Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 156, Issue 2, pp 191–210 | Cite as

Predictability of Turbulent Flow in Street Canyons



Although predictability is a subject of great importance in atmospheric modelling, there has been little research on urban boundary-layer flows. Here the predictability of street-canyon flow is examined numerically via large-eddy simulation of a unit-aspect-ratio canyon and neutrally stratified atmosphere. In spectral space there is indication of cascade-like behaviour away from the canyon at early times, but the error growth is essentially independent of scale inside the canyon; in physical space the error field is rather inhomogeneous and shows clear differences among the canyon, shear layer and inertial sublayer. The error growth is largely driven by the shear layer: errors generated above roof level are advected into the canyon while contributions from intermittent bursting and in situ development within the canyon play a relatively minor role. This work highlights differences between the predictability of urban flows and canonical turbulent flows and should be useful in developing modelling strategies for more realistic time-dependent urban flows.


Predictability Street canyons Turbulence 



Helpful comments and suggestions were received from the anonymous referees. This work was supported financially by City University of Hong Kong through a Strategic Research Grant (Project 7004165).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Energy and EnvironmentCity University of Hong KongKowloonHong Kong
  2. 2.Guy Carpenter Asia-Pacific Climate Impact Centre, School of Energy and EnvironmentCity University of Hong KongKowloonHong Kong

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