Stably stratified canopy flow in complex terrain has been considered a difficult condition for measuring net ecosystem–atmosphere exchanges of carbon, water vapor, and energy. A long-standing advection error in eddy-flux measurements is caused by stably stratified canopy flow. Such a condition with strong thermal gradient and less turbulent air is also difficult for modeling. To understand the challenging atmospheric condition for eddy-flux measurements, we use the renormalized group (RNG) k–ε turbulence model to investigate the main characteristics of stably stratified canopy flows in complex terrain. In this two-dimensional simulation, we imposed persistent constant heat flux at ground surface and linearly increasing cooling rate in the upper-canopy layer, vertically varying dissipative force from canopy drag elements, buoyancy forcing induced from thermal stratification and the hill terrain. These strong boundary effects keep nonlinearity in the two-dimensional Navier–Stokes equations high enough to generate turbulent behavior. The fundamental characteristics of nighttime canopy flow over complex terrain measured by the small number of available multi-tower advection experiments can be reproduced by this numerical simulation, such as (1) unstable layer in the canopy and super-stable layers associated with flow decoupling in deep canopy and near the top of canopy; (2) sub-canopy drainage flow and drainage flow near the top of canopy in calm night; (3) upward momentum transfer in canopy, downward heat transfer in upper canopy and upward heat transfer in deep canopy; and (4) large buoyancy suppression and weak shear production in strong stability.
Xu, Xiyan, Chuixiang Yi, and Eric Kutter. "Stably Stratified Canopy Flow in Complex Terrain." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 15, 2015, pp. 7457–7470. Reprinted in CUNY Academic Works.