On the critical Richardson number in stably stratified turbulence

Boris Galperin, Semion Sukoriansky, Philip S. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations


The critical Richardson number, Ric, is used in studies of stably stratified turbulence as a measure of flow laminarization. The accepted range of Ric is between 0.2 and 1. A growing body of experimental and observational data indicates, however, that turbulence survives for Ri ≫ 1. This result is supported by a new spectral theory of turbulence that accounts for strong anisotropy and waves. The anisotropization results in the enhanced horizontal mixing of both momentum and scalar. Internal wave contribution preserves vertical momentum mixing above its molecular level. In the absence of laminarization, Ric becomes devoid of its conventional meaning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-69
Number of pages5
JournalAtmospheric Science Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2007


  • Critical Richardson number
  • Stable stratification
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'On the critical Richardson number in stably stratified turbulence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this