Study of Near-Surface Models for Large-Eddy Simulations of a Neutrally Stratified Atmospheric Boundary Layer

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In large-eddy simulations (LES) of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL), near-surface models are often used to supplement subgrid-scale (SGS) turbulent stresses when a major fraction of the energetic scales within the surface layer cannot be resolved with the temporal and spatial resolution at hand. In this study, we investigate the performance of both dynamic and non-dynamic eddy viscosity models coupled with near-surface models in simulations of a neutrally stratified ABL. Two near-surface models that are commonly used in LES of the atmospheric boundary layer are considered. Additionally, a hybrid Reynolds- averaged/LES eddy viscosity model is presented, which uses Prandtl’s mixing length model in the vicinity of the surface, and blends in with the dynamic Smagorinsky model away from the surface. Present simulations show that significant portions of the modelled turbulent stresses are generated by the near-surface models, and they play a dominant role in capturing the expected logarithmic wind profile. Visualizations of the instantaneous vorticity field reveal that flow structures in the vicinity of the surface depend on the choice of the near-surface model. Among the three near-surface models studied, the hybrid eddy viscosity model gives the closest agreement with the logarithmic wind profile in the surface layer. It is also observed that high levels of resolved turbulence stresses can be maintained with the so-called canopy stress model while producing good agreement with the logarithmic wind profile.