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Evaluation of urban local-scale aerodynamic parameters: implications for the vertical profile of wind speed and for source areas

Kent, C. W., Grimmond, S. ORCID:, Barlow, J., Gatey, D., Kotthaus, S., Lindberg, F. and Halios, C. H. (2017) Evaluation of urban local-scale aerodynamic parameters: implications for the vertical profile of wind speed and for source areas. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 164 (2). pp. 183-213. ISSN 0006-8314

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10546-017-0248-z


Nine methods to determine local-scale aerodynamic roughness length (z0) and zero-plane displacement (zd) are compared at three sites (within 60 m of each other) in London, UK. Methods include three anemometric (single-level high frequency observations), six morphometric (surface geometry) and one reference-based approach (look-up tables). A footprint model is used with the morphometric methods in an iterative procedure. The results are insensitive to the initial zd and z0 estimates. Across the three sites, zd varies between 5 – 45 m depending upon the method used. Morphometric methods that incorporate roughness-element height variability agree better with anemometric methods, indicating zd is consistently greater than the local mean building height. Depending upon method and wind direction, z0 varies between 0.1 and 5 m with morphometric z0 consistently being 2 – 3 m larger than the anemometric z0. No morphometric method consistently resembles the anemometric methods. Wind-speed profiles observed with Doppler lidar provide additional data with which to assess the methods. Locally determined roughness parameters are used to extrapolate wind-speed profiles to a height roughly 200 m above the canopy. Wind-speed profiles extrapolated based on morphometric methods that account for roughness-element height variability are most similar to observations. The extent of the modelled source area for measurements varies by up to a factor of three, depending upon the morphometric method used to determine zd and z0.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
Science > School of the Built Environment > Energy and Environmental Engineering group
ID Code:69708
Additional Information:An erratum to this article is available at


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