Brötz, B; Eigenmann, R; Dörnbrack, A; Foken, T; Wirth, V: Early-morning flow transition in a valley in low-mountain terrain under clear-sky conditions, Boundary Layer Meteorology, 152, 45-63 (2014)

We investigate the evolution of the early-morning boundary layer in a low-mountain valley in south-western Germany during COPS (convective and orographically induced precipitation study) in summer 2007. The term low-mountain refers to a mountainous region with a relief of gentle slopes and with an absolute altitude that remains under a specified height (usually 1,500 m a.s.l.). A subset of 23 fair weather days from the campaign was selected to study the transition of the boundary-layer flow in the early morning. The typical valley atmosphere in the morning hours was characterized by a stable temperature stratification and a pronounced valley wind system. During the reversal period—called the low wind period—of the valley wind system (duration of 1–2 h), the horizontal flow was very weak and the conditions for free convection were fulfilled close to the ground. Ground-based sodar observations of the vertical wind show enhanced values of upward motion, and the corresponding statistical properties differ from those observed under windless convective conditions over flat terrain. Large-eddy simulations of the boundary-layer transition in the valleywere conducted, and statistical properties of the simulated flowagree with the observed quantities. Spatially coherent turbulence structures are present in the temporal as well as in the ensemble mean analysis. Thus, the complex orography induces coherent convective structures at predictable, specific locations during the early-morning low wind situations. These coherent updrafts, found in both the sodar observations and the simulation, lead to a flux counter to the gradient of the stably stratified valley atmosphere and reach up to the heights of the surrounding ridges. Furthermore, the energy balance in the surface layer during the low wind periods is closed. However, it becomes unclosed after the onset of the valley wind. The partition into the sensible and the latent heat fluxes indicates that missing flux components of sensible heat are the main reason for the unclosed energy balance in the considered situations. This result supports previously published investigations on the energy balance closure.

Letzte Änderung 19.06.2014