Air turbulence characteristics at multiple sites in and above the Amazon rainforest canopy

Raoni A. Santana, Cléo Q. Dias-Júnior, Júlio Tóta da Silva, Jose D. Fuentes, Roseilson Souza do Vale, Eliane Gomes Alves, Rosa Maria N. dos Santos, Antônio O. Manzi

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21 Scopus citations


Atmospheric turbulence characteristics within and above rain forest canopies are investigated at several sites located in the Amazon region of Brazil. Turbulence data provided by bi- and three-dimensional sonic anemometers, which were deployed at heights ranging from near the forest floor to about 80 m, are analyzed to describe the principal features of atmospheric turbulence, sensible heat flux (H), and components of the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) budget equation. The analyses focused on weak (WW) and strong (SW) wind conditions to achieve the research objectives of evaluating the turbulence structure above and below the rain forest canopy and estimating the degree of coupling between air layers above the forest and deep in the canopy. Turbulence statistical moments show that atmospheric eddies, generated above the canopy, hardly penetrate the region below 0.5h (h is the canopy height). Forest-atmosphere exchanges of heat differ depending on the observed wind regimes. Sensible heat fluxes decrease with canopy depth for SW conditions and are approximately constant with the height for WW above the canopy. Sensible heat flux profiles reveal a transition layer (around 0.6h) which sometimes exchanges heat with the upper and sometimes with the lower forest canopy, depending on time of day and weather conditions. TKE balance results show that during the daytime period in SW conditions the shear production is at least an order of magnitude greater than the buoyancy above the forest canopy. This turbulence, however, is practically all dissipated in the region above 0.5h. Thus, the air layer from the soil surface to 0.5h is largely decoupled from the upper part of the forest canopy. This feature of having the bottom of the canopy mostly decoupled from the air aloft in the dense and tall rain forest can exert control on the residence times and turbulent transport of plant-emitted gases out of the forest canopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-54
Number of pages14
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
StatePublished - Oct 15 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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