During a special observing period (SOP) of the Mesoscale Alpine Programme (MAP), boundary layer processes in highly complex topography were investigated in the Riviera Valley in southern Switzerland. The main focus was on the turbulence structure and turbulent exchange processes near the valley surfaces and free troposphere. Due to the anticipated spatial inhomogeneity, a number of different turbulence probes were deployed on a cross section through the valley. Together with a suite of more conventional instrumentation, to observe mean meteorological structure in the valley, this effort yielded a highly valuable dataset. The latter is presently being exploited to yield insight into the turbulence structure in very complex terrain, and its relation to flow regimes and associated mean flow characteristics. Specific questions, such as a detailed investigation of turbulent exchange processes over complex topography and the validity of surface exchange parameterizations in numerical models for such surfaces, the closure of the surface energy balance, or the definition and meaning of the “boundary layer height,” are investigated using the MAP-Riviera dataset. In the present paper, we provide details on sites and their characteristics, on measurements and observational strategies, and on efforts to guarantee comparability between different instrumentation at different sites, and we include an overview of the available instrumentation. On the basis of preliminary data and first results, the main research goals of the project are outlined.

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Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland

MCR Laboratory, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Atmospheric Science Program, T h e University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Joint Research Center, Ispra, Italy

Central Aerological Observatory, Moscow, Russia

MetAir, lllnau, Switzerland

* Current affiliation: Swiss Federal Office for Meteorology and Climatology, MeteoSwiss, Zurich, Switzerland

+ Current affiliation: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington

#Present affiliation: MPI, Hamburg, Germany