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  • Author or Editor: Subhas K. Venayagamoorthy x
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Jordan M. Wilson and Subhas K. Venayagamoorthy

Abstract

In this study, shear-based parameterizations of turbulent mixing in the stable atmospheric boundary layer (SABL) are proposed. A relevant length-scale estimate for the mixing length of the turbulent momentum field is constructed from the turbulent kinetic energy and the mean shear rate S as . Using observational data from two field campaigns—the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) experiment and the 1999 Cooperative Atmosphere–Surface Exchange Study (CASES-99)— is shown to have a strong correlation with . The relationship between and corresponds to the ratio of the magnitude of the tangential components of the turbulent momentum flux tensor to , known as stress intensity ratio, . The field data clearly show that is linked to stability. The stress intensity ratio also depends on the flow energetics that can be assessed using a shear-production Reynolds number, , where P is shear production of turbulent kinetic energy and is the kinematic viscosity. This analysis shows that high mixing rates can indeed persist at strong stability. On this basis, shear-based parameterizations are proposed for the eddy diffusivity for momentum, , and eddy diffusivity for heat, , showing remarkable agreement with the exact quantities. Furthermore, a broader assessment of the proposed parameterizations is given through an a priori evaluation of large-eddy simulation (LES) data from the first GEWEX Atmospheric Boundary Layer Study (GABLS). The shear-based parameterizations outperform many existing models in predicting turbulent mixing in the SABL. The results of this study provide a framework for improved representation of the SABL in operational models.

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Benjamin D. Mater, Subhas K. Venayagamoorthy, Louis St. Laurent, and James N. Moum

Abstract

Oceanic density overturns are commonly used to parameterize the dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy. This method assumes a linear scaling between the Thorpe length scale L T and the Ozmidov length scale L O. Historic evidence supporting L T ~ L O has been shown for relatively weak shear-driven turbulence of the thermocline; however, little support for the method exists in regions of turbulence driven by the convective collapse of topographically influenced overturns that are large by open-ocean standards. This study presents a direct comparison of L T and L O, using vertical profiles of temperature and microstructure shear collected in the Luzon Strait—a site characterized by topographically influenced overturns up to O(100) m in scale. The comparison is also done for open-ocean sites in the Brazil basin and North Atlantic where overturns are generally smaller and due to different processes. A key result is that L T/L O increases with overturn size in a fashion similar to that observed in numerical studies of Kelvin–Helmholtz (K–H) instabilities for all sites but is most clear in data from the Luzon Strait. Resultant bias in parameterized dissipation is mitigated by ensemble averaging; however, a positive bias appears when instantaneous observations are depth and time integrated. For a series of profiles taken during a spring tidal period in the Luzon Strait, the integrated value is nearly an order of magnitude larger than that based on the microstructure observations. Physical arguments supporting L T ~ L O are revisited, and conceptual regimes explaining the relationship between L T/L O and a nondimensional overturn size are proposed. In a companion paper, Scotti obtains similar conclusions from energetics arguments and simulations.

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