Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 103, Issue 1, pp 101–124 | Cite as

Theory And Measurements For Turbulence Spectra And Variances In The Atmospheric Neutral Surface Layer

  • Ulf Högström
  • J. C. R. Hunt
  • Ann-Sofi Smedman


Predictions from a new theory for high Reynolds number turbulent boundary layers during near-neutral conditions are shown to agree well with measurements of atmospheric surface-layer variances and spectra. The theory suggests surface-layer turbulence is determined by detached eddies that largely originate in the shearing motion immediately above the surface layer; as they descend into this layer, they are strongly distorted by the local shear and impinge onto the surface. Because the origin of these eddies is non-local, they are similar to those described in previous studies as `inactive' turbulence. However, they are, in fact, dynamically highly active, supplying the major mechanism for the momentum transport, including upward bursting on the time scale of the larger eddies. The vertical velocity results show that the variance and the low frequency parts of spectra increase with height in the surface layer, while in the self similar (k1-1) range the streamwise low frequency components are approximately constant with height. These large-scale longitudinal eddies extend to a length Λs, which is equal to the boundary-layer height near the surface andincreases linearly to a maximum of about three times the boundary-layer height at roughly 15 m and decreases in the upper parts of the surface layer. This lower part of the surface layer, the eddy surface layer, is the region in which the eddies impinging from layers above are strongly distorted. This new result for the atmospheric boundary layer has practical application for calculating fluctuating wind loads on structures and lateral dispersion of pollution from local sources.

Coherent structures Impinging eddies Neutral surface layer Turbulence 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulf Högström
    • 1
  • J. C. R. Hunt
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ann-Sofi Smedman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth Sciences, MeteorologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Departments of Space, Climate Physics and Geological SciencesUniversity CollegeLondon WC1U.K.
  3. 3.J.M. Burgers CentreDelft University of Technologythe Netherlands

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