Is isotropic turbulence relevant in the atmosphere?



[1] The problem of turbulence is ubiquitous in the Earth sciences, astrophysics and elsewhere. Virtually the only theoretical paradigm that has been seriously considered is strongly isotropic in the sense that scaling exponents are the same in all directions so that any remaining anisotropy is “trivial.” Using 235 state-of-the-art drop sonde data sets of the horizontal wind at ≈5 m resolution in the vertical, we show that the atmosphere is apparently outside the scope of these isotropic frameworks. It suggests that anisotropy may frequently be strong requiring different scaling exponents in the horizontal and vertical directions.