Wind lidars reveal turbulence transport mechanism in the wake of a tree

Nikolas Angelou*, Jakob Mann, Ebba Dellwik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Solitary trees are natural land surface elements found in almost all climates, yet their influence on the surrounding airflow is poorly known. Here we use state-of-the-art, laser-based, remote sensing instruments to study the turbulent wind field in the near-wake region of a mature, open-grown oak tree. Our measurements provide for the first time a full picture of the mixing layer of high turbulence that surrounds the mean wind speed deficit. In this layer, we investigate the validity of a two-dimensional vectorial relation derived from the eddy-viscosity hypothesis, a hypothesis commonly used in modelling the turbulence transport of momentum and scalars in the atmosphere. We find that the momentum fluxes of the streamwise wind component can be adequately predicted by the transverse gradient of the mean flow. Using the mixing-length hypothesis we find that for this tree the corresponding turbulence length scale in the mixing layer can be approximated by one height-independent value. Further, the laser-based scanning technology used here was able to accurately reveal three-dimensional turbulent and spatially varying atmospheric flows over a large plane without seeding or intruding the atmospheric flow. This capability points to a new and more exact way of exploring the complex earth-atmosphere interactions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)2255-2268
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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