Numerical Simulation of the Nocturnal Turbulence Characteristics over Rattlesnake Mountain

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  • a USDA Forest Service. North Central Forest Experiment Station, East Lansing, Michigan
  • | b Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Amer. Iowa
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Abstract

A two4Mensional second-order turbulence-closure model based on Mellor-Yamada level 3 is used to examine the nocturnal turbulence characteristics over Rattlesnake Mountain in Washington. Simulations of mean horizontal velocities and potential temperatures agree well with data. The equations for the components of the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) show that anisotropy contributes in ways that are counter to our intuition developed from mean now considerations: shear production under stable conditions forces the suppression of the vertical component proportion of loud TKE, while potential-temperature variance under stable conditions leads to a positive (countergradient) contribution to the heat flux that increases the vertical component proportion of total TKE. This paper provides a qualitative analysis of simulated turbulence fields, which indicates significant variation over the windward and leeward slopes. From the simulation results, turbulence anisotropy is seen to develop in the katabatic flow region where vertical wind shears and atmospheric stability are large. An enhancement of the vertical component proportion of the total TKE takes place over the leeward slope as the downslope distance increases. The countergradient portion of the turbulent heat flux plays an important role in producing regions of anisotropy.

Abstract

A two4Mensional second-order turbulence-closure model based on Mellor-Yamada level 3 is used to examine the nocturnal turbulence characteristics over Rattlesnake Mountain in Washington. Simulations of mean horizontal velocities and potential temperatures agree well with data. The equations for the components of the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) show that anisotropy contributes in ways that are counter to our intuition developed from mean now considerations: shear production under stable conditions forces the suppression of the vertical component proportion of loud TKE, while potential-temperature variance under stable conditions leads to a positive (countergradient) contribution to the heat flux that increases the vertical component proportion of total TKE. This paper provides a qualitative analysis of simulated turbulence fields, which indicates significant variation over the windward and leeward slopes. From the simulation results, turbulence anisotropy is seen to develop in the katabatic flow region where vertical wind shears and atmospheric stability are large. An enhancement of the vertical component proportion of the total TKE takes place over the leeward slope as the downslope distance increases. The countergradient portion of the turbulent heat flux plays an important role in producing regions of anisotropy.

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