Abstract: Coupling of the earth’s surface with the atmosphere is achieved through an exchange of momentum, energy, and mass in the atmospheric boundary layer. In mountainous terrain, this exchange results from a combination of multiple transport processes, which act and interact on different spatial and temporal scales, including, for example, orographic gravity waves, thermally driven circulations, moist convection, and turbulent motions. Incorporating these exchange processes and previous studies, a new definition of the atmospheric boundary layer in mountainous terrain, a mountain boundary layer (MBL), is defined. This paper summarizes some of the major current challenges in measuring, understanding, and eventually parameterizing the relevant transport processes and the overall exchange between the MBL and the free atmosphere. Further details on many aspects of the exchange in the MBL are discussed in several other papers in this issue.