Flow around a complex building: Experimental and large-eddy simulation comparisons

Ronald Calhoun, Frank Gouveia, Joseph Shinn, Stevens Chan, Dave Stevens, Robert Lee, John Leone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A field program to study atmospheric releases around a complex building was performed in the summers of 1999 and 2000. The focus of this paper is to compare field data with a large-eddy simulation (LES) code to assess the ability of the LES approach to yield additional insight into atmospheric release scenarios. In particular, transient aspects of the velocity and concentration signals are studied. The simulation utilized the finite-element method with a high-fidelity representation of the complex building. Trees were represented with a canopy term in the momentum equation. Inflow and outflow conditions were used. The upwind velocity was constructed from a logarithmic law fitted to velocities obtained on two levels from a tower equipped with a 2D sonic anemometer. A number of different kinds of comparisons of the transient velocity and concentration signals are presented - direct signal versus time, spectral, Reynolds stresses, turbulent kinetic energy signals, and autocorrelations. It is concluded that the LES approach does provide additional insight, but the authors argue that the proper use of LES should include consideration of cost and may require an increased connection to field sensors; that is, higher-resolution boundary and initial conditions need to be provided to realize the full potential of LES.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-590
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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