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By: Thirza van Laar, Tobias Marke
Date: 22.06.-23.06.2017
Locations: Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology - Cologne, RWTH Aachen

In the framework of the IRTG invited speaker program we were glad to invite Jordi Vila for a visit in Cologne and in Aachen during the TR32 General Meeting. Jordi is professor of Meteorology and Air Quality at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

At the Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research in Utrecht, Jordi did his PhD on the role of atmospheric turbulence on chemical reactions from 1989 to 1992. He then started to work with mesoscale models like WRF. Since 1999 Jordi works in the Meteorology and Air Quality section at Wageningen University, also as a lecturer for Bachelor, Master and PhD students.

His work focuses on Large-Eddy Simulations (LES) of boundary layer processes including clouds, mesoscale phenomena and the interactions between the land surface and the atmosphere. The scientific approach is to bridge different fields (chemistry, atmospheric dynamics, biology) to study these processes on different scales, based on simple conceptual models to complex LES and mesoscale models, which are also validated by field observations.

Event name: PhD Symposium on subsurface hydrology in land surface models
Event dates: 25th Nov. 2016
Event location: Forschungszentrum Jülich, Building 14.6, Room 241

Prof. Dr. Sascha Oswald and Dr. Rafael Rosolem were invited to give talks at the PhD Symposium of Roland Baatz on ‘Subsurface hydrology in land surface models’. The presentation stressed the relevance of field scale observations for improved understanding of land surface processes. The talks were introduced by Prof. Dr. Harrie-Jan Hendricks Franssen (FZ Jülich) head of the research group on ‘Stochastic analysis of terrestrial systems’.

Prof. Dr. Sascha Oswald is a full professor at the Institute for Earth and Environmental Sciences at University of Potsdam. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the ETH Zürich in 1999. After working as physicist at Colenco Power Engineering, research fellow at University of Sheffield, senior assistant at the Institute for Terrestrial Ecology at ETH Zürich, he became senior researcher at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Science, UFZ Leipzig, in 2004. From 2009 onwards, Sascha Oswald became Professor for Water and Matter Transport in Landscapes at the University of Potsdam.

Dr. Rafael Rosolem is Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering at the University of Bristol. He received his Ph.D. in Hydrology from the University of Arizona in 2010. He became research associate and research assistant Professor at the University of Arizona and worked on the COsmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System (COSMOS) project. From March 2013 onwards, Rafael Rosolem joined the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Bristol.

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Picture: Experimental design of our research plot in the Wüstebach catchment. Three spruce trees are equipped with dendrometers and sapflow sensors; soil moisture and micro-climate is observed on site.
Photo: Inken Rabbel 2016

On our research plots in and around the Wüstebach catchment, we combine dendro-ecological, climatological, and soil hydrological investigations to deepen our understanding of feedbacks within the forest soil-vegetation-atmosphere system. In this context, the simulation of eco-hydrological processes is of major interest. The research group around Dr. Gaby Deckmyn from Antwerp University has developed a model (ANAFORE) which operates from the leaf to the stand scale and calculates water fluxes and biomass accumulation in different time resolutions (Deckmyn et al. 2008). The main goal of my stay in Antwerp was to learn more about the ANAFORE model and to ask for scientific collaboration and technical assistance with the model.

During my first stay from June 13th-16th, I got an introduction into model structure, functioning and data requirements. It turned out that ANAFORE meets the requirements for the study I was interested in. Also, the data of the TR32 would be useful for further validation of the ANAFORE model so that collaborating would not only be fruitful for me, but also for the research group in Belgium. Between my first and second stay (June 28th to December 1st), I prepared the data and some simulation setups. In Antwerp, we discussed the different simulation approaches and adjusted the model according to our requirements. I also had the opportunity to give a seminar on the TR32 and my research within my sub-project (C1). The title of my talk was “Analyzing feedbacks in a forest soil-vegetation-atmosphere system”. For the next year, we planned to continue our collaboration and conduct a number of interesting simulation experiments.

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Picture: Analysing modelling results


Terrestrial Modelling and High-Performance Scientific Computing
October 10-14, 2016, Bonn

The Fall School Terrestrial Modelling and High-Performance Scientific Computing, which I attended in October, was organized by the Center for High-Performance Scientific Computing in Terrestrial Systems (HPSC TerrSys) and supported by the Geoverbund ABC/J.

We started the week with three interesting key note talks on applications of high performance computing in hydrology, climate science and georesources. This was followed by hands-on exercises, which were continued on Tuesday by setting up a coupled model of the terrestrial system (soil, land surface and atmosphere) with ParFlow, CLM and COSMO. The exercise included the whole process from compiling, preparing the input data and running the model to analysing and discussing the modelling results. Throughout the week lectures by experts and hands-on sessions were well mixed, which made understanding and remembering the content of the lectures easy, as well as kept concentration up.

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Picture: Roof of the FMI building with main instrument of the project as an example (HALO Doppler Wind Lidar, red circle).  

Finnish Meteorology Institute (FMI)
University of Helsinki, Finland

This one week visit at the FMI in Helsinki served as a follow up of Antti Manninen's visit to Cologne in November 2015 and is part of an international co-operation led by Ewan O'Connor of FMI. The project deals with the classification of the cloudy boundary layer and the identification of turbulence processes and their origin based on Doppler wind LIDAR observations.

The main objective for the week was the implementation of a Low Level Jet (LLJ) classification into the already established boundary layer (BL) classification, in order to investigate connections between LLJ and turbulence in the atmospheric BL. The criteria of the LLJ classification, which can be found in Tuononen et al. 2015, consist of an absolute and relative threshold to find local maxima in the wind speed profile. Since the LLJ classification will be applied to several sites including a continental mid-latitude site (FZJ Jülich - JOYCE, Germany) and a high latitude coastal region (Hyytiälä, Finland), differences in the frequency and diurnal/seasonal cycle can be identified when applying the classification to a long term data set.

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Alpbach Participants 2016

Photo: © 2016 MA Jakob AT/40. Summer School Alpbach 2016-FFG.


Summer School Alpbach 2016 - Satellite Observations of the Global Water Cycle - 12.-21. July 2016

The Summer School Alpbach has a long tradition in education of space science and technology, but the specific topics differ from year to year. This time, after 5 years of topics like planetary research or fundamental physics, an earth observation topic was offered that focused on the global water cycle. I applied and was among 58 students from all over Europe that participated in the summer school. German students selected for participation received a scholarship by DLR for their stay in Alpbach.

The concept of the summer school is special, so some of the students had an engineering and others a scientific background. This is due to the character of the summer school that consists not only of lectures but also of workshops, in which four different student teams compete in developing a space mission concept that is evaluated on the last day by an expert jury. Each team consists of about 15 students and has two team tutors. Additionally there are roving tutors and lecturers that support each team with their expert knowledge.

For further information, please contact:


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Nadine Horst
(geb. Heinrichs)

IRTG Coordinator

University of Cologne
Institute for
Geophysics and Meteorology

D-50923 Cologne
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  +49 (0)221 470 1629
+49 (0)221 470 5161
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