Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 119, Issue 3, pp 563–587 | Cite as

Analysis of Low-Frequency Turbulence Above Tall Vegetation Using a Doppler Sodar

  • Christoph Thomas
  • Jens-Christopher Mayer
  • Franz X. Meixner
  • Thomas Foken


This study applies acoustic sounding to observe coherent structures in the roughness sublayer (RSL) above tall vegetated surfaces. Data were collected on 22 days during two separate field experiments in summer 2003. A quality control scheme was developed to ensure high data quality of the collected time series. The data analysis was done using both discrete and continuous wavelet transform. The flow in the RSL was found to be a superposition of dynamic Kelvin–Helmholtz instabilities and convective mixing. The characteristic time scales for coherent structures resulting from the dynamic instabilities were observed to be approximately 20–30 s while thermal eddies have much larger time scales of 190–210 s. The degree of vertical coherency in the RSL increases with the flow evolving from neutral to near-convective conditions. This increase in the degree of organisation is attributed to the evolution of attached thermal eddies. The coherent structures resulting from instabilities were found to be present throughout the RSL but do not contribute to the increased vertical coherency. An alternative conceptual approach for the definition of the RSL is proposed, which yields its maximum vertical extent to five times the canopy height.


Acoustic sounding Coherent structures Turbulence Vegetation Wavelet transform 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Thomas
    • 1
  • Jens-Christopher Mayer
    • 1
  • Franz X. Meixner
    • 2
  • Thomas Foken
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrometeorologyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Biogeochemistry DepartmentMax-Planck-Institute for ChemistryMainzGermany

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