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Very large scale motions in the atmospheric surface layer: a field investigation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2016

Guohua Wang
Affiliation:
Key Laboratory of Mechanics on Disaster and Environment in Western China, The Ministry of Education of China, Department of Mechanics, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, PR China
Xiaojing Zheng*
Affiliation:
Research Center for Applied Mechanics, School of Mechano-Electronic Engineering, Xidian University, Xi’an 710071, PR China
*
Email address for correspondence: xjzheng@xidian.edu.cn

Abstract

A field observation array for the atmospheric surface layer (ASL) was built on a dry flat bed of Qingtu Lake in Minqin (China) as the Qingtu Lake Observation Array (QLOA) site, which is similar to the Surface Layer Turbulence and Environmental Science Test (SLTEST) site in the Utah (USA) Western desert. The present observation array can synchronously perform multi-point measurements of wind velocity and temperature at different vertical and streamwise positions. In other words, three-dimensional turbulent ASL flows can be measured at the QLOA station and Reynolds numbers as high as $Re_{\unicode[STIX]{x1D70F}}\sim O(10^{6})$ can be achieved with steady wind conditions. By careful selection and pretreatment for measured data of more than 1200 h, the QLOA data have been validated to be reliable for high Reynolds number turbulent boundary layer research. Results from correlation and spectral analysis confirm that very large scale motions (VLSMs) exist in the ASL at a Reynolds number up to $Re_{\unicode[STIX]{x1D70F}}\approx 4\times 10^{6}$. Through premultiplied spectral analysis, it is revealed that the spectral energy in the high-wavenumber region decreases with height, similar to turbulent boundary layers at low or moderate Reynolds numbers, while it increases with height in the low-wavenumber region resulting in a log–linear increase of VLSMs energy with height, which is different from turbulent boundary layers at low or moderate Reynolds numbers. The present analyses support the view that the evolution of the VLSMs cannot be fully attributed to a ‘bottom-up’ mechanism alone, and probably other mechanisms, including a ‘top-down’ mechanism, also play a role.

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Copyright
© 2016 Cambridge University Press 

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