Large-eddy simulation of a neutrally stratified boundary layer: A comparison of four computer codes



A neutrally stratified Ekman layer limited in depth by a stress-free rigid lid has been simulated using four different large-eddy simulation computer codes. This is the second large-eddy simulation intercomparison study in a series of simulations of different flows aimed at a systematic analysis of large-eddy simulation sensitivity to subgrid scale model assumptions and numerical methods. The resolution was chosen to be coarse so that the results might be sensitive to the details of the various subgrid scale model formulations. Stochastic backscatter of subgrid kinetic energy and scalar variance was included in one subgrid scale model.

Profiles of first and second moments, budgets of resolved-scale second moments, and spectra have been analyzed. It is found that significant differences in the lowest third of the boundary layer result from moderate changes in subgrid scale eddy diffusivities or from the inclusion of backscatter.

To isolate effects of the various numerical methods, a set of tests with a fixed subgrid scale K-profile were made. When run with a common subgrid scale model the results from the four large-eddy simulation codes converge. This test indicates that the large-eddy simulation results are more sensitive to the subgrid scale model formulations than to the various numerics.