Similarity hypotheses for the atmospheric surface layer expressed by non-dimensional characteristic invariants - a review

  • In this paper, similarity hypotheses for the atmospheric surface layer (ASL) are reviewed using nondimensional characteristic invariants, referred to as π -numbers. The basic idea of this dimensional π-invariants analysis (sometimes also called Buckingham’s π-theorem) is described in a mathematically generalized formalism. To illustrate the task of this powerful method and how it can be applied to deduce a variety of reasonable solutions by the formalized procedure of non-dimensionalization, various instances are represented that are relevant to the turbulence transfer across the ASL and prevailing structure of ASL turbulence. Within the framework of our review we consider both (a) Monin-Obukhov scaling for forced-convective conditions, and (b) Prandtl-Obukhov-Priestley scaling for free-convective conditions.It is shown that in the various instances of Monin-Obukhov scaling generally two π-numbers occur that result in corresponding similarity functions. In contrast to that, Prandtl-Obukhov-Priestley scaling will lead to only one π number in each case usually considered as a non-dimensional universal constant. Since an explicit mathematical relationship for the similarity functions cannot be obtained from a dimensional π-invariants analysis, elementary laws of π-invariants have to be pointed out using empirical or/and theoretical findings. To evaluate empirical similarity functions usually considered within the framework flux-profile relationships, so-called integral similarity functions for momentum and sensible heat are presented and assessed on the basis of the friction velocity and the vertical component of the eddy flux densities of sensible and latent heat directly measured during the GREIV I 1974 field campaign.

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Author:Gerhard Kramm, Fritz Herbert
Parent Title (English):The open atmospheric science journal
Publisher:Bentham Open
Place of publication:Sharjah
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2009
Year of first Publication:2009
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2013/02/12
Tag:Buckingham’s π-theorem; Monin-Obukhov scaling; Prandtl-Obukhov-Priestley scaling; atmospheric surface layer; dimensional π-invariants analysis; integral similarity functions; similarity functions; similarity hypotheses; surface layer turbulence
Page Number:32
First Page:48
Last Page:79
© Kramm and Herbert; Licensee Bentham Open. This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie / Geowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell 3.0