Influence of Stability and Surface Roughness on Turbulence during the Stable Atmospheric Variability and Transport (SAVANT) Field Campaign

Sudheer R. Bhimireddy, Junming Wang, April L. Hiscox, David A.R. Kristovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Harvesting of crops in a weakly sloping Midwestern field during the Stable Atmospheric Variability and Transport (SAVANT) observation campaign allowed for a systematic investigation of the influence of surface roughness and static stability magnitude on the applicability of the Monin–Obukhov similarity (MOST) and hockey-stick transition (HOST) theories during stable boundary layer periods. We analyze momentum flux and turbulent velocity scale VTKE in three regimes, defined using the gradient Richardson number Ri and flux Richardson number Rif as regime 1 (0, Ri # 0.1 and 0, Rif # 0.1), regime 2 (0.1, Ri # 0.23 and 0.1, Rif # 0.23), and regime 3 (both Ri and Rif. 0.23). After harvest, in regime 1, stability varied from near-neutral to weakly stable and both MOST and HOST were applicable to estimate the momentum fluxes and VTKE as a function of mean wind speed. In regime 2, the momentum flux deviated from the MOST linear relationship as stability increased. In regimes 1 and 2, a HOST-defined threshold wind speed Vs was identified beyond which VTKE increased linearly with wind speed at a rate of 0.26 for all observation heights. Below this threshold wind speed, VTKE behaved independent of mean wind and observation heights. Alternatively, for preharvest periods, MOST was applicable in regimes 1 and 2 for all heights and HOST was applicable with reduced Vs for heights above the crop layer. Regime 3 during pre-and postharvest consisted of strongly stable periods and very weak to weak winds, where MOST was found to be invalid and VTKE remained low and independent of wind speed. The results suggest that roughness due to crops enhances the turbulence generation at lower wind speeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1289
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2022


  • Atmosphere–land interaction
  • Boundary layer
  • Microscale processes/variability
  • Stability
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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