Wind-tunnel measurements of the flow over an isolated valley both normal and at an angle (45°) to a simulated neutrally stable atmospheric boundary layer are presented. Attention is concentrated on the nature of the flow within the valley itself. The work formed part of a wider study that included detailed field measurements around an African desert valley and some limited comparisons with that work are included. A scale of about 1:1000 was used for the laboratory work, in which an appropriate combination of hot wire and particle image velocimetry was employed. For a valley normal to the upwind flow, it is shown that the upstream influence of the valley extends to a distance of at least one half of the axial valley width upstream of the leading edge, whereas differences in mean flow and turbulence could be identified well beyond two valley widths from the downwind edge. Non-normal wind angles lead to significant along-valley flows within the valley and, even at two valley heights above the valley ridge level, there remains a significant spanwise flow component. Downwind turbulence levels are somewhat lower in this case, but are still considerably higher than in the undisturbed boundary layer. At both flow angles, there are significant recirculation regions within the valleys, starting from mean separation just beyond the leading edge, but the strong spanwise flow in the 45° case reduces the axial extent of the separated zone. The flow is shown to be in some ways analogous to flow over an isolated hill. Our results usefully enhance the field data and could be used to improve modelling of saltation processes in the field
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