Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 134, Issue 2, pp 257–267 | Cite as

Bulk Transfer Relations for the Roughness Sublayer

  • Koen De Ridder


In the roughness sublayer (RSL), Monin–Obukhov surface layer similarity theory fails. This is problematic for atmospheric modelling applications over domains that include rough terrain such as forests or cities, since in these situations numerical models often have the lowest model level located within the RSL. Based on empirical RSL profile functions for momentum and scalar quantities, and scaling the height with the RSL height z *, we derive a simple bulk transfer relation that accounts for RSL effects. To verify the validity of our approach, these relations are employed together with wind speed and temperature profiles measured over boreal forest during the BOREAS experimental campaign to estimate momentum and heat fluxes. It is demonstrated that, when compared with observed flux values, the inclusion of RSL effects in the transfer relations yields a considerable improvement in the estimated fluxes.


Atmospheric numerical modelling Roughness sublayer Surface-layer transfer relations 

List of symbols


Drag coefficient for momentum


Drag coefficient for heat


Displacement height (m)


Canopy height (m)


Index indicating momentum (M) or heat (H) transport


von Kàrmàn constant


Obukhov stability length (m)


Aerodynamic canopy length scale (m)


Wind speed (m s−1)


Wind speed at canopy top (m s−1)


Friction velocity (m s−1)


Height above the displacement height (zZd) (m)


Roughness sublayer height above the displacement height (m)


Aerodynamic roughness length (m)


Roughness length for heat (m)


Height above the ground (m)


Roughness sublayer height measured from the ground (m)


Coefficient used in the stability functions


Average inter-element spacing (m)


Roughness sublayer profile function


Coefficient used in roughness sublayer function


Surface-layer stability function for momentum, heat


Height scaled with the roughness sublayer height (χ = z/z *)


Height scaled with the Obukhov length (ζ = z/L)


Coefficient in the approximated roughness sublayer correction


Coefficient in the approximated roughness sublayer correction


Coefficient in the approximated roughness sublayer correction


Integrated stability function for momentum, heat


Potential temperature (K)


Surface-layer temperature scale (K)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.VITO—Flemish Institute for Technological ResearchMolBelgium

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