The Persistent Challenge of Surface Heterogeneity in Boundary-Layer Meteorology: A Review

Elie Bou-Zeid, William Anderson, Gabriel G. Katul, Larry Mahrt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Atmospheric boundary-layer dynamics over heterogeneous surfaces is significant to a wide array of geophysical and engineering applications. Yet, despite over five decades of intense efforts by the research community, numerous open research questions remain. This underlines the complexity of the physical processes that are excited by heterogeneity, the multitude of patterns and manifestations that it can display, and the importance of the implications to research in the atmospheric sciences and beyond. Here, existing knowledge is reviewed and a path forward for research is proposed, starting with the smaller scales near a surface transition and proceeding to the influence on large-scale dynamics and their forecasting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-245
Number of pages19
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Heterogeneity
  • Internal boundary layer
  • Internal equilibrium layer
  • Land-surface models
  • Secondary circulations


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