Surface Layer Turbulence Parameters Derived From 1-s Wind Observations on the West Florida Shelf

Dennis A. Mayer, Jun A. Zhang, Robert H. Weisberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One-second wind data on the West Florida Shelf were used to examine turbulent scales from large eddies to small eddies in the atmospheric surface layer within a frequency band from 0.02 to 0.3 Hz (periods from ~1 min to ~3 s). Data were collected at two at-sea locations spanning 6.5 months. Three events in three wind ranges were examined in exploring the one-dimensional turbulent power spectra: >14 m/s, wind range I; those between 10 and 14 m/s, wind range II; and those between 5 and 10 m/s, wind range III. Events consisted of ensembles of abutting 30-min subsets spanning 5.5 to 23 hr. The mean vector wind time scale of T 0  = 30 min was found to be reasonable for the West Florida Shelf region. The first wind range provided the best results, more or less in line with a Kolmogorov −5/3 power law whose mean vector wind speed over 21 subsets (10.5 hr) was nearly 15 m/s. The one-dimensional turbulent power spectra provided an estimate of the dissipation rate (ε) from which other turbulent quantities could be computed: u*, τ, and C d (the frictional velocity, the surface stress, and the drag coefficient, respectively). The salient point here is that these quantities were larger than those from previous observational studies. Where the power law was not operant intrinsic turbulent spatial scales ranged from 1 to 0.1 m and provide evidence of anisotropy for frequencies greater than 0.1 Hz.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1992-2007
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 27 2019


  • turbulence spectra
  • velocity and spatial scales
  • West Florida Shelf

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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