A Wind-Tunnel Study of Airflow in Waving Wheat: An EOF Analysis of the Structure of the Large-Eddy Motion

Abstract

We have conducted an Empirical Orthogonal Functionanalysis (EOF) of a three dimensional, 2-pointvelocity covariance field, measured in a wind tunnel. The rate of convergence of the EOF sequence was usedas an objective test for the presence of distinctlarge turbulent structures. We found that in theroughness sublayer (2h > z > 0) the sequence convergedmuch more rapidly than in the lower surface layer(6h > z > 0), 75% of the total velocity variancebeing captured by the first three of 42 eigenmodes;h is the canopy height. The analysis was extended to three dimensions, whereover 50% of the variance and most of the spatialstructure of the covariance fields were captured by aneven smaller fraction of the total number ofeigenmodes. With some relatively weak additionalassumptions we were able to construct the velocityfield of a ‘characteristic eddy’ or large coherentstructure. This consisted of a pair ofcounter-rotating streamwise vortices centred above thecanopy. The sense of rotation of the vortex pair wasopposite to that found in the wall region of boundarylayers but matched that found in plane mixing layers. A strong gust or sweep motion generated between thevortices was responsible for most of the shear stresscarried by the large eddies. The region of significanttransport of streamwise momentum by the characteristiceddy is much smaller than the region of coherence of theeddy's velocity field.

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Finnigan, J.J., Shaw, R.H. A Wind-Tunnel Study of Airflow in Waving Wheat: An EOF Analysis of the Structure of the Large-Eddy Motion. Boundary-Layer Meteorology 96, 211–255 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1002618621171

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  • Canopy
  • Characteristic eddy
  • Empirical-orthogonal-function
  • Shear flow
  • Turbulence
  • Wind tunnel