Air temperature time series within and above canopies reveal ramp patternsassociated with coherent eddies that are responsible for most of thevertical transport of sensible heat. Van Atta used a simple step-changeramp model to analyse the coherent part of air temperature structurefunctions. However, his ocean data, and our own measurements for aDouglas-fir forest, straw mulch, and bare soil, reveal that even withoutlinearization his model cannot account for the observed decrease of thecubic structure function for small time lag. We found that a ramp model inwhich the rapid change at the end of the ramp occurs in a finite microfronttime can describe this decrease very well, and predict at least relativemagnitudes of microfront times between different surfaces. Averagerecurrence time for ramps, determined by analysis of the cubic structurefunction with the new ramp model, agreed well with values determined usingthe Mexican Hat wavelet transform, except at lower levels within theforest. Ramp frequency above the forest and mulch scaled very well withwind speed at the canopy top divided by canopy height. Within the forest,ramp frequency did not vary systematically with height. This is inaccordance with the idea that large-scale canopy turbulence is mostlygenerated by instability of the mean canopy wind profile, similar to aplane mixing layer. The straw mulch and bare soil experiments uniquelyextend measurements of temperature structure functions and ramp frequencyto the smallest scales possible in the field.

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