IMPRS-gBGC course: Atmosphere, Ocean & Land 2021

Category: Core course
Credit points: 0.2 per course day

Date & Place

January 15 - 22, 2021
start at 9:00 a.m.


1.  Concept

IMPRS-gBGC core courses introduce doctoral candidates to scientific fields relevant to global biogeochemical cycles in which they have no deep knowledge yet. The purpose of those courses is to facilitate interdisciplinary communication and collaboration.


2.  Preparation

Please make sure that a working implementation of X windows system is installed on your laptop before the exercises start. For Windows, this could be Cygwin/X, for Mac OS you could use the X11 app. There is a variety of similar applications available, also for Linux systems.


3.  Agenda

Legend L = Lecture, P = Practical



Friday, January 15 BasicsAxel Kleidon
9:00-12:30L, P
  • Overview of the module: goals, expectations
  • Introduction to the climate system: atmosphere, ocean, land, ice, interior, structure, composition, global biogeochemical cycles, human activity and global change
  • Atmospheric basics: forms of energy and energy transfer, first and second law of thermodynamics, ideal gas law, hydrostatic balance, lapse rate, barometric equation, Carnot efficiency, maximum work
14:00-17:00L, P
  • Radiative forcing: basic radiation laws, radiative temperature, variations in solar radiation, greenhouse effect
  • Planetary energy balance: components of the global energy balance, atmospheric heat transport, planetary comparison
  • Biogeochemical cycles: global cycles, residence times, geology and biogeochemical cycles, evolution of atmospheric composition
  • Wrap-up: summary, next steps, feedback


Monday, January 18 DynamicsChristoph Gerbig
9:00-10:30LMotion in atmosphere and ocean, hydrologic cycle
  • global circulation of the atmosphere
  • frontal systems
  • basics of global ocean circulation
  • hydrologic cycle, clouds
11:00-12:30LNumerical transport modeling
  • Meteorological observation systems
  • Meteorological data assimilation
  • Reanalysis, reanalysis products
  • Atmospheric tracer transport
  • Application: Atmospheric inversion
14:00-17:00PExercises with numerical transport models

We will use a Lagrangian Dispersion Model (LPDM) and a global Transport Model to see how atmospheric transport and mixing of emissions and biosheric fluxes affects the distribution of CO2 in the atmosphere.


Wednesday, January 20 Surface exchangeChristoph Gerbig, Olaf Kolle, Tarek El-Madany
9:00-10:30LLand surface climatology
  • fluxes at the land surface
  • albedo climate feedback
  • biophysical feedback

Boundary layer meteorology

  • general characteristics, structure and diurnal cycle
  • atmospheric stability
11:00-11:45LBoundary layer meteorology (cont.)
  • atmospheric turbulence
  • scaling laws
Christoph Gerbig
11:45-12:30LEddy flux measurements, Presentation 1
  • turbulent fluxes
  • eddy covariance method
  • measurement technique
Olaf Kolle
13:45 - 14:30LEddy flux measurements, Presentation 2
14:40 - 15:45PGroup 1: Application of eddy covariance method
  • demonstration of eddy covariance measurement system at the institute
  • processing of eddy covariance data
Olaf Kolle, Tarek El-Madany
15:55 - 17:00PGroup 2: Application of eddy covariance method
  • demonstration of eddy covariance measurement system at the institute
  • processing of eddy covariance data
Olaf Kolle, Tarek El-Madany


Thursday, January 21 RadiationJulia Marshall
9:00-12:00L, PAbsorption by atmospheric gases
  • black body radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum
  • molecular absorption lines of major constituents of the atmosphere
  • solar and earth spectra at the ground and the top of the atmosphere
  • introduction to simple online radiative transfer model
  • remote sensing of atmospheric trace gases
14:00-15:30L, PAttenuation by other atmospheric constituents
  • scattering in the Rayleigh, Mie, and geometric regimes
  • introduction to aerosols and their optical properties
  • direct and indirect radiative effects of aerosols
  • cloud radiative properties
  • testing cloud and aerosol radiative properties with 1-D radiation model
  • multiple scattering
15:30-17:00PFurther experiments with a 1-D radiation model

Following the examples introduced in the previous sections, further experiments will be carried out using the 1-D radiative transfer model, working in teams. Within the model we can test the effect of changing the quantity of various greenhouse gases, the aerosol optical depth, the cloud properties, and the surface albedo, among other things. By the end of the day the participants should have a better feeling of what 1 W/m2 means, and the radiative implications of some proposed geoengineering methods and climate feedbacks.


Friday, January 22 Oceans and CryosphereMathias Goeckede, Fabrice Lacroix
09:00-10:30LBasic principles on global ocean circulation
  • Drivers of global ocean circulation
  • Large scale surface and deep ocean circulation
  • Large scale features of the surface ocean
  • Southern Ocean and Arctic Ocean circulation
11:00-13:00L, PGlobal ocean carbon cycle
  • Carbonate system and ocean acidification
  • Decadal global trends of oceanic CO2 uptake
  • Climate Oscillations (El Niño and others)
Fabrice Lacroix
14:00-15:30LSpecial role of the Arctic in the climate system
  • Arctic amplification
  • Permafrost-carbon feedback with climate change
  • Teleconnections
Mathias Goeckede



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