Physics & Chemistry

Bowen ratio

June 9, 2012, 10:38 pm

The Bowen ratio is the ratio of the amount of sensible to that of latent heat lost by a surface to the Earth's atmosphere by the processes of heat conduction and atmospheric turbulence. Harald Sverdrup coined the term Bowen ratio for Ira Sprague Bowen (1898–1973), an astrophysicist; Bowen's theoretical work on evaporation from surface water bodies to the atmosphere first made first use of it, and the ratio is utilised most commonly in the fields of meteorology and hydrology.

This article is written at a definitional level only. Authors wishing to expand this entry are inivited to expand the present treatment, which additions will be peer reviewed prior to publication of any expansion.

Further reading

  • Physical Oceanography Index
  • B. B. Hicks and G. D. Hess. 1977. On the Bowen ratio and surface temperature at sea. JPO, 7:141–145.
  • J. M. Lewis. 1995. The story behind the Bowen ratio. Bull. Am. Meteor. Soc., 76:2433–2443.


Baum, S. (2012). Bowen ratio. Retrieved from


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