Complex Multi-scale Flows and Atmospheric Boundary Layer Research

Improving the prediction of surface and near-surface weather conditions

Much of the effort put into improving NWP model forecasts focuses on the upper levels and precipitation prediction; however, most of human activity unfolds at the interface between the atmosphere and land or sea surface. While larger scale, upper level flows often represent the dominant forcing, details of processes that mediate interaction between land or sea and the atmosphere have a profound effect on weather and climate. Many of the applications therefore require highly accurate high-resolution forecasts of wind and temperature variables in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). In the past, details of processes in ABLs were often studied in isolation or through a weak coupling with the upper atmosphere. With development of “big data” and exascale computational capabilities, it will be possible to combine vast amounts of observations with high-resolution numerical simulations resulting in more accurate analysis and a  better understanding and forecasting of complex, multiscale flows in ABLs.

RAL is performing research to significantly advance our knowledge of complex multiscale flows, particularly in the atmospheric boundary layer, and develop new methods and techniques to more accurately characterize and model the boundary layer to improve the prediction of surface and near- surface weather conditions.


  • DOE Wind Program
  • Vaisala


Branko Kosovic

Director, Weather Systems Assessment Program