University of Colorado at Boulder

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Faculty | Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies

Peter Blanken

Climatology;  Biometeorology

Professor of Geography 

Physical Geography
Faculty of ENVS
Faculty of Hydrologic Sciences
303-492-5388 Gugg 201b  
Ph.D. University of British Columbia, 1997

Research Interests

My overall research objective is to understand how the physical processes regulating water and carbon cycling at the Earth's surface are affected by environmental changes. I study a variety of ecosystems including lakes, wetlands, alpine tundra, forest, and grasslands. My research is based on observations made at each location using a variety of instruments, and I often use models and remote sensing to help interpret the measurements.

Selected Publications

Knowles, J.F., Blanken, P.D., Williams, M.W., and Chowanski, K.M. (2012). Energy and surface moisture seasonally limit evaporation and sublimation from snow-free alpine tundra. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 157, 106-115.

Blanken, P.D., Spence, C., Hedstrom, N., and Lenters, J. (2011). Evaporation from Lake Superior: 1. Physical controls and processes. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 37(4), 707-716.

Liu, H., Blanken, P.D., Weidinger, T., Nordbo, A., and Vesala, T. (2011). Variability in cold front activities modulating cool-season evaporation from a southern inland water in the USA. Environmental Research Letters, 6(2). DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/6/2/024022

Petchprayoon, P., Blanken, P.D., Ekkawatpanit, C., and Hussein, K. (2010). Hydrological impacts of land use/land cover change in a large river basin in central-northern Thailand. International Journal of Climatology, 30(13), 1917-1930. DOI:10.1002/joc.2131

Alfieri, J.G., Blanken, P.D., Smith, D. and Morgan, J.A. (2009). Concerning the measurement and magnitude of heat, water vapor and carbon dioxide exchange from a semiarid grassland. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 48(5), 982-996.

Publications updated February 2012

Labs & Facilities

CU Mountain Research Station

The Mountain Research Station (MRS), directed by Bill Bowman, is an interdisciplinary research facility of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, devoted to advancement...

Recent Courses Include

Spring 2017  GEOG 3601 (3) Principles of Climate

Fall 2016  GEOG 3930/5930 (3) Internship

Fall 2016  GEOG 4201 (3) Biometeorology

Spring 2016  GEOG 3601 (3) Principles of Climate

Spring 2016  GEOG 5100-006 (3) Special Topics: Advanced Topics in Biometeorology

Graduate Students

Subalpine Forest Carbon and Water Cycling
Biometerology, Land-Atmosphere Interactions
Climate change, carbon flux, micrometeorology and instrumentation
M.A. Alumni
A climatological study of the relationship between alpine treeline and thermally-driven upslope winds on Niwot Ridge, Colorado
M.A. Alumni
Meteorological Controls on the Seasonal Exchange of Water and Carbon Dioxide from High-Elevation Alpine Tundra at Niwot Ridge, Colorado
Ph.D. Alumni
Spacio-temporal patterns of soil respiration and the age of respired carbon from high-elevataion alpine tundra.
Ph.D. Alumni
Social, Demographic and Environmental Influences on Perceptions and Memories of Weather, Climate and Climate Change
Ph.D. Alumni
The estimation of the surface energy balance of the North American Laurentian Great Lakes using satellite remote sensing and Merra reanalysis
Ph.D. Alumni
Analysis of Climate Change Impacts on the Surface Energy Balance of Lake Huron. (Estimation of Surface Energy Balance Components: Remote Sensing Approach for Water - Atmosphere Parameterizations)

More Info

In addition to process-based field studies, I am also interested in how and why people recall and perceive past meteorological events. For example, how do people's recollection of climate compare to the actual observations, and what affects the accuracy and reliability of their climate memory? I'm also interested in how class size (enrollment) affects both teaching quality and students' inclass performance. I investigate this through statistical analysis of class evaluations, and surveys/interviews with faculty and students.