of water vapor, carbon and energy in these ecosystems, the observational data can be used in the calibration of biosphere-atmosphere coupled models to study the impact of different types of soil-vegetation systems on the numerical simulation of the atmosphere. This line of research uses modeling techniques aiming to:
– Understand the physical, chemical and biological processes by which ecosystems affect and are affected by climate.
– Properly parameterize the biogeophysical characteristics of the vegetation and the physical and water properties of the soil, in order to correctly and comprehensively represent the processes of energy and mass transfer that determine the functioning of ecosystems.
– Investigate the influence of environmental factors directly involved in the complexity of plant behavior, especially plant composition and structure.

Climate and Use of the Land

This line of research brings together diverse perspectives to help identify and support land use policies and practices to mitigate the effects of climate change on land use and vice-versa, including the different uses of technology that affect land use. Other interactions between climate, vegetation fragmentation and occurrence of fires are also addressed. The resulting research and outputs provide support for decision-makers, managers and general public for the management of natural resources. This line aims to:
– study how climate leads to changes in land use and vice versa.
– study how changes in land use contribute to global warming.


In tropical regions, rainfall is the most important climate element for agricultural and forestry productivity. In addition, important changes in the composition, structure and functioning of natural ecosystems can occur in extreme hydroclimatic events. The study of the characteristics of the rainy season, dry periods, summer and other hydroclimatic anomalies and their interannual, interdecadal and long-term variability is fundamental for understanding the risks of agricultural and forestry activity in non-irrigated crops. This research line aims to:
– perform physical and statistical studies on the hydroclimatic system.
– study the inter-annual, interdecadal and long-term variability of the various components of the hydrological cycle.
– study the effects of environmental changes, such as increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and changes in land use on the hydrological components of the climate of a given region.

Climate Changes

Global changes result from the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the large-scale changes in land use. It is vital to assess the consequences of global climate change on ecosystem functioning and agricultural and forestry productivity and provide useful knowledge for the development of sustainable agriculture adapted to future climate scenarios, with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This line of research aims to:
– Assess the impact of climate change on agricultural and forestry activities in general, aiming at the development of alternatives to adapt these activities to future climate scenarios.
– Find solutions to reduce the emissions from agricultural and forestry activities in order to mitigate the rising of the planet temperature and control climate change.
– Assess impacts of possible future climates on biota, based on the understanding of past and current climate behavior.


Programa de Pós-Graduação em Meteorologia Aplicada
Departamento de Engenharia Agrícola – Sala 107
Universidade Federal de Viçosa
36570-900 – Viçosa – MG
Fone: +55 31 3612 4006, 3612 4001 and 3612 4002

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