Discontinuous turbulence

From Glossary of Meteorology



discontinuous turbulence

A situation that occurs in statically stable regions of the atmospheric boundary layer where turbulence is not contiguous, either vertically or horizontally.

For example, in the nighttime stable boundary layer one or more layers of turbulence can form that are separated by nonturbulent (laminar) layers. This situation is very difficult to model because the turbulence in each layer does not interact with the surface and thus can evolve separately. During daytime at the top of a convective mixed layer, there is usually a statically stable capping inversion or entrainment zone where turbulent thermals penetrating the layer are separated by regions of laminar air from the free atmosphere. Aircraft flying horizontally through this region would experience intermittent turbulence.


Copyright 2022 American Meteorological Society (AMS). For permission to reuse any portion of this work, please contact permissions@ametsoc.org. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S. Code § 107) or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S.Copyright Act (17 USC § 108) does not require AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, require written permission or a license from AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement.