Advanced Turbulence Models for Large-Scale Atmospheric Boundary Layer Flows

Ananias Tombouldies, Misun Min, Paul Fischer, Matt Churchfield, Michael Sprague

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


We present high-fidelity large-eddy-simulation (LES) modeling approaches for the turbulent atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) flows. Wind energy is a prime example of an application driven by ABL. Generation of electrical energy from farms of wind turbines at night in the stable ABL is a particularly interesting situation. In this report, we consider the well-known GEWEX (Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment) Atmospheric Boundary Layer Study (GABLS) stably stratified benchmark LES case. We use a high-order spectral element code Nek5000/RS, which is supported under the DOE's Exascale Computing Project (ECP) Center for Efficient Exascale Discretizations (CEED) project, targeting application simulations on various acceleration-device based exascale computing platforms. In our earlier ANL report, we demonstrated our newly developed subgrid-scale (SGS) models based on high-pass filter (HPF), mean-field eddy viscosity (MFEV), and Smagorinsky (SMG) with no-slip and traction boundary conditions, provided with low-order statistics, convergence and turbulent structure analysis. In this report, we extend the range of our SGS modeling approaches in the context of the mean-field eddy viscosity (MFEV), to include the solution of an SGS turbulent kinetic energy equation (TKE). We demonstrate the model fidelity of Nek5000/RS in comparison to that of AMR-Wind, a block-structured second-order finite-volume code with adaptive-mesh-refinement capabilities, with which we studied scaling performance for both codes in comparison on DOE's leadership computing platforms.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-87909

Other Report Number

  • ANL-23/60


  • atmospheric boundary layer
  • large-eddy simulation
  • turbulence
  • turbulence modeling


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