A Large Eddy Simulation to determine the effect of trees on wind and turbulence over a suburban surface

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Pascal Emanuel Egli1, Marco Giovanni Giometto1, Thoreau Rory Tooke2, Scott Krayenhoff3, Andreas Christen3 and Marc B Parlange4, (1)École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lausanne, Switzerland, (2)University of British Columbia, Forest Resources Management, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (3)University of British Columbia, Geography, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (4)University of British Columbia, Civil Engineering, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Robust modeling of flow and turbulence within and over urban canopies is required to properly predict air pollution and dispersion in cities. Trees are an integral part of the urban landscape. In many suburban neighbourhoods, tree cover is 10 to 30% and trees are often taller than buildings. Effects of trees on drag, mean wind and turbulence in cities are not accounted for in current weather, air pollution and dispersion models.

Our goal is to use high-resolution Large Eddy Simulations (LES) over a realistic urban canopy to determine the effects of trees on drag, mean wind and turbulence in the urban roughness sublayer (RSL). The simulated area is part of the Sunset-Neighbourhood in Vancouver, Canada. In this area, long-term wind and turbulence measurements are available from instruments on a 28m-tall tower. Further, a three-dimensional point cloud was captured from high precision airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), and analyzed to represent the structural characteristics of both buildings and trees at high spatial resolution. Trees are described by location-specific leaf area density (LAD) profiles.

LES simulations are performed over a 512 x 512m characteristic subset of the city that contains the tower location and predominant source area. In the LES, buildings are accounted for with an immersed boundary method, adopting a zero level-set distance function to localize the surface, whereas drag forces from trees are parametrized as a function of the height-dependent LAD.

Spectra of streamwise and vertical velocity components compare well between tower data and the model data, confirming the good performance of LES in simulations of flow over fully rough surfaces. We show how the presence of trees impacts mean velocity and computed momentum flux profiles; they significantly decrease dispersive terms in the bulk of the flow. The impact of trees on integral length scales in the flow is discussed.