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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Implications of Three-Dimensional Urban Heating on Fluid Flow and Dispersion

  • Author(s): Nazarian, Negin
  • Advisor(s): Kleissl, Jan
  • Tartakovsky, Daniel
  • et al.
Abstract

As urbanization progresses, microclimate modifications are also aggravated, and more comprehensive and advanced methods are required to analyze the increasing environmental concerns. Among various factors that alter urban environments from undisturbed climates, street level air pollution due to vehicular exhausts is of major concern and is significantly affected by atmospheric motion and stability. Thermal forcing is shown to play an important role in determining flow patterns and pollutant dispersion in built environments, yet numerical studies of dispersion at microscale in urban areas are limited to simplified and uniform thermal conditions and the analyses on the effect of realistic surface heating are scarce.

To address this shortcoming, a detailed indoor-outdoor building energy model is employed to compute heat fluxes from street and building surfaces, which are then used as boundary condition for a Large-Eddy Simulation model. In comparison with previous studies, our model considers the transient non-uniform surface heating caused by solar insolation and inter-building shadowing, while coupling the indoor-outdoor heat transfer, flow field and passive pollution dispersion. Series of fluid flow and thermal field simulations are then performed for an idealized, compact mid-rise urban environment, and the pollution dispersion as well as turbulent exchange behavior in and above buildings are investigated. Additionally, a potentially universal characterization method of the flow field under realistic surface heating is evaluated, which aims of expand the results into a wider range of scenarios and investigate the potential correlations for various parameters of interest.

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