Aspects of research

With recent summers in Europe characterized by heatwaves, droughts and extreme localized precipitation events, it has become evident that changes in climate and land-use have strongly influenced the magnitude and patterns of evapotranspiration, precipitation and cloud formation via feedbacks between the land and the atmosphere. Vegetation plays a critical role in modifying these dynamic interactions as it interlinks exchanges in energy, water and carbon.


The diversity of mechanisms responsible for interactions between the (vegetated) land and the atmosphere range from the size of the stomata (10 – 100μm) to the size of the atmospheric boundary layer (~1 km). This includes temporal dynamics on time scales of minutes (passing clouds and plant responses), days (diurnal solar cycle) and seasons (seasonal solar cycle and vegetation dynamics) (TABLE).
Clouds as well as atmospheric-boundary layer dynamics disturb radiation and turbulence conditions in and above the vegetation canopy and, subsequently, the energy and moisture fluxes that affect clouds. Although these effects occur at short spatiotemporal scales, they have profound impacts on the regional and global CO2 budget. CloudRoots aims to advance current understanding of land-atmosphere dynamics. Therefore, it is essential to investigate, using first-principles, the cross-scale interactions between the relevant processes in an integrated observation – simulation system.

scales table