Contact Details:


Prof Michael Savage


University of KwaZulu-Natal


Private Bag X01



South Africa



Tel/Fax: +27 (0)33 2605514

Main Research Areas

Research is conducted in a number of key water areas: soil and crop modelling including investigating impacts and aspects of climate change, micrometeorology, energy balance studies, soil and plant water, evaporation, agrometeorology, open–water evaporation.


Our aim has been to establish a sound scientific base for improved water resource management and micrometeorological research in southern Africa through:

  • an understanding of the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum and how it is affected by different forms of    land–use;
  • providing opportunities for training and development of competencies in this field of expertise;
  • providing a vehicle for issue driven, integrated research in this area of research;
  • ensuring co–ordination and use of the existing scarce human resources and equipment in this field;
  • establishing industrial and international contacts.


UKZN is an internationally acknowledged leader in multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral water research. Water-related research is undertaken in several faculties and University-based projects and research programmes.


The soil-plant-atmosphere continuum research, led by Professor Michael Savage, has specialised in micrometeorology and agrometeorology (plant-water and soil-water relations).  The major research thrust has been in the investigation of the balance of energy above various surfaces. This internationally-recognised research emphasises the use of various methods for the measurement of evaporation, sensible heat and, more recently, carbon dioxide fluxes above surfaces. Most of this research is funded by the Water Research Commission. The agrometeorological techniques used and research programmes include: evaporation measurement studies, fire ecology, eddy covariance research, surface layer scintillometer research, Bowen ratio research, surface renewal research, the impact of global climate change on maize grain yields, research on systems for the measurement and modelling of surface energy and water transport and radiation in the soil-plant-atmosphere system as well as in-service training programmes.


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