Juan Pedro Mellado takes on professorship in Barcelona

Photo © Juan Pedro Mellado

Dr Juan Pedro Mellado, who led a Max Planck Research Group in the department “The Atmosphere in the Earth System” at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M), has accepted a professorship at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in Barcelona. He will be Full Professor for Aerospace Engineering as of April 2019, although he will continue to supervise his Max Planck Research Group “Turbulent Mixing Processes in the Earth System” at MPI-M through 2019.

Dr Juan Pedro Mellado graduated at the School of Aeronautical Engineering in the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and he received his Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of California, San Diego. After positions in Germany and in Spain working on turbulence and combustion, he turned his focus towards geophysical turbulence. “As soon as I started to learn about clouds and planetary boundary layers, I become fascinated by how rich the problems are, and by how little we really understand sometimes. I was rapidly hooked, and I was fortunate to secure a Max Planck Research Group to explore some ideas.”

He has led the Max Planck Research Group “Turbulent Mixing Processes in the Earth System” at MPI-M since 2010. The group has pioneered a bottom-up approach to study small-scale turbulence in planetary boundary layers and clouds. “In some cases, the large scales are all we need to faithfully represent turbulence effects.” says Mellado. “In other cases, meter and sub-meter scales become crucial because they control the boundary layer as whole and thereby the interaction between the atmosphere, the land and the ocean. Direct numerical simulation and high-performance computing has allowed us to shed new light on these scales.” The computational resources necessary for this approach are not a trifle, the group has used 230 million core-hours at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre during the last 8 years, but these resources have allowed Mellado’s group to answer long-standing questions on stable boundary layers, surface layers, and entrainment and cloud mixing.

Bjorn Stevens, director and head of the department “The Atmosphere in the Earth System” and a close collaborator of Dr Mellado remarks: “Dr Mellado is an outstanding scientist, one of the most gifted I have worked with, and one of the very few who can be truly credited with opening new fields of inquiry.  During his tenure at MPI-M his group has solved some long-standing problems related to mixing at the edges of clouds, and the manner by which convective boundary layers deepen. It has been a pleasure to witness the progress of his research group, the success of its many members, and the growth of recognition for his contributions within the field more broadly. We are all very proud of their accomplishments, the role the Max Planck Society played in supporting them, and are very much looking forward to new collaborations with Prof. Mellado.”

In the Department of Physics in the UPC, Dr Mellado will continue this fundamental research on boundary layers and clouds, complementing it with applications to wind and solar energy and to aviation meteorology. “These applications are becoming increasingly important for key sectors of our society such as energy and transportation, and they nicely combine the two research areas that I want to accelerate at UPC, namely, aerospace engineering and environmental flows”. Wind energy is more often in the news, but aviation meteorology is a key aspect of air transportation and safety, from airport operations to clear-air turbulence, and more work is necessary to understand how climate change could affect these issues.



Dr Juan Pedro Mellado

Max Planck Institute for Meteorology

Email: juan-pedro.mellado@we dont want spammpimet.mpg.de