On the Temperature and Humidity Dissimilarity in the Marine Surface Layer

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The dissimilarity of temperature and humidity transfer in the marine surface layer (MSL) is investigated through the relative transport efficiency and correlation coefficient of these two scalars. We examine their variability and relationship with mean values, as well as spectral characteristics. It is shown that the dissimilarity between these two scalars in the MSL is a function of stability, the boundary-layer depth, and flow steadiness. In general the temperature and humidity are less correlated in shallow marine boundary layers compared to deep marine boundary layers, due to the stronger impact of the boundary-layer scale in breaking the “same source, same sink” assumption for scalar similarity. This is supported by the combination of our spectral analysis of scalar fluxes and corresponding measured and modelled boundary-layer depth. This assumption is also broken in near-neutral conditions, when there is an efficient latent heat transfer but negligible sensible heat transfer. Our data suggest that parametrization of humidity fluxes via similarity theory could still be reliable when the correlation coefficient >0.5, and in near-neutral conditions the humidity flux can be estimated without use of the sensible heat flux.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)273-291
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Boundary-layer depth
  • Marine surface layer
  • Scalar transfer efficiency
  • Scalar transport correlation
  • Temperature and humidity dissimilarity

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