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1. Course title

Rajakerroksen fysiikka I
Gränsskiktets fysik I
Boundary Layer Physics I


2. Course code


Aikaisemmat leikkaavat opintojaksot 53646 Rajakerroksen fysiikka I, 5 op

3. Course status: compulsory

-Which degree programme is responsible for the course?
Master's Programme in Atmospheric Sciences

-Which module does the course belong to?
ATM300 Advanced Studies in Atmospheric Sciences (compulsory for Study Track in Meteorology)

-Is the course available to students from other degree programmes?

4. Course level (first-, second-, third-cycle/EQF levels 6, 7 and 8)

Master’s level, degree programmes in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine = secondcycle
degree/EQF level 7
Doctoral level = third-cycle (doctoral) degree/EQF level 8

-Does the course belong to basic, intermediate or advanced studies (cf. Government Decree
on University Degrees)?
Advanced studies

5. Recommended time/stage of studies for completion

Early phase of the studies.

6. Term/teaching period when the course will be offered

The course will be lectured every year in the I period.

7. Scope of the course in credits

5 cr

8. Teacher coordinating the course

Leena Järvi, PhD

9. Course learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student should be able to

  • describe the governing equations in the planetary boundary layer and how to they can be approximated
  • explain the structure as well as the annual and diurnal behavior of the planetary boundary layer
  • understand the most important boundary layer theories and their limitations including K-theory, Kolmogorov theory and Monin-Obukhov similarity theory
  • describe how planetary boundary layer is described in atmospheric models
  • understand basics of pollutant dispersion in the boundary layer
  • apply the boundary layer theories in practise

10. Course completion methods

The course will consists of lectures and exercises, and at the end of the course there will either be an exam or groupwork. 

11. Prerequisites

Knowledge of basic thermodynamic and dynamical laws governing the behaviour of the atmosphere from the BSc level courses FYS2032 Atmospheric thermodynamics and FYS2033 Introduction to Atmospheric flow dynamics.

12. Recommended optional studies

Mesoscale Meteorology (ATM351) is a logical next course. This course also gives good basics for courses Field Course in Micrometeorology and Hydrology (ATM321), Theory of Micrometeorological Flux Measurements (ATM331) and Terrestrial water, carbon and nitrogen cycles (ATM332).

13. Course content

  • Definition of the planetary boundary layer and its properties
  • The structure of the boundary layer: surface layer, constant flux layer and Ekman layer
  • Governing equations in the planetary boundary layer
  • Reynolds decomposition
  • Closure problem of the governing equations
  • K-theory
  • Monin-Obukhov similarity theory
  • Taylor's hypothesis
  • Turbulence spectra and the Kolmogorov theory
  • Examples on how to apply boundary layer theories in practice
  • Impact of surface roughness on the boundary layer, and vertical profiles of wind, temperature and different scalars
  • Different methods to determine atmospheric stability and its annual and diurnal cycles
  • Description of near neutral, convective and stable boundary layer
  • Basics for the interaction between Earth's surface and the atmosphere 
  • Description on how the planetary boundary layer is described in atmospheric models
  • Pollutant dispersion in the boundary layer

14. Recommended and required literature

The course will use the textbook "An Introduction to Boundary Layer Meteorology"  by Stull 1988. Published by the Kluwer Academic Publishers.

15. Activities and teaching methods in support of learning

Weekly lectures and exercises sessions. Practical examples of boundary layer theories.

16. Assessment practices and criteria, grading scale

To pass the course, the students need to do 1/3rd of the exercises.

The exercises will contribute to 25% of the overall grade. The rest 75% will be determined by either final exam or group work.

17. Teaching language



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