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Wake characteristics of tall buildings in a realistic urban Canopy

Hertwig, D. ORCID:, Gough, H. L., Grimmond, S. ORCID:, Barlow, J. F., Kent, C. W., Lin, W. E., Robins, A. G. and Hayden, P. (2019) Wake characteristics of tall buildings in a realistic urban Canopy. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 172 (2). pp. 239-270. ISSN 1573-1472

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10546-019-00450-7


The presence of tall buildings in cities affects momentum and scalar exchange within and above the urban canopy. As wake effects can be important over large distances, they are crucial for urban-flow modelling on and across different spatial scales. We explore the aerodynamic effects of tall buildings on the microscale to local scales with a focus on the interaction between the wake structure, canopy and roughness sublayer (RSL) flow of the surroundings in a realistic urban setting in central London. Flow experiments in a boundary-layer wind tunnel use a 1:200 scale model with two tall buildings (81 m and 134.3 m) for two wind directions. Large changes in mean flow, turbulence statistics and instantaneous flow structure of the wake are evident when tall buildings are part of the complex urban canopy rather than isolated. In the near–wake, the presence of lower buildings displaces the core of the recirculation zone upwards, thereby reducing the vertical depth over which flow reversal occurs. This amplifies vertical shear at the rooftop and enhances turbulent momentum exchange. In the near part of the main–wake, lateral velocity fluctuations and hence turbulence kinetic energy are reduced compared to the isolated building case as eddies generated in the urban canopy and RSL distribute energy down to smaller scales that dissipate more rapidly. Evaluation of a wake model for flow past isolated buildings suggests model refinements are needed to account for such flow-structure changes in tall-building canopies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:83347


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