Vertical structure of turbulence in offshore flow during RASEX

L. Mahrt, D. Vickers, J. Edson, J.M. Wilczak, J. Hare, J. Højstrup

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    The adjustment of the boundary layer immediately downstream from a coastline is examined based on two levels of eddy correlation data collected on a mast at the shore and six levels of eddy correlation data and profiles of mean variables collected from a mast 2 km offshore during the Riso Air-Sea Experiment. The characteristics of offshore flow are studied in terms of case studies and inter-variable relationships for the entire one-month data set. A turbulent kinetic energy budget is constructed for each case study.

    The buoyancy generation of turbulence is small compared to shear generation and dissipation. However, weakly stable and weakly unstable cases exhibit completely different vertical structure. With flow of warm air from land over cooler water, modest buoyancy destruction of turbulence and reduced shear generation of turbulence over the less rough sea surface cause the turbulence to rapidly weaken downstream from the coast. The reduction of downward mixing of momentum by the stratification leads to smaller roughness lengths compared to the unstable case. Shear generation at higher levels and advection of stronger turbulence from land often lead to an increase of stress and turbulence energy with height and downward transport of turbulence energy toward the surface.

    With flow of cool air over a warmer sea surface, a convective internal boundary layer develops downstream from the coast. An overlying relatively thick layer of downward buoyancy flux (virtual temperature flux) is sometimes maintained by shear generation in the accelerating offshore flow.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)47-61
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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