Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 140, Issue 2, pp 295–314 | Cite as

Particle Image Velocimetry Measurements of Turbulent Flow Within Outdoor and Indoor Urban Scale Models and Flushing Motions in Urban Canopy Layers

  • Hiroshi TakimotoEmail author
  • Ayumu Sato
  • Janet F. Barlow
  • Ryo Moriwaki
  • Atsushi Inagaki
  • Shiho Onomura
  • Manabu Kanda


We investigate the spatial characteristics of urban-like canopy flow by applying particle image velocimetry (PIV) to atmospheric turbulence. The study site was a Comprehensive Outdoor Scale MOdel (COSMO) experiment for urban climate in Japan. The PIV system captured the two-dimensional flow field within the canopy layer continuously for an hour with a sampling frequency of 30 Hz, thereby providing reliable outdoor turbulence statistics. PIV measurements in a wind-tunnel facility using similar roughness geometry, but with a lower sampling frequency of 4 Hz, were also done for comparison. The turbulent momentum flux from COSMO, and the wind tunnel showed similar values and distributions when scaled using friction velocity. Some different characteristics between outdoor and indoor flow fields were mainly caused by the larger fluctuations in wind direction for the atmospheric turbulence. The focus of the analysis is on a variety of instantaneous turbulent flow structures. One remarkable flow structure is termed ‘flushing’, that is, a large-scale upward motion prevailing across the whole vertical cross-section of a building gap. This is observed intermittently, whereby tracer particles are flushed vertically out from the canopy layer. Flushing phenomena are also observed in the wind tunnel where there is neither thermal stratification nor outer-layer turbulence. It is suggested that flushing phenomena are correlated with the passing of large-scale low-momentum regions above the canopy.


Flushing Organized structure Outdoor scale model Particle image velocimetry Urban canopy layer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroshi Takimoto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ayumu Sato
    • 2
  • Janet F. Barlow
    • 3
  • Ryo Moriwaki
    • 4
  • Atsushi Inagaki
    • 1
  • Shiho Onomura
    • 1
  • Manabu Kanda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of International Development EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Environmental Science Research LaboratoryCentral Research Institute of Electric Power IndustryChibaJapan
  3. 3.Department of MeteorologyUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  4. 4.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringEhime UniversityEhimeJapan

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