Meteorological processes in the atmospheric boundary layer
The atmospheric boundary layer is that part of the atmosphere directly influenced by the Earth’s surface, where the turbulent fluctuations of the meteorological variables are important, supporting momentum, energy and mass exchanges. The Atmospheric Physics Group has a long experience in measuring and analyzing turbulent fluxes in the atmospheric boundary layer by means of the eddy covariance technique, in particular in complex-orography regions. Main applications are the evaluation of the radiative and turbulent fluxes composing the surface energy balance and the improvement of turbulence parameterizations in meteorological and atmospheric dispersion numerical models.
Renewable Energy meteorology
Energy systems are evolving towards higher shares of renewables, in particular wind and solar energy. The accurate assessment of the available energy is essential for site selection and energy production estimation. The characterization of the spatio-temporal variability of renewable resources is usually achieved by means of a combination of in-situ and remote measurements, as well as modelling activities. In the framework of the Trentino Climate Atlas project, the APG has recently developed a high-resolution Solar Atlas and is currently working for the realization of a high-resolution Wind Atlas.
Urban meteorology focuses on the evaluation of the alterations induced by cities on local climatic conditions. An example is the so-called urban heat island, i.e. higher temperatures in the city with respect to rural areas. A research activity of the Atmospheric Physics Group focuses on the evaluation and comprehension of these effects, by means of both field measurements and the development and use of numerical models simulating the energy exchanges between the urban environment and the atmosphere. Particular attention is devoted to applications, such as the evaluation of citizens’ thermal comfort and the optimization of the energy efficiency in buildings.
Applied meteorology for air quality studies
Meteorological conditions have a major role in determining the fate of pollutants in the atmosphere, by fixing their dispersion trajectories and velocities after their release. The research of the Group in this field focuses on the pollutant transport both at local scale and at a medium-long range and is conducted by coupling field data or meteorological models (WRF) with pollutant dispersion models (AERMOD, CALPUFF, WRF-CHEM). This method is applied to the study of specific events, with daily or weekly temporal scale, but also to long-term analysis, with annual scale. Particular attention is directed to identifying the accountability of different sources in the total amount of pollutants present in a certain area.