Accuracy of moments of velocity and scalar fluctuations in the atmospheric surface layer

K. R. Sreenivasan, A. J. Chambers, R. A. Antonia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A detailed accuracy analysis is presented for moments, up to order four, of both velocity (horizontal u and vertical w) and scalar (temperature θ and humidity q) fluctuations, as well as of the products uw, wθ and wq, in the atmospheric surface layer. The high-order moments and integral time scales required for this analysis are evaluated from data obtained at a height of about 5 m above the ocean surface under stability conditions corresponding to Z/L \- -0.05. Measured moments and probability density functions of some of the individual fluctuations show departures from Gaussianity, but these are sufficiently small to enable good estimates to be obtained using Gaussian instead of measured moments. For the products, the assumption of joint Gaussianity for individual fluctuations provides a reasonable, though somewhat conservative, estimate for the integration times required. The concept of Reynolds number similarity implies that differences in integration time requirements for flows at different Reynolds numbers arise exclusively from differences in integral time scales. A first approximation to the integral time scales relevant to atmospheric flows is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-359
Number of pages19
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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