Photo of Jan Kleissl

Mailing Address:
Dept of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
9500 Gilman Dr, EBUII - 580 University of California, San Diego La Jolla, CA, 92093-0411


Assistant Professor,
Environmental Engineering


  • PhD., Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2004
  • M.Sc. Water Resources Engineering and Management, University of Stuttgart, Germany, 2001
  • B.S., Environmental Engineering ("Umweltschutztechnik"), University of Stuttgart, Germany, 2000

Research Interests:

Professor Kleissl has focused his research on interactions of the lowest part of the atmosphere, the boundary layer, with the Earth’s surface. He has merged his expertise in experimental and computational work to produce models of land-atmosphere interaction and evapotranspiration that is considered state-of-the-art. The models have relevance to air quality and other environmental problems. To develop these models, he used data gathered at the San Joaquin Valley in Southern California as part of a study involving the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Johns Hopkins University. The project was designed to validate a large eddy simulation (LES) computer code. Such codes accurately represent turbulence motion in the atmosphere down to a scale of about 10 meters, while approximating the turbulent motions at smaller scales. While such approximations have been evaluated in the laboratory, Kleissl was the first to measure the constant inherent in this approximation, called the Smagorinsky constant, with a large dataset from field measurements. That work led to a series of publications, one of which won the 2004 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) award for outstanding publication. Kleissl has also used wireless sensor networks to analyze airflow around Pico Mountain in the Azores Islands where smoke from forest fires thousands of miles away undergoes complex vertical movement, possibly preventing its local detection.


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