MAQ-51306 Clouds in Present and Changing Climate

This Study Handbook is published with reservation. It is not official yet.


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. J Vilà-Guerau de Arellano
Lecturer(s)dr. J Vilà-Guerau de Arellano
Examiner(s)dr. J Vilà-Guerau de Arellano

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

MAQ-21806 Meteorology and Climate, MAQ-32306 Boundary-layer Meteorology


Clouds are a key component of weather and climate. The formation and decay of clouds depends on the synoptic conditions, surface fluxes and cloud microphysics. The aim of this course is to provide the student with fundamental concepts to describe and numerically model the dynamics and microphysics of clouds, in particular stratocumulus and shallow cumulus, and their sensitivity to synoptic conditions, surface fluxes and cloud microphysics.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

- theoretically describe the fundamental aspects of maritime and continental boundary-layer clouds (stratocumulus and shallow cumulus) in terms of boundary-layer dynamics, surface interactions, radiation, diurnal variability and microphysics;
- design, perform and critically assess numerical experiments with conceptual models;
- design, conduct and present a small scientific project related to the clear or cloudy boundary layer;


First stage: “Learning by doing” numerical experiments on fundamental aspects of boundary layer clouds. Presentation of exercises in oral and written form.
Second stage: the students design their own numerical simulations to investigate a scientific question of their choice. They interpret and critically assess the results of their simulations in the context of scientific literature and/or observations.
Third stage: the students write a report that documents and presents their project.


The final mark is based on the assessment of:
- oral presentation of exercises from stage 1: 10%;
- report on exercises from stage 1: 30%;
- project report: 60%.


Atmospheric boundary layer: Integrating chemistry and land interactions.
J. Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, C. van Heerwaarden, B van Stratum and K. van den Dries; Cambridge University Press 2015. ISBN 978110709094.