Land-atmosphere interactions

Understanding land-atmospheric interactions is of fundamental importance to weather and climate prediction. The land properties are often highly heterogeneous, such as the surface sensible heat (SH) and latent heat (LH) distributions as shown in the images above. These heterogeneous land properties in turn impact the properties of the atmospheric turbulence. But how do they impact it? At what scales is it impacted? How does coupling between the land and atmosphere impact the influence of heterogeneity? 

The heterogeneity occurs on scales smaller than those resolved by Earth System Models and therefore must be modeled by the sub-grid closure approximations. We are currently working on efficient models that capture the impact of land heterogeneity on land-atmosphere interactions.

A representative publication on this work is:

J.S. Simon, A.D. Bragg, P.D. Dirmeyer, N.W. Chaney, Semi-coupling of a Field-scale Resolving Land-surface Model and WRF-LES to Investigate the Influence of Land-surface Heterogeneity on Cloud Development, JAMES, under review (

This work is done in collaboration with Prof. Nate Chaney at Duke University as part of the "CLASP" project ( which is funded by NOAA.