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ChinHoh Moeng
NCAR
OUTLINE
• WHAT IS LES?
• APPLICATIONS TO PBL
• FUTURE DIRECTION
WHAT IS LES?
A NUMERI CAL TOOL
FOR
TURBULENT FLOWS
Turbulent Flows
• governing equations, known
• nonlinear term >> dissipation term
• no analytical solution
• highly diffusive
• smallest eddies ~ mm
• largest eddies  depend on Re
number (U; L; )
u
Numerical methods of
studying turbulence
• Reynoldsaveraged modeling (RAN)
model just ensemble statistics
• Direct numerical simulation (DNS)
resolve for all eddies
• Large eddy simulation (LES)
intermediate approach
LES
turbulent flow
Resolved large eddies
Subfilter scale, small
(not so important)
(important eddies)
FIRST NEED TO SEPARATE THE
FLOW FIELD
• Select a filter function G
• Define the resolvedscale (largeeddy):
• Find the unresolvedscale (SGS or SFS):
}
' ' '
÷ x d x x G x f x f ) , ( ) ( ) (
~
) (
~
) ( ) ( x f x f x f ÷ =
' '
Examples of filter functions
Tophat
Gaussian
Example: An 1D flow field
) ( ) (
~
) ( x f x f x f
' '
+ ¬
f
large eddies
Reynolds averaged model (RAN)
) ( ' ) ( ) ( x f x f x f + ¬
f
nonturbulent
LES EQUATIONS
2
2
0
1
j
i
i
i
j
i
j
i
x
u
x
p
T
g
x
u
u
t
u
c
c
+
c
c
÷ =
c
c
+
c
c
u
µ
u
dxdydz G u u
i i
}}}
=
~
2
2
0
~
)
~ ~
(
~
1 ~
~
~
~
j
i
j
j i j i
i
i
j
i
j
i
x
u
x
u u u u
x
p
T
g
x
u
u
t
u
c
c
+
c
÷ c
÷
c
c
÷ =
c
c
+
c
c
u
µ
u
~
SFS
Different Reynolds number
turbulent flows
• Small Re flows: laboratory (tea cup) turbulence;
largest eddies ~ O(m); RAN or DNS
• Medium Re flows: engineering flows;
largest eddies ~ O(10 m); RAN or DNS or LES
• Large Re flows: geophysical turbulence;
largest eddies > km; RAN or LES
Geophysical turbulence
• PBL (pollution layer)
• boundary layer in the ocean
• turbulence inside forest
• deep convection
• convection in the Sun
• …..
LES of PBL
km m
mm
resolved eddies SFS eddies
dissipation energy input
f
A
L
>>
inertial range,
3 / 5 ÷
k
Major difference between
engineer and geophysical
flows: near the wall
• Engineering flow: viscous layer
• Geophysical flow: inertialsubrange
layer; need to use surfacelayer theory
The premise of LES
• Large eddies, most energy and fluxes,
explicitly calculated
• Small eddies, little energy and fluxes,
parameterized, SFS model
The premise of LES
• Large eddies, most energy and fluxes,
explicitly calculated
• Small eddies, little energy and fluxes,
parameterized, SFS model
LES solution is supposed to be
insensitive to SFS model
Caution
• near walls, eddies small, unresolved
• very stable region, eddies
intermittent
• cloud physics, chemical reaction…
more uncertainties
A typical setup of PBLLES
• 100 x 100 x 100 points
• grid sizes < tens of meters
• time step < seconds
• higherorder schemes, not too diffusive
• spinup time ~ 30 min, no use
• simulation time ~ hours
• massive parallel computers
Different PBL Flow Regimes
• numerical setup
• largescale forcing
• flow characteristics
Clearair convective PBL
O
g
U
z
km 5 ~

Q
Convective updrafts
Horizontal homogeneous CBL
Local Time
LIDAR Observation
Oceanic boundary layer
t
O
z
m 300 ~
Add vortex force for Langmuir flows
McWilliam et al 1997
Oceanic boundary layer
t
O
z
m 300 ~
Add vortex force for Langmuir flows McWilliams et al 1997
Canopy turbulence
0
U
m 200 ~
z
Add drag forceleaf area index
Patton et al 1997
<
1
0
0
m
observation
LES
Comparison with observation
Shallow cumulus clouds
g
U
O
z

Q
layer cloud
Add phase changecondensation/evaporation
~ 6 km
~ 12 hr
COUPLED with SURFACE
• turbulence heterogeneous land
• turbulence ocean surface wave
Coupled with heterogeneous soil
Surface model
z
Wet soil
Dry soil
km 30
the ground
LES model
Land model
Coupled with heterogeneous soil
wet soil dry soil
(Patton et al 2003)
Coupled with wavy surface
stably stratified
Ufield
flat surface stationary wave
moving wave
So far, idealized PBLs
• Flat surface
• Periodic in x & y
• Shallow clouds
Future Direction of LES
for PBL Research
• Realistic surface
–complex terrain, land use, waves
• PBL under severe weather
500 km
50 km
LES domain
mesoscale model domain
Computational challenge
Massive parallel machines
Resolve turbulent motion in Taipei basin
~ 1000 x 1000 x 100 grid points
Technical issues
• Inflow boundary condition
• SFS effect near irregular surfaces
• Proper scaling; representations of
ensemble mean
??
?
How to describe a turbulent inflow?
What do we do with LES
solutions?
Understand turbulence behavior
& diffusion property
Develop/calibrate PBL models
i.e. Reynolds average models
CLASSIC EXAMPLES
• Deardorff (1972; JAS)
 mixed layer scaling
• Lamb (1978; atmos env)
 plume dispersion
FUTURE GOAL
Understand PBL in complex environment
and improve its parameterization
for regional and climate models
– turbulent fluxes
– air quality
– cloud
– chemical transport/reaction
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