Impact of Mountainous Topography on Surface-Layer Parameters During Weak Mean-Flow Conditions

  • Raman Solanki
  • Narendra SinghEmail author
  • N. V. P. Kiran Kumar
  • K. Rajeev
  • Ryoichi Imasu
  • S. K. Dhaka
Notes and Comments


We investigate surface-layer characteristics over a mountainous ridge in the Central Himalayas, utilizing tower-based fast-response micrometeorological observations (at 12 and 27 m above ground level) for the winter months November 2013–January 2014. During this period, the site generally experienced clear skies and weak synoptic flow (wind speed < 2 m s−1), favouring a strong diurnal evolution of the atmospheric boundary layer. The observations show a regular change in wind direction from north-easterly during the night-time to westerly during the daytime throughout the season, indicating the systematic development of a mountain circulation due to changes in heating of the mountain slopes as the day advances. Considering the variations in wind direction and topography of the site, the tilt corrections are implemented sector-wise by segregating the data into three sectors, thus estimating three sets of coefficients for the tilt correction. Observations during fair-weather conditions (59 days only) are analyzed with the sensible heat flux (H) showing large diurnal variations, which are in-phase with the mean vertical velocity. The afternoon peak value of H is found to be ≈ 116 ± 80 W m−2. In contrast, diurnal variations of momentum flux and turbulent kinetic energy are less prominent with rather weak maxima occurring between 0900 and 1300 IST, the period when wind direction changes over the ridge. Variations of the dimensionless standard deviations of the vertical velocity component and temperature are found to scale with the stability parameter z/L under convective conditions, while taking into account the effect of self-correlation. The constancy of fluxes with height, slope-flow buoyancy and stress divergence are also analyzed to provide a rigorous evaluation of Monin–Obukhov similarity theory based on two-level turbulence measurements.


Low wind speed Momentum flux Mountainous topography Sensible heat flux Vertical velocity 



This work has been carried out as part of IGBP-NOBLE project. We thank the Director, ARIES Nainital; Director SPL, and Project Director, ISRO-IGBP for their valuable support. Raman Solanki is thankful to the Indian Space Research Organisation for sponsoring the Ph.D. research fellowship. We also wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational SciencesNainitalIndia
  2. 2.Department of Physics and AstrophysicsUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia
  3. 3.Space Physics LaboratoryVikram Sarabhai Space CentreThiruvananthapuramIndia
  4. 4.Atmosphere and Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoChibaJapan
  5. 5.Radio and Atmospheric Physics Lab, Rajdhani CollegeUniversity of DelhiNew DelhiIndia
  6. 6.Atmospheric Research Unit (ARU)National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT)Chiang MaiThailand

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