interest in the transport and fate of atmospheric pollutants and the impact
of turbulent dynamics on large-scale climatic flow patterns have made
atmospheric turbulence an increasingly important
area of research. Large Eddy Simulation (see computational engineering)
has emerged as one of the best ways to model atmospheric turbulence, because
the huge Reynolds Numbers in atmospheric flow and the size of the physical
domain preclude the use of direct numerical methods.
In a venue far removed from the carefully controlled wind and water tunnel laboratories, Professors Parlange and Meneveau have done several groundbreaking experiments that record turbulent velocity, temperature and humidity data in the atmospheric surface layer over large fields. In a succession of field campaigns in Iowa and California, fine-scale measurements were made over the past three summers using arrays of vertically and horizontally arranged anemometers. This has allowed them to explore properties of the sub-grid scale models, for the first time based directly on field experimental data. In addition, they have developed several new modeling approaches based on the insights gained from these experiments.