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This study generated eddy covariance data to investigate atmospheric dynamics leeward of a small, forested hillside in upstate New York. The causes and effects of recirculation eddies were examined to support the larger goal of improving measurement of the exchange of energy, moisture, and trace gases between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere over complex terrain. Sensors operated at five different altitudes on two separate towers—one at the top of the hill and one down the slope to the east—for approximately 8 weeks in the spring of 2013. During the experiment, the vertical potential temperature gradient was found to be the primary factor for determining whether winds interacting with the terrain features caused a recirculating eddy leeward of the hill. The study found evidence that the recirculation influenced carbon dioxide flux and caused the air column to be vertically well mixed.


Originally published as: Kutter, Eric, Chuixiang Yi, George Hendrey, Heping Liu, Timothy Eaton, and Wenge Ni-Meister. "Recirculation over complex terrain." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, vol. 122, no. 12, 2017, pp. 6637-6651, doi: 10.1002/2016JD026409

© American Geophysical Union

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