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Coherent Structure of the Convective Boundary Layer Derived from Large-Eddy Simulations

Schmidt, H. and Schumann, U. (1989) Coherent Structure of the Convective Boundary Layer Derived from Large-Eddy Simulations. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 200, pp. 511-562. doi: 10.1017/S0022112089000753.


Official URL: http://www.jfm.damtp.cam.ac.uk/


Turbulence in the convective boundary layer (CBL) uniformly heated from below and topped by a layer of uniformly stratified fluid is investigated for zero mean horizontal flow using large-eddy simulations (LES). The Rayleigh number is effectively infinite, the Froude number of the stable layer is 0.09 and the surface roughness height relative to the height of the convective layer is varied between 10<sup>-6</sup> and 10<sup>-2</sup>. The LES uses a finite-difference method to integrate the three-dimensional grid-volume-averaged Navier–Stokes equations for a Boussinesq fluid. Subgrid-scale (SGS) fluxes are determined from algebraically approximated second-order closure (SOC) transport equations for which all essential coefficients are determined from the inertial-range theory. The surface boundary condition uses the Monin–Obukhov relationships. A radiation boundary condition at the top of the computational domain prevents spurious reflections of gravity waves. The simulation uses 160 × 160 × 48 grid cells. In the asymptotic state, the results in terms of vertical mean profiles of turbulence statistics generally agree very well with results available from laboratory and atmospheric field experiments. We found less agreement with respect to horizontal velocity fluctuations, pressure fluctuations and dissipation rates, which previous investigations tend to overestimate. Horizontal spectra exhibit an inertial subrange. The entrainment heat flux at the top of the CBL is carried by cold updraughts and warm downdraughts in the form of wisps at scales comparable with the height of the boundary layer. Plots of instantaneous flow fields show a spoke pattern in the lower quarter of the CBL which feeds large-scale updraughts penetrating into the stable layer aloft. The spoke pattern has also been found in a few previous investigations. Small-scale plumes near the surface and remote from strong updraughts do not merge together but decay while rising through large-scale downdraughts. The structure of updraughts and downdraughts is identified by three-dimensional correlation functions and conditionally averaged fields. The mean circulation extends vertically over the whole boundary layer. We find that updraughts are composed of quasi-steady large-scale plumes together with transient rising thermals which grow in size by lateral entrainment. The skewness of the vertical velocity fluctuations is generally positive but becomes negative in the lowest mesh cells when the dissipation rate exceeds the production rate due to buoyancy near the surface, as is the case for very rough surfaces. The LES results are used to determine the root-mean-square value of the surface friction velocity and the mean temperature difference between the surface and the mixed layer as a function of the roughness height. The results corroborate a simple model of the heat transfer in the surface layer.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/53323/
Document Type:Article
Title:Coherent Structure of the Convective Boundary Layer Derived from Large-Eddy Simulations
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Fluid Mechanics
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
DOI :10.1017/S0022112089000753
Page Range:pp. 511-562
Keywords:LES, SGS, SOC, CBL
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Atmosphären- und Klimaforschung (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics
Deposited By: Freund, Jana
Deposited On:15 Feb 2008
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 19:21

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