Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 335–361

Urban-scale variations of turbulence parameters and fluxes

  • J. K. S. Ching

DOI: 10.1007/BF00116683

Cite this article as:
Ching, J.K.S. Boundary-Layer Meteorol (1985) 33: 335. doi:10.1007/BF00116683


Sensible heat (H) and latent heat (LE) fluxes and turbulence statistics in St. Louis, Missouri and the surrounding region are presented. The urban-scale analyses were derived from a series of aircraft transects at 150 m above ground across the metropolitan area during the afternoon convective period. The results revealed that H varied by a factor of two to four in the region; the largest values were associated with the urban heat island. LE varied across the urban area by about a factor of four, but low values of LE overlaid the urban heat island. Consequently, the Bowen ratio (H/LE) exhibited large spatial variability, with a maximum value greater than 1.5 over the city and values less than 0.2 in nonurban areas. The areas along the Mississippi River and adjacent low lying marshland northeast of the downtown area displayed significantly smaller H and Bowen ratio. The derived surface heat storage term (G) for this area as well as for the urban area exceeded either H or LE.

The spatial patterns for the standard deviations of the three velocity components (Σu,v,w), temperature (ΣT), and absolute humidity (Σq), are also presented. The patterns of Σu,v,w were similar to the pattern of H. the highest values associated with the urban heat island. The correlation coefficient between the vertical velocity and temperature fluctuations was highest over the city, and a noteworthy minimum was observed in the upwind area over the river and marshland in association with low H. The convective similarity relationships for Σu,v,w appeared to be approximately valid spatially, as variations were typically less than 10% from theory over the urban area and nonurban region, except for a 40% anomaly in the lowland around the river northeast of the city.

Measurements of H from 30-m towers within various land-use areas were contrasted with the aircraft data. Land-use differences in H at the surface were at least as large as those observed at 150 m across the city. This was primarily because of the measurement requirement that the minimum resolvable fetch increases with measurement height.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. K. S. Ching
    • 1
  1. 1.Meteorology and Assessment DivisionAtmospheric Sciences Research Laboratory, Environmental Protection AgencyResearch Triangle ParkUSA

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