Flow and turbulence in an urban canyon

D. Zajic, H. J S Fernando, Ronald Calhoun, M. Princevac, M. J. Brown, E. R. Pardyjak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


A better understanding of the interaction between the built environment and the atmosphere is required to more effectively manage urban airsheds. This paper reports an analysis of data from an atmospheric measurement campaign in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, during the summer of 2003 that shows wind flow patterns, turbulence, and thermal effects in the downtown area. Experimental measurements within a street canyon yielded airflow patterns, stability conditions, and turbulence properties as a function of the incoming wind direction and time of the day. Air and surface temperatures at two different sites, one within the downtown urban canyon and the other in a nearby park, were measured. A study of the stability conditions within the urban canyon during the campaign indicates that dynamically stable conditions did not occur within the canyon. This provides evidence that the built environment can strongly influence the thermal characteristics in cities. Mean flow patterns close to the street level are analyzed for two different ranges of incoming wind directions and are compared with those obtained from a previous field experiment featuring idealized building configurations. This paper presents an approach allowing the estimation of wind direction in an urban canyon, given inflow conditions, that shows good agreement with wind patterns in the Oklahoma City street canyon. Turbulence statistics were calculated and normalized using different velocity scales to investigate the efficacy of the latter in specifying turbulence levels in urban canopies. The dependence of turbulence quantities on incoming wind direction and time of the day was investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-223
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Turbulence
  • Urban meteorology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Flow and turbulence in an urban canyon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this