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  1. Three computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods with different levels of flow-physics modelling are comprehensively evaluated against high-spatial-resolution wind-tunnel velocity data from step-down street canyons (i.e., a short building downwind of a tall building). The first method is a semi-empirical fast-response approach using the Quick Urban Industrial Complex (QUIC-URB) model. The second method solves the Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) equations, and the third one utilizes a fully-coupled fluid-structure interaction large-eddy simulation (LES) model with a grid-turbulence inflow generator. Unlike typical point-by-point evaluation comparisons, here the entire two-dimensional wind-tunnel dataset is used to evaluate the dynamics of dominant flow topological features in themore » street canyon. Each CFD method is scrutinized for several geometric configurations by varying the downwind-to-upwind building-height ratio (H d/H u) and street canyon-width to building-width aspect ratio (S / W) for inflow winds perpendicular to the upwind building front face. Disparities between the numerical results and experimental data are quantified in terms of their ability to capture flow topological features for different geometric configurations. Ultimately, all three methods qualitatively predict the primary flow topological features, including a saddle point and a primary vortex. But, the secondary flow topological features, namely an in-canyon separation point and secondary vortices, are only well represented by the LES method despite its failure for taller downwind building cases. Misrepresentation of flow-regime transitions, exaggeration of the coherence of recirculation zones and wake fields, and overestimation of downwards vertical velocity into the canyon are the main defects in QUIC-URB, RANS and LES results, respectively. All three methods underestimate the updrafts and, surprisingly, QUIC-URB outperforms RANS for the streamwise velocity component, while RANS is superior to QUIC-URB for the vertical velocity component in the street canyon.« less
  2. We found that numerical-weather-prediction models are often used to supply the mean wind and turbulence fields for atmospheric transport and dispersion plume models as they provide dense horizontally- and vertically-resolved geographic coverage in comparison to typically sparse monitoring networks. Here, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model was run over the month-long period of the Joint Urban 2003 field campaign conducted in Oklahoma City and the simulated fields important to transport and dispersion models were compared to measurements from a number of sodars, tower-based sonic anemometers, and balloon soundings located in the greater metropolitan area. Time histories of computed windmore » speed, wind direction, turbulent kinetic energy (e), friction velocity (u* ), and reciprocal Obukhov length (1 / L) were compared to measurements over the 1-month field campaign. Vertical profiles of wind speed, potential temperature (θ ), and e were compared during short intensive operating periods. The WRF model was typically able to replicate the measured diurnal variation of the wind fields, but with an average absolute wind direction and speed difference of 35° and 1.9 m s -1 , respectively. Then, using the Mellor-Yamada-Janjic (MYJ) surface-layer scheme, the WRF model was found to generally underpredict surface-layer TKE but overpredict u* that was observed above a suburban region of Oklahoma City. The TKE-threshold method used by the WRF model’s MYJ surface-layer scheme to compute the boundary-layer height (h) consistently overestimated h derived from a θ gradient method whether using observed or modelled θ profiles.« less

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