This paper presents a comprehensive mathematical model and numerical solutions for a natural convection flow over an isothermal, heated, vertical wall immersed in an ambient atmosphere that is thermally stratified. The model assumes a laminar flow near the leading edge, which then becomes a transitional flow, and finally becomes fully turbulent away from the leading edge. Effects of several typical cases of ambient stratification on heat transfer to the wall, peak velocity, and temperature are examined. It is found that the velocity field is affected more significantly by the “memory” of upstream ambient conditions than the temperature field.

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