Large-Eddy Simulations of Stratified Atmospheric Boundary Layers: Comparison of Different Subgrid Models

Srinidhi N. Gadde*, Anja Stieren, Richard J.A.M. Stevens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
84 Downloads (Pure)


The development and assessment of subgrid-scale (SGS) models for large-eddy simulations of the atmospheric boundary layer is an active research area. In this study, we compare the performance of the classical Smagorinsky model, the Lagrangian-averaged scale-dependent (LASD) model, and the anisotropic minimum dissipation (AMD) model. The LASD model has been widely used in the literature for 15 years, while the AMD model was recently developed. Both the AMD and the LASD models allow three-dimensional variation of SGS coefficients and are therefore suitable to model heterogeneous flows over complex terrain or around a wind farm. We perform a one-to-one comparison of these SGS models for neutral, stable, and unstable atmospheric boundary layers. We find that the LASD and the AMD models capture the logarithmic velocity profile and the turbulence energy spectra better than the Smagorinsky model. In stable and unstable boundary-layer simulations, the AMD and LASD model results agree equally well with results from a high-resolution reference simulation. The performance analysis of the models reveals that the computational overhead of the AMD model and the LASD model compared to the Smagorinsky model is approximately 10% and 30% respectively. The LASD model has a higher computational and memory overhead because of the global filtering operations and Lagrangian tracking procedure, which can result in bottlenecks when the model is used in extensive simulations. These bottlenecks are absent in the AMD model, which makes it an attractive SGS model for large-scale simulations of turbulent boundary layers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-382
Number of pages20
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number3
Early online date12 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Lagrangian scale-dependent model
  • Large-eddy simulations
  • Minimum dissipation model
  • Smagorinsky model
  • Atmospheric boundary layer


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