Observations of Wind-Direction Variability in the Nocturnal Boundary Layer

Francisco Lang, Danijel Belusic, Steven Siems

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Large sudden wind-direction shifts and submeso variability under nocturnal conditions are examined using a micrometeorological network of stations in north-western Victoria,Australia. The network was located in an area with mostly homogeneous and flat terrain. We have investigated the main characteristics of the horizontal propagation of events causing the wind-direction shift and not addressed in previous studies. The submeso motions at the study site exhibit behaviour typical of flat terrain, such as the lower relative mesovelocity scale and smaller cross-wind variances than that for complex terrain. The distribution of wind direction shifts shows that there is a small but persistent preference for counter-clockwise rotation, occurring for 55% of the time. Large wind-direction shifts tend to be associated with a sharp decrease in air temperature (74% of the time), which is associated with rising motion of cold air, followed by an increase in turbulent mixing. The horizontal propagation of events was analyzed using the cross-correlation function method. There is no preferred mean wind direction associated with the events nor is there any relationship between the mean wind and propagation directions. The latter indicates that the events are most likely not local flow perturbations advected by the mean flow but are rather features of generally unknown origin. This needs to be taken into account when developing parametrizations of the stable boundary layer in numerical models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-68
Number of pages18
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Microfronts
  • Propagation of structures
  • Stable boundary layer
  • Submeso motions
  • Wind-direction shifts

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