Following the water cycle to evaluate and improve the representation of atmospheric boundary layer and interfacial processes in global models and datasets

Department of Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences
Weekly Colloquium
Thursday, April 4, 2019
4:00 pm in Harvill Building Room 101 ~ Refreshments at 3:45 pm
Michael A. Brunke

 Research Scientist

Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences (HAS)

The University of Arizona


The atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) is the layer in direct contact with the Earth’s surface.  It is characterized by turbulent eddies that are driven by interactions between the atmosphere and the surface.  These processes cannot be directly simulated by coarse resolution global climate models (GCMs) and Earth system models (ESMs) or even finer resolution regional climate models (RCMs).  Such processes are modeled by parameterizations that utilize empirical relationships to relate the effects of boundary layer and interfacial processes to the directly modeled large-scale quantities.  Global datasets can be used to validate these model parameterizations, but these also have uncertainties.  For instance, reanalyses, observationally constrained model output, are often used, but with no observations to constrain the model values for these processes, they are completely model-derived and as uncertain as the GCM and ESM output they are being compared to.  A focus of many interfacial and boundary layer processes involve water from surface evaporation to transport and condensation into clouds.  This presentation will highlight some of my recent work in evaluating ABL processes and land-atmosphere-ocean interactions in RCMs, GCMs, ESMs, and global datasets encircling the hydrological cycle from ocean to atmosphere to land, aiding in the improvement of the representation of such processes in models.


Michael A. Brunke is a Research Scientist in the Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences Department at The University of Arizona.  He has been with The University for over 20 years getting an M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences in 2000 and 2015, respectively.  His research focuses on the relevance of atmosphere-ocean-land interfacial and atmospheric boundary layer processes to climate and their evaluation and improvement in climate and Earth system models.