Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 130, Issue 2, pp 209–228 | Cite as

The Turbulent Lagrangian Time Scale in Forest Canopies Constrained by Fluxes, Concentrations and Source Distributions

  • Vanessa Haverd
  • Ray Leuning
  • David Griffith
  • Eva van Gorsel
  • Matthias Cuntz
Open Access
Original Paper


One-dimensional Lagrangian dispersion models, frequently used to relate in-canopy source/sink distributions of energy, water and trace gases to vertical concentration profiles, require estimates of the standard deviation of the vertical wind speed, which can be measured, and the Lagrangian time scale, T L , which cannot. In this work we use non-linear parameter estimation to determine the vertical profile of the Lagrangian time scale that simultaneously optimises agreement between modelled and measured vertical profiles of temperature, water vapour and carbon dioxide concentrations within a 40-m tall temperate Eucalyptus forest in south-eastern Australia. Modelled temperature and concentration profiles are generated using Lagrangian dispersion theory combined with source/sink distributions of sensible heat, water vapour and CO2. These distributions are derived from a multilayer Soil-Vegetation-Atmospheric-Transfer model subject to multiple constraints: (1) daytime eddy flux measurements of sensible heat, latent heat, and CO2 above the canopy, (2) in-canopy lidar measurements of leaf area density distribution, and (3) chamber measurements of CO2 ground fluxes. The resulting estimate of Lagrangian time scale within the canopy under near-neutral conditions is about 1.7 times higher than previous estimates and decreases towards zero at the ground. It represents an advance over previous estimates of T L , which are largely unconstrained by measurements.


Atmospheric dispersion Lagrangian time scale Micrometeorology Turbulent transport Plant canopies 



We gratefully acknowledge the expert technical assistance of Steve Zegelin, Dale Hughes, Mark Kitchen, Richard Hurley, Martin Riggenbach and Graham Kettlewell. Thanks also to David Jupp for supplying the ground-based lidar data and Heather Keith and Stephen Livesley for the ground CO2 flux measurements. Mike Raupach and Ian Harman kindly reviewed the manuscript and provided helpful suggestions.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution,and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Haverd
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ray Leuning
    • 1
  • David Griffith
    • 2
  • Eva van Gorsel
    • 1
  • Matthias Cuntz
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric ResearchCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  3. 3.Research School of Biological SciencesCanberraAustralia
  4. 4.Max-Planck-Institut für BiogeochemieJenaGermany

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