Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 142, Issue 2, pp 265–287 | Cite as

Wind-Direction Effects on Urban-Type Flows

  • Jean Claus
  • O. Coceal
  • T. Glyn Thomas
  • S. Branford
  • S. E. Belcher
  • Ian P. Castro


Practically all extant work on flows over obstacle arrays, whether laboratory experiments or numerical modelling, is for cases where the oncoming wind is normal to salient faces of the obstacles. In the field, however, this is rarely the case. Here, simulations of flows at various directions over arrays of cubes representing typical urban canopy regions are presented and discussed. The computations are of both direct numerical simulation and large-eddy simulation type. Attention is concentrated on the differences in the mean flow within the canopy region arising from the different wind directions and the consequent effects on global properties such as the total surface drag, which can change very significantly—by up to a factor of three in some circumstances. It is shown that for a given Reynolds number the typical viscous forces are generally a rather larger fraction of the pressure forces (principally the drag) for non-normal than for normal wind directions and that, dependent on the surface morphology, the average flow direction deep within the canopy can be largely independent of the oncoming wind direction. Even for regular arrays of regular obstacles, a wind direction not normal to the obstacle faces can in general generate a lateral lift force (in the direction normal to the oncoming flow). The results demonstrate this and it is shown how computations in a finite domain with the oncoming flow generated by an appropriate forcing term (e.g. a pressure gradient) then lead inevitably to an oncoming wind direction aloft that is not aligned with the forcing term vector.


Surface forces Urban canopy Wind direction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Claus
    • 1
  • O. Coceal
    • 2
  • T. Glyn Thomas
    • 1
  • S. Branford
    • 2
  • S. E. Belcher
    • 2
  • Ian P. Castro
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Engineering SciencesUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Department of MeteorologyUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

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