Advanced Computer Model Developed To Simulate Decay of Atmospheric Turbulence – Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) of Decaying Atmospheric Turbulence


Turbulence is the primary means by which momentum, heat, moisture, and pollutants are exchanged between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere. Turbulence is also a particularly difficult process to measure and model, especially above the earth’s surface, due to its complexity. Researchers funded by the Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research program at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, along with colleagues from other national laboratories and universities, are studying the ways in which turbulence mixes pollutants that are trapped in the lower atmosphere over urban basins. New capabilities allow researchers to create a direct numerical simulation model that can fully resolve eddies of all sizes and lifetimes in chaotic turbulent flow. This research is important because a better understanding of the physics of changes in turbulent flow enables a better representation of this process in regional and global models that are used to predict pollutant transport.