Coupling dynamics and chemistry in the air pollution modelling of street canyons: A review

Jian Zhong, Xiaoming Cai, William Bloss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)
399 Downloads (Pure)


Air pollutants emitted from vehicles in street canyons may be reactive, undergoing mixing and chemical processing before escaping into the overlying atmosphere. The deterioration of air quality in street canyons occurs due to combined effects of proximate emission sources, dynamical processes (reduced dispersion) and chemical processes (evolution of reactive primary and formation of secondary pollutants). The coupling between dynamics and chemistry plays a major role in determining street canyon air quality, and numerical model approaches to represent this coupling are reviewed in this article. Dynamical processes can be represented by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques. The choice of CFD approach (mainly the Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) and Large-eddy Simulation (LES) models) depends on the computational cost, the accuracy required and hence the application. Simplified parameterisations of the overall integrated effect of dynamics in street canyons provide capability to handle relatively complex chemistry in practical applications. Chemical processes are represented by a chemical mechanism, which describes mathematically the chemical removal and formation of primary and secondary species. Coupling between these aspects needs to accommodate transport, dispersion and chemical reactions for reactive pollutants, especially fast chemical reactions with time scales comparable to or shorter than that of typical turbulent eddies inside the street canyon. Different approaches to dynamical and chemical coupling have varying strengths, costs and levels of accuracy, which must be considered in their use for provision of reference information concerning urban canopy air pollution to stakeholders considering traffic and urban planning policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690
Number of pages704
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Early online date2 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Coupling dynamics and chemistry in the air pollution modelling of street canyons: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this