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Influence of Thermal Effects on the Wind Field Within the Urban Environment

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Dimitrova, R., Sini, J.-F., Richards, K., Schatzmann, M., Weeks, M., Garcia, E. P., et al. (2009). Influence of Thermal Effects on the Wind Field Within the Urban Environment. BOUNDARY-LAYER METEOROLOGY, 131(2), 223-243. doi:10.1007/s10546-009-9368-4.

Micrometeorological conditions in the vicinity of urban buildings strongly influence the requirements that are imposed on building heating and cooling. The goal of the present study, carried out within the Advance Tools for Rational Energy Use towards Sustainability (ATREUS) European research network, is the evaluation of the wind field around buildings with walls heated by solar radiation. Two computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes were validated against extensive wind-tunnel observations to assess the influence of thermal effects on model performance. The code selected from this validation was used to simulate the wind and temperature fields for a summer day in a specific region of the city of Lisbon. For this study, the meteorological data produced by a non-hydrostatic mesoscale atmospheric model (MM5) were used as boundary conditions for a CFD code, which was further applied to analyze the effects of local roughness elements and thermodynamic conditions on the air flow around buildings. The CFD modelling can also provide the inflow parameters for a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, used to evaluate the building energy budgets and to predict performance of the air-conditioning system. The main finding of the present three-dimensional analyses is that thermal forcing associated with the heating of buildings can significantly modify local properties of the air flow.