Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 131, Issue 1, pp 85–103 | Cite as

Adaptation of Pressure Based CFD Solvers for Mesoscale Atmospheric Problems

  • Gergely KristófEmail author
  • Norbert Rácz
  • Miklós Balogh
Original Paper


General purpose Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) solvers are frequently used in small-scale urban pollution dispersion simulations without a large extent of ver- tical flow. Vertical flow, however, plays an important role in the formation of local breezes, such as urban heat island induced breezes that have great significance in the ventilation of large cities. The effects of atmospheric stratification, anelasticity and Coriolis force must be taken into account in such simulations. We introduce a general method for adapting pressure based CFD solvers to atmospheric flow simulations in order to take advantage of their high flexibility in geometrical modelling and meshing. Compressibility and thermal stratification effects are taken into account by utilizing a novel system of transformations of the field variables and by adding consequential source terms to the model equations of incompressible flow. Phenomena involving mesoscale to microscale coupled effects can be analyzed without model nesting, applying only local grid refinement of an arbitrary level. Elements of the method are validated against an analytical solution, results of a reference calculation, and a laboratory scale urban heat island circulation experiment. The new approach can be applied with benefits to several areas of application. Inclusion of the moisture transport phenomena and the surface energy balance are important further steps towards the practical application of the method.


Computational Fluid Dynamics Convection Dispersion of pollutants Mesoscale flows Transformation Urban heat island 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ANSYS Inc (2007) FLUENT 6.3 Documentation. In: Fluent User Services Center. Available via Cited 30 November 2007
  2. Ashie Y, Kono T, Takahashi K (2005) Development of numerical simulation model of urban heat island. Annual Report of the Earth Simulator Center, ISSN 1349-5830, pp 85–88Google Scholar
  3. Cenedese A, Monti P (2003) Interaction between an urban heat island and a sea-breeze flow. A laboratory study. J Appl Meteorol 42: 1569–1583 doi:10.1175/1520-0450(2003)042<1569:IBAIUH>2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ekman VW (1905) On the influence of earth’s rotation on ocean currents. Ark Mater Astron Fys 2(11): 1–52Google Scholar
  5. Ferziger JH, Perić M (2002) Computational methods for fluid dynamics. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, ISBN 3-540-42074-6, pp 167–204, 279–281Google Scholar
  6. Kinouchi T, Yoshitani J (2001) Simulation of the urban heat island in Tokyo with future possible increases of anthropogenic heat, vegetation cover and water surface. In: Proceedings of the 2001 international symposium on environmental hydraulics, Published on CDGoogle Scholar
  7. Kurbatskii AF (2001) Computational modeling of turbulent penetrative convection above the urban heat island in a stably stratified environment. J Appl Meteorol 40: 1748–1761 doi:10.1175/1520-0450(2001)040<1748:CMOTTP>2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lajos T, Szepesi ZS, Goricsán I, Régert T, Suda JM, Balczó M (2003) Wind tunnel measurement and numerical simulation of dispersion of pollutants in urban environment. In: Proceedings of conference on modeling fluid flow (CMFF’03) vol 1, pp 507–514Google Scholar
  9. Lajos T, Goricsán I, Balczó M (2005) Wind tunnel measurement and numerical simulation of pollutant dispersion in urban environment. In: Proceedings of PHYSMOD 2005, International workshop on physical modeling of flow and dispersion phenomena, London, ON Canada, pp 56–57Google Scholar
  10. Lu J, Arya SP, Snyder WH, Lawson RE Jr (1997) A laboratory study of the urban heat island in calm and stably stratified environment. Part II. Velocity field. J Appl Meteorol 36: 1392–1402 doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1997)036<1392:ALSOTU>2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Montavon C (1998a) Simulation of atmospheric flow over complex terrain for wind power potential assessment. Doctoral thesis, EPFL, LausanneGoogle Scholar
  12. Montavon C (1998b) Validation of a non-hydrostatic numerical model to simulate stratified wind fields over complex topography. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 74–76: 273–282. doi: 10.1016/S0167-6105(98)00024-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Neophytou MKA, Hamlyn H, Britter RE (2008) Turbulent flow structures in transport and mixing process in complex urban geometries. Boundary-Layer Meteorol (in press)Google Scholar
  14. Pullen J, Boris JP, Young T, Patnaik G, Iselin J (2005) A comparison of contaminant plume statistics from a Gaussian puff and urban CFD model for two large cities. Atmos Environ 39: 1049–1068. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2004.10.043 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rácz N, Kristóf G, Weidinger T, Balogh M (2007) Simulation of gravity waves and model validation to laboratory experiments. In: Sixth international conference on urban air quality, cyprus (ISBN 978- 1-905313-46-4), Published on CDGoogle Scholar
  16. Reinert D, Wirth V, Eichhorn J, Pnahans WG (2007) A new large-eddy simulation model for simulating air flow and warm clouds above highly complex terrain. Part I: The dry model. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 125: 109–132. doi: 10.1007/s10546-007-9183-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sarma A, Ahmad N, Bacon D, Boybeyi Z, Dunn T, Hall M, Lee P (1999) Application of adaptive grid refinement to plume modeling air pollution VII. WIT Press, Southampton, pp, pp 59–68Google Scholar
  18. Shih TH, Liou WW, Shabbir A, Yang Z, Zhu J (1995) A New k-ε Eddy-viscosity model for high reynolds number turbulent flows—model development and validation. Comput Fluids 24(3): 227–238. doi: 10.1016/0045-7930(94)00032-T CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Straka JM, Wilhelmson RB, Wicker LJ, Anderson JR, Droegemeier KK (1990) Numerical solution of a non-linear density current: a Benchmark solution and comparisons. Int J Numer Methods Fluids 17: 1–22. doi: 10.1002/fld.1650170103 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Unger J (2004) Intra-urban relationship between surface geometry and urban heat island. Review and new approach. Clim Res 27: 253–264. doi: 10.3354/cr027253 Google Scholar
  21. Yamada T (2003) Numerical simulation of airflows around buildings by using a mesoscale atmospheric model. In: Air & Waste Management Associations 96th annual conference and exhibition, San Diego, CA 23–25 JuneGoogle Scholar
  22. Yoshikado H (1992) Numerical study of the daytime urban effect and its interaction with sea breeze. J Appl Meteorol 31:1146–1163.doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1992)031<1146:NSOTDU>2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gergely Kristóf
    • 1
    Email author
  • Norbert Rácz
    • 1
  • Miklós Balogh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fluid MechanicsBudapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations