Turbulence and vertical fluxes in the stable atmospheric boundary layer. Part II: A novel mixing-length model

Jing Huang, Elie R. Bou-Zeid, Jean Christophe Golaz

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24 Scopus citations


This is the second part of a study about turbulence and vertical fluxes in the stable atmospheric boundary layer. Based on a suite of large-eddy simulations in Part I where the effects of stability on the turbulent structures and kinetic energy are investigated, first-order parameterization schemes are assessed and tested in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL)'s single-column model. The applicability of the gradient-flux hypothesis is first examined and it is found that stable conditions are favorable for that hypothesis. However, the concept of introducing a stability correction function fm as a multiplicative factor into the mixing length used under neutral conditions lN is shown to be problematic because fm computed a priori from large-eddy simulations tends not to be a universal function of stability. With this observation, a novel mixing-length model is proposed, which conforms to large-eddy simulation results much better under stable conditions and converges to the classic model under neutral conditions. Test cases imposing steady as well as unsteady forcings are developed to evaluate the performance of the new model. It is found that the new model exhibits robust performance as the stability strength is changed, while other models are sensitive to changes in stability. For cases with unsteady forcings, which are very rarely simulated or tested, the results of the singlecolumn model and large-eddy simulations are also closer when the new model is used, compared to the other models. However, unsteady cases are much more challenging for the turbulence closure formulations than cases with steady surface forcing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1528-1542
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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