Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 55–84 | Cite as

Mean Flow and Turbulence Characteristics in an Urban Roughness Sublayer

  • Petra Kastner-Klein
  • Mathias W. Rotach


In this study, a detailed model of an urban landscape has been re-constructed inthe wind tunnel and the flow structure inside and above the urban canopy has beeninvestigated. Vertical profiles of all three velocity components have been measuredwith a Laser-Doppler velocimeter, and an extensive analysis of the measured meanflow and turbulence profiles carried out. With respect to the flow structure inside thecanopy, two types of velocity profiles can be distinguished. Within street canyons,the mean wind velocities are almost zero or negative below roof level, while closeto intersections or open squares, significantly higher mean velocities are observed.In the latter case, the turbulent velocities inside the canopy also tend to be higherthan at street-canyon locations. For both types, turbulence kinetic energy and shearstress profiles show pronounced maxima in the flow region immediately above rooflevel.

Based on the experimental data, a shear-stress parameterization is proposed, inwhich the velocity scale, us, and length scale, zs, are based on the level and magnitude of the shear stress peak value. In order to account for a flow region inside the canopy with negligible momentum transport, a shear stress displacement height, ds, is introduced. The proposed scaling and parameterization perform well for the measured profiles and shear-stress data published in the literature.

The length scales derived from the shear-stress parameterization also allowdetermination of appropriate scales for the mean wind profile. The roughnesslength, z0, and displacement height, d0, can both be described as fractions of the distance, zs - ds, between the level of the shear-stress peak and the shear-stress displacement height. This result can be interpreted in such a way that the flow only feels the zone of depth zs - ds as the roughness layer. With respect to the lower part of the canopy (z < ds) the flow behaves as a skimming flow. Correlations between the length scales zs and ds and morphometric parameters are discussed.

The mean wind profiles above the urban structure follow a logarithmic windlaw. A combination of morphometric estimation methods for d0 and z0 with wind velocity measurements at a reference height, which allow calculation of the shear-stress velocity, u*, appears to be the most reliable and easiest procedure to determine mean wind profile parameters. Inside the roughnesssublayer, a local scaling approach results in good agreement between measuredand predicted mean wind profiles.

Local scaling Street canyon Urban meteorology Wind profile Wind tunnel 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MeteorologyUniversity of Oklahoma, SEC 1354NormanU.S.A
  2. 2.Institute for Atmospheric and Climate ScienceETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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