Heat/mass transfer in the slightly unstable atmospheric surface layer
2007 (English)In: Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, ISSN 0035-9009, E-ISSN 1477-870X, Vol. 133, no 622, 37-51 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In very slightly unstable conditions, when the Obukhov length is much greater than the surface layer depth, it is observed that the structure of the surface layer turbulence does not accord with standard similarity theory. In particular the efficiency of the turbulent exchange of sensible and latent heat is observed to be more strongly enhanced than is consistent with the standard model. Also the profiles of dissipation of turbulent kinetic energy and temperature fluctuation variance are found to depend on the structure of the whole boundary layer (i.e. are non-local), indicating that a large-scale transport process is at work. At the same time, co-spectral analysis shows how the large-scale eddy motions that determine the heat transport process near the surface are typically 1/5 of the surface layer depth. All these features are found to be similar in measurements at a marine site and at a flat land site, indicating that they are determined by the dynamics of the whole boundary layer rather than being simply dependent on the surface boundary conditions. We hypothesize that in slightly unstable conditions there is a bifurcation in the structure of the large-scale eddy motions. This is a transition from quasi-steady longitudinal roll structures to detached eddies. In the particular regime identified here, the unsteady component dominates the heat transport at the surface. The observed enhancement in the surface layer of the eddy diffusivity of heat is observed to be significantly greater than for momentum. This is shown to be consistent with observations and with a model calculation of the interaction between the surface layer and the descending detached eddies.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 133, no 622, 37-51 p.
turbulence energy, similarity theory, vortex shedding, bifurcation, turbulence structure, sensible heat, latent heat, heat mass transfer, air-sea interface, atmospheric boundary layer, marine atmosphere
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-96141DOI: 10.1002/qj.7ISI: 000244847500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-96141DiVA: diva2:170617