, Volume 70, Issue 1-2, pp 95-132

A wind tunnel study of air flow in waving wheat: Single-point velocity statistics

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Abstract

We analyse single-point velocity statistics obtained in a wind tunnel within and above a model of a waving wheat crop, consisting of nylon stalks 47 mm high and 0.25 mm wide in a square array with frontal area index 0.47. The variability of turbulence measurements in the wind tunnel is illustrated by using a set of 71 vertical traverses made in different locations, all in the horizontally-homogeneous (above-canopy) part of the boundary layer. Ensemble-averaged profiles of the statistical moments up to the fourth order and profiles of Eulerian length scales are presented and discussed. They are consistent with other similar experiments and reveal the existence of large-scale turbulent coherent structures in the flow. The drag coefficient in this canopy as well as in other reported experiments is shown to exhibit a characteristic height-dependency, for which we propose an interpretation. The velocity spectra are analysed in detail; within and just above the canopy, a scaling based on fixed length and velocity scales (canopy height and mean horizontal wind speed at canopy top) is proposed. Examination of the turbulent kinetic energy and shear stress budgets confirms the role of turbulent transport in the region around the canopy top, and indicates that pressure transport may be significant in both cases. The results obtained here show that near the top of the canopy, the turbulence properties are more reminiscent of a plane mixing layer than a wall boundary layer.