Intermittent turbulence in the stable boundary layer over land. Part III. A classification for observations during CASES-99

B.J.H. van de Wiel, A.F. Moene, O.K. Hartogensis, H.A.R. de Bruin, A.A.M. Holtslag

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In this paper a classification of stable boundary layer regimes is presented based on observations of near-surface turbulence during the Cooperative Atmosphere¿Surface Exchange Study-1999 (CASES-99). It is found that the different nights can be divided into three subclasses: a turbulent regime, an intermittent regime, and a radiative regime, which confirms the findings of two companion papers that use a simplified theoretical model (it is noted that its simpliflied structure limits the model generality to near-surface flows). The papers predict the occurrence of stable boundary layer regimes in terms of external forcing parameters such as the (effective) pressure gradient and radiative forcing. The classification in the present work supports these predictions and shows that the predictions are robust in a qualitative sense. As such, it is, for example, shown that intermittent turbulence is most likely to occur in clear-sky conditions with a moderately weak effective pressure gradient. The quantitative features of the theoretical classification are, however, rather sensitive to (often uncertain) local parameter estimations, such as the bulk heat conductance of the vegetation layer. This sensitivity limits the current applicability of the theoretical classification in a strict quantitative sense, apart from its conceptual value
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2509-2522
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • surface-layer
  • oscillations
  • temperature
  • stability
  • model

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