My research interests focus on both clear and cloudy atmospheric boundary layers, atmospheric mesoscale phenomena and the coupling between the atmosphere and biosphere processes. I connect and extend this research to study the influence of atmospheric physical processes on atmospheric chemistry, including the transformation of atmospheric compounds by gas phase reactions and aerosol formation. My approach is to bridge these different fields to study these processes that interact on a wide range of spatiotemporal phenomena on different scales. To this end, my research is based on a hierarchy of models with different levels of complexity, from simple conceptual models to complex turbulence (large-eddy simulation) and mesoscale models. Numerical experiments and sensitivity analysis are inspired and validated by field observations taken at the surface and in the upper air in different ecosystems (grassland, boreal and tropical forests). In collaboration with MSc students and PhD candidates, we are currently doing research to better understand the coupling between clouds and aerosols with vegetation in determining the surface energy balance over land and the characteristics of atmospheric turbulence. Based on these process studies, we design, test, improve and verify parameterizations of these processes and their interactions for weather and climate models.
To investigate these subjects it is crucial to understand the coupling of the energy, water and carbon cycles on different temporal scales. My findings have contributed to an understanding of how vegetation responses lead to shifts in the surface energy balance. The partitioning of this energy on evaporation and sensible heat flux is the main driver of turbulent thermals that act as the roots of the clouds by transporting heat and moisture. Likewise, my studies related to atmospheric chemistry are seminal to understand how surface and atmospheric processes are affected by aerosol formation, which in turn perturbs the partition between direct and diffuse radiation during their transfer in the atmospheric boundary layer. By using and combining different modelling and observational methodologies, I study the coupling among these processes and improve their representation in weather and climate models and their sensitivity to changes in surface and climate conditions.