Current Challenges in Understanding and Forecasting Stable Boundary Layers over Land and Ice

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Understanding and prediction of the stable atmospheric boundary layer is challenging. Many physical processes come into play in the stable boundary layer (SBL), i.e., turbulence, radiation, land surface coupling and heterogeneity, orographic turbulent and gravity wave drag (GWD). The development of robust stable boundary-layer parameterizations for weather and climate models is difficult because of the multiplicity of processes and their complex interactions. As a result, these models suffer from biases in key variables, such as the 2-m temperature, boundary-layer depth and wind speed. This short paper briefly summarizes the state-of-the-art of SBL research, and highlights physical processes that received only limited attention so far, in particular orographically-induced GWD, longwave radiation divergence, and the land-atmosphere coupling over a snow-covered surface. Finally, a conceptual framework with relevant processes and particularly their interactions is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Environmental Science
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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