Large-eddy simulation of a diurnal cycle of the atmospheric boundary layer: Atmospheric stability and scaling issues
A simulation of a diurnal cycle of atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) flow over a homogeneous terrain is performed using large-eddy simulation (LES) with the Lagrangian scale-dependent dynamic subgrid-scale model. The surface boundary condition is derived from the field observations of surface heat flux from the HATS experiment (Horst et al., 2004; Kleissl et al., 2004). The simulation results display good general agreement with previous modeling and experimental studies with regard to characteristic features such as growth of the convective boundary layer by entrainment, nocturnal jet, and multilayered flow structure of the nocturnal regime. To gain a better understanding of the physical parameters affecting the statistics of the flow, we study the dependence of a subgrid parameter (dynamic Smagorinsky coefficient), resolved turbulent kinetic energy, and resolved vertical velocity variance upon atmospheric stability. The profiles of these turbulent variables plotted as a function of Obukhov length show “hysteretic” behavior that implies nonunique dependence. The subsequent use of local Richardson number as the scaling parameter shows a decrease in this “hysteresis,” but there is an increased scatter in the profiles with increasing height. Conversely, profiles plotted as a function of local Obukhov length (based on the fluxes at the local vertical level) show almost no hysteresis, confirming the validity of Nieuwstadt's local scaling hypothesis. Although the local scaling hypothesis was formulated for the stable boundary layer, we find that it applies to the entire stability range of the diurnal cycle.