Critical flux Richardson number for Kolmogorov turbulence enabled by TKE transport

Livia S. Freire, Marcelo Chamecki, Elie R. Bou-Zeid, Nelson L. Dias

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23 Scopus citations


In stably stratified flows, the flux Richardson number Ri f is a measure of the ratio between buoyancy destruction and shear production of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE). In flows with local equilibrium between shear production, buoyancy destruction and dissipation of TKE, the critical Ri f,c≈0.21 corresponds to the limit above which Kolmogorov turbulence can no longer be sustained. Analysis of the TKE and velocity variance budget equations shows that the critical Ri f,c is increased by the presence of positive turbulent transport of TKE. This situation is observed, for example, in the roughness sublayer above plant canopies, as demonstrated using field data from the Amazon rainforest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1551-1558
Number of pages8
JournalQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Issue number721
StatePublished - Apr 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Kolmogorov turbulence
  • flux Richardson number
  • stratified turbulence
  • supercritical turbulence


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