Effects of shear in the convective boundary layer: analysis of the turbulent kinetic energy budget

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Effects of convective and mechanical turbulence at the entrainment zone are studied through the use of systematic Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) experiments. Five LES experiments with different shear characteristics in the quasi-steady barotropic boundary layer were conducted by increasing the value of the constant geostrophic wind by 5 m s-1 until the geostrophic wind was equal to 20 m s-1. The main result of this sensitivity analysis is that the convective boundary layer deepens with increasing wind speed due to the enhancement of the entrainment heat flux by the presence of shear. Regarding the evolution of the turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) budget for the studied cases, the following conclusions are drawn: (i) dissipation increases with shear, (ii) the transport and pressure terms decrease with increasing shear and can become a destruction term at the entrainment zone, and (iii) the time tendency of TKE remains small in all analyzed cases. Convective and local scaling arguments are applied to parameterize the TKE budget terms. Depending on the physical properties of each TKE budget contribution, two types of scaling parameters have been identified. For the processes influenced by mixed-layer properties, boundary layer depth and convective velocity have been used as scaling variables. On the contrary, if the physical processes are restricted to the entrainment zone, the inversion layer depth, the modulus of the horizontal velocity jump and the momentum fluxes at the inversion appear to be the natural choices for scaling these processes. A good fit of the TKE budget terms is obtained with the scaling, especially for shear contribution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-193
JournalActa Geophysica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • large-eddy simulations
  • topped mixed layers
  • part ii
  • scalar fields
  • bulk models
  • order-jump
  • wind shear
  • entrainment
  • dynamics
  • inversion


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