The spatial structure of the logarithmic region in very-high-Reynolds-number rough wall turbulent boundary layers

Michael Heisel, Teja Dasari, Yun Liu, Jiarong Hong, Filippo Coletti, Michele Guala

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24 Scopus citations


Using super-large-scale particle image velocimetry (SLPIV), we investigate the spatial structure of the near-wall region in the fully rough atmospheric surface layer with Reynolds number . The field site consists of relatively flat, snow-covered farmland, allowing for the development of a fully rough turbulent boundary layer under near-neutral thermal stability conditions. The imaging field of view extends from 3 m to 19 m above the ground and captures the top of the roughness sublayer and the bottom of an extensive logarithmic region. The SLPIV technique uses natural snowfall as seeding particles for the flow imaging. We demonstrate that SLPIV provides reliable measurements of first- and second-order velocity statistics in the streamwise and wall-normal directions. Our results in the logarithmic region show that the structural features identified in laboratory studies are similarly present in the atmosphere. Using instantaneous vector fields and two-point correlation analysis, we identify vortex structures sharing the signature of hairpin vortex packets. We also evaluate the zonal structure of the boundary layer by tracking uniform momentum zones (UMZs) and the shear interfaces between UMZs in space and time. Statistics of the UMZs and shear interfaces reveal the role of the zonal structure in determining the mean and variance profiles. The velocity difference across the shear interfaces scales with the friction velocity, in agreement with previous studies, and the size of the UMZs scales with wall-normal distance, in agreement with the attached eddy framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-747
Number of pages44
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Dec 25 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Cambridge University Press.


  • atmospheric flows
  • boundary layer structure
  • turbulent boundary layers


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