Disentangling Turbulent Gas Diffusion from Non‑diffusive Transport in the Boundary Layer
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Conservation of linear momentumEddy covarianceReynolds averagingSystematic transportWPL density corrections
Kowalski, A. S., Serrano-Ortiz, P., Miranda-García, G., & Fratini, G. (2021). Disentangling Turbulent Gas Diffusion from Non-diffusive Transport in the Boundary Layer. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 1-21. [https://doi.org/10.1007/s10546-021-00605-5]
SponsorshipSpanish Ministry of Economy project ELEMENTAL CGL2017-83538-C3-1-R; Andalusian government P18-RT-3629; European Commission
An analysis based on the law of linear momentum conservation demonstrates unequivocally that the mass fraction is the scalar whose gradient determines gas diffusion, both molecular and turbulent. It illustrates sizeable errors in previous micrometeorological definitions of the turbulent gas flux based on fluctuations in other scalars such as the mixing ratio or density. In deference to conservation law, we put forth a new definition for the turbulent gas flux. Net gas transport is then defined as the sum of this turbulent flux with systematic transport by the mean flow. This latter, non-diffusive flux is due to the net upward boundary-layer momentum, a Stefan flow forced by evaporation, which is the dominant surface gas exchange. A comparison with the traditional methodology shows exact agreement between the two methods regarding the net flux, but with the novelty of partitioning gas transport according to distinct physical mechanisms. The non-diffusive flux is seen to be non-negligible in general, and to dominate turbulent transport under certain conditions, with broad implications for boundary-layer meteorology.