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High resolution models for flow and pollutant dispersion in urban areas (HRModUrb)
Start date: May 19, 2008, End date: May 18, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Much of the global population currently live and work in urban areas, and this urbanisation is expected to increase. This trend has recently inspired many urban-centered studies. Many are of a fluid mechanical nature, either in isolation or in combination with other disciplines such as chemistry, epidemiology, and pedestrian and vehicular mobility. The proposed project is aimed at studying urban atmospheric flow and pollutant dispersion at the neighbourhood scale. Current state-of-the-art dispersion models have been developed for coarser scales and lower resolutions, and they are not capable of correctly reproducing the spatial and temporal distribution of air pollution within the urban environments where most people live (see e.g. urban street canyons). The neighbourhood scale allows for both a detailed reproduction of the phenomenon and the development of parameterised operational models. The proposed methodology involves the use of wind tunnel experiments as well as numerical simulations (Computational Fluid Dynamics, CFD) in order to enhance understanding of the dispersion phenomena at this particular scale. Advanced wind tunnel techniques include Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA), Hot Wire Anemometry (HWA), tracer concentration (and fluctuation) measurements and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). One of the expected outcomes of this project will be the improvement of current parameterisations of turbulent flow and dispersion mechanisms at the neighbourhood scale aimed at developing new operational models and/or improving the existing ones. This will be of interest for air quality management and forecasting as well as for managing responses to hazardous releases in urban areas.

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