Detecting non-equilibrium states in atmospheric turbulence

Wacławczyk M., Nowak J.L., Siebert H. and Malinowski S.P.

Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences

79(10), 2022, 2757-2772, 10.1175/JAS-D-22-0028.1

In this work we show how to retrieve information about temporal changes of turbulence in the atmosphere based on in situ wind velocity measurements performed by aircraft. We focus on the stratocumulus-topped boundary layer high-resolution data taken by a helicopter-borne platform Airborne Cloud Turbulence Observation System (ACTOS). We calculate two nondimensional indicators, the dissipation factor and the integral-to-Taylor-scale ratio, and study their dependence on the Taylor-scale-based Reynolds number. By analyzing these results, we can identify regions where turbulence is in its stationary state and regions where turbulence decays in time or, on the contrary, becomes stronger. We can also detect nonequilibrium turbulence states, which indicate the presence of rapidly changing external conditions.