Investigation of the turbulent structure of a cloud-capped mixed layer using doppler radar

M. Pinsky, O. Krasnov, H. W.J. Russchenberg, A. Khain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A new method for retrieving air velocity fluctuations in the cloud-capped boundary layer (BL) using radar reflectivity and the Doppler velocity fields is proposed. The method was developed on the basis of data obtained by the Transportable Atmospheric Radar (TARA) located in Cabauw, Netherlands, at 0500-0812 UTC 8 May 2004, and tested using a detailed trajectory ensemble model of the cloud-capped BL. During the observations, the BL depth was 1200 m, and the cloud base (measured by a lidar) was at 500-550 m. No preliminary assumptions concerning the shapes of drop size distributions were made. On the basis of the TARA radar data, vertical profiles of the vertical air velocity standard deviation, of turbulent dissipation rate, etc. were estimated. The correlation functions indicate the existence of large eddies in the BL with a characteristic horizontal scale of about 600 m. Analysis of the slope (the scaling parameter) of the structure functions indicates that turbulence above 400 m can be considered to be isotropic. Below this level, the turbulence becomes anisotropic. The rate of anisotropy increases with the decrease of the height above the surface. The averaged values of the dissipation rate were evaluated as 1-2 cm2 s-3. The importance of using the cloud-capped BL model as a link between different types of observed data (radar, lidar, aircraft, etc.) is discussed. More data should be analyzed to understand the changes in the turbulent structure of the BL during its growth, as well as during cloud and drizzle formation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1170-1190
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Boundary layer
  • Cloud cover
  • Mixed layer
  • Radar observations
  • Turbulence


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