Microscale meteorology

Microscale meteorology

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Microscale meteorology is the study of short-lived atmospheric
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

 phenomena smaller than mesoscale
Mesoscale meteorology
Mesoscale meteorology is the study of weather systems smaller than synoptic scale systems but larger than microscale and storm-scale cumulus systems. Horizontal dimensions generally range from around 5 kilometers to several hundred kilometers...

, about 1 km or less. These two branches of meteorology
Meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

 are sometimes grouped together as "mesoscale and microscale meteorology" (MMM) and together study all phenomena smaller than synoptic scale
Synoptic scale meteorology
The synoptic scale in meteorology is a horizontal length scale of the order of 1000 kilometres or more. This corresponds to a horizontal scale typical of mid-latitude depressions...

; that is they study features generally too small to be depicted on a weather map
Weather map
A weather map displays various meteorological features across a particular area at a particular point in time. Such maps have been in use since the mid-19th century and are used for research and weather forecasting purposes. Maps using isotherms show temperature gradients, which can help locate...

. These include small and generally fleeting cloud "puffs" and other small cloud features.
Microscale meteorology controls the most important mixing and dilution processes in the atmosphere. Important topics in microscale meteorlogy include heat transfer
Heat transfer
Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the exchange of thermal energy from one physical system to another. Heat transfer is classified into various mechanisms, such as heat conduction, convection, thermal radiation, and phase-change transfer...

 and gas exchange
Gas exchange
Gas exchange is a process in biology where gases contained in an organism and atmosphere transfer or exchange. In human gas-exchange, gases contained in the blood of human bodies exchange with gases contained in the atmosphere. Human gas-exchange occurs in the lungs...

 between soil, vegetation, and/or surface water and the atmosphere caused by near-ground turbulence
Turbulence
In fluid dynamics, turbulence or turbulent flow is a flow regime characterized by chaotic and stochastic property changes. This includes low momentum diffusion, high momentum convection, and rapid variation of pressure and velocity in space and time...

. Measuring these transport processes involves use of micrometeorological (or flux) towers. Variables often measured or derived include net radiation
Electromagnetic radiation
Electromagnetic radiation is a form of energy that exhibits wave-like behavior as it travels through space...

, sensible heat
Sensible heat
Sensible heat is the energy exchanged by a thermodynamic system that has as its sole effect a change of temperature.The term is used in contrast to a latent heat, which is the amount of energy exchanged that is hidden, meaning it cannot be observed as a change of temperature...

 flux, latent heat flux, ground heat storage, and fluxes of trace gases important to the atmosphere
Atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

, biosphere
Biosphere
The biosphere is the global sum of all ecosystems. It can also be called the zone of life on Earth, a closed and self-regulating system...

, and hydrosphere
Hydrosphere
A hydrosphere in physical geography describes the combined mass of water found on, under, and over the surface of a planet....

.

See also

  • Eddy covariance
    Eddy covariance
    The eddy covariance technique is a key atmospheric flux measurement technique to measure and calculate vertical turbulent fluxes within atmospheric boundary layers...

  • FluxNet
    FluxNet
    FluxNet is a global network of micrometeorological tower sites that use eddy covariance methods to measure the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and energy between the biosphere and atmosphere. Fluxnet is a global 'network of regional networks' that serves to provide an infrastructure to...

  • Synoptic scale meteorology
    Synoptic scale meteorology
    The synoptic scale in meteorology is a horizontal length scale of the order of 1000 kilometres or more. This corresponds to a horizontal scale typical of mid-latitude depressions...

  • Mesoscale meteorology
    Mesoscale meteorology
    Mesoscale meteorology is the study of weather systems smaller than synoptic scale systems but larger than microscale and storm-scale cumulus systems. Horizontal dimensions generally range from around 5 kilometers to several hundred kilometers...

  • Storm scale
  • Misoscale meteorology
  • Scale (spatial)
    Scale (spatial)
    Spatial scale provides a "shorthand" form for discussing relative lengths, areas, distances and sizes. A microclimate, for instance, is one which might occur in a mountain valley or near a lakeshore, whereas a megatrend is one which involves the whole planet....

  • Surface weather analysis
    Surface weather analysis
    Surface weather analysis is a special type of weather map that provides a view of weather elements over a geographical area at a specified time based on information from ground-based weather stations...

  • Wind engineering
    Wind engineering
    Wind engineering analyzes effects of wind in the natural and the built environment and studies the possible damage, inconvenience or benefits which may result from wind. In the field of structural engineering it includes strong winds, which may cause discomfort, as well as extreme winds, such as in...