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The Effects of Critical Layers on Residual Layer Turbulence
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
2009 (English)In: Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, ISSN 0022-4928, E-ISSN 1520-0469, Vol. 66, no 2, 468-480 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The authors report results of a study of finescale turbulence structure in the portion of the nocturnal boundary layer known as the residual layer (RL). The study covers two nights during the Cooperative Atmosphere-Surface Exchange Study 1999 (CASES-99) field experiment that exhibit significant differences in turbulence, as indicated by the observed turbulence dissipation rates in the RL. The RL turbulence sometimes reaches intensities comparable to those in the underlying stable boundary layer. The commonly accepted concept of turbulence generation below critical values of the gradient Richardson number (Ri(g)) is scale dependent: Ri values typically decrease with decreasing vertical scale size, so that critical Ri(g) values (approximate to 0.25) occur at vertical scales of only a few tens of meters. The very small scale for the occurrence of subcritical Ri poses problems for incorporating experimentally determined Ri(g)-based methods in model closures in models with poor resolution. There appear to be two distinct turbulence ""regimes"" in the RL: a very weak but ever-present background turbulence level with minimal temporal and spatial structure and a more intense intermittent regime during which turbulent intensity can approach near-surface nighttime turbulent intensities. It is hypothesized that the locally produced RL turbulence can be related to upward-propagating atmospheric gravity waves generated by flow over the low-relief terrain. The presence of critical layers in the RL, caused by wind turning with height, results in the generation of intermittent turbulence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 66, no 2, 468-480 p.
Keyword [en]
nocturnal boundary-layer, internal gravity-waves, small-scale turbulence, critical-level, balloon-borne, shear-flow, cases-99, models, jet, stratification
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-60247DOI: 10.1175/2008JAS2729.1ISI: 000263936600014OAI: diva2:434034
authorCount :4Available from: 2011-08-12 Created: 2011-08-11 Last updated: 2011-08-12Bibliographically approved

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Tjernström, MichaelSvensson, Gunilla
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