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You are on page 1of 7

Ronald Dobosy

NOAA Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division

Oak Ridge TN

2002 October 24

Introduction

Budgets of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) have stringent sample-size requirements not

generally met with airborne measurements. The flights over the Salt Lake Valley during

VTMX2000, however, repeated the same track multiple times, allowing some hope of a

sufficient sample size. This report describes a preliminary computation of the dominant

terms. The results suggest an interesting and plausible pattern in the horizontal structure

of TKE generation. Further development of this airborne capability will, we hope

provide a useful tool for examining TKE in locations inaccessible to other means of

measurement.

Airborne in-situ measurements have several unique properties complementary to fixed insitu sensors and to remote sensors. Though fixed sensors can be deployed over extended

periods, an airplane provides spatial information unavailable to them. Though remote

sensors cover far more space in a given time, airborne instruments directly measure far

more of the standard parameters. The airborne measurements thus complement fixed

sites temporal coverage and remote sensors limited parameter space.

Budget of Turbulent Kinetic Energy

U i

1

e

e

g

ui i 3

(u j e )

= Ui

uiu j

+

u j p

0 x j

x j

t

x j

x j 0

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

The equation above describes the generation, dissipation, transport, and storage of TKE

(e). Its primary terms are expected to be mechanical and buoyant generation (C and D),

and dissipation (G). Storage (A) and (horizontal) mean advection (B) will also be

considered.

Budget volume

The budget applies in the two-dimensional neighborhood, radius 3 km, of a point

nominally at airplanes altitude over ATDDs towers (-112.0107 longitude, 40.5861

latitude, 1700 m MSL or about 300 m AGL). The neighborhood is assumed to be

sufficiently small that departures from horizontal homogeneity are small compared to the

mean over the (2D) region. Assume turbulence has sufficiently small scale to justify

using 3 km averages (60 s of flight time). This is equivalent to a 600-s average from a

stationary sensor, given the wind speed of about 5 ms-1. Velocity profiles taken in ascent

from Salt Lake Citys Municipal Airport Number Two (SLC#2) sample the vertical

gradient of horizontal wind for term C.

Flight Pattern

The airplane followed two racetracks oriented north south, one on the west side and one

on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley. This work concerns the racetrack to the west.

The parts providing relevant data are shown in Fig. 1. All passes are nominally at the

same altitude, about 300 m above ground. Red circles demark the ends of the 3-km

segments over which fluxes were calculated. The westernmost path of this west-valley

racetrack was always flown northbound, hence designated WVN. The track passing

over SLC2, flown southbound, was designated WVS. The Oquirrh Mountains are

10 km to the west of the pattern. Nominal flight time was 0300 MST to 0700 MST,

ending at local dawn.

Figure 1

The tower in this preliminary exercise serves primarily for assessing the validity of the

airborne measurements of TKE. Tower-derived values are from half-hour averages using

detrended quantities. Airborne measurements correspond more to ten-minute averages.

Nevertheless, the match in Fig. 2 is good for the second half of the flight. Shallow slope

flow or similar may account for stronger TKE at the tower in the first half.

2.5

2

1.5

1

0.5

0

0

5

10

15

20

Hours since Midnight MST, 26 October 2000

25

Figure 2: Airplane TKE shown by green circles. Lines show tower data.

Mechanical production of TKE in the atmospheric boundary layer is by interaction

between the vertical gradient of the horizontal mean wind and the vertical flux of

horizontal momentum (term C). Three of the ten profiles taken at SLC2 are shown in

Figs. 3 and 4. Down refers to descent to SLC2, while up refers to climbing out from

the low pass over the runway. Since up profiles were more consistent among each

other and were located closer to the

Profiles of eastward wind SLC2, 2000 October 26

1800

1800

1800

1750

1750

1750

1700

1700

1700

1650

1650

1650

1600

1600

1600

1550

1550

1550

1500

1500

1500

Uup

Udown

1450 5:33

5:35

1400

-5

ms

-1

1450 5:53

5:55

1400

-5

ms

-1

1450 6:10

6:12

1400

-2

ms

-1

Figure 3: Three of ten profiles. "Down" refers to measurements taken during descent to a low pass

over the runway. "Up" refers to the climb out.

sites of the other measurements, only up profiles were used to compute the mean

velocity gradient. A cubic polynomial was fit to the winds, the slope of which was

evaluated at 1700 m MSL, about 300-m above the airport. These computed slopes were

plotted on the temporal scatter diagram of Fig. 5. A quadratic polynomial is fit to the

points to show their general trend

Profiles of northward wind SLC2, 2000 October 26

1800

1800

1800

1750

1750

1700

1700

1700

1650

1650

1650

1600

1600

1600

1550

1550

1550

1500

1500

1500

Vup

1750

1450 5:33

1400

Vdown

5:35

1400

15

0

10

ms

1450 5:53

-1

5:55

1400

20

5

10

ms

1450 6:10

-1

6:12

10

ms

15

-1

between the vertical velocity component (W) and each of the horizontal velocity

components (U, V). All quantities are detrended over the 3-km interval before

multiplying and averaging. A temporal scatter plot of these results appears also in Fig. 5,

again fit with a quadratic polynomial as a visual aid.

The mechanical production was determined by multiplying each computed value of

velocity gradient by the three momentum fluxes closest to it in time. The resulting

temporal scatter plot is Fig. 6. It has fewer than 30 points because not all flux values

corresponded closely in time to a velocity gradient. The pattern shows almost zero

mechanical generation in the first half of the flight, with increased generation, and

increased scatter, in the second half. A cubic polynomial was selected to fit this pattern,

its values serving as estimators for the mechanical production over time. Additional

averaging is implied in the polynomial fit, increasing the effective sample size, though

not the physical averaging scale of 3 km.

U up(b), V up(r)

-3

20 00 O ctobe r 26

x 10

1.5

Velocity G radients U , V (s -1 )

1

0.5

0

-0.5

-1

-1.5

3.5

4.5

5.5

6.5

0.1 5

0.1

0.0 5

0

-0.0 5

U-component

V-component

-0.1

-0.1 5

-0.2

3.5

4.5

5.5

6.5

Figure 5: Left: temporal scatter plot of vertical gradients of horizontal velocity. Right: Temporal

scatter plot of vertical flux of horizontal momentum. Blue is U, cyan V.

M echanical Production of T KE (m 2 s -2 )

14

x 10

-5

12

10

8

W VN South of T ower

W VN North of T ower

W VS (South of T ower)

6

4

2

0

-2

-4

3.5

4.5

5.5

6.5

Figure 6: Temporal scatter plot of mechanical generation of TKE. Cubic polynomial fit provides

further averaging.

The buoyant production is far simpler to compute. The covariance of potential

temperature with vertical velocity over 3 km is multiplied by the acceleration of gravity

(9.8 ms-2) and divided by the mean temperature over the same 3-km interval. A quadratic

fit to the temporal scatter plot (Fig. 7) provides the estimator for this term. Note that the

heat flux in Fig. 7 must be divided by the airs density and specific heat at constant

pressure to obtain the covariance used to compute buoyant production.

2000 O ctober 26

10

5

0

-5

-10

-15

-20

W VN South of T ower

W VN North of T ower

W VS (South of T ower)

-25

-30

-35

3.5

4.5

5.5

6.5

T im e (decimal hours UT C - 7)

Figure 7: Vertical heat flux for buoyant production. Note small values. Quadratic polynomial fit

provides averaging as in Fig. 6

Storage depends on the temporal variation of TKE, while advection depends on its

variation along the mean wind. Temporal scatter plots of TKE and mean wind appear in

Fig 8. Clearly WVS has the lowest TKE, indicating a zonal gradient. However the zonal

wind (U) was minimal. Mean vertical motion was assumed zero.

20 00 O ctobe r 26

20 00 O ctobe r 26

14

12

W VN South of T ower

W VN North of T ower

W VS (South of T ower)

0.6

0.5

0.7

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0

10

8

6

4

2

0

-2

3.5

4.5

5.5

6.5

-4

3.5

4.5

5.5

6.5

Figure8:8:Left:

Left:temporal

temporalscatter

scatterplot

plotofofTKE.

TKE.Right:

Right:mean

meanadvecting

advectingwind

windcomponents.

components.Northward

Northward

Figure

(V) are red (WVN south of tower) and magenta (WVN north of tower). Blue is eastward (U), not used

used

the computation.

Computations

the quadratic

curves.

in theincomputation.

Computations

used used

the quadratic

curves.

Hence only the change of TKE from WVN (south) to WVN (north) was used to estimate

advection. The advection was computed as a product where the average northward wind

(V) over the two WVN segments multiplies the divided difference (over 3 km) in TKE

between the two segments. Both the V and the TKE were represented in these

calculations by the quadratic fits to their temporal scatter plots (Fig. 8). The time change

is estimated by differentiating the average of the two quadratic polynomials fit to the

TKE for WVN (south) and WVN (north). The WVS was not used here because it was

measured farther from the tower.

Conclusion

The many simplifications made in producing this preliminary calculation can and need to

be tested. Among other things, no attempt has been made to account for gravity waves

influence on this picture. Fig. 9 shows all terms together. Dissipation has not yet been

calculated. Encouragingly, the residue is positive through most(!) of the period.

3

x 10

-4

Production of T KE (m 2 s -3 )

Horizontal Advection

T ime T endency

M echanical Prod.

0

Residue

-1

-2

Buoyant Production

-3

-4

3.5

4.5

5.5

6.5

Figure 9: Summary of computed TKE budget terms.

destruction even with such small heat fluxes. If these calculations are valid, they describe

turbulence generated to the south and west of the budget region, perhaps by crossing the

Traverse Ridge. Apparently the TKE is stronger to the west, closer to the Oquirrh Range.

It is being carried northward by the mean flow, decaying as it comes due to viscous

dissipation and buoyant destruction. Yet over time, the TKE is strengthening, perhaps

due to increasingly strong generation upstream. The mixing upstream may have

homogenized the velocity field sufficiently to minimize the mechanical generation at the

flight level early in the period. The mechanical generation becomes important toward

dawn. This speculative scenario is sufficiently plausible to encourage further

examination.

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