What are Surface and Planetary Boundary Layer Processes?
The Earth’s surface has many profound effects on the atmosphere that impact our ability to understand and predict its behavior. The rain that falls on your house originally evaporated from the surface (the ocean, a lake, or even a tree), and much of the heat that we receive from the sun is first absorbed at the Earth’s surface and is then transferred to the atmosphere. The lowest portion of the atmosphere (from surface to about 1 to 2 km high) is where surface effects are most evident. This region is known as the atmospheric boundary layer of our planet, or the planetary boundary layer or simply “boundary layer”. The different ways in which the surface interacts with the boundary layer or the boundary layer responds to the surface are called surface and boundary layer processes. This heading also includes interactions between the boundary layer and the rest of the atmosphere. The Earth has many types of surfaces – mountains, hills, lakes and seas, plants, and manmade structures. Each o