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The polar regions: a natural laboratory for boundary layer meteorology – a review

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Polar regions offer the opportunity to study many processes under strongly simplified conditions ('natural laboratory'). For example, the plateau areas of the polar ice sheets represent areas with an almost ideal homogeneous surface over a scale of several 100 km, which are extraordinary suited for studies of the stable boundary layer (SBL). In coastal areas we find often a transition of the SBL to a convective boundary layer (CBL) over polynyas, which allows for near-ideal studies of internal boundary layers. The sea ice areas in polar regions are another example for natural laboratory conditions, since they represent large areas with well-defined heterogeneities of two surface types. The present review shows examples of how the polar areas can be used as a natural laboratory for field experiments in the Arctic and Antarctic with a focus on the work performed by German research groups.

In den Polargebieten können zahlreiche Prozesse unter stark vereinfachten Randbedingungen ("natürliches Labor") untersucht werden. So stellen z.B. die Plateaus der polaren Eisschilde Gebiete mit einer nahezu völlig homogenen Oberfläche über eine Skala von mehreren 100 km dar, die sich hervorragend für Studien der stabilen Grenzschicht (SBL) eignen. In den Küstenbereichen findet man oft den Übergang einer SBL zur konvektiven Grenzschicht (CBL) über Polynjas mit der Möglichkeit zur Untersuchung von internen Grenzschichten unter fast idealen Bedingungen. Ein weiteres Beispiel für ein natürliches Labor sind polare Meereisflächen, die Gebiete mit extrem ausgeprägter Heterogenität von zwei Oberflächentypen darstellen. Der Übersichtsartikel zeigt Beispiele zur Nutzung der Polargebiete als natürliches Labor anhand von Ergebnissen von Feldexperimenten in der Arktis und Antarktis, wobei der Schwerpunkt auf Arbeiten von deutschen Forschergruppen liegt.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2008

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  • Meteorologische Zeitschrift (originally founded in 1866) is the joint periodical of the meteorological societies of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It accepts high-quality peer-reviewed manuscripts on all aspects of observational, theoretical and computational research out of the entire field of meteorology, including climatology. Meteorologische Zeitschrift represents a natural forum for the meteorological community of Central Europe and worldwide.
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