Effects of Wall Heating on Flow Characteristics in a Street Canyon

Xiaoming Cai

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42 Citations (Scopus)


We develop a large-eddy simulation (LES) model based on a meteorological numerical model for a real scale street-canyon flow with rough building facets heated by a given temperature. The model is applied to a canyon with the aspect ratio of unity for two idealized heating scenarios: (1) the roof and the entire upstream wall are heated, named as ‘assisting cases’, and (2) the roof and the entire downstream wall are heated, named as ‘opposing cases’. These facets were heated up to 15 K above the air temperature. A wall function for temperature is proposed for a rough facet with an assumption that the thermal roughness length, z 0T, is much smaller than the aerodynamic roughness length, z 0. It is demonstrated that the sensible heat flux and canyon-air temperature are significantly influenced by the near-facet process that is parametrized by z 0T as the primary factor; other processes such as in-canyon mixing and roof-level exchange are secondary. This new finding strongly suggests that it is vital to choose an appropriate value of z 0T in a numerical simulation of street-canyon flows with the facet-air exchange processes of heat or any scalar. The finding also raises an awareness of the demand for carefully designed laboratory or field experiments of quantifying z 0T values for various urban surfaces. For the opposing cases, an unsteady penetrating narrow updraft zone appears occasionally along the heated wall and this feature is consistent field observations. The unique result indicates the superior capability of LES. The results of this study can be used to guide the parametrization of turbulent processes inside the urban canopy layer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-467
Number of pages25
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Early online date7 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


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