Projects per year
Abstract
The atmospheric boundary layer is the lower part of the atmosphere that is directly influenced by processes occurring at the Earth’s surface. The depth of the boundary layer varies significantly during the diurnal cycle. Typically the boundary layer is rather shallow during night time (about 100 meters), but it reaches a depth of about a kilometre during daytime.
In this thesis I investigated the old but still largely unsolved problem of the entrainment and growth dynamics of atmospheric boundary layers that are driven by both shear and a positive buoyancy surface flux. These growing boundary layers are relevant as they represent the typical atmospheric daytime conditions. My research goal was to systematically improve the understanding of entrainment, explain contradictions in existing theory and develop a consistent characterization of the boundary layer growth dynamics.
As experimental (empirical) basis I used a series of ‘largeeddy simulations’ of sheared and convective boundary layers. These allowed a detailed analysis of the sheardependent variation of the boundarylayer structure and the turbulence kineticenergy budget. As a result I was able to show that over the whole stability range, from purely convective to purely sheardriven conditions, entrainment basically scales with a linear combination of integral buoyancy production and shear production of turbulence kinetic energy. Previously, such ideal behaviour had merely been assumed and discussed, but, due to inappropriate assumptions about the flow structure, never been demonstrated.
For certain conditions I also observed systematic deviations from the ideal behaviour. These are caused by (A) local instationarity at the interface between the boundary layer and (B) the previously ignored formation of gravity waves at the upper boundarylayer interface. The influence of the latter on the boundary layer’s growth and momentum dynamics turned out to be significant in moderately sheared conditions. I argued that both interfacial effects (A and B) are physically intuitive and showed that both can be well represented using appropriate integral and local scales. As final result I obtained a boundarylayer growth model that is quite simple and at the same time physically much more coherent and accurate than previous ones.
Original language  English 

Qualification  Doctor of Philosophy 
Awarding Institution 

Supervisors/Advisors 

Award date  5 Jun 2018 
Place of Publication  Wageningen 
Publisher  
Print ISBNs  9789463432658 
DOIs  
Publication status  Published  2018 
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Projects
 1 Finished

Enhanced understanding of the boundary layer wind fields and their impact on atmospheric trace gas transport
Schroter, J., Holtslag, B. & Moene, A.
1/11/05 → 5/06/18
Project: PhD