Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 701–719 | Cite as

Wind profiles, momentum fluxes and roughness lengths at Cabauw revisited

  • J. W. Verkaik
  • A. A. M. Holtslag
Original Paper


We describe the results of an experiment focusing on wind speed and momentum fluxes in the atmospheric boundary layer up to 200 m. The measurements were conducted in 1996 at the Cabauw site in the Netherlands. Momentum fluxes are measured using the K-Gill Propeller Vane. Estimates of the roughness length are derived using various techniques from the wind speed and flux measurements, and the observed differences are explained by considering the source area of the meteorological parameters. A clear rough-to-smooth transition is found in the wind speed profiles at Cabauw. The internal boundary layer reaches the lowest k-vane (20 m) only in the south-west direction where the obstacle-free fetch is about 2 km. The internal boundary layer is also reflected in the roughness lengths derived from the wind speed profiles. The lower part of the profile (< 40 m) is not in equilibrium and no reliable roughness analysis can be given. The upper part of the profile can be linked to a large-scale roughness length. Roughness lengths derived from the horizontal wind speed variance and gustiness have large footprints and therefore represent a large-scale average roughness. The drag coefficient is more locally determined but still represents a large-scale roughness length when it is measured above the local internal boundary layer. The roughness length at inhomogeneous sites can therefore be determined best from drag coefficient measurements just above the local internal boundary layers directly, or indirectly from horizontal wind speed variance or gustiness. In addition, the momentum and heat fluxes along the tower are analysed and these show significant variation with height related to stability and possibly surface heterogeneity. It appears that the dimensionless wind speed gradients scale well with local fluxes for the variety of conditions considered, including the unstable cases.


Cabauw Drag coefficient Flux–profile relationship Footprint area Gustiness K-Gill Local scaling Roughness length Wind speed 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Climate Services and AnalysisRoyal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)AE De Biltthe Netherlands
  2. 2.Meteorology and Air Quality SectionWageningen UniversityWageningenthe Netherlands

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