Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 127, Issue 2, pp 173–191 | Cite as

Relating Urban Surface-layer Structure to Upwind Terrain for the Salford Experiment (Salfex)

  • J. F. BarlowEmail author
  • G. G. Rooney
  • S. von Hünerbein
  • S. G. Bradley
Original Paper


Profiles of wind and turbulence over an urban area evolve with fetch in response to surface characteristics. Sodar measurements, taken on 22 April 2002 during the Salford Experiment in the UK (Salfex), are here related to upstream terrain. A logarithmic layer up to z = 65m was observed in all half-hour averaged profiles. Above this height the profile showed a different vertical gradient, suggesting a change in surface cover upstream. The drag coefficient varied by a factor of two over only a 20° direction change. Turbulence intensity (σ x ) for each wind component (x) decreased with height, but the ratio suggested an underestimate of σ u compared to previous results. Mean urban and suburban cover fraction within the source area for each height decreased sharply between z = 20 and 50m, increasing slightly above. The near-convergence of cover fractions thus occured for source areas of minimum length ≈ 2,200 m. In comparison, the mean length scale of heterogeneity L P was calculated from surface cover data to be 1,284 m, and the corresponding mean blending height h b was 175 m. Finally, the mean streamline angle, α, was negative and the magnitude decreased with height. An exponential fit to α for z ≤ 65m gave an e-folding height scale of 159 m. A simple relationship between this height scale and L P was assumed, giving L P ≈ 1,080 m, which is in reasonable agreement with the estimate from surface cover type. The results suggest that more emphasis is required on modelling and measuring surface-layer flow over heterogeneous urban canopies.


Sodar Source area Surface heterogeneity Urban boundary layer Urban canopy Wind profile 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. F. Barlow
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. G. Rooney
    • 2
  • S. von Hünerbein
    • 3
  • S. G. Bradley
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of MeteorologyUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.Met OfficeExeterUK
  3. 3.School of Computing, Science and EngineeringUniversity of SalfordSalfordUK
  4. 4.Department of PhysicsUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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