On Turbulence and Mixing in the Free Atmosphere Inferred from High-Resolution Soundings Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Mixing in the free atmosphere above the planetary boundary layer is of great importance to the fate of trace gases and pollutants. However, direct measurements of the turbulent dissipation rate by in situ probes are very scarce and radar measurements are fraught with uncertainties. In this paper, turbulence scaling concepts, developed over the past decades for application to oceanic mixing, are used to suggest an alternative technique for retrieving turbulence properties in the free atmosphere from high-resolution soundings. This technique enables high-resolution radiosondes, which have become quite standard in the past few years, to be used not only to monitor turbulence in the free atmosphere in near–real time, but also to study its spatiotemporal characteristics from the abundant archives of high-resolution soundings from around the world. Examples from several locations are shown, as well as comparisons with radar-based estimations and a typical Richardson number–based parameterization.

publication date

  • June 1, 2008