Working group "Land Surfaces and Boundary Layer", interim leader Dr. Jan Handwerker



The group Land Surfaces and Boundary Layer exists since 1985 at the Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research. The focus of the group is:


  • the interaction of land surface and atmosphere on different scales,
  • mesoscale wind systems and regional climate, and
  • the dispersion of trace gases in mesoscale range
  • determination of water in soil and snow for meteorological evaluation,
  • development of aquametric measuring methods in different mixtures,
  • design and test of instruments,
  • introduction and presentation of aquametry in the new defined part of the meteorology and
  • representation of the aquametry in subsurface sensing.


Goals are to attain a better understanding of the atmospheric processes and to contribute to verification and improvement of mesoscale models. Measuring systems range from surface stations and balloon carried equipment over remote sensing methods to airborne measuring devices. Another goal of the group is excellent measurement accuracy on large surfaces and in different materials.

Most of the human life takes place in the 1 to 2 km thick atmospheric boundary layer, which thereby attains eminent importance. The condition of the boundary layer is defined, besides the synoptical influences, through the energy conversion at the earth surface. Regional differences in the energy conversion result from regional differences in the land surface characteristics (land use, terrain). This leads to:


  • the formation of regional wind regimes, e.g. mountain and valley winds or land and sea winds – thus wind regimes, which are of essential importance for the transport characteristics in the boundary layer,
  • different height expansions of the boundary layer and to a different vertical mixing ratio of trace gases, and
  • differences in regional climate.


Aim of the work is the quantitative description of relevant climate processes, to be able to describe the parameterisation of the energy conversion processes at the earth surface, the turbulence in the atmospheric boundary layer and in the free troposphere correctly.

Field experiments using different measuring systems thereby serve to gain adequate data sets for the comparison and improvement of mesoscale models.
If you wish further information please refer to our publications (papers, posters) and our dissertations or contact us directly (team).