Mathias Rotach (Universität Innsbruck)
Exchange of mass, momentum and energy between mountainous terrain and the atmosphere
Due to technological and scientific progress, physical scales (time and space) that can, in principle, be treated are getting smaller (better numerical resolution, surface based remote sensing, more satellite programs at better spatial resolution). Hence, we begin to be able to observe and model in a physically consistent manner what traditionally is called ‘earth-atmosphere exchange’, i.e., the coupling between the surface and the atmosphere – even over complex mountainous terrain. While this task over flat terrain essentially corresponds to using concepts of boundary layer meteorology, it includes processes at distinctly different scales (from synoptic and meso-scale to the local boundary layer and near-surface micro-scales), as well as their interactions over mountainous terrain.
In this seminar, some of the activities at the University of Innsbruck (Dynamic Meteorology) dealing with Earth-atmosphere exchange over mountainous terrain are presented. In particular, the ‘i-Box’ (Innsbruck Box), its research incentives and first results from this program are presented. An outlook on a potential new international initiative to address the scientific questions raised by i-Box through a larger community and in more general terms will round off the presentation.