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Urban Air Quality : Meteorological Processes

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Definition of the Subject

Meteorological processes in urban areas that are relevant to urban air quality. Of most significance are the impacts of the urban morphology on the mean flow and turbulence, which determines the transport and dispersion of pollutants and therefore their concentration.

Introduction

Concentrations of pollutants within an urban area depend on a number of different factors. These include the emissions of pollutants within the urban area, pollutant concentrations transported into the area, and the meteorology within the urban area, in particular, the mean airflow and turbulence (which determines the movement and mixing of the emitted pollutants) and the temperature and solar insolation (which impacts on chemical transformation taking place). This entry discusses meteorology within the urban area with the focus being on the mean flow and turbulence, as these may be substantially different from the upstream flow. Discussed here are the current understanding,...

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Abbreviations

Mesoscale:

Scale of weather systems smaller than synoptic scale but larger than microscale or urban scale; tens to hundreds of kilometers.

Neighborhood scale:

Scale typical of groups of buildings or streets; hundreds of meters to a few kilometers.

Building and street scales:

Scales of buildings or streets; tens to hundreds of meters.

Fully computational model (FCM):

A model which explicitly represents flow and turbulence around buildings.

Fast approximate model (FAM):

A model which uses approximations and parameterizations of the fine scale flow to speed up model run times and reduce complexity.

Porosity:

The volume fraction of air between buildings and therefore a measure of building density.

Urban air quality:

A general term representing concentrations of pollutants in an urban area. Good air quality corresponds to low concentrations of pollutants.

Urban meteorology:

Meteorology within an urban area; the urban environment significantly affects mean flow turbulence and temperature.

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Correspondence to David Carruthers .

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Editors and Affiliations

Glossary

b

Building breadth

C

Measured/calculated concentration

C D

Drag coefficient

c +

Normalized mean concentration for a line source

d

Gap or separation distance between buildings

f

Coriolis frequency

F

Froude number

F v

Surface water vapor flux

F θ

Fθ

g

Gravitational acceleration

h

Boundary layer height

H

Building height

H c

Canopy height

H c

Standard deviation of canopy height, Hc

H M

Mountain height

K

Normalized mean concentration for a point source

k-ε

Kinetic energy and energy-dissipation model of turbulence

l

Vertical length scale of internal layer

l O , l N

Vertical length scales of internal layers over the urban area, neighborhood scale

L A

Adjustment length for mean flow to adjust as it enters the porous canopy

L

Building length

L f

Coriolis advection length

L I

Inner city length scale

L M , L N , L BS

Length scales of the (sub-)regions M, N, BS

L O

Overall city length scale

L Ro

Rossby length scale

L Se

Effective source size

N

Buoyancy frequency

q

Hit rate test score

Q

Emission rate

RD

Fractional deviation

R M

Ratio of the length of the sub-regionL M to the smallest scales resolved in that region

s

Distance to the nearest building

\( {u_*} \)

Friction velocity of the turbulent velocity profile of the atmosphere

U

Mean velocity, with subscripts denoting location/physical process

U B

Typical wind speed associated with local buoyancy effects

U C

Wind speed within the canopy

U G

Geostrophic wind

U H

Mean wind above the buildings (at height H)

U ref

Reference velocity

U c

Mean wind along the street canyon

V S

Mean wind along street

w

Building length or width

W

Absolute deviation, Building width

x = (x, y, z)

Coordinates of a point

x B (i), y B (i)

Coordinates of staggered building i

x s , y s , z s

Coordinates of source

y c (x)

Streamline through source at xs, ys, zs

z 0 (x, y)

Roughness length for wind profile

z d

Displacement height for logarithmic wind profile

z S (x, y)

Surface elevation of the ground

Z s

Source height

Z *

Height of top of shear layer above buildings

β

“Porosity” of an urban canopy [β ∼ bw/d2]

θ

Mean temperature

θ s

Surface temperature

κ

Von Karman’s constant

λ p

Planar area index

λ f

Frontal area index

σ u , σ v , σ w

R.m.s velocity components (of the order of \( {u_*} \))

φ

Angle between wind direction and normal direction to a street (Figs. 3 and 6), i.e., φ = 90° if wind is along the street.

B

Buoyancy

BS

Building/Street scale

c

Canopy

C

Cloud concentration

f

Coriolis

G

Geostrophic

H

At top of buildings/canyon

M

Mesoscale

N

Neighborhood scale

O

Overall urban area

Ro

Rossby

s

Surface, street

S

Source

Se

Effective source

*

Turbulence-related level for log profile, or turbulent source

BS

Building/street sub-region

CFD

Computational fluid dynamics

FAM

Fast approximate model

FCM

Fully computational model

LES

Large eddy simulation

M

Mesoscale region

N

Neighborhood sub-region

RANS

Reynolds averaged Navier–Stokes

RSM

Reynolds stress model

r.m.s

Root mean square

SVF

Sky view factor

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Carruthers, D., Sabatino, S.D., Hunt, J. (2012). Urban Air Quality : Meteorological Processes . In: Meyers, R.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_427

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