Simulating urban flow and dispersion in Beijing by coupling a CFD model with the WRF model
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The airflow and dispersion of a pollutant in a complex urban area of Beijing, China, were numerically examined by coupling a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model with a mesoscale weather model. The models used were Open Source Field Operation and Manipulation (OpenFOAM) software package and Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. OpenFOAM was firstly validated against wind-tunnel experiment data. Then, the WRF model was integrated for 42 h starting from 0800 LST 08 September 2009, and the coupled model was used to compute the flow fields at 1000 LST and 1400 LST 09 September 2009. During the WRF-simulated period, a high pressure system was dominant over the Beijing area. The WRF-simulated local circulations were characterized by mountain valley winds, which matched well with observations. Results from the coupled model simulation demonstrated that the airflows around actual buildings were quite different from the ambient wind on the boundary provided by the WRF model, and the pollutant dispersion pattern was complicated under the influence of buildings. A higher concentration level of the pollutant near the surface was found in both the step-down and step-up notches, but the reason for this higher level in each configurations was different: in the former, it was caused by weaker vertical flow, while in the latter it was caused by a downward-shifted vortex. Overall, the results of this study suggest that the coupled WRF-OpenFOAM model is an important tool that can be used for studying and predicting urban flow and dispersions in densely built-up areas.
Key wordsWRF model CFD model OpenFOAM dispersion
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