Innsbruck Box i-Box

Universität Innsbruck

Kolsass | Website

Core Facility (CF)


Innsbruck Box (or i-Box for short) is a test bed for studying boundary layer processes in highly complex terrain. Designed to be a long-term "reference box" for studying the characteristics of turbulence structure and exchange processes in truly complex topography, i-Box represents an integrated approach combining three-dimensional long-term turbulence observations with high-resolution numerical modeling. Turbulence structure plays an important role in exchange processes of momentum, mass, and energy between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere. These processes are crucial for, e.g., numerical weather forecasts or climate scenario simulations, but are not yet fully understood, particularly not in complex topography. The goal of the project is to form a complete and physically based description of turbulence characteristics in complex terrain.


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Mathias Rotach

Research Services

Die Forschungsinfrastruktur ist "Open for Collaboration". Kommerzielle Kooperationen sind nicht möglich.

Methoden & Expertise zur Forschungsinfrastruktur

Measurements of atmospheric turbulence at different locations in complex terrain are conducted using the 'Eddy Covriance' method. A description can be found at

Zuordnung zur Core Facility

Innsbruck Atmospheric Observatory (IAO) for Environmental Research in Alpine and Urban Terrain

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Mathias Rotach
Institut für Atmosphären- und Kryosphärenwissenschaften
+43 512 507 54452
Nutzungsbedingungen werden im Rahmen einer wissenschaftlichen Kooperation definiert. Keine kommerzielle Nutzung möglich. Bei Interesse an einer Kooperation oder Zusammenarbeit bitten wir Sie um Kontaktaufnahme.
TEAMx international research program (Multi-Scale Transport and Exchange Processes in the Atmosphere over Mountains - programme and experiment,

University of Vienna - Department of Meteorology and Geophysics: various projects, e.g., using HATPRO data for determining a climatology of temperature inversions in Innsbruck and Bolzano (PI: Manfred Dorninger and Klara Butz)

TU Vienna, Department for Geodesy and Geoinformation: GNSS analyses

University of Trento (Profs Zardi and Giovannini): various joint research projects

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT): CROSSINN (PI Bianca Adler, now at CIRES US),

Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (Shengbiao Wu): Validation of 3D albedo simulations in complex terrain with slope-normal/parallel radiation components at Hochhaeuser (08-13 Apr 2017)

ZAMG: various validation projects (e.g., WAAR PI: Gabriele Rau, 2015; Validation of Snowgrid-model developments) and TEAMx collaboration (PI: Kathrin Baumann)

Lawinenwarndienst Tirol: online visualisation of Arbeser data (air temperature, humidity, wind speed, and snow depth) for avalanche warning services;

Amt der Tiroler Landesregierung, Abteilung Waldschutz: temperature profiles for inversion calculations

Land Steiermark, Umwelt (Dietmar Öttl): Evluation of the mesoscale model GRAMM

Oekoscience AG, Chur (J. Thudium): comparison of air temperature measurements at Kolsass with Schwaz (May 2014 - Apr 2016)
- Unicorn (Developing a novel framework for understanding near-surface turbulence in complex terrain), ERC, 06/2021-05/2026, PI: Stiperski, and

- TExSMBL (Near-surface turbulent exchange in the stable mountain boundary layer), FWF, 07/2020-01/2024, PI: Lehner, and

- ASTER (Atmospheric Boundary-Layer Modeling over Complex Terrain), EGTC European Region Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino, 07/2019-06/2022, PI: Lehner,

- PIANO (Penetration and Interruption of Alpine Foehn), FWF/Weiss Science Foundation/EUFAR, 03/2017-08/2020, PI: Gohm, and

- CYCLAMEN (Cycling of carbon and water in mountain ecosystems under changing climate and land use), Autonomous Province of Bozen, 05/2017-04/2020, PI: Rotach,

- Turbulent exchange in urban areas in highly complex terrain, FWF Lise Meitner program, 12/2017-11/2019 PI: Ward,

- Stable boundary layers in mountainous terrain (Scale interactions in stable boundary layers over mountainous terrain), Hertha-Firnberg-Program, 12/2015-11/2018, PI: Stiperski, and

- INHOM-TCT (INvestigating spatial inHOMogeneity of surface layer Turbulence in Complex Terrain), FWF, 2013-2016, PI: Rotach, and

- Turb-i-Box (Assessment of turbulence in COSMO-1), MeteoSwiss, 2013-2016, PI: Rotach,

- Large Research Facilities (core facility 'Boundary Layer Research' for Research Focus 'Alpine Space'), UIBK, 2013, PI: Rotach,
- Massaro, G., Stiperski, I., Pospichal, B., and Rotach, M. W., (2015): Accuracy of retrieving temperature and humidity profiles by ground-based microwave radiometry in truly complex terrain, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 3355–3367.

- Stiperski, I., Rotach, M.W. On the Measurement of Turbulence Over Complex Mountainous Terrain, (2016): Boundary-Layer Meteorol 159, 97–121.

- Rotach MW, Stiperski I, Fuhrer O, Goger B., Gohm A, Obleitner F, Rau G, Sfyri E, Vergeiner J (2017): Investigating Exchange Processes over Complex Topography: the Innsbruck-Box (i-Box), Bull Amer Meteorol Soc, 98, No 4, 787-805,

- Rotach MW, Stiperski I, Fuhrer O, Goger B., Gohm A, Obleitner F, Rau G, Sfyri E, Vergeiner J (2017): Supplemental material to Investigating Exchange Processes over Complex Topography: the Innsbruck-Box (i-Box),

- Goger, B., Rotach, M.W., Gohm, A. et al., (2018): The Impact of Three-Dimensional Effects on the Simulation of Turbulence Kinetic Energy in a Major Alpine Valley. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 168, 1–27.

- Sfyri, E., Rotach, M.W., Stiperski, I. et al. (2018): Scalar-Flux Similarity in the Layer Near the Surface Over Mountainous Terrain. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 169, 11–46.

- Stiperski, I., Calaf, M., & Rotach, M., (2019): Scaling, anisotropy, and complexity in near-surface atmospheric turbulence. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 124, 1428– 1448.

- Goger, B., Rotach, M. W., Gohm, A., Stiperski, I., Fuhrer, O., & de Morsier, G., (2019): A New Horizontal Length Scale for a Three-Dimensional Turbulence Parameterization in Mesoscale Atmospheric Modeling over Highly Complex Terrain, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 58(9), 2087-2102.

- Lehner, M., Rotach, M.W. & Obleitner, F. A, (2019): Method to Identify Synoptically Undisturbed, Clear-Sky Conditions for Valley-Wind Analysis. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 173, 435–450.

- Adler B, Gohm A, Kalthoff N, Babic N, Corsmeier U, Lehner M, Rotach MW, Haid M, Markmann P, Gast E, George Tsaknakis G, Georgoussis G (2021): CROSSINN - a field experiment to study the three-dimensional flow structure in the Inn Valley, Austria, Bulletin American Meteorol Soc, 102 (1), pp E38-E60,

- Babic N, Adler B, Gohm A, Kalthoff N, Haid M, Lehner M, Ladstätter P, Rotach MW (2021): Cross-valley vortices in the Inn Valley, Austria: Structure, evolution and governing force imbalances, Q J R Meteorol Soc, 147, 3835–3861,

- Lehner M, Rotach MW, Obleitner F, Sfyri, E (2021): Spatial and temporal variations in near‐surface energy fluxes in an Alpine valley under synoptically undisturbed and clear‐sky conditions, Q J R Meteorol Soc, 147, 2173-2196,

- Stiperski, I., Chamecki, M. & Calaf, M., (2021): Anisotropy of Unstably Stratified Near-Surface Turbulence. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 180, 363–384.