The statistical objects characterizing turbulence in real turbulent flows differ from those of the ideal homogeneous isotropic model. They contain contributions from various two- and three-dimensional aspects, and from the superposition of inhomogeneous and anisotropic contributions. We employ the recently introduced decomposition of statistical tensor objects into irreducible representations of the SO(3) symmetry group (characterized by j and m indices, where j = 0...$infty$, -j leq m leq j) to disentangle some of these contributions, separating the universal and the asymptotic from the specific aspects of the flow. The different j contributions transform differently under rotations, and so form a complete basis in which to represent the tensor objects under study. The experimental data are recorded with hot-wire probes placed at various heights in the atmospheric surface layer. Time series data from single probes and from pairs of probes are analyzed to compute the amplitudes and exponents of different contributions to the second order statistical objects characterized by j = 0, 1, 2 . The analysis shows the need to make a careful distinction between long-lived quasi-twodimensional turbulent motions (close to the ground) and relatively short-lived three-dimensional motions. We demonstrate that the leading scaling exponents in the three leading sectors (j=0, 1, and 2) appear to be different but universal, independent of the positions of the probe, the tensorial component considered, and the large scale properties. The measured values of the scaling exponent are ζ2(j=0) = 0.68 pm 0.01, ζ2(j=1) = 1 pm 0.15, ζ2(j=2) = 1.38 pm 0.10. We present theoretical arguments for the values of these exponents using the Clebsch representation of the Euler equations; neglecting anomalous corrections, the values obtained are 2/3, 1, and 4/3, respectively. Some enigmas and questions for the future are sketched.