Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 126, Issue 1, pp 103–124 | Cite as

Wind-tunnel Modelling of Dispersion from a Scalar Area Source in Urban-Like Roughness

  • Frauke PaschekeEmail author
  • Janet F. Barlow
  • Alan Robins
Original Paper


A wind-tunnel study was conducted to investigate ventilation of scalars from urban-like geometries at neighbourhood scale by exploring two different geometries a uniform height roughness and a non-uniform height roughness, both with an equal plan and frontal density of λ p  = λ f  = 25%. In both configurations a sub-unit of the idealized urban surface was coated with a thin layer of naphthalene to represent area sources. The naphthalene sublimation method was used to measure directly total area-averaged transport of scalars out of the complex geometries. At the same time, naphthalene vapour concentrations controlled by the turbulent fluxes were detected using a fast Flame Ionisation Detection (FID) technique. This paper describes the novel use of a naphthalene coated surface as an area source in dispersion studies. Particular emphasis was also given to testing whether the concentration measurements were independent of Reynolds number. For low wind speeds, transfer from the naphthalene surface is determined by a combination of forced and natural convection. Compared with a propane point source release, a 25% higher free stream velocity was needed for the naphthalene area source to yield Reynolds-number-independent concentration fields. Ventilation transfer coefficients w T /U derived from the naphthalene sublimation method showed that, whilst there was enhanced vertical momentum exchange due to obstacle height variability, advection was reduced and dispersion from the source area was not enhanced. Thus, the height variability of a canopy is an important parameter when generalising urban dispersion. Fine resolution concentration measurements in the canopy showed the effect of height variability on dispersion at street scale. Rapid vertical transport in the wake of individual high-rise obstacles was found to generate elevated point-like sources. A Gaussian plume model was used to analyse differences in the downstream plumes. Intensified lateral and vertical plume spread and plume dilution with height was found for the non-uniform height roughness.


Area source Area-averaged turbulent fluxes Concentration measurements Naphthalene sublimation Urban heat and pollutant dispersion Wind tunnel 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frauke Pascheke
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Janet F. Barlow
    • 1
  • Alan Robins
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MeteorologyUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.School of EngineeringUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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