Global intermittency is observed in the stably stratified Atmospheric Boundary Layer (ABL) and corresponds to having large nonturbulent flow regions to develop in an otherwise turbulent flow. In this paper, the differences between continuous and intermittent turbulence are quantified with the help of coherent structures. Eight classes of coherent structures are identified from literature, most of which are indicated by scalar criteria derived from velocity fields. A method is developed to geometrically classify structures into three categories: blob-like, tube-like or sheet-like. An alternate definition of the intermittency factor $\gamma$ based on coherent structures is introduced to separate turbulent and nonturbulent parts of a flow. Applying this conditioning technique and the geometrical characterization on direct numerical simulations (DNS) of an Ekman flow, we find the following: (i) structures with similar geometries (either tube-like or sheet-like) are found regardless of the strength of stratification; (ii) global intermittency affects all regions of the ABL - viscous sublayer, buffer layer, inner, and outer layer; (iii) for the highly stratified case, sweep/ejection pairs form well-separated clusters within the viscous sublayer which can possibly explain the abundance of hairpin-like vortices with a particular orientation; (iv) nonturbulent regions are occupied with streamwise velocity fluctuations and there is a switch between high- and low-speed streaks at a particular height for all stratified cases.
- Pub Date:
- October 2021
- Physics - Fluid Dynamics
- This version of the document has been submitted to the Journal of Fluid Mechanics. Compared to the previous version, there are minor changes throughout the document