Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 142, Issue 1, pp 1–20 | Cite as

The Role of Roughness Sublayer Dynamics Within Surface Exchange Schemes

  • Ian N. HarmanEmail author


Turbulence above and within canopies has characteristics distinct from that over rough surfaces. The vertical transport of momentum and scalars is dominated by coherent structures whose origin is now thought to be the result of the unstable inflexion in the profile of the mean wind speed established by the application of canopy drag. This distinctive property leads to the failure of the standard Monin–Obukhov flux–profile relationships over homogeneous canopies, relationships that are assumed in many surface exchange schemes within numerical weather prediction and general circulation models. A modification of the flux–profile relationships is presented that incorporates the effects of the canopy turbulence. The subsequent impacts on the evolution of the surface energy balance and boundary-layer state are investigated within a simple numerical model for the evolution of the boundary layer and canopy state. By comparing cases with and without the modification it is shown that canopy-generated turbulence can lead, not only to the alteration of the flux–profile relationships above the canopy, but also to a different evolution of the surface energy balance and differences in near-surface conditions that would be significant in numerical weather prediction. More fundamentally, the modifications to the flux–profile relationships imply that parameters such as the roughness length and displacement height for canopies should not be considered as invariant properties, but rather as properties that depend on the flow and hence vary systematically with the diabatic stability of the boundary layer.


Boundary layer Canopy Energy balance Numerical weather prediction Roughness sublayer 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Belcher SE, Finnigan JJ, Harman IN (2008) Flows through canopies in complex terrain. Ecol Appl 18(6): 1436–1453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonan GB (1998) The land surface climatology of the NCAR land surface model coupled to the NCAR community climate model. J Clim 11: 1307–1326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Busch NE, Chang SW, Anthes RA (1976) A multi-level model of the planetary boundary-layer suitable for use within mesoscale dynamic models. J Appl Meteorol 15(9): 909–919CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cellier P, Brunet Y (1992) Flux-gradient relationships above tall plant canopies. Agric For Meteorol 58: 93–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen F, Dudhia J (2001) Coupling an advanced land surface-hydrology model with the Penn-State-NCAR MM5 modeling system. Part I: Model implementation and sensitivity. Mon Wea Rev 129: 569–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen F, Schwerdtfeger P (1989) Flux-gradient relationships over tall plant canopies. Q J Roy Meteorol Soc 58: 93–117Google Scholar
  7. de Ridder K (2010) Bulk transfer relations for the roughness sublayer. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 134: 257–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Edwards JM, Slingo A (1996) Studies with a flexible new radiation code. I: Choosing a configuration for a large-scale model. Q J Roy Meteorol Soc 122: 689–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ek MB, Holtslag AAM (2004) Influence of soil moisture on boundary layer cloud development. J Hydrometeorol 5: 86–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ek M, Mahrt L (1994) Daytime evolution relative humidity at the boundary layer top. Mon Wea Rev 122: 2709–2721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Essery R, Best M, Cox P (2001) MOSES 2.2 technical documentation. Hadley centre technical, note 30. Hadley Centre, UK Met Office, UK, 30 ppGoogle Scholar
  12. Finnigan JJ (1985) Turbulent transport in flexible canopies. In: Hutchinson BA, Hicks BB (eds) The forest-atmosphere interaction. Reidel, Dordrecht, pp 443–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Finnigan J (2000) Turbulence in plant canopies. Annu Rev Fluid Mech 32: 519–571CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Finnigan J (2004) Advection and modeling. In: Lee X, Massman W, Law B (eds) The handbook of micrometeorology: a guide for surface flux measurements and analysis. Atmospheric and oceanographic sciences library, vol 29. Kluwer Academic Publisher, Dordrecht, pp 209–244Google Scholar
  15. Finnigan JJ, Shaw RH (2000) A wind tunnel study of air flowing in waving-wheat: an EOF analysis of the structure of the large-eddy motion. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 96: 211–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Finnigan JJ, Shaw RH, Patton EG (2009) Turbulence structure above a vegetation canopy. J Fluid Mech 637: 387–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Garratt JR (1980) Surface influence on vertical profiles in the atmospheric near-surface layer. Q J Roy Meteorol Soc 96: 211–255Google Scholar
  18. Garratt JR (1992) The atmospheric boundary layer. Cambridge University Press, U.K., 316 ppGoogle Scholar
  19. Graefe J (2004) Roughness sublayer corrections with emphasis on SVAT model applications. Agric For Meteorol 124: 237–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harman IN, Belcher SE (2006) The surface energy balance and boundary-layer over urban street canyons. Q J Roy Meteorol Soc 132: 2749–2768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harman IN, Finnigan JJ (2007) A simple unified theory for flow in the canopy and roughness sublayer. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 123: 339–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harman IN, Finnigan JJ (2008) Scalar profiles in the canopy and roughness sublayer. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 129: 323–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haverd V, Cuntz M, Leuning R, Keith H (2007) Air and biomass heat storage fluxes in a forest canopy: calculation within a soil vegetation atmosphere transfer model. Agric For Meteorol 147: 125–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Huete A, Didan K, Miura T, Rodriguez EP, Gao X, Ferreira LG (2002) Overview of the radiometric and biophysical performance of the MODIS vegetation indices. Remote Sens Environ 83: 195–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jackson PS (1981) On the displacement height in the logarithmic velocity profile. J Fluid Mech 111: 15–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jacquemin B, Noilhan J (1990) Sensitivity study and validation of a land surface parameterization using the Hapex-Mobilhy data set. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 52: 93–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jarvis PG, McNaughton KG (1986) Stomatal control of transpiration: scaling up from leaf to region. Adv Ecol Res 15: 1–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kowalczyk EA, Wang YP, Law RM, Davies HL, McGregor JL, Abramovitch G (2006) The CSIRO Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange (CABLE) model for use in climate models and as an offline model. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper 013, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  29. Leuning R, Cleugh HA, Zegelin SJ, Hughes D (2005) Carbon and water fluxes over a temperate Eucalyptus forest and a tropical wet/dry savanna in Australia: measurements and comparison with MODIS remote sensing estimates. Agric For Meteorol 104(3): 233–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Massman WJ (1997) An analytical one-dimensional model of momentum transfer by vegetation or arbitrary structure. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 83: 407–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McNaughton KG, Spriggs TW (1986) A mixed-layer model for regional evaporation. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 34: 243–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McNaughton KG, van den Hurk BJJM (1995) A Lagrangian revision of the resistance in the two-layer model for calculating the energy budget of a plant canopy. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 74: 261–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mölder M, Grelle A, Lindroth A, Halldin S (1999) Flux-profile relationships over a boreal forest roughness sublayer corrections. Agric For Meteorol 98–99: 645–658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Monteith JL, Unsworth MH (2008) Principles of environmental physics. Elsevier, New York, 418 ppGoogle Scholar
  35. Mynemi RB, Hoffman S, Knyazikhin Y, Privette JL, Glassy J, Tian Y, Wang Y, Song X, Zhang Y, Smith GR, Lotsch A, Friedl M, Morisette JT, Votava P, Nemani RR, Running SW (2002) Global products of vegetation leaf area and fraction absorbed PAR from year one of MODIS data. Remote Sens Environ 83: 214–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Physick WL, Garratt JR (1995) Incorporation of a high-roughness lower boundary into a mesoscale model for studies of dry deposition over complex terrain. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 74: 55–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pielke RA (2001) Influence of the spatial distribution of vegetation and soils on the prediction of cumulus convective rainfall. Rev Geophys 39: 151–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Raupach MR (1979) Anomalies in flux-gradient relationships over forest. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 16: 467–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Raupach MR (1987) A Lagrangian analysis of scalar transfer in vegetation canopies. Q J Roy Meteorol Soc 113: 107–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Raupach MR (1992) Drag and drag partition on rough surfaces. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 60: 375–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Raupach MR (1994) Simplified expression for vegetation roughness length and zero-plane displacement as functions of canopy height and area index. Boundary-layer Meteorol 78: 351–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Raupach MR, Shaw RH (1982) Averaging procedures for flow within vegetation canopies. Boundary-layer Meteorol 22: 79–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Raupach MR, Finnigan JJ, Brunet Y (1996) Coherent eddies and turbulence in plant canopies: the mixing layer analogy. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 78: 351–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rogers MM (1991) The structure of a passive scalar field with a uniform mean gradient in rapidly sheared homogeneous turbulent flow. Phys Fluids A 3(1): 144–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Siqueira MB, Katul GG (2010) An analytical model for the distribution of CO2 sources and sinks, fluxes, and mean concentration within the roughness sub-layer. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 135: 31–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Viterbo P, Beljaars ACM (1995) An improved land surface parameterization scheme in the ECMWF model and its validation. J Clim 8: 2716–2748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Watanabe T (1994) Bulk parameterization for a vegetated surface and its application to a simulation of nocturnal drainage flow. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 70: 13–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zilitinkevich SS, Mammarella I, Baklanov AA, Joffre SM (2008) The effect of stratification on the aerodynamic roughness length and displacement height. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 129: 179–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research—A Partnership Between the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIROCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations