Articles | Volume 11, issue 23
Research article
01 Dec 2011
Research article |  | 01 Dec 2011

Analysis of coherent structures and atmosphere-canopy coupling strength during the CABINEX field campaign

A. L. Steiner, S. N. Pressley, A. Botros, E. Jones, S. H. Chung, and S. L. Edburg

Abstract. Intermittent coherent structures can be responsible for a large fraction of the exchange between a forest canopy and the atmosphere. Quantifying their contribution to momentum and heat fluxes is necessary to interpret measurements of trace gases and aerosols within and above forest canopies. The primary objective of the Community Atmosphere-Biosphere Interactions Experiment (CABINEX) field campaign (10 July 2009 to 9 August 2009) was to study the chemistry of volatile organic compounds (VOC) within and above a forest canopy. In this manuscript we provide an analysis of coherent structures and canopy-atmosphere exchange during CABINEX to support in-canopy gradient measurements of VOC. We quantify the number and duration of coherent structure events and their percent contribution to momentum and heat fluxes with two methods: (1) quadrant-hole analysis, and (2) wavelet analysis. Despite differences in the duration and number of events, both methods predict that coherent structures contribute 40–50% to momentum fluxes and 44–65% to heat fluxes during the CABINEX campaign. Contributions associated with coherent structures are slightly greater under stable atmospheric conditions. By comparing heat fluxes within and above the canopy, we determine the degree of coupling between upper canopy and atmosphere, and find that they are coupled the majority of the time. Uncoupled canopy-atmosphere events occur in the early morning (4–8 a.m. local time) approximately 30% of the time. This study confirms that coherent structures contribute significantly to the exchange of heat and momentum between the canopy and atmosphere at the CABINEX site, and indicates the need to include these transport processes when studying the mixing and chemical reactions of trace gases and aerosols between a forest canopy and the atmosphere.

Final-revised paper