Biorthogonal decomposition (BOD) is used to detect and study synchronous coherent structures occurring at multiple levels in the vertical momentum flux (u′w′) within and above a planted Scots pine forest during a 12-week continuous measurement period. In this study, the presented method allowed for the simultaneous detection and quantification of the number of coherent structures (N), their duration (D) and separation (S) at five measurement heights (z1–z5) covering the range z1/h = 0.11 to z5/h = 1.67, with h being the mean stand height at the measurement site. Results presented for five different exchange regimes (C1–C5) and for four different atmospheric stability conditions (stable, transition to stable, near-neutral, forced convection) demonstrate that during the measurement period, above-canopy momentum flux was only to a limited extent involved in the evolution of spatiotemporal momentum flux patterns found within the below-canopy space. Fully-coupled turbulent momentum exchange over the investigated height range occurred during 19% of all analyzed half-hourly datasets. Across the analyzed exchange regimes, the median contribution of strong sweeps and ejections to total momentum transfer above the canopy varied between 30% and 39% while covering 28%–32% of the time. In the below-canopy space, the contribution of coherent structures varied between 19% and 21% while covering the same amount of time. This suggests that momentum transfer through synchronous coherent structures is very efficient above the forest canopy, but attenuated in the below-canopy space. Since the majority of the presented results agrees well with the results from previous studies that analyzed coherent structures at single levels, the BOD is a promising tool for the consistent investigation of synchronous coherent structures at multiple measurement heights.
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