Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 160, Issue 1, pp 83–111 | Cite as

The Role of Large-Coherent-Eddy Transport in the Atmospheric Surface Layer Based on CASES-99 Observations

  • Jielun SunEmail author
  • Donald H. Lenschow
  • Margaret A. LeMone
  • Larry Mahrt
Research Article


The analysis of momentum and heat fluxes from the Cooperative Atmosphere-Surface Exchange Study 1999 (CASES-99) field experiment is extended throughout the diurnal cycle following the investigation of nighttime turbulence by Sun et al. (J Atmos Sci 69:338–351, 2012). Based on the observations, limitations of Monin–Obukhov similarity theory (MOST) are examined in detail. The analysis suggests that strong turbulent mixing is dominated by relatively large coherent eddies that are not related to local vertical gradients as assumed in MOST. The HOckey-Stick Transition (HOST) hypothesis is developed to explain the generation of observed large coherent eddies over a finite depth and the contribution of these eddies to vertical variations of turbulence intensity and atmospheric stratification throughout the diurnal cycle. The HOST hypothesis emphasizes the connection between dominant turbulent eddies and turbulence generation scales, and the coupling between the turbulence kinetic energy and the turbulence potential energy within the turbulence generation layer in determining turbulence intensity. For turbulence generation directly influenced by the surface, the HOST hypothesis recognizes the role of the surface both in the vertical variation of momentum and heat fluxes and its boundary effect on the size of the dominant turbulence eddies.


Atmospheric boundary layer Large coherent eddies  Momentum and heat fluxes Non-local turbulent mixing 



The authors thank three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, and acknowledge the field support from the Earth Observing Laboratory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Larry Mahrt received support from Grant AGS-1115011 from the National Science Foundation. The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jielun Sun
    • 1
    Email author
  • Donald H. Lenschow
    • 1
  • Margaret A. LeMone
    • 1
  • Larry Mahrt
    • 2
  1. 1.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA
  2. 2.NorthWest Research AssociatesCorvallisUSA

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