One of the hallmarks of the stable boundary layer is the switching between turbulent (active) and non-turbulent (passive) states. In very stable conditions, the boundary layer becomes layered with fully-developed turbulence confined to a shallow region near the surface. In the quiescent region above this near-surface layer, the turbulence is weak, intermittent and detached from the ground. These conditions promote the development of a low-level jet that re-energizes the turbulence through an elevated shear layer. The Monin–Obukhov similarity theory fails in the layered stable boundary layer thereby making the quantification of mixing and transport properties challenging for numerical models. In the present study, multi-level time series from a tall (140 m) meteorological tower are analyzed using the telegraphic approximation to investigate analogies with a general class of intermittency models that include self-organized criticality. The analogy between turbulence and self-organized criticality is restricted to clustering properties of sign changes of flow variables for describing switching between turbulent and non-turbulent states. The telegraphic approximation provides a new perspective on clustering and on external and internal intermittency for periods dominated by turbulent motions, a low-level jet and submeso motions. Some of these periods are characterized by the absence of turbulence but occasionally punctuated by bursts of intermittent turbulent events. The switching probability of active–inactive states and the lifetimes of inactive states (related to intermittent turbulent bursts) show evidence of self-organized-criticality like behaviour in terms of scaling laws. The coexistence of self-organized criticality and intermittent turbulence may offer new perspectives on the genesis of scaling laws and similarity arguments, thereby improving the performance of numerical models in the stable boundary layer.

Submeso Motions and Intermittent Turbulence Across a Nocturnal Low-Level Jet: A Self-Organized Criticality Analogy

Cava, Daniela;Mortarini, Luca;Giostra, Umberto;
2019-01-01

Abstract

One of the hallmarks of the stable boundary layer is the switching between turbulent (active) and non-turbulent (passive) states. In very stable conditions, the boundary layer becomes layered with fully-developed turbulence confined to a shallow region near the surface. In the quiescent region above this near-surface layer, the turbulence is weak, intermittent and detached from the ground. These conditions promote the development of a low-level jet that re-energizes the turbulence through an elevated shear layer. The Monin–Obukhov similarity theory fails in the layered stable boundary layer thereby making the quantification of mixing and transport properties challenging for numerical models. In the present study, multi-level time series from a tall (140 m) meteorological tower are analyzed using the telegraphic approximation to investigate analogies with a general class of intermittency models that include self-organized criticality. The analogy between turbulence and self-organized criticality is restricted to clustering properties of sign changes of flow variables for describing switching between turbulent and non-turbulent states. The telegraphic approximation provides a new perspective on clustering and on external and internal intermittency for periods dominated by turbulent motions, a low-level jet and submeso motions. Some of these periods are characterized by the absence of turbulence but occasionally punctuated by bursts of intermittent turbulent events. The switching probability of active–inactive states and the lifetimes of inactive states (related to intermittent turbulent bursts) show evidence of self-organized-criticality like behaviour in terms of scaling laws. The coexistence of self-organized criticality and intermittent turbulence may offer new perspectives on the genesis of scaling laws and similarity arguments, thereby improving the performance of numerical models in the stable boundary layer.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2669501
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