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CEE Seminar: Investigating the Impacts of Surface Temperature Spatial Heterogeneity on Circulations and Turbulence in the Atmospheric Surface Layer

Nov 14

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Monday, November 14, 2022 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Eric R. Pardyjak, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah

Spatial heterogeneity of the earth's surface is a complexity that confounds both measurement and modeling of the atmospheric boundary layer, particularly at scales ranging from about a meter to several hundreds of meters. In this presentation, I will discuss results from the Idealized Planar Array Study for Quantifying Surface heterogeneity (IPAQS), which was conducted over the very flat desert playa in western Utah. While this desert surface is extremely smooth and uniform aerodynamically, significant near-surface soil moisture and surface temperature variabilities play an important role in how heat is transferred to and from the atmosphere and have important implications on the closure of the surface energy balance. Surprisingly, often neglected terms related to advection can play a significant role in heat transport. Using IPAQS data and idealized simulations in conjunction with scaling analysis, we have derived a non-dimensional number that appears to help explain the role of surface heterogeneity on turbulent transport in the surface layer.