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Interaction between coherent structures and surface temperature and its effect on ground heat flux in an unstably stratified boundary layer

  • Author(s): Garai, A;
  • Kleissl, J
  • et al.

Surface layer plumes, thermals, downdrafts and roll vortices are the most prominent coherent structures in an unstably stratified boundary layer. They contribute most of the temperature and vertical velocity variance, and their time scales increase with height. The effects of these multi-scale structures (surface layer plumes scale with surface layer depth, thermals scale with boundary layer height and the resulting roll vortices scale with convective time scale) on the surface temperature and ground heat flux were studied using turbulence measurements throughout the atmospheric boundary layer and the surface temperature measurements from an infrared camera. Plumes and thermals imprint on the surface temperature as warm structures and downdrafts imprint as cold structures. The air temperature trace shows a ramp-like pattern, with small ramps overlaid on a large ramp very close to the surface; on the other hand, surface temperature gradually increases and decreases. Turbulent heat flux and ground heat flux show similar patterns, with the former lagging the latter. The maximum values of turbulent heat flux and ground heat flux are 4 and 1.2 times the respective mean values during the ejection event. Surface temperature fluctuations follow a similar power-law exponent relationship with stability as suggested by surface layer similarity theory. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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