Obituary for Prof. Sergej Zilitinkevich

Sergej Zilitinkevich: Photo by Igor EsauSergej Zilitinkevich: Photo by Igor Esau

A prominent scientist, research coordinator, supervisor and just a friend for many of us, Professor Sergej Zilitinkevich passed away on Monday, February 15, 2021.

At this age of 84, he was still a very energetic and clear-thinking scientist, playing a key role in many ongoing international projects, inspiring collaborations, and promoting research findings. He has been fighting till the end. Just a few days before his death, Sergej had discussions with many colleagues making new plans on what we will work with after the pandemic.

Sergej Zilitinkevich was an old friend of the Nansen Center. He came to Bergen for the first time in 2003 and held an adjunct position with the Nansen Center for about 10 years. He has contributed to several important research projects involving Nansen scientists into international collaborations. His own path in science was brilliant. He achieved a lot. All weather and climate models are using his turbulence closures. During his years with the Nansen Center, he developed a new way to look at the turbulence in stratified fluid – a new paradigm of the planetary boundary layer that connects processes in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and cryosphere. He presented these new ideas to us very informally, sitting in a café after a long conference day.

Sergej Zilitinkevich won several European grants that helped him organize the work of a large international consortium of researchers, and to a large degree to realize his ideas. Later, he moved to Helsinki where he got a European Marie Curie Chair in Boundary Layer Meteorology and then a European Research Center Advanced Research Grant to work on his ideas.

His life was not easy. The great war and hunger in Leningrad, and a few years in a labour camp that followed a fabricated conviction, took perhaps too much of his energy and time. He faced this with stoicism, wrote a book about it, and did not allow the circumstances to get the better of him. He always emphasized that success would come if you continued working hard. And he did work hard. No one saw him completing his working day before 19:00. He was scrupulous and pedantic, every sentence and formula was checked several times before final satisfaction. He could have achieved more. He had that internal energy to achieve more. But he was not given enough health and time to do this.

As a great supervisor, Sergej Zilitinkevich has left many students after him around the world. To commemorate his achievements in science, there will be special issues of journals and seminars organized. For us, who knew him very closely, Sergej will always be alive in our souls. 



A list of peer-review publications jointly produced with the Nansen Center:

Lappalainen H., Petäjä T., Vihma T., Zilitinkevich, S., and the PEEX Team, 2021: Recent advances on the understanding of the Northern Eurasian environments and of the urban air quality in China - Pan Eurasian Experiment (PEEX) program perspective, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, submitted 20.12.2020, acp-2020-1304

Esau I., Bobylev L., Zilitinkevich S. et al. 2021:  An enhanced integrated approach to knowledgeable high-resolution environmental quality assessment, Environmental Science and Policy, accepted for publication 

Lappalainen H., Zilitinkevich S. and the PEEX team 2016: Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX): Towards holistic understanding of the feedbacks and interactions in the land - atmosphere - ocean- society continuum in the Northern Eurasian region, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14421–14461, doi:10.5194/acp-16-14421-2016

Zilitinkevich, S.S., Kulmala, M., Baklanov, A., Esau, I., Tyuryakov, S.A., 2016: Monitoring and forecasting of personal environment, Fundamental and applied hydrophysics, 9(1), 93-97

Zilitinkevich, S., Kulmala, M., Esau, I. and WMO Secretariat, 2015: Megacities – Refining Models to Client Environment, WMO Bulletin, 64, 1, 20-22 

Troitskaya Yu., Zilitinkevich S., et al., 2014: Atmospheric boundary layer over steep surface waves, Ocean Dynamics, 64, 1153-1161, doi: 10.1007/s10236-014-0743-4

Esau, I., T. Wolf, E. Miller, I. Repina, Y. Troitskaya, S. Zilitinkevich, 2013: Analysis of remote sensing monitoring of the lower atmosphere temperature profile in Bergen, Norway Russian Meteorology and Hydrology, 10, 93-103

Esau, I., R. Davy, S. Outten, S. Tyuryakov and S. Zilitinkevich, 2013: Structuring of turbulence and its impact on basic features of Ekman boundary layers, Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 20, 589-604, doi:10.5194/npg-20-589-2013

Zilitinkevich, S. S., Elperin, T., Kleeorin, N., Rogachevskii, I. and I. Esau, 2013: A hierarchy of energy- and flux-budget (EFB) turbulence closure models for stably stratified geophysical flows, Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 146(3), 341-373, DOI: 10.1007/s10546-012-9768-8

Esau, I., Luhunga, Ph., Djolov, G., C. J. de W. Rautenbach, and S. Zilitinkevich, 2012: Links between observed micrometeorological variability and land-use patterns in the highveld priority area of South Africa, Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, 118(3), 129-142, doi: 10.1007/s00703-012-0218-4

Esau, I. and S. Zilitinkevich, 2010: On the role of the planetary boundary layer depth in the climate system, Adv. Sci. Res., 4, 63-69, doi:10.5194/asr-4-63-2010  

Zilitinkevich, S.S., Esau, I., Kleeorin, N., Rogachevskii, I. and R.D. Kouznetsov, 2010: On the Velocity Gradient in Stably Stratified Sheared Flows. Part 1: Asymptotic Analysis and Applications Boundary-Layer Meteorol., 135, 505-511, DOI 10.1007/s10546-010-9488-x  

Zilitinkevich, S.S., and I. Esau, 2009: Planetary boundary layer feedbacks in climate system and triggering global warming in the night, in winter and at high latitudes, Geography, Environment and Sustainability, 1(2), 20-34

 Zilitinkevich, S. S., Elperin, T., Kleorin, N., Rogachevskii, I., Esau, I., Mauritsen, T., and Miles, M., 2008: Turbulence energetics in stably stratified geophysical flows: strong and weak mixing regimes, Quarterly J. Royal Meteorol. Soc., 134, 793-799, doi: 101002/qj.264

 Mauritsen, T., Svensson, G., Zilitinkevich, S. S., Esau, I., Enger, L., and Grisogono, B., 2007: A total turbulent energy closure model for neutral and stably stratified atmospheric boundary layers, J. Atmos. Sci.64(11), 4117-4130  

Zilitinkevich, S. S., Esau, I., 2007: Similarity theory and calculation of turbulent fluxes at the surface for the stably stratified atmospheric boundary layers, Boundary Layer Meteorology, 125(2), 193-205 

Zilitinkevich, S., I. Esau, and A. Baklanov, 2007: Further comments on the equilibrium height of neutral and stable planetary boundary layers, Quarterly J. Royal Meteorol. Soc.,133, 265-271 

Zilitinkevich, S. S., J. C. R. Hunt, A. A. Grachev, I. N. Esau, D. P. Lalas, E. Akylas, M. Tombrou, C. W. Fairall, H. J. S. Fernando, A. Baklanov, S. M. Joffre, 2006: The influence of large convective eddies on the surface layer turbulence, Quarterly J. Royal Meteorol. Soc., 132, 1423-1456

Esau, I., and Zilitinkevich, S.S., 2006: Universal Dependences between Turbulent and Mean Flow Parameters in Stably and Neutrally Stratified Planetary Boundary Layers, Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 13, 122-144

Zilitinkevich, S. S. and I. Esau, 2005: Resistance and Heat Transfer Laws for Stable and Neutral Planetary Boundary Layers: Old Theory, Advanced and Re-evaluated, Quarterly J. Royal Meteorol. Soc.131, 1863-1892, doi: 10.1256/qj.04.143

Zilitinkevich, S. S., J. C. R. Hunt, A. A. Grachev, I. N. Esau, D. P. Lalas, E. Akylas, M. Tombrou, C. W. Fairall, H. J. S. Fernando, A. Baklanov, S. M. Joffre, 2005: The effect of large eddies on the convective heat/mass transfer over complex terrain: Advanced theory and its validation against experimental and LES data, Croatian Meteorological Journal40, 20-26 

Zilitinkevich, S. S., Esau I. and Baklanov A., 2005: Atmospheric boundary layers in storms: advanced theory and modelling applications. Advances in Geosciences, (47), 47-49

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