The flux Richardson number Rf (also known as the mixing efficiency) for the stably stratified atmospheric boundary layer is investigated as a function of the gradient Richardson number Rig using data taken during two field studies: the Vertical Transport and Mixing Experiment (VTMX) in Salt Lake City, Utah (October 2000), and a long-term rural field data set from Technical Area 6 (TA-6) at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico. The results show the existence of a maximum Rf (0.4–0.5) at a gradient Richardson number of approximately unity. These large-Reynolds-number results agree well with recent laboratory stratified shear layer measurements, but are at odds with some commonly used Rf parameterizations, particularly under high-Rig conditions. The observed variations in buoyancy flux and turbulent kinetic energy production are consistent with the concept of global intermittency of the atmospheric stable boundary layer.
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