Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 135, Issue 2, pp 209–228 | Cite as

Organized Structure of Active Turbulence Over an Array of Cubes within the Logarithmic Layer of Atmospheric Flow

  • Atsushi Inagaki
  • Manabu Kanda


We investigate the coherent structure of atmosphere turbulence over very large roughness within a fully rough, high Reynolds number turbulent flow. The horizontal distributions of coherent turbulence were determined by multipoint measurements of velocity fluctuations using sonic anemometers in a comprehensive outdoor scale model experiment for urban climate (COSMO). COSMO is made up of 512 cubical obstacles, each 1.5 m on a side, arranged in a rectangular pattern on a flat 50 m × 100 m concrete plate. A total of 15 sets of sonic anemometers were aligned horizontally within the logarithmic layer above this site. The velocity fluctuations observed in COSMO were decomposed into active and inactive contributions by applying a spatial-filtering method, and which used a simple moving average along the spanwise direction of the predominant flow as a filter function. The size of the filter should be between the sizes of the active and inactive fluctuations. This method potentially eliminates the considerable portion of low frequency modes included in the horizontal velocity fluctuation, while preserving well the Reynolds stress. The structural characteristics of the active turbulence were qualitatively similar to those measured over various surface configurations. Overall, the observed structures of the active turbulence are composed of very large streaks of low momentum fluid elongated in the streamwise direction with some sub-structures included in the streaks. The sub-structures were the main cause of the ejections, which accompany horizontal vortices. The active motion, including the streaky structures, did not reproduce the lower frequency peak of the bi-modal distribution of the horizontal velocity spectra, but reproduced the higher frequency mode that robustly follows inner-layer similarity (i.e. Monin–Obukhov similarity).


Active motion Atmospheric turbulence Coherent structure of turbulence Low speed streaks Monin–Obukhov similarity Reduced urban scale model 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adrian RJ, Meinhart CD, Tomkins CD (2000) Vortex organization in the outer region of the turbulent boundary layer. J Fluid Mech 422: 1–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bhaganagar K, Kim J, Coleman G (2004) Effect of roughness on wall-bounded turbulence. Flow Turb Combust 72: 463–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradshaw P (1967) Inactive motions and pressure fluctuations in turbulent boundary layers. J Fluid Mech 30: 241–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Christen A, Gorsel E, Vogt R (2007) Coherent structures in urban roughness sublayer turbulence. Int J Climatol 27: 1955–1968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Castro IP, Cheng H, Reynolds R (2006) Turbulence over urban-type roughness: deductions from wind-tunnel measurements. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 118: 109–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coceal O, Dobre A, Thomas TG, Belcher SE (2007) Structure of turbulent flow over regular arrays of cubical roughness. J Fluid Mech 589: 375–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dennis DJC, Nickels TB (2008) On the limitations of Taylor’s hypothesis in constructing long structures in a turbulent boundary layer. J Fluid Mech 614: 197–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Drobinski P, Carlotti P, Newsom RK, Banta RM, Foster RC, Redelsperger JL (2004) The structure of the near-neutral atmospheric surface layer. J Atmos Sci 61: 699–714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Foster RC, Vianey F, Drobinski P, Carlotti P (2006) Near-surface coherent structures and the vertical momentum flux in a large-eddy simulation of the neutrally-stratified boundary layer. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 120: 229–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Head MR, Bandyopadhyay P (1981) New aspects of turbulent boundary-layer structure. J Fluid Mech 107: 297–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hutchins N, Marusic I (2007) Evidence of very long meandering features in the logarithmic region of turbulent boundary layers. J Fluid Mech 579: 1–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Inagaki A, Kanda M (2008) Turbulent flow similarity over an array of cubes in near-neutrally stratified atmospheric flow. J Fluid Mech 615: 101–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kaimal JC, Wyngaard JC, Izumi Y, Cote OR (1972) Spectral characteristics of surface layer turbulence. Q J Roy Meteorol Soc 98: 563–589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kanda M, Moriwaki R, Kasamatsu F (2004) Large eddy simulation of turbulent organized structure within and above explicitly resolved cubic arrays. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 112: 343–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kanda M (2006) Large eddy simulations on the effects of surface geometry of building arrays on turbulent organized structures. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 118: 151–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kanda M, Kanega M, Kawai T, Sugawara H, Moriwaki R (2007) Roughness lengths for momentum and heat derived from outdoor urban scale models. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 46: 1067–1079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kawahara G, Kida S (2001) Periodic motion embedded in plane Couette turbulence: regeneration cycle and burst. J Fluid Mech 449: 291–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kim KC, Adrian RJ (1999) Very large-scale motion in the outer layer. Phys Fluid 11: 417–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Klein SJ, Reynolds WC, Schraub FA, Runstadler PW (1967) The structure of turbulent boundary layers. J Fluid Mech 30: 741–773CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Krogstad P-A, Antonia RA, Browne WB (1992) Comparison between rough- and smooth-wall turbulent boundary layers. J Fluid Mech 245: 599–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kunkel GJ, Marusic I (2006) Study of the near-wall-turbulent region of the high-Reynolds-number boundary layer using an atmospheric flow. J Fluid Mech 548: 375–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lewalle J, Delville J, Bonnet JP (2000) Decomposition of mixing layer turbulence into coherent structure and background fluctuations. Flow Turb Combust 64: 301–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Marsic I, Hutchins N (2008) Study of the log-layer structure in wall turbulence over a very large range of Reynolds number. Flow Turb Combust 81: 115–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McNaughton KG, Raubach J (1998) Unsteadiness as a cause of non-equality of eddy diffusivities for heat and vapour at the base of an advective inversion. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 88: 479–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Moriwaki R, Kanda M (2006) Local and global similarity in turbulent transfer of heat, water vapor, and CO2 in the dynamic convective sublayers over a suburban area. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 120: 163–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Newsom R, Calhoun R, Ligon D, Allwine J (2008) Linearly organized turbulence structures observed over a suburban area by dual-doppler lidar. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 127: 111–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nickels TB, Marusic I, Hafez S, Chong MS (2005) Evidence of the \({k_1^{-1}}\) Law in a high-Reynolds-number turbulent boundary layer. Phys Rev Lett 95: 074501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Oikawa S, Meng Y (1995) Turbulence characteristics and organized motion in a suburban roughness sublayer. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 74: 289–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Porté-Agel F, Pahlow H, Meneveau C, Parlange MB (2001) Atmospheric stability effect on subgrid-scale physics for large-eddy simulation. Adv Water Res 24: 1085–1102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Raupach MR, Antonia RA, Rajagopalan S (1991) Rough-wall turbulent boundary layers. Appl Mech Rev 44: 1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Robinson SK (1991) Coherent motions in the turbulent boundary layer. Annu Rev Fluid Mech 32: 519–571Google Scholar
  32. Roth M (2000) Review of atmospheric turbulence over cities. Q J Roy Meteorol Soc 126: 941–990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shaw RH, Tavangar J, Ward DP (1983) Structure of Reynolds stress in a canopy layer. J Clim Appl Meteorol 22: 1922–1931CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shaw RH, Brunet Y, Finnigan JJ, Raupach MR (1995) A wind tunnel study of air flow in waving wheat: two-point velocity statistics. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 76: 349–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stull RB (1988) An introduction to boundary layer meteorology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 670 ppGoogle Scholar
  36. Tomkins CJ, Adrian RJ (2003) Spanwise structure and scale growth in turbulent boundary layers. J Fluid Mech 490: 37–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Townsend AA (1976) The structure of turbulent shear flow. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 429Google Scholar
  38. Volino RJ, Schultz MP, Flack KA (2007) Turbulent structure in rough- and smooth-wall boundary layers. J Fluid Mech 592: 263–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Watanabe T (2004) Large-eddy simulation of coherent turbulence structures associated with scalar ramps over plant canopies. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 112: 307–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhou J, Adrian RJ, Balachandar S, Kendall TM (1999) Mechanisms for generating coherent packets of hairpin vortices in channel flow. J Fluid Mech 387: 353–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of International Development EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations