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Specialisation Module: Atmospheric Boundary Layer
Identification number


180 h


1st - 3rd Semester
Offered Every



1 semester
1 Course types
a) Lecture
b) Exercise
Contact time
45 h
30 h
Private study
45 h
60 h
2 Module objectives and skills to be acquired

To create understanding of:
  • the atmospheric boundary layer and its role in weather and climate;
  • turbulent and convective flow;
  • the turbulent kinetic energy budget and its use in determining atmospheric stability;
  • the interaction between the atmospheric boundary layer and the Earth’s surface;
  • the closure problem and associated parameterization techniques;
  • boundary layer clouds
Acquired skills:
  • Describing turbulent flow using perturbed prognostic equations
  • Reynolds averaging
  • Stability analysis using the dimensionless Richardson number and Obukhov length
  • Parameterization of turbulent fluxes using K-theory
  • Applying similarity theory to interpret measurements
  • Experience with and interpretation of the bulk mixed-layer model
  • Programming experience and presentation skills
  • Interpretation of measurements of boundary-layer processes
3 Module content
  • Definition of the atmospheric boundary layer
  • Mathematical tools (statistics)
  • Governing equations of turbulent flows
  • Prognostic equations for turbulent fluxes and variances
  • Turbulent kinetic energy, stability and scaling
  • Turbulence closure techniques
  • Boundary conditions and external forcings
  • Mathematical tools (time series analysis)
  • Similarity theory
  • Measurement and simulation
  • The convective mixed layer
  • Stable boundary layer
  • Boundary layer clouds
4 Teaching methods

Lectures and exercises. In addition, a one-day excursion to the JOYCE observational site will be organized to perform and interpret measurements of boundary-layer processes (attendance recommended)
5 Prerequisites (for the module)

Formal: None.
The content of the course requires the undergraduate knowledge of vector calculus, linear algebra, tensor notation, and the governing equations of atmospheric flow.
6 Type of examination

At the beginning of the lecture-free period, there is a 120 to 180-minute written examination, the content of which is the material from the lecture and exercises. Successful completion of the exercises is required for admission to the examination; for this, the acquisition of 50% of the points to be achieved is sufficient. A repeat examination is offered before or at the beginning of the following semester.
The examination grade is the module grade. In the case of two passed examinations (see § 20 paragraph 10 examination regulations), the better grade is the module grade.
7 Credits awarded

The module is passed, and the credit points will be awarded, if the written examination is passed.
8 Compatibility with other curricula

Suitable as an elective course for physics students.
9 Proportion of final grade

Weight of the module grade in the overall grade: 6/150 (4 %)
10 Module coordinator

Roel Neggers
11 Further information

Version: 2023-03-23