On the determination of the neutral drag coefficient in the convective boundary layer

A.A. Grachev, C.W. Fairall, Søren Ejling Larsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


    Based on the idea that free convection can be considered as a particular case of forced convection, where the gusts driven by the large-scale eddies are scaled with the Deardorff convective velocity scale, a new formulation for the neutral drag coefficient, C-Dn, in the convective boundary layer (CBL) is derived. It is shown that (i) a concept of C-Dn can still be used under strongly unstable conditions including a pure free-convection regime even when no logarithmic portion in the velocity profile exists; (ii) gustiness corrections must be applied for rational calculations of C-Dn; and (iii) the stratification Psi function used in the derivation of C-Dn should satisfy the theoretical free-convection limit. The new formulation is compared with the traditional relationship for C-Dn, and data collected over the sea (during the Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) and the San Clemente Ocean Probing Experiment (SCOPE)) and over land (during the BOREX-95 experiment) are used to illustrate the difference between the new and traditional formulations. Compared to the new approach, the traditional formulation strongly overestimates C-Dn and z(o) in the CBL for mean wind speed less than about 2 m s(-1). The new approach also clarifies several contradictory results from earlier works. Some aspects related to an alternate definition of the neutral drag coefficient and the wind speed and the stress averaging procedure are considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)257-278
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


    Dive into the research topics of 'On the determination of the neutral drag coefficient in the convective boundary layer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this