Local similarity relationships in a horizontally inhomogeneous boundary layer

Yaping Shao, Jörg M. Hacker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    41 Citations (Scopus)


    Local similarity theory, an analogy to the Monin-Obukhov similarity theory, is successfully applied to airborne observations in a coastal area of South Australia. The boundary layer over this highly non-uniform surface is characterized by extensive variations in its thermal stratification and turbulence characteristics. However, the behaviour of some statistical parameters of second- and higher moments seems to be determined mainly by local forcing, while horizontal advection plays a less important role. For these parameters, local scaling is effective. It is shown that the dimensionless variances of vertical velocity and potential temperature are functions of z/λ only, where λ is the local Monin-Obukhov length and z is the height above ground. The dimensionless variance of horizontal velocity components is found to depend on h/λ, where h is the height of the oundary layer. Similarity relationships for some triple correlations are also discussed. The empirically determined local similarity relationships are found to agree with those obtained from surface-layer similarity. Finally, to illustrate the complexity of the local forcing, distributions of vertical energy and momentum fluxes, from which the local scaling parameters are derived, are shown.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-40
    Number of pages24
    JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 1990


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