Investigations of Correlation and Coherence in Turbulence from a Large-Eddy Simulation

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2 Scopus Citations


Microscale flow descriptions are often given in terms of mean quantities, turbulent kinetic energy, and/or stresses. Those metrics, while valuable, give limited information about turbulent eddies and coherent turbulent structures. This work investigates the structure of an atmospheric boundary layer using coherence and correlation in space and time with a range of separation distances. We calculate spatial correlations over entire planes of velocity fluctuations, from which we can evaluate the correlation along different directions at different spacings. Similarly, coherence of the three velocity components over separations in the three directions is also investigated. We apply these analyses to a mesoscale-microscale coupled scenario with time-varying conditions and examine nuances in spatial correlations that are often overlooked. Through these analyses and results, this work highlights important differences observed in terms of coherence when comparing large-eddy simulation data to simpler models and suggests ways to improve these simpler models. We note that such differences are important for disciplines like wind energy structural dynamic analysis, in which blade loading and fatigue depend strongly on the structure of the turbulence. We emphasize the additional wealth of data that can be provided by typical atmospheric boundary layer large-eddy simulation when correlation and coherence analysis is included, and we also state the limitations of large-eddy simulation data, which inherently truncate the smaller scales of turbulence.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)487-502
Number of pages16
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5000-81860 for article as published in Wind Energy Science Discussions

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-86259


  • coherence
  • correlation
  • large-eddy simulation
  • offshore
  • turbulence


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