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Planetary boundary layers - theory, modelling and role in Earth systems


Further improvement of coupled atmosphere-hydrosphere general circulation models (GCMs) and numerical weather prediction (NWP) is restrained because air-sea/land interactions schemes based on planetary boundary layer (PBL) theories are insufficiently advanced.

Traditional schemes were derived assuming steady state, horizontally homogeneous regimes with not too strong stratification. This was acceptable for low-resolution GCMs of the day. Now the contrast between modern vistas of PBL physics and limited applicability of current PBL schemes became unacceptable.

The objectives of this project are
- To summarise modern knowledge and to further develop the PBL theory responding to modern demands from very high resolution GCMs and NWP,
- To create new course and textbook,
- To disseminate new knowledge through lecturing, thesis co-supervision and scientific advice.

The project includes multidisciplinary researches involving many groups across Europe and beyond:
- Non-local theory of PBLs in the Earth's an d planetary atmospheres and hydrosphere: turbulence and internal waves in long-lived stable PBLs; ventilation effects of turbulent entailment; enhanced mixing and other effects of semi-organised eddies in convective PBLs;
- Advanced theory of local airflow patterns caused by contrasting landscapes - with application to modelling of air-land interactions over complex, vegetated and urban surfaces;
- Improved parameterisation of energy and matter exchanges between the air and water PBLs - with application to modelling of coastal up-welling and water ecosystems.

The educational deliverables are
- new textbook "PBLs - theory, modelling and role in Earth systems";
- new PhD course on PBLs presented at U-Helsinki;
- two summer schools on air-land/se a interactions;
- co-supervision / scientific advice for more than 20 PhD programmes related to PBL physics and its application.

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call


Yliopistonkatu 4
University Of Helsinki