The planetary boundary layer and surface-atmosphere interactions

The Martian planetary boundary layer (PBL) has been observed by altogether five landers (the Viking landers, the Mars Pathfinder and the Mars Exploration Rovers) and modelled quite extensively. In situ measurements of atmospheric temperature (at single or few levels), wind and pressure as well as surface-based remotely sensed observations of vertical profiles (the MER Mini-TES instruments) have given us an initial characterisation of the PBL. The strong diurnal variations of the PBL thickness, changes caused by dust storms and estimates of the heat and momentum fluxes between the surface and the atmosphere are among the features we currently are aware of and understand to a degree. Neither in situ measurements of H2O nor of soil vertical thermal structure have, however, been made and consequently H2O exchange and to a degree heat exchange between the surface and the atmosphere are less than satisfactorily understood.