Dependence of Turbulent Velocities on Wind Speed and Stratification

L. Mahrt, Jielun Sun, David Stauffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


We examine the dependence of several turbulence quantities on the wind speed and stability using nocturnal data from the Shallow Cold Pool Experiment. The turbulent quantities (velocities) are defined in terms of the standard deviation of the horizontal and vertical velocity fluctuations, two different calculations of the friction velocity, and two turbulent velocities based on the heat flux. The dependence of the turbulent velocities on the wind speed shows a transition between the weak-wind regime of small slope and the stronger wind regime of larger slope, as found in previous studies. This transition occurs for all of the turbulent velocities examined and occurs for a wide range of averaging times. Although this study concentrates primarily on data over a flat surface above the valley, the transition also occurs at the other 18 stations that have non-zero local slopes up to about 10 %. At the same time, the relationship between the turbulence and the wind speed cannot be universal because of the influence of stratification and site-dependent non-stationarity in the weak-wind regime. The wind speed of the transition increases with increasing stratification at a rate that is an order of magnitude slower than that predicted by a constant transition bulk Richardson number. For the weakest winds, the impact of stratification is unexpectedly small.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-71
Number of pages17
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Dependence of Turbulent Velocities on Wind Speed and Stratification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this