Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: NS-MO412M
Boundary layers, transport and mixing
Course infoSchedule
Course codeNS-MO412M
ECTS Credits7.5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Science; Graduate School of Natural Sciences;
Contact persondr. S.R.M. Ligtenberg
prof. dr. M.R. van den Broeke
Feedback and availability
Other courses by this lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. S.R.M. Ligtenberg
Other courses by this lecturer
dr. S.R.M. Ligtenberg
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
4  (24/04/2017 to 07/07/2017)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slotD: WED-afternoon, Friday
Study mode
Enrolment periodfrom 30/01/2017 up to and including 26/02/2017
Course application processOsiris
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesYes
Post-registration openfrom 03/04/2017 up to and including 04/04/2017
Waiting listNo
Course placement processniet van toepassing
The student
  1. Is acquainted with the overall characteristics of the atmospheric boundary layers (ABL), i.e. unstable (convective, mixed) ABL and stable (nocturnal) ABL
  2. Recognises the various physical mechanisms that define the ABL, i.e. the layer in which the exchange of heat, moisture and momentum with the surface of the Earth occurs at short (sub-daily) time scales
  3. Is acquainted with the various statistical terms used in the description of turbulence (variance, covariance, correlation, standard deviation) and the definition of turbulent fluxes (kinematic and dynamic)
  4. Is acquainted with physical mechanisms that generate turbulence near the surface of the Earth (wind shear and buoyancy), and can apply that to the everyday meteorological situation
  5. Is able to derive and mathematically manipulate simple theoretical models of the katabatic and convective boundary layer.
  6. Is able to use the techniques introduced under point (3) to analyse the zonal mean meridional transport of heat, momentum and water vapour due to large scale eddies or planetary waves.
  7. Is acquainted with the quasi-geostrophic theory of (a) the vertical propagation of planetary waves into the stratosphere, (b) the interaction of planetary waves with the zonal mean flow in the atmosphere, (c) the mechanism driving the meridional transport of mass in the stratosphere
  8. Has an overview of the components of the water cycle (transport of water vapour in the atmosphere, phase transitions, i.e. evaporation, condensation and clouds), and their role in the energy budget of the climate system
  9. Is familiar with the “PV-theta view” of the atmosphere and can use this theoretical framework to understand how radiative flux divergence, latent heat release in the tropical atmosphere and transport and mixing of potential vorticity (substance) interact to produce the jets and the extra-tropical tropopause
  10. Is able to interpret reanalyses of observations, using the Python programming language (or MATLAB), and report on the results.
This course consists of two parts.
The first part of the course is concerned with the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL), roughly the lowest 10% (~1 km) of the atmosphere. The ABL is defined as the air layer which exchanges momentum, heat and moisture with the surface of the Earth at short (~ 1 hr) timescales. We will discuss the average nature of this turbulent exchange and how it can be expressed in terms of the mean quantities (closure). We will discuss surface exchange processes (sensible and latent heat, friction) and how this influences the ABL structure. We discuss various ABL types (convective, stable, neutral) and also the katabatic boundary layer that is often observed over ice sheets and glaciers.
The second part of the course is concerned with the question how radiative processes, the transport of water (vapour), the energetics of the water cycle and large scale mixing of potential vorticity by planetary waves determine the seasonal cycle of temperature, wind, including the the tropopause and the jets, on a global scale in the atmosphere.
Entry requirements
You must meet the following requirements
  • Assigned study entrance permit for the master
Prerequisite knowledge
Knowledge of dynamical meteorology and/or geophysical fluid dynamics is an advantage
Required materials
Recommended materials
Lecture notes and other documentation will be made available electronically
Geen software nodig
Instructional formats

Test weight100
Minimum grade6

Mid-term exam 40%; Hand-in exercises 50%; Essay 10%

Kies de Nederlandse taal