Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 148, Issue 2, pp 357–377 | Cite as

A New Aerodynamic Parametrization for Real Urban Surfaces

  • Manabu KandaEmail author
  • Atsushi Inagaki
  • Takashi Miyamoto
  • Micha Gryschka
  • Siegfried Raasch


This study conducted large-eddy simulations (LES) of fully developed turbulent flow within and above explicitly resolved buildings in Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan. The more than 100 LES results, each covering a 1,000 \(\times \) 1,000 m\(^{2}\) area with 2-m resolution, provide a database of the horizontally-averaged turbulent statistics and surface drag corresponding to various urban morphologies. The vertical profiles of horizontally-averaged wind velocity mostly follow a logarithmic law even for districts with high-rise buildings, allowing estimates of aerodynamic parameters such as displacement height and roughness length using the von Karman constant \(=\) 0.4. As an alternative derivation of the aerodynamic parameters, a regression of roughness length and variable Karman constant was also attempted, using a displacement height physically determined as the central height of drag action. Although both the regression methods worked, the former gives larger (smaller) values of displacement height (roughness length) by 20–25 % than the latter. The LES database clearly illustrates the essential difference in bulk flow properties between real urban surfaces and simplified arrays. The vertical profiles of horizontally-averaged momentum flux were influenced by the maximum building height and the standard deviation of building height, as well as conventional geometric parameters such as the average building height, frontal area index, and plane area index. On the basis of these investigations, a new aerodynamic parametrization of roughness length and displacement height in terms of the five geometric parameters described above was empirically proposed. The new parametrizations work well for both real urban morphologies and simplified model geometries.


Aerodynamic parametrization Displacement height Large-eddy simulation Real urban surfaces Three-dimensional building map 



This research was financially supported by Research Program on Climate Change Adaptation (RECCA), a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B): 21360233, and a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B): 23760454 from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. This research was also supported by the German Research Foundation under Grant RA 617/15-2.


  1. Andreas EL, Claffey KJ, Jordan RE, Fairall CW, Guest PS, Persson CW, Grachev AA (2006) Evaluations of the von Karman constant in the atmospheric surface layer. J Fluid Mech 559:117–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Araya G, Castillo L, Meneveau C, Jansen K (2011) A dynamic multi-scale approach for turbulent inflow boundary conditions in spatially developing flows. J Fluid Mech 670:581–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bou-Zeid E, Overney J, Rogers BD, Parlange MB (2009) The effects of building representation and clustering in large-eddy simulations of flows in urban canopies. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 132:415–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Castillo MC, Inagaki A, Kanda M (2011) The effects of inner and outer layer turbulence of a convective boundary layer in the near-neutral inertial sublayer over an urban-like surface. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 140:453–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cheng H, Castro IP (2002) Near wall flow over urban-like roughness. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 104:229–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cheng H, Hayden P, Robins AG, Castro IP (2007) Flow over cube arrays of different packing densities. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 95:715–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Grimmond CSB, Oke TR (1999) Aerodynamics properties of urban areas derived from analysis of surface form. J Appl Meteorol 38:1262–1292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grimmond CSB, Blackett M, Best MJ, Barlow J, Baik J-J, Belcher SE, Bohnenstengel SI, Calmet I, Chen F, Dandou A, Fortuniak K, Gouvea ML, Hamdi R, Hendry M, Kawai T, Kawamoto Y, Kondo H, Krayenho ES, Lee S-H, Loridan T, Martilli A, Masson V, Miao S, Oleson K, Pigeon G, Porson A, Ryu Y-H, Salamanca F, ShashuaBar L, Steeneveld G-J, Tombrou M, Voogt J, Young D, Zhang N (2010) The international urban energy balance models comparison project: first results from phase 1. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 49:1268–1292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Grimmond CSB, Blackett M, Best MJ, Baik J-J, Belcher SE, Beringer J, Bohnenstengel SI, Calmet I, Chen F, Coutts A, Dandou A, Fortuniak K, Gouvea ML, Hamdi R, Hendry M, Kanda M, Kawai T, Kawamoto Y, Kondo H, Krayenho ES, Lee S-H, Loridan T, Martilli A, Masson V, Miao S, Oleson K, Ooka R, Pigeon G, Porson A, Ryu Y-H, Salamanca F, Steeneveld G-J, Tombrou M, Voogt JA, Young DT, Zhang N (2011) Initial results from phase 2 of the international urban energy balance model comparison. Int J Climatol 31:244–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hagishima A, Tanimoto J, Nagayama K, Meno S (2009) Aerodynamic parameters of regular arrays of rectangular blocks with various geometries. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 132:315–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hattori Y, Moeng CH, Suto H, Tanaka N, Hirakuchi H (2010) Wind-tunnel experiment on logarithmic-layer turbulence under the influence of overlying detached eddies. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 134:269–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hutchins N, Marusic I (2007) Evidence of very long meandering features in the logarithmic region of turbulent boundary layers. J Fluid Mech 579:1–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Inagaki A, Kanda M (2008) Turbulent flow similarity over an array of cubes in near-neutrally stratified atmospheric flow. J Fluid Mech 615:101–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Inagaki A, Kanda M (2010) Organized structure of active turbulence developed over an array of cube within the logarithmic layer of atmospheric flow. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 135:209–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Inagaki A, Castillo MC, Yamashita Y, Kanda M, Takimoto H (2012) Large eddy simulation study of coherent flow structures within a cubical canopy. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 142:207–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jackson PS (1981) On the displacement height in the logarithmic velocity profile. J Fluid Mech 111:15–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jiang D, Jiang W, Liu H, Sun J (2008) Systematic influence of different building spacing, height and layout on mean wind and turbulent characteristics within and over urban building arrays. Wind Struct 11:275–289Google Scholar
  18. Kanda M (2006) Large-eddy simulations on the effects of surface geometry of building arrays on turbulent organized structures. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 118:151–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kanda M, Moriizumi T (2009) Momentum and heat transfer over urban-likes surfaces. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 131:385–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kanda M, Moriwaki R, Kasamatsu F (2004) Large eddy simulation of turbulent organized structure within and above explicitly resolved cube arrays. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 112:343–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kastener-Klein P, Rotach MW (2004) Mean flow and turbulence characteristics in an urban roughness sublayer. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 111:55–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Leonardi S, Castro IP (2010) Channel flow over large cube roughness: a direct numerical simulation study. J Fluid Mech 651:519–539Google Scholar
  23. Letzel MO (2007) High resolution LES of turbulent flow around buildings. PhD dissertation, University of Hannover, Hannover, Germany, 126 ppGoogle Scholar
  24. Letzel MO, Krane M, Raasch S (2008) High resolution urban large-eddy simulation studies from street canyon to neighborhood scale. Atmos Environ 42:8770–8784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Letzel MO, Helmke C, Ng E, An X, Lai A, Raasch S (2012) LES case study on pedestrian level ventilation in two neighbourhoods in Hong Kong. Meteorol Z 21:575–589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Macdonald RW, Hall DJ, Walker R, Spanton AM (1998a) Wind tunnel measurements of wind speed within simulated urban arrays. BRE Client Report CR 243/98, Building Research EstablishmentGoogle Scholar
  27. Macdonald RW, Griffiths RF, Hall DJ (1998b) An improved method for the estimation of surface roughness of obstacle arrays. Atmos Environ 32:1857–1864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nakayama H, Takemi T, Nagai H (2011) LES analysis of the aerodynamic surface properties for turbulent flows over building arrays with various geometries. J Appl Meteorol 50:1692–1712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nozu T, Tamura T, Okuda Y, Sanada S (2008) LES of the flow and building wall pressures in the centre of Tokyo. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 96:1762–1773CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Park SB, Baik JJ, Raasch S, Letzel MO (2012) A large-eddy simulation study of thermal effects on turbulent flow and dispersion in and above a street canyon. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 51:829–841CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Raasch S, Schröter S (2001) A large-eddy simulation model performing on massively parallel computers. Meteorol Z 10:363–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ratti C, Di Sabatino S, Britter R, Brown M, Caton F, Burian S (2002) Analysis of 3-D urban databases with respect to pollution dispersion for a number of European and American cities. Water Air Soil Pollut Focus 2:459–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rotach MW (1999) On the influence of the urban roughness sublayer on turbulence and dispersion. Atmos Environ 33:4001–4008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Santiago JL, Coceal O, Martilli A, Belcher SE (2008) Variation of the sectional drag coefficient of a group of buildings with packing density. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 128:445–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tamura T (2008) Towards practical use of LES in wind engineering. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 96:1451–1471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tomkins CD, Adrian RJ (2003) Spanwise structure and scale growth in turbulent boundary layers. J Fluid Mech 490:37–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Varquez ACG, Kanda M, Nakayoshi M, Adachi S, Nakano K, Yoshikane T, Tsugawa M, Kusaka H (2012) Tokyo localized rainfall simulation using improved urban and sea parametrized WRF-ARW. In: Proceedings of the 8th international conference for urban climate, ID79Google Scholar
  38. Xie Z-T, Castro IP (2009) Large-eddy simulation for flow and dispersion in urban streets. Atmos Environ 43:2174–2185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Xie Z-T, Coceal O, Castro IP (2008) Large-eddy simulation of flows over random urban-like obstacles. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 129:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zaki SH, Hagishima A, Tanimot J, Ikegaya N (2011) Aerodynamic parameters of urban building arrays with random geometries. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 138:99–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manabu Kanda
    • 1
    Email author
  • Atsushi Inagaki
    • 1
  • Takashi Miyamoto
    • 1
  • Micha Gryschka
    • 2
  • Siegfried Raasch
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of International Development EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Meteorology and ClimatologyLeibniz University of HannoverHannoverGermany

Personalised recommendations