On small-scale and large-scale intermittency of Lagrangian statistics in canopy flow

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The interaction of fluids with surface-mounted obstacles in canopy flows leads to strong turbulence that dominates dispersion and mixing in the neutrally stable atmospheric surface layer. This work focuses on intermittency in the Lagrangian velocity statistics in a canopy flow, which is observed in two distinct forms. The first, small-scale intermittency, is expressed by non-Gaussian and not self-similar statistics of the velocity increments. The analysis shows an agreement in comparison with previous results from homogeneous isotropic turbulence (HIT) using the multifractal model, extended self-similarity and velocity increments' autocorrelations. These observations suggest that the picture of small-scale Lagrangian intermittency in canopy flows is similar to that in HIT and, therefore, they extend the idea of universal Lagrangian intermittency to certain inhomogeneous and anisotropic flows. Second, it is observed that the root mean square of energy increments along Lagrangian trajectories depends on the direction of the trajectories' time-averaged turbulent velocity. Subsequent analysis suggests that the flow is attenuated by the canopy drag while leaving the structure function's scaling unchanged. This observation implies the existence of large-scale intermittency in Lagrangian statistics. Thus, this work presents a first empirical evidence of intermittent Lagrangian velocity statistics in a canopy flow that exists in two distinct senses and occurs due to different mechanisms.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number913
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Intermittency
  • atmospheric flows
  • mixing and dispersion

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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