Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 104, Issue 2, pp 229–259 | Cite as

Near Wall Flow over Urban-like Roughness

  • Hong Cheng
  • Ian P. Castro


In this study, comprehensive measurements over a number of urban-type surfaces with the same area density of 25% have been performed in a wind tunnel. The experiments were conducted at a free stream velocity of 10 m s-1 and the main instrumentation was 120 ° x-wire anemometry, but measurement accuracy was checked using laser Doppler anemometry.The results haveconfirmed the strong three-dimensionalityof the turbulent flow inthe roughness sublayer and the depths of the inertial sublayer (log-law region) and roughness sublayer for each surface have been determined. Spatial averaging has been used to remove the variability of the flow in the roughness sublayer due to individual obstacles and it is shown that the spatially averaged mean velocity in the inertial sublayer and roughness sublayer can,together, be described by a single log-law with a mean zero-plane displacement and roughness length for the surface, provided that the proper surface stress is known. The spatially averaged shear stresses in the inertial sublayer and roughness sublayer are compared with the surface stress deduced from form drag measurements on the roughness elements themselves.

The dispersive stress arising from the spatial inhomogeneity in the mean flow profiles was deduced from the data and is shown to be negligible compared with the usual Reynolds stresses in the roughness sublayer. Comparisons have been made between a homogeneous (regular element array) surface and one consisting of random height elements of the same total volume. Although the upper limits of the inertial sublayer for both surfaces were almost identical at equivalent fetch, the roughness sublayer was much thicker for the random surface than for the uniform surface, the friction velocity and the roughness length were significantly larger and the `roughness efficiency' was greater. It is argued that the inertial sublayer may not exist at all in some of the more extreme rough urban areas. These results will provide fundamental information for modelling urban air quality and forecasting urban wind climates.

Form drag Roughness sublayer Spatial average Urban random surface Wind tunnel 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hong Cheng
    • 1
  • Ian P. Castro
    • 2
  1. 1.EnFlo, School of EngineeringUniversity of SurreyGuildfordU.K
  2. 2.School of Engineering SciencesUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonU.K

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