Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 457–495 | Cite as

Wind Tunnel And Field Measurements Of Turbulent Flow In Forests. Part I: Uniformly Thinned Stands

  • Michael D. Novak
  • Jon S. Warland
  • Alberto L Orchansky
  • Rick Ketler
  • Steven Green


Many forest management methods alterstand density uniformly. The effectsof such a change on the wind andturbulence regimes in the forest arecritical to a number of processes governingthe stability of the stand and itsmicroclimate. We measured wind speed andturbulence statistics with a Dantec tri-axialhot-film probe in model forests of variousdensities (31–333 trees m-2), created byremoving whole trees in a regular pattern in awind tunnel, and compared them with similarmeasurements made with propeller anemometers insimilarly thinned plots (156–625 trees ha-1)within a Sitka spruce stand in Scotland. The results agree well, in general, with measurements made inother such studies with diverse canopy types.The systematic variations with density and verticalleaf-area distribution (which differed betweenwind-tunnel and field trees) in our work can explainmuch of the variability shown in scaled profiles ofbasic turbulence statistics reported in theliterature. The wind tunnel and field results are shown to be in good agreement overalldespite the difference in vertical leaf-areadistribution. Within-canopy and isolated-treedrag coefficients in the wind tunnel showthat tree-scale shelter effects increase astree density increases. The measurements indicatethat turbulence in the canopy is dominated bylarge-scale structures with dimensions of the sameorder as the height of the canopy as found inother studies but suggest that inter-tree spacing also modulates the size of these structures. These structures are associated with the sweeps that dominatemomentum exchange in the canopy and it is thisfact that allows the tri-axial probe to operate sowell despite the relatively narrow range of anglesin which the wind vector is correctly measured. Theratio of streamwise periodicity of these structuresto vorticity thickness varies systematically withtree density in the range 2.7–5.1, which spans theexpected range of 3.5–5 found in a laboratorymixing-layer, suggesting that tree spacing imposes another relevant length scale. This test andothers show that the results are in agreement withthe idea that canopy turbulence resembles that of a mixing layer even though they disagree with, and challenge the linear relationship between, streamwise periodicity andshear length scale presented recently in theliterature. The measurements are also in goodoverall agreement with simple drag models presented recently by other researchers.

Field measurements Thinned forests Turbulence Wind tunnel 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael D. Novak
    • 1
  • Jon S. Warland
    • 2
  • Alberto L Orchansky
    • 1
  • Rick Ketler
    • 1
  • Steven Green
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Agricultural SciencesThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Land Resource ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  3. 3.The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd.Palmerston NorthNew Zealand

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