The Structure of the Near-Neutral Atmospheric Surface Layer

Philippe Drobinski Institut Pierre Simon Laplace/Service d'Aéronomie, Paris, France

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Pierre Carlotti Centre d'Études des Tunnels, Bron, France

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Rob K. Newsom NOAA/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Robert M. Banta NOAA/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Ralph C. Foster Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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Jean-Luc Redelsperger Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Météo-France, Toulouse, France

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Abstract

Recent observational data (turbulence variables by sonic anemometers and three-dimensional flow pattern by Doppler lidar), obtained during the Cooperative Atmosphere Surface Exchange Study field campaign in October 1999 (CASES-99), show evidence of a layered structure of the near-neutral surface layer: (i) the eddy surface layer (ESL), which is the lower sublayer where blocking of impinging eddies is the dominating mechanism; and (ii) the shear surface layer (SSL), which is an intermediate sublayer, where shear affects the isotropy of turbulence. The origin of the eddies impinging from aloft (probably from the SSL) down to the ESL is preliminarily addressed in this study, since the Doppler lidar data show evidence of linearly organized eddies embedded in the surface layer (i.e., about 100-m vertical extent) and horizontally spaced by about 300 m. This is consistent with theories predicting that the primary mechanism of eddy motion in high Reynolds number wall layers is “top-down.”

The layered structure of the surface layer also has a visible effect on vertical profiles of vertical velocity variance (w2) and momentum transport. In the ESL, w2 scales as z2/3 while it is constant or slightly decreases within the SSL. Concerning momentum transport, ejections contribute identically to the momentum flux as do sweeps in the ESL, whereas in the SSL, ejections give about 50% higher relative contribution.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Philippe Drobinski, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace/Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau Cédex, France. Email: philippe.drobinski@aero.jussieu.fr

Abstract

Recent observational data (turbulence variables by sonic anemometers and three-dimensional flow pattern by Doppler lidar), obtained during the Cooperative Atmosphere Surface Exchange Study field campaign in October 1999 (CASES-99), show evidence of a layered structure of the near-neutral surface layer: (i) the eddy surface layer (ESL), which is the lower sublayer where blocking of impinging eddies is the dominating mechanism; and (ii) the shear surface layer (SSL), which is an intermediate sublayer, where shear affects the isotropy of turbulence. The origin of the eddies impinging from aloft (probably from the SSL) down to the ESL is preliminarily addressed in this study, since the Doppler lidar data show evidence of linearly organized eddies embedded in the surface layer (i.e., about 100-m vertical extent) and horizontally spaced by about 300 m. This is consistent with theories predicting that the primary mechanism of eddy motion in high Reynolds number wall layers is “top-down.”

The layered structure of the surface layer also has a visible effect on vertical profiles of vertical velocity variance (w2) and momentum transport. In the ESL, w2 scales as z2/3 while it is constant or slightly decreases within the SSL. Concerning momentum transport, ejections contribute identically to the momentum flux as do sweeps in the ESL, whereas in the SSL, ejections give about 50% higher relative contribution.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Philippe Drobinski, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace/Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau Cédex, France. Email: philippe.drobinski@aero.jussieu.fr

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